Sex is fun… or at least it’s supposed to be. But sex can also come with a smorgasbord of not fun things, such as anxieties, body image issues, inhibitions, sexual trauma and shame. In fact, according to a study published in 2020, people are having less sex than ever before, especially among married couples.
With fewer people choosing marriage, it leads to an overall decline in sexual activity among adults, despite how hyper-sexualized our culture has supposedly become. The pandemic hasn’t helped, with social distancing measures in place for the last year and people removing themselves from physical intimacy in relationships due to health and safety concerns.
What’s even more interesting is that sex is down across the board, regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation and even regardless of use of pornography. It suggests a mental issue rather than a physical one, such as skyrocketing rates of anxiety and depression in young adults, and disconnection due to our tech-obsessed busy lifestyles.
Weed Love A Solution
Although there are medical methods to relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression, many pharmaceuticals carry the unfortunate side-effect of lowering libido, which can counteract the reason for needing them in the first place. Thankfully, Mother Gaia has provided a healing plant that both helps with anxiety and depression, and has been shown to increase libido: cannabis (also known as medical marijuana, ganja or weed).
Throughout history and across all cultures, cannabis has been used to relax the body and mind, treat mental health conditions and stimulate connection to spiritual realms. It also heightens pleasurable sensations by releasing oxytocin into the body, which makes touch, smell, taste, sound and sight more intense.
Combining the medicinal benefits of cannabis and sex is nothing new; in fact, ancient Tantric practitioners in India would create a drink made from concentrated “bhang” and allow the medicine to take full effect before beginning a ceremony. From Ancient Babylon to the Medieval Age, cannabis has been used to relax the body and mind, which can in turn create a comfortable atmosphere for lovemaking.
The Science of Stoned Sex
A study from Sexual Medicine published in 2019 shows that cannabinoids, compounds found in the cannabis plant, actually have an effect on sexual function, but perform differently based on gender. While women were more likely to feel increased sex drive, improved orgasm and decreased pain, men were more likely to experience erectile dysfunction when using cannabis before sex.
The exception was for men who experienced conditions such as depression, anxiety and pain; their sexual function actually improved. When taken out of the gender binary, this could suggest that cannabis helps people who need more mental stimulation to enjoy sex, rather than people who need more physical stimulation. In fact, Ugandan culture uses ganja to treat erectile dysfunction by smoking regularly.
Too Much of a Good Thing
There are instances when cannabis can have a negative effect on the libido, if used in excess. The stereotypical spaced-out stoner can be too disconnected to engage sexually; using too much can cause side-effects such as paranoia, loss of coordination, distorted perceptions, and sometimes even more of the anxiety that it is supposed to curb.
A lot depends upon the environment and company with which you consume the herb. Feeling uncomfortable when you are sober will significantly increase your chances of being more uncomfortable when you are under the influence. Conversely, if you are with people who make you feel relaxed and comfortable, cannabis will enhance your sense of comfort and well-being.
“Cannabis is not a magical horny flower,” writes Ashley Manta, “Cannasexual” relationship coach and author of The CBD Solution: Sex. “You’re more likely to want sex if it’s pleasureable for you. Cannabis can help make it feel more pleasurable, by helping you relax or reducing discomfort or disconnection from your body, but it cannot make you want sex.”
It can also help you connect more deeply with your partner(s) on a physical, mental and spiritual level. The same endocannabinoids that influence sex drive also influence your mood, making it easier to get along with partners. Intimacy is shown to increase with cannabis use between couples, whether one partner is smoking or both consume together.
As a spiritual enhancement, it has also been used throughout the ages and cultures to promote connection to higher realms. Archeological evidence points to ritual cannabis use in ancient China, Israel, India, Native America and Europe, as well as the Rastafarian religion of Jamaica using ganja as a sacrament. Modern Philosopher Alan Watts encouraged the use of cannabis for moving into a state of “cosmic consciousness.”
Despite legalization and normalization ushering a new era of widespread use, there are still some who reserve the sacred flower for occasions when they want cosmic connections. Some feel that smoking together puts your brains on the same “wavelength” which makes deep intimacy easier to achieve. Others have used it as a psychedelic in order to achieve otherworldly experiences with their partner(s).
“By using it in a sacred and intentional way it is no longer just another vice for escape,” says Nick Karras, author of Passionate High: A Guide to Using Cannabis for Better Sex and Creativity, “instead, it becomes a powerful gateway to explore and connect.”
When combined with the classic benefits of cannabis such as pain reduction and bringing awareness to the present moment, using it in an intentional way to promote sexual well-being and connection can facilitate an incredible intimacy between people, from platonic to romantic partners and everything in between.
If you don’t enjoy consuming cannabis, no need to worry; studies have shown that even if only one partner consumes, other partners enjoy the benefits of the plant medicine. With companies now introducing sexual enhancement products such as medicated lubricants and edibles, the potential for cannabis to improve sex is even higher than before.