Cannabis in the Bedroom: A Love Story?
Feb 01, 2019 02:39PM
● By Dan McCarthy
In the first decade of the 20th century, WHEN PSYCHOANALYSIS WAS BRISTLING WITH LIFE AND BIRTHING GREAT THINKERS OF THE AGE, A BRILLIANT FRIENDSHIP STRUCK UP WITH TWO CONTEMPORARIES FOND OF EXPLORING THE HUMAN PSYCHE AND ALL THE ROT FOUND WITHIN: CARL JUNG AND SIGMUND FREUD.
It’s a famed friendship and was a true-blue bromance while it lasted. The two once traveled to the United States to lecture on psychoanalysis at Clark University, and during the long boat ride, they regularly analyzed each other’s intimate dreams (naturally).
Freud, savant of “it’s all sex, baby” thinking, was reportedly seeking an acolyte of his theories who would accept his views sans argument; a perennial father figure to whomever resided under his authority. That wasn’t Jung’s cup, and soon a chasm grew between the two men. Among other deviations from accepted theory on the human condition, Jung didn’t believe it was all about sex. Freud, in Jung’s eyes, had stretched his theory that all psychic life from birth to maturity is driven by sex drive too far to explain and account for too much.
For Jung, the prince of the psychoanalytic community by 1909, it was about looking at the wider picture of the human mind, beyond his old pal’s thoughts on sexuality, and he aimed to redefine psychoanalysis along the way.
Whether he did or not is of no concern here, because if you’re reading this, your brain, loins, and thoughts are likely oiled up and fully engorged. Because we’re here to talk about sex, cannabis, and how the two are coming together today. Cannabis is often championed as the cure to all 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 1970's 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,” Prosterman said. “Pot can give us a glimpse of our sexual potential. Working towards 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. Particularly if you’re looking for it, at it, or engaging with either on any platform in the modern, phone-slave epoch we are living in.
Sure, a lot of it can be a bunch of fluffy prose or sometimes blatantly obvious diatribes on how consuming 200 milligrams of a cannabis edible, in fact, doesn’t do much for one’s ability to pleasure another (doesn’t help when you fall asleep in your romantic couple’s dinner, either). But the fact remains that with very little searching, it’s becoming easier to locate the mavens, mavericks, and manufactured goods, experiences, and bold claims orbiting the star Stoned Sex. A good example of that is the sex coach, relationship educator, and proud “cannasexual” (those concerned with mindfully combining weed and sex for desired positive results) Ashley Manta.
Speaking of viagra, if you’re wondering: Yes, weed viagra does exist. It’s called CannaMojo, and it claims to do just what you’d want a weed-fueled erection pill to do. Have we used it? No. Do we want to hear if you have? Of course.
Speaking to the men’s culture digital publication MEL Magazine in 2017, Manta made it clear she’s not a blanket proselytizer out to turn every client into a cannabis-forward sex enthusiast. “I’m not out to convert people,” she said. “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.
Additionally, Manta is known for her cannabinoid-enhanced “play parties,” which 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.
On her website, she posted feedback from a satisfied customer, presumably still reeling in coital bliss given the tenor of what could be called one hell of a Yelp review: “Throughout the evening I had the opportunity to witness my friend in an element that was so clearly her own. 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. She was a listener, a cheerleader, a connoisseur, a lover, and a comfort. Even when the beautiful debauchery had built in momentum, it was kept from a state of complete entropy by her drifting gentle presence as she made her way around the crowd. Nobody and no body was neglected by her. She guided the under-informed 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 which only the right combination of carefully selected strains can induce.”
It’s clear someone got plenty of bang for their buck (sorry), and that’s great. But there’s often a lot of anecdotal crisscrossing and conflicting messages about that last part, the use of specific strains as particular keys for unlocking sexy time happiness in a universal sense.
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. You know where that goes when bad–limp noodles for men, reduced clitoral sensitivity in women, and often both people don’t have the perfect romp in the rickshaw. (It’s also not all bad, either, but facts are facts).
There are plenty of positive studies coming out about general findings on cannabis and sex interacting. In August 2018, Psychology Today ran a column discussing recent academic work exploring the topic:
“Stanford researchers conducted the largest study to date. They extracted information about sex and marijuana from three installments of the large, ongoing National Survey of Family Growth data from 2002, 2006-2010, and 2011-2015. Their total data set included 28,176 women and 22,943 men, average age 30, who formed a reasonably representative sample of the U.S. population. 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.”
Oh, and now speaking of weed lube, there are loads of companies out there doing versions of it. Here in the Bay State, KindLab out of Marblehead manufactures a range of cannabis-infused tinctures and even THC-dosed edible body butter sex cream.
No study exists to confirm that cannabis can totally impair sexual function the way alcohol can, but that doesn’t mean all green is all go when combining weed and sex. All too familiar with this is Dr. Jordan Tishler, founder of the Cambridge-based Inhale MD, which specializes in cannabis therapeutics, including the intersection of cannabis and human sexuality.
A Harvard Medical School graduate and practicing emergency physician, Tishler says people read things on the internet or dive into discussions about different strains and cannabis topicals (see: weed lube) or cooking 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 (or, nay, nu-expert) CBD preachers about its positive effect during sex, you’ll get 20 answers. To those who claim it’s the golden ticket to humping happiness, Tishler says keep it in your pants.
“CBD for sexuality is a non-starter,” 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 cannasex experts popping up, creating new businesses and products or hawking themselves as self-described anything-experts is 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. And that is worth its weight in dildos. (Tishler was once asked to advise for a company trying to invent a dildo that squirted out weed lube during use.)
“I could make jokes, but I believe it’s actually a good thing,” he says. “That we are comfortable even mentioning sex with cannabis is part of the breakdown of generational stigma.”
Unlike Manta, Tishler thinks strain specifics regarding bedroom activities isn’t really an issue. Additionally, sexual lubricants, toys, and so on are fun, but it's about body type, effect, and all interested parties being in synch with each other. Or, if on a solo mission, in synch 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 on 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,” he says.
“But what we know about humans is that over 90 percent of what’s going on [to enhance/improve] sex is going on between your ears.”
Don’t let that stop your next pre- and post-sex joint, though.
“The idea of being cannasexual isn’t limited to one specific sex act, or even just partnered sex. I speak of it in terms of one’s overall relationship with their body.” —Ashley Manta