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.