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Marijuana and Sex: Surprising Results of This Blogger’s Informal Survey

A surprising proportion of respondents said, "It depends."

A year ago, I posted about marijuana's contradictory effects on lovemaking, an impact notably different from other recreational drugs. The sexual effects of alcohol, cocaine, narcotics, and meth-- you name it--are well-documented and predictable. But not marijuana. Its sexual effects are all over the map, from "I can't stand having sex stoned," to "I never have sex without it."

In the literature, those who call weed sex-inhibiting typically say that when stoned, they withdraw into themselves and lose the connection to their partner. Those who call pot sex-enhancing usually say that it boosts desire, increases arousal, enhances sensuality, and helps them feel closer to their partner.

Research into the sexual impact of marijuana dates from the 1970s. One of the first reports showed that it reduces testosterone enough to impair libido in many women and some men. But in short order, that study was thoroughly debunked.

Subsequent studies showed that weed has wildly contradictory effects on sex. A 1984 report found that it enhanced lovemaking in two-thirds of respondents, but ruined it in the other third. Studies from 2003 and 2008 show that about half called the drug sex-enhancing, while half said it was not.

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A year ago, I put this question to readers: How does marijuana affect your sex life?

I make no claim that the comments readers posted represent a definitive answer to the question. Obviously, replies were self-selected, not random, and not demographically representative. Nonetheless, they're intriguing, largely because beyond saying that marijuana either improves or detracts from sex, quite a few respondents said something that has so far not turned up in the literature, "It depends."

67%f respondents said marijuana enhances sex.
• "I'm not a frequent smoker, but when I have smoked and then had sex, it's been the most amazing sex of my life."

• "Marijuana engulfs me in sex foam. I'm just pure sex on that stuff. It's great. I could never feel that way sober or drunk."

• "Definitely enhances sex. A few tokes make me feel horny the vast majority of the time, and it makes the whole experience much more enjoyable."

• "After smoking, I can feel my nipples perk up, clitoris tingle, and vagina become wet to the point that I can feel it through my pants and my man knows he is in for a LONG night."

• "Cannabis is soooo good for sex that sometimes it can become awkward because during casual hook-ups, the woman might get the wrong idea...."

12% said marijuana destroys sex.
• "My boyfriend and I have smoked (fairly heavily) for the past year and I would say that it 100% has a terrible effect on our sex life. It's been a huge libido killer for our relationship."

• "As I've continued to use marijuana (been almost 5 years smoking now) it's inhibited sex for me more and more."

But 20% said marijuana's sexual effect depends on the dose, strain, and the smoker's mood.
• "The effects of marijuana strongly relate to how a person is feeling prior to smoking. If I'm in a bad mood and smoke, sex is completely out of the question because, as you said, I withdraw into myself and just can't connect with anyone else. On the other hand, if my beau and I have had a great night out and top it off with a bowl, it's definitely got its merits."

• "Contrary to popular belief, not all buds are alike. Some weed makes you want to be very sexual and I've had some of the best orgasms of my life after using marijuana. Some of it makes you feel more introverted and thoughtful."

• "I find that indica shortly before sex is just unbeatable for mind-blowing lovemaking. Sativa should be avoided as it's cerebral nature will make your mind wander."

As I mentioned, these comments can't be seen as anything other than anecdotal reports. But anecdotes often stimulate more rigorous research. If any research psychologists or psychopharmacologists read this and are plan to study marijuana's impact on sex, I suggest that you include the option "it depends." Clearly, many PsychologyToday.com readers think it does.

Studies cited:
Weller, RA and JA Halikas, "Marijuana Use and Sexual Behavior," Journal of Sex Research (1984) 20:186.

Hathaway, AD, "Cannabis Effects and Dependency Concerns in Long-Term Frequent Users," Addiction Research and Theory (2003) 11:441.

Osborne GB and C Fogel. "Understanding the Motivations for Recreational Marijuana Use Among Canadians," Substance Use and Misuse (2008) 43:539.

San Francisco journalist Michael Castleman, M.A., has written about sexuality for 36 years. more...

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