How cannabis can create intimacy and sexual connection

Sandy Cohen
Feb 13, 2019

This 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 a last dance: “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 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.

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“It’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.” The researchers analyzed data from 28,176 women and 22,943 men and determined that higher marijuana consumption was associated with more frequent sex for men and women across all demographic groups. (Respondents self-reported their behavior with cannabis and sex over the previous four-week period.)

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 herb 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 respondents), 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.”

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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 relaxation and calm, states that are great for creating intimacy, empathy, and deeper connections. And that doesn’t have to mean getting high.

Proper dosing, even with CBD, can be essential when it comes to cannabis and sex, Karras say. Consume too much 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.”

CBD and topicals are a great starting point.

For the many people who want to try something new, CBD may be more accessible, since the compound isn’t psychoactive and the products are widely available across the country. And 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.

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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, 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.”

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