How cannabis boosts intimacy and sexual connection
Sandy CohenFeb 13, 2019This love connection is real.
Rick James was in love with Mary Jane. “She turns me on, takes me to paradise,” he purred. Tom Petty wanted another dance with his Mary Jane: “One more time to kill the pain.”
Science is just beginning to catch up to these lusty odes to cannabis, as the plant’s compounds – including the non-psychoactive CBD – are increasingly bedroom-approved. Recent studies have linked the plant to better and more frequent sex; one even came to the surprise conclusion that men who consume cannabis frequently have higher sperm counts.
[SEE ALSO: Bath, Body & Beauty: A whole new marking is soaking up cannabis]
“I’s a wonderful tool that nature gave us to connect with our bodies and ourselves and the sensuality of life,” says Dr. Nick Karras, a San Diego sexologist and author of “The Passionate High: A Guide to Using Cannabis for Sex and Intimacy.”
Karras has been informally studying the plant’s effect on intimate relations for years, and says his clients have reported increased desire and connection. Now that legalization has encouraged more widespread cannabis research, science is beginning to confirm his findings.
This is your sex on cannabis.
A 2017 study by Stanford University scientists of more than 50,000 adults found that “marijuana use is independently associated with increased sexual frequency and does not appear to impair sexual function.” Researchers analyzed data from 28,176 women and 22,943 men and determined that higher consumption was associated with more frequent sex for men and women across all demographic groups.
That doesn’t actually translate to more cannabis equals more sex — it could be that consumers have more sex to begin with — but it does indicate that marijuana certainly isn’t hindering any action.
Two other studies, both conducted by St. Louis University Medical School, asked women during their annual gynecological exams whether they’d ever consumed cannabis before partner sex. Of those who had (about a third of the 422), most said it enhanced the experience: 68 percent in one study and 72 percent in the other. And researchers found that women who incorporated cannabis into their intimate play reported “a better overall sexual experience, an increase in sex drive and a more pleasurable orgasm.”
Exactly why isn’t clear, says study author Becky Kaufman Lynn, but she has some theories.
“One is that it lowers your anxiety and stress; it gives you a little bit more confidence in your sexual ability,” she told Canada’s Global News last month. “Or it may slow down your perception of time and heighten sensation.”
Karras says the couples he counsels find that a small amount of the right strain helps stimulate their desire, lower their inhibitions and increase sensitivity to touch and texture. “Your skin feels a little more tingly, your hearing is intensified, your taste is intensified,” he says. “Those are all great things to have in the bedroom.”
Ancient salve, modern application.
For millennia, cannabis has been creating euphoria and calm, states that lend themselves to intimacy and connection. Proper dosing is essential when it comes to cannabis and sex, Karras says. Consume too much THC, and you may develop a closer relationship with your couch than your partner.
“If you back way off and just use a small amount, it has the opposite effect. It inspires creativity,” Karras says. “This isn’t about couch lock. It’s about connection.”
Both low-dosers and the truly sensually adventurous, cannabis-experienced couples looking to kick it up a notch have a Valentine’s Day friend in edibles, which last longer and don’t require frequent breaks to consume. Chocolate being the obvious choice.
$22Dark ChocolateKiva Confections “Cannabis and cacao both contain potent joy-inducing, stress-relieving properties by enacting similar effects on the brain,” says Scott Palmer, co-founder of Kiva edibles. “These pleasure powerhouses are widely reported aphrodisiacs, so their synergistic ability to get you and your beloved in the mood is unmatched.
“As with all edibles, the effects will last significantly longer than inhaled cannabis,” Palmer says, “providing sensory enhancement from the restaurant to the bedroom.”
$40arouse 50 dosesdosist Not to be outdone, the precision-dosed vaporizer pens from dosist feature two intimacy-boosting formulations, Arouse and Passion. The Arouse has a 10:1 THC-to-CBD ration and includes Linalool and Farnesene (to help you relax and open up); while Passion contains an 11:1 THC-to-CBD ratio with myrcene and limonene for heightening focus and deepening engagement.
CBD and topicals are a great starting point, too.
For couples trying cannabis for the first time, CBD may be more accessible, since the compound isn’t psychoactive (and the products are widely available across the country).
While medical research on CBD’s role in the bedroom is just beginning, ample anecdotal evidence already exists to suggest it can promote relaxation, stimulate circulation and help ease the pain during sex that afflicts some 20 percent of women. Some of the most emphatic enthusiasts have written blog posts about their outstanding cannabis-inspired orgasms.
CBD-infused lubes and massage oils are saturating the marketplace, and such topicals could be the perfect place to start experimenting. These oil- or water-based (and therefore latex-condom-friendly) formulas work with the body’s endocannabinoid system, connecting with CB-2 receptors wired into the skin and reproductive organs.
“There’s faster absorption through mucous membranes, and your pelvic region is full of cannabinoid receptors, ready to uptake CBD,” Gretchen Miller, creator of Kiskanu and its CBD Intimacy Oil (available for shipping to 41 states on Eaze Wellness), tells Eaze.
“CBD may benefit your experience by relaxing tissues, decreasing inflammation and improving blood flow to the area, thus enhancing sensation and arousal,” she says. “CBD’s ability to naturally boost energy can be a great complement to these other effects.”
Whether ingested or topically applied, cannabis’ sex-enhancing powers are most effective when approached with open-minded curiosity. Karras recommends couples individually experiment to find a strain that feels conducive to romance, then incorporate smoking or vaping as part of a ritual that includes carefully selected music and photos of the couple together.
He laughs warmly as he recounts some of his patients’ experiences: One couple confessed that instead of having the hot sex they expected after using cannabis, they got lost in conversation about life and the photos in front of them.
“That’s intimacy,” Karras says. “Don’t think sex is intercourse. It’s so much more. Cannabis will get you back to your body so you’re aware of what you need.”
DECEMBER 7, 2018 BY SARAH DUNN
We are having less sex than ever before.
According to a recent study done for the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior, American adults “had sex nine fewer timesin 2014 than they did in the late 1990s.” This steady decline was clear across the board, transcending gender, race, religion, educational level or work status.
In fact, the decline in sex isn’t limited to the United States. Studies conducted in Britain, Australia, and Japan all reflect similarly depressing statistics. Japan takes the cultural shift to another level, where women reported not only a decline in their sex lives but also felt a strong aversion to sexual contact at all. In all countries, married couples had the starkest decrease in sexual frequency, while Millennials and Generation Z were the most affected age groups.
Besides the obvious fact that dry spells are never fun, these numbers also mean fewer people are getting the countless benefits sex provides, including lower blood sugar, a stronger immune system, and improved sleep cycles. It’s so important to our health, a town in Sweden considered giving every citizen a paid hour off of work just to encourage more frisky business.
The problemThere are a number of theories as to why this phenomenon is taking place. Anxiety disorders and depression (known to inhibit sexual desire and performance) have never been more common. Technology has increased our accessibility, extending the already lengthy work week to a 24/7 job. Entertainment has never been more readily available, offering passive stimuli whenever we want it. As a society, we don’t like to stand still. We constantly need to do, watch, consume.
Problem is, sexy time best blooms out of idle time.
According to the prominent sexologist, Nick Karras, the most common reason his clients give when asked about their waning sex life is that “the stress and worries of daily living are affecting their ability to slow down and appreciate one another.” Karras believes that those overwhelmed and distracted feelings a modern life elicits keeps his clients from “letting go and being in the present moment,” two very important factors in ensuring a positive sexual experience.
The solutionSome newbies may think of cannabis use as the opposite of an aphrodisiac, turning what could have been a night of passion into a lazy evening of reruns and ice cream by the pint. But science has proven otherwise; when used with discretion, cannabis can ignite passion and presence in partners. In the past few decades, scientific studies have shown that cannabis users experience more frequent sexual encounters, more intense orgasms, and even a larger number of partners.
Frozen in time because of funding and federal prohibition, the most extensive research on the topic was done in the 1980s that proved marijuana use before sex resulted in greater intimacy and stronger orgasms. But with legalization becoming more widespread, many have a renewed interest in how cannabis can affect our sex lives.
In his book, Passionate High: A Guide to Using Cannabis for Better Sex and Creativity, Nick Karras suggests incorporating a small dose of cannabis for increased intimacy:
“When cannabis is used in small amounts it can help loosen our analytical minds, giving us the freedom to make new associations and deeper connections in those realms. By using it in a sacred and intentional way it is no longer just another vice for escape, instead, it becomes a powerful gateway to explore and connect.”
Can cannabis really be the cure to our modern woes? Maybe that’s a stretch, but when it comes to our collective dry spell, the science is promising. What Karras’s words highlight is that cannabis use and sexuality are different for everyone, and exploring the cannabis alternative for better sex requires intention, intuition, and discretion. “The higher the better” philosophy, for instance, should be reserved for a lazy Sunday on the couch, not when you plan to get frisky.
The best way to mix cannabis and sex also depends on the reason for use. Rarely are bedroom antics void of awkwardness. Introducing cannabis can help with a variety of situations that may be tenser than you’d prefer, such as:
The scienceWomen report better orgasms. Men report feeling more connected to their partner. Why?
Much like love, cannabis elicits a chemical reaction. Cannabis contains a number of chemical compounds called cannabinoids. Our bodies have built-in receptors for these cannabinoids, which are present in the brain, nervous system, and even sexual organs.
When the cannabinoid, THC, binds with these receptors, you experience the euphoric high (in both brain and body) associated with cannabis. Some of the most common side effects of cannabis consumption are a perceived slow down in time, sensitive tactile functions (touch), and stress reduction. All of these symptoms contribute to a better sexual experience.
Take some of the other classic benefits of cannabis: pain reduction, mitigating trauma, and bringing awareness into the present. All of these side effects can help restore sexual capacity.
According to Karras cannabis also “increases blood flow and circulation which further activates all of the many senses.” When we spoke to Karras, he made it clear that “sensuality leads to sexuality,” so activating all of the senses is more important than most couples consider.
The seriesBut what does “sensuality leads to sexuality” really mean? Where is the line between intimate, mindblowing sex and stoned, dull sex? And how does cannabis compare to other sex drugs on the market?
Clearly, the topic of introducing cannabis into the bedroom is as complex as the plant itself. But don’t fret: we’ll answer all these questions and more in our new series about sex and cannabis.
In our ongoing series, we will navigate the complexities of properly introducing cannabis into the bedroom, from the how and why to the what and where. Along the way, we will consult our trusted friend and renowned sexologist, Nick Karras. His insight can also be found in his critically acclaimed books, Petals and The Passionate High. Join us as we explore exactly how your favorite plant can spice up your sex life, not leave you high and dry.
By: Nick Karras
Appeared in Dope Magazine
As a counseling sexologist and cannabis coach, I see couples from all walks of life working through a myriad of issues relating to sex and love. Most often I hear they have lost desire or connection with their partner, and are unsure about how to restore passion and intimacy. This commonly occurs because of the stress and distractions of daily life—they have trouble letting go of it all, living in the present.
By Erin Hiatt
Appeared in THC The Hemp Connoisseur
Let's be honest: sometimes having sex can be a chore. Couples over the span of time have sought ways to un-chore their sex lives, trying everything from known aphrodisiacs like oysters, dark chocolate and red wine, to lubes, sultry lingerie, role play, etc., ad nauseum. Practically, every magazine and website has a column dedicate to spicing up your sex life, each piece of advice seeming to contradict the other. And forget about the legions of books showing acrobatic sex positions only a contortionist could pull off, but is, they premise, a sure-fire guarantee to a mind-blowing orgasm. But what if finding intimate time with your partner is really the last thing on your mind?
By Cleo Stiller
Appeared in Fusion
The last time I got high, I woke up on my couch with an empty jar of Nutella in my hand—so that was the last time I got high. You know what I mean?
But it’s very likely I haven’t been doing it right: A growing number of women are turning to cannabis in states where it’s legal to improve their sex lives—and in some cases, experience sexual pleasure for the very first time.
Appeared in Culture Magazine
By: Jason T. Davis
Dr. Nick Karras is a practicing sexologist and author of The Passionate High: A Lovers Guide to Cannabis, the book for couples who seek to improve their relationship using one of humanity’s oldest herbal aphrodisiacs. “I was a hippy during the 60s,” Dr. Karras said. “I’ve lived a very sexual lifestyle. I was always fascinated by the body and sexuality.” Dr. Karras makes a living as a coach for men and women who want to connect (or re-connect) in new ways, but his book isn’t just about smoking cannabis and getting laid, it’s about overcoming inhibitions and establishing deeper relationships.
“Cannabis is great for enhancing your imagination and increasing your empathy.”
Appeared in Community Green
A fulfilling sex life is an integral part of whole-being health and wellness. And cannabis, the whole-body healer, is considered a major player in the field of sexual medicine.
While nothing beats great sex, people are battered when it comes to love and intimacy. Women often suffer with body issues and repression; men often deal with erectile dysfunction and performance anxiety. Many people have been involved in sexual abuse or trauma. These realities have a profound impact on the emotional, physical, and mental stability of an individual, as well as our collective culture.
Appeared in Mic
By: Kate Hakala
"The skin becomes an object of affection," Evan*, a man in his 30s, said.
"I felt like one with my partner," Sharon said.
"I definitely felt heightened sensations," Athena told Elephant Journal.
No, it isn't a new innovative sex toy or a newly released porn all three were watching — they're talking about having sex while high. As smoking weed becomes an ever-present and accepted force in our culture, we're hearing more and more about how weed and sex can work in tandem. And we're getting smarter about how we can leverage it.
Appeared in Fusion Magazine
By: Taryn Hillin
By now you’ve probably heard that weed can be a fantastic aphrodisiac. From its use in ancient tantric rituals to modern-day mating, it’s even been nicknamed “nature’s Viagra.”
But if you’re like many young people, your only exposure to the sticky-icky has been in college or at parties, where you’ve smoked other people’s joints and hit off other people’s bongs.
So, if you live in a state where pot is legal, how do you bring weed into the bedroom if you’re not sure how to get the green stuff from the bag into your body without just eating it? (Please, don’t do that.) Let our beginner’s guide lead the way.