Guest Post by Lanny Swerdlow
Although marijuana was not the sole cause of the upheavals and changes in social mores during the turbulent ’60s, it was an important part of the anti-war movement—as annunciated in the movement’s defining slogan of “Make Love, Not War.” That’s marijuana, allright—enhancing lovemaking and decreasing any desire to go out and kill people. Marijuana and sex! Two great things that go great together.
Sex and sexuality in modern-day humans has been complicated by thousands of years of human culture, religion and practices. The use of cannabis for sexual enhancement, like the use of marijuana for alleviating pain or facilitating sleep, is nothing new under the sun. Three-thousand-year-old writings from India touted marijuana use for long-lasting erections, delayed ejaculation, facilitating lubrication and loosening inhibitions.
Rituals utilizing cannabis dating back to 700 AD are found in the Hindu-Buddhist tradition known as Tantra, where groups of worshippers engaged in fasting, chanting, prayer, ceremonial purifications, yoga and sexual union. Marijuana is not truly an aphrodisiac as it does not consistently produce a sexually arousing effect, but it can increase libido and desire resulting in increased sexual pleasure and reduced inhibition. The exact mechanism by which marijuana is able to do this is not fully understood, but cannabinoids such as THC have a profound effect on sexual arousal as they interact directly with our body’s neurochemistry and hormonal systems.
As with almost all areas of marijuana, there is a paucity of scientific research concerning sex and marijuana, its effect on sex stimulation. Most evidence is anecdotal, with reports of increased sexual stimulation and activity and others reporting inability to maintain erections and concentration. A multitude of factors enter into marijuana’s effects on sexual performance, and are influenced by a person’s disposition, physiology, environment, culture and reason for use.
Not surprisingly, dosage levels play a significant factor in marijuana’s effect on sexual performance. At low to moderate doses, marijuana has been known to increase sensuality, sustain erections, stimulate intimacy and heighten and prolong sexual climax. Many women have stated that using cannabis helps lubrication and control of vaginal muscles, thereby increasing satisfaction for both themselves and their partner. In addition, many women report that their partners are more tender, loving and willing to engage in longer and more skilled foreplay, the absence of which being a major complaint woman have consistently leveled against male lovemaking.
As for the actual orgasm, marijuana use may have more pronounced effects on women than men. Some women claim that the only way they can achieve orgasm is when they are high, with a significant number of women stating that using marijuana helps them achieve multiple orgasms. Both men and women report that when using cannabis, they find the sensation of the approaching orgasm more pronounced and that their orgasm is experienced throughout their entire body and not just the genital areas.
At higher doses, however, many users find it is difficult to concentrate and their minds wander away from the sexual experience, making it difficult to perform. Studies, mainly in rats, showed that low doses of marijuana raised the levels of testosterone and other sex hormones, but high levels resulted in a significant reduction.
One study has shown that high-dose, chronic use can lead to a reduction in sperm count, although when cannabis use was stopped, sperm counts rapidly returned to normal levels. In any case, using high doses of marijuana as a means of lowering the likelihood of impregnation is not considered an effective method of birth control.
It’s important to note that dosage level is a very individual matter and one person’s low dose is another person’s out-of-the-ballpark dose. Like all cannabis use, the individual user needs to tailor the amount consumed to achieve whatever therapeutic response they are seeking. It should not be difficult to determine when the amount of cannabis consumed produces the desired sexual arousal and when it makes achieving orgasm more laborious than it is worth.
For what it’s worth, a 2009 Australian study concluded that men who used marijuana had more sexual partners than those who did not use marijuana. I don’t know if that means men who smoke marijuana are having so much fun that they want to have sex more often or that smoking marijuana causes men to become sluts, but the study was criticized for not establishing a cause-effect relationship between cannabis and sexual performance.
Whether it’s an intimate relationship with a lifelong partner, a one-night stand, or a moment by yourself, cannabis can add a dramatic new dimension to your lovemaking and sex life. If you have not tried cannabis and sex together, prepare yourself for a very special experience.
Lanny Swerdlow, RN, LNC is host of the Internet radio show Marijuana Compassion & Common Sense and founder of the Marijuana Anti Prohibition Project and the Brownie Mary Democratic Club. Contact him at [email protected].