Countless couples have become closer than ever — much, much closer than ever — over the course of the coronavirus pandemic thus far. At the same time, many are increasing their cannabis consumption to deal with the stress — and that has a direct effect on sex.
“Often in couples you’ll see one person who is more interested in sex than the other but this tends to be more so now,” sex coach and “cannasexual” counselor Ashley Manta told The Cannigma this week. “People who are often not interested in sex are often actively repulsed by sex right now, saying how could I have sex when the world is on fire.”
“There’s a lot of stress and people are smoking weed or otherwise consuming weed at greater volume than they were before,” Manta said. “Nobody is doing well right now.”
Manta opened her own sex coaching and education practice in 2013, which she says is about a lot more than “just getting stoned and boning.”
As Manta puts it, being cannasexual involves making the conscious effort to incorporate cannabis into your sex life, instead of doing it passively as a consequence of the fact that you smoke pot and you have sex.
Like so much with cannabis — and sex — Manta says that the benefits marijuana can bring to intimacy are unique to each individual, but often, cannabis “can address the things that are getting in the way of pleasure and connection and intimacy, which can be interpersonal.”
She used the example of a couple that has tension in their relationship and uses cannabis to help relieve this stress so they can be intimate and live in the moment.
It’s a commonly held belief that cannabis is something of the opposite of a performance enhancer when it comes to sex. Cannabis is believed to make people lazy, withdrawn, or overly sedated — none of which are very conducive to intimacy.
But as Manta puts it, this is something of a cannabis myth, and she “would tend to say this is someone not choosing the right products or circumstances for optimal responses.”
She also says that the effectiveness of cannabis with intimacy is greatly connected to the user’s intentions when they partake.
“If you’re trying to escape, if you’re trying to numb out so you can get through being around your partner, then that’s not going to end well for anybody,” she said.
Making sex more pleasurable
Cannabis and how it affects sex and sexual performance is a subject with no shortage of opinions and conventional wisdom. There is also a growing body of scientific research into how cannabis — and the endocannabinoid system — can affect human sexuality and sexual function.
A 2019 study found that among women who used marijuana before sex, 68.5% said their overall sexual experience was more pleasurable, 60% said their sex drive was greater, and 52.8% said they had more satisfying orgasms. Compared to the women who didn’t use marijuana, those using cannabis before sex had a 2.13 higher chance of satisfactory orgasms.
When it comes to men, the science is less clear. A systematic review of existing research published in May found that cannabis users could be twice as likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction, though the authors acknowledged that the studies did not account for reverse causality — the possibility that people with ED may use cannabis more frequently.
The review also cited a 2016 study that found while heavy cannabis users had “significantly lower scores of erectile function and orgasmic function,” that didn’t translate into decreased sexual desire, intercourse satisfaction, or overall satisfaction.
What several studies have concurred on, however, is that cannabis users have more sex. One even found evidence of a slight baby boom in states where marijuana was recently legalized.
Increased sensitivity: It’s not just about getting high
Another myth involving cannabis and sex is that you have to get very stoned, or both partners (or more than two partners) must be intoxicated to the same extent.
Manta said that she encourages partners “to not try to mirror each other. Because we are all individual beings with our own bodies and hormones and metabolisms.”
But mainly, being high isn’t the only purpose. Manta spoke about the use of cannabis topicals that don’t get you high but can increase sensitivity across your body as a prime example of a cannasexual experience.
‘Having conversations is key’
A theme that comes up often in Manta’s work is communication — making sure that partners are open and communicating with one another about their needs and desires, including when one member of the couple uses cannabis and the other doesn’t.
“I think that cannabis non-concordance, where one person uses and the other person doesn’t — it’s entirely possible to navigate that,” Manta said, adding that “having conversations is key. I really can’t overstate that. People often make assumptions or guess about what their partner will want without asking them or making a request and I see that get couples in trouble all the time.”
“Have a dialogue about what you need and what feels good to you and what’s a boundary to you and respect those boundaries,” she said.
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