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?
Women, with their myriad emotional, mental and physical demands may also feel some pressure to be amazing in the sack. The FDA recently approved a "pink Viagra" designed to increase desire, but its warning label says that it can cause dangerously low blood pressure and fainting when combined with alcohol. So much for wine with dinner. It has been show over and over that a woman's psychological and emotional state can affec for better or worse the sexual experience, from the psychological to the physiological. Some cannabis-centric magazines have columns dedicated to enjoying cannabis with your partner, but many of them seem to be answering questions for the "stoned boner" crowd only. What about real sex for real women with real lives.
"What is female libido? It's desire! For a man it's between his legs but for a woman it's between her ears!" exclaims Nick Karras, a sex therapist based in San Diego, Calif. Karras is the author of "The Passionate High," a book that deeply explores cannabis as an aphrodisiac, a topic he studied for more than two years. As Karras sees it, "We're a very left-brained society. We as human beings are way too in our minds and not enough in our bodies to fully enjoy the sexual experience." Karras believbes that including cannabis can intensify a couple's sex life in very positive ways. "Using cannabis together gives you more empathy and connection to the person you're with, to get the body and mind to open to the possibilities."
There's a lot of snake oil out there when it comes to how to supercharge women's sexual experiences and increase female libido, but the folks at Denver-based GH Labs thinks they may have the antidote. Vance Dugger, the founder of GH Labs, and his Director of Scientific Development Daniel Hernandez have created the K-puff pink, a disposable Kanna-Vape, with just women in mind. The K-puff pink strain, GH-169 (patent pending), intends to balance all three female sexual hormones: estrogen, progesterone and counterintuitively, testosterone, which seems to play a big role in a woman's sexual desire and arousal. Small amounts of cannabis raises testosterone, heart rate, respiration and releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure. Hernandez explains that GH-169 will give men a "vitalizing effect," and 87 percent of female GH-169 as "primal." Dugger is currently working with a major university on constructing a clinical study of GH-169, so convinced is he of its efficacy.
Think of a woman's sexual journey like a set of three stairs with a soft fall into your's love's arms at the end: excitement, plateau, orgasm and resolution. In the excitement phase, the heart rate quickens, breathing speeds up, and blood flow to the genitals increases, swelling the clitoris. The vagina becomes lubricated and breasts become fuller. In the plateau phase, genital swelling continues and the clitoris becomes very sensitive. Breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure keep climbing, and then, hopefully, orgasm, the wonderful release of sexual tension. Last but not least, resolution, where the body's response returns to normal and feelings of well-being and intimacy increase. This is the happy ending version of the female sexual experience.
The unhappy ending was reported in a study titled "Biology of Female Sexual Function" (authored by Drs. Ricardo Munarriz, Noel K. Kim, Irwin Goldstein, Abdul M. Traish) published by the Boston University School of Medicine. They found that a staggering 76 percent of adult American women have some type of sexual dysfunction. So what exactly is that? Lack of lubrication, decreased vaginal swelling, fewer orgasms- if any- and painful intercourse, assuming you get excited about having sex at all. WebMD writes that these dysfunctions can be brought on by work-related stress and anxiety, concern about sexual performance, menopause, depression, guilt or the effects of a past sexual trauma and can include, as the Boston report found, negative sexual experiences.
But, using cannabis as part of your lovemaking can be equal parts trouble and bliss. Anecdotal evidence shows that if the THC levels in your delivery method of choice are too high then female hormones can become "antagonized" and the sexual experience, from the physical to the mental, can become too intense. If men consume too much THC, the experience can be, well, a little droopy. Karyn Wagner of Paradigm Cannabis Group in Humboldt, Calif., branded a sativa-indica variant of Mr. Nice called Sexxxpot. After an incredibly intense sexual experience using the Mr. Nice blend, she learned that it was about 14 percent THC. Sexxpot was branded to help her clients have the same experience, and they have also reported positive results.
Karras says that cannabis is only one piece of the sexual satisfaction for both men and women. "We've gone too far into our heads and we're too disconnected from our bodies. We eat too fast, talk too fast and people aren't slowing down. But cannabis slows you down." And when he says "slow down," he means it. He strongly encourages avoiding edibles and instead to microdose, wait and see how you respond, then perhaps another microdose followed by a little more waiting. But, the wait may be where the fun begins. "Just try different things," he suggest. "Take a bath, take a walk together. Cannabis quiets left brain thinking and lets you see each other in a new way." Taking a page from Timothy Leary, Karras encourages couples to think about (mind)set nd setting. "Make a ritual of the experience! You can role play, or dress up." Or go strain hunting and try different varietals together. "Like wine," he continues, "It takes times to find the kind you love."
"Yeah, yeah," you're thinking, "I can barely brush my teeth before I fall asleep on the couch in my gym clothes wearing "Colbert." Who has the time or energy to create 'rituals' around their sex life? In Karras' view, perhaps we should change the definition of what "making love" is. "Sex can be just laying [sic] around, giggling, and having a good time. You have to decide that you want to have sex and that it has value," he counsels. "You find intimacy and joy in the things you choose."
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