Exploring the amorous side of cannabis.

A higher love

Story Dan McCarthy
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Cannabis is often championed as a cure for bedroom ailments, while at the same time often being misunderstood or simply (if cautiously) being introduced as an acceptable commonplace component to one’s love tackle-box, much like a bottle of wine and 1970s R+B is for some or a Tinder match on a Tuesday night and fistful of Viagra is for others.
Seth Prosterman, a San Francisco–based certified sex therapist, told Vice in 2017 that weed isn’t a one-way ticket to pleasure town, but it can help you get there.

“While pot can help bring out our most sexy selves, disinhibit us, or relax us during sex, I would highly recommend that people learn to be in the moment and deeply feel and connect with their partners without using enhancing drugs,” says Prosterman. “Pot can give us a glimpse of our sexual potential. Working toward our sexual potential, with our partners, is part of developing a higher capacity for intimacy, passion, and deep connection.”

Depending on what social media feeds you’re attuned to, it’s not hard these days to get at least one story fanned your way in a month about something to do with weed and sex. Sure, some of it is just fluffy prose, and some of it just states the painfully obvious. You don’t need Cosmopolitan to tell you that “getting too high can backfire on your sex life [because it] it makes you too sleepy to have any. Don’t eat a whole pot brownie, and then expect to feel horned up and ready to go.” 

That said, there are more and more mavens and mavericks—as well as manufactured goods, experiences, and bold claims—orbiting the Stoned Sex star. Take, for example, Ashley Manta, sex coach, relationship educator, and proud “cannasexual”—one who’s concerned with mindfully combining weed and sex for desired positive results.

Speaking to the men’s culture publication MEL magazine in 2017, Manta made it clear she’s not a blanket proselytizer intent on turning every client into a cannabis-forward sex enthusiast. “I’m not out to convert people,” she says. “If people are happy not having cannabis in their sex lives, I’m not going to tell them they’re wrong for not wanting to consider including it. My approach is more like, if you already consume cannabis or you’re open to the idea of it, here are the best practices for mixing it with sex. The idea of being cannasexual isn’t limited to one specific sex act either, or even just partnered sex. I speak of it in terms of one’s overall relationship with their body, sexuality, and self-care.” If you want to see her theory in action, her Instagram (@ashleymanta) is rife with content to back it up.

Manta is known for her cannabinoid-enhanced “play parties.” If you’re imagining a swinging group of couples gathering under the banner of self-exploration, relationship tonic, or just consenting group sex fests with weed lube, that sounds about right.

A satisfied customer, presumably still reeling in coital bliss, posted this feedback on Manta’s website: “Over the course of the night, I watched from my spot at the vape bar as [Ashley] shifted seamlessly from teacher to participant to confidant to chaperone…Nobody and no body was neglected by her. She guided the underinformed on the mindful marriage of cannabis and sex. She allowed the calming rituals of medicating with cannabis to bring those who indulged in it to that place of body-peace that only the right combination of carefully selected strains can induce.”

A glowing review, for sure. However, the science is still out about the use of specific strains as particular keys for unlocking sexy-time happiness in a universal sense.

Blazed in Love

Alcohol, on the other hand, has no shortage of both anecdote and hard facts about the good, bad, and ugly regarding drunk sex. Depending on body factors, two or more alcoholic beverages will depress the central nervous system, leading to limp noodles for men, reduced clitoral sensitivity in women, and unsatisfying romps.

There are plenty of positive studies coming out about general findings on cannabis and sex interacting. In 2018, Stanford researchers released findings on the largest study to date that compiled info on sex and marijuana. The data set included 28,176 women and 22,943 men, average age 30, who formed a reasonably representative sample of the US population, according to a Psychology Today column, which reported: “Compared with cannabis abstainers, men who used it weekly reported 22 percent more sex, women 34 percent more. Among those who used marijuana more than weekly, sexual frequency increased even more. This study did not ask if participants found cannabis sex-enhancing, but to an extent, that can be inferred.”

No study exists to confirm that cannabis can totally impair sexual function the way alcohol can, but that doesn’t mean all green means go. Dr. Jordan Tishler knows that well. He’s the founder of the Cambridge, Massachusetts–based Inhale MD, which specializes in cannabis therapeutics, including the intersection of cannabis and human sexuality.

Tishler says people read things on the internet, dive into discussions about different strains and cannabis topicals (see: weed lube), or cook romantic-dosed dinners for loved ones, and that’s fine. “Those things certainly play a factor,” he says, “but generally it’s not my recommended approach regarding cannabis altering sexuality.”

It comes down to a lack of a standard of research and understanding. If you were to ask 20 casual CBD preachers about its positive effect during sex, you’d get 20 answers. To those who claim it’s the golden ticket to getting laid, Tishler says keep it in your pants.

“CBD for sexuality is a nonstarter,” he says. “It doesn’t provoke libido…. It may help with anxiety or pain if that’s an issue, but what we’re really looking at in treatment of sexual dysfunction or enhancement with cannabis is how it’s used to create healthier relationships.”

Which isn’t to say the new canna-sex specialists creating new businesses and products or hawking themselves as “experts” are necessarily a bad thing in these early days of legal weed. That there are people doing this and finding an audience suggests bringing such topics and experimentation to light is meaningful to people.

“I could make jokes, but I believe it’s actually a good thing,” says Tishler, who was once asked to advise a company trying to invent a dildo that squirted out weed lube during use. “That we’re comfortable even mentioning sex with cannabis is part of the breakdown of generational stigma.”

Unlike Manta, Tishler thinks having specific strains for bedroom activities isn’t going to make a huge difference. Additionally, sexual lubricants and toys set the mood, but a successful liaison is more about body type, effect, and all interested parties being in sync with each other. Or, for those on a solo mission, in sync with one’s self.

It’s about how cannabis introduced into sexual settings or relationships is a means to stimulate the big sexy organ everyone has above their shoulders, and that, of course, is where the Infinity Stone of getting it on rests for everyone.

“Cannabis can help facilitate situations and discussions and different levels of honesty and intimacy in relationships that need it,” Tishler says. “But what we know about humans is that over 90 percent of what’s going on [to enhance and improve] sex is going on between your ears.”

Don’t let that stop you from sparking a joint next time the mood strikes. It just may take your bedroom bliss to new heights.

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