Sex and Marijuana: The Buds, the Birds and the Bees
Many marijuana consumers have long credited the weed with being a natural aphrodisiac. Pop culture’s star-making machinery has taken notice. Witness superstars like Rihanna and Lady Gaga unabashedly turning themselves into pot pinups. So, with tens of millions of Americans enjoying a golden age of domestic cannabis (legal or not), it’s important to get the facts about sex, marijuana and the a new kind of American media icon: The Sexy Stoner.
“I get turned on by a hot bud or toking pic and if a gorgeous stoner is also in the picture,” says Lisa “Mamakind” Kirkman, author of Sex Pot: The Marijuana Lover’s Guide to Gettin’ It On. “There’s not much better than that, save enjoying that bud in person with that gorgeous stoner.”
Akin to hotrod car publications, cannabis mags and websites often feature cover girls puffing joints and holding spectacular pot plants. The accompanying advertisements are also heavy on the skimpy bikinis. This trend, sometimes labeled “Boobs & Buds,” has caused some controversy. While not as old as sex, photos of stoner starlets have been around awhile, too.
“The sexy stoner woman image has gone completely mainstream, with both Rihanna and Lady Gaga dressing up as very kinky versions of the herb itself for Halloween,” Kirkman adds. With marijuana now legal in four states and efforts to decriminalize gathering steam in many others, the topic of sex and pot is more commonly discussed. But it’s been a slow ride. “There was a time when my own brand of stoner sexuality was frowned upon by mainstream publications as mixing too many taboos at once.”
Humans have long felt this common flowery amour. We asked Dr. Mitch Earleywine, a professor of psychiatry at State University of New York Albany, his opinion on the subject of pot and sex.
Freedom Leaf: Many cannabis consumers, even scientist Carl Sagan, report that their best sexual experiences are when they smoke pot. So does marijuana affect a person’s sex drive?
Mitch Earleywine: It turns out we don’t have a whole lot of data addressing actual desire and we do have are tons and tons of sort of informal clinical reports where people say that sex is certainly enhanced during or right after marijuana use… and so it’s hard to even entertain the idea that somehow your sex drive would drop with long term use.
FL: So when you talk about those anecdotal reports, are people saying their sexual experience is enhanced or their sex drive is better?
Mitch: We’ve got data from as early as the 1980s suggesting that the experience is better. Men report seeing themselves as more giving and that people are more sensitive to touch. In part, because time is distorted after smoking marijuana, people at least seem think they’re spending more time engaged in the sex act. There’s a lot of enhanced orgasm reports both in Charlie Tart’s data from 1971 all the way back to ancient Chinese medicine in 200 A.D. So I think this is a pretty consistent effect and one that folks like to talk about. I do want to caution that cannabis is not a lubricant. I recommend that people keep that in mind if they’re planning sexual contact after using marijuana.
FL: Can smoking or eating cannabis affect sperm count in men?
Mitch: There was one study of men living in a hospital who smoked eight joints per day for eights days and their sperm count was lower, but certainly not down to the point of sterility. Their sperm count did go back up after they stopped smoking completely. So it’s a short-term drop and I guess if I had a client who was having fertility issues, then I’d recommend them stopping, just to have that extra chance. But it’s nowhere near birth control and that’s my fear – that there are some people out there who think heavy cannabis use is a form of contraception and that’s just not the case at all.
FL: What about women? Is there anything pointing to marijuana use making it tougher to conceive?
Mitch: The only data we have are from studies of women who are having fertility problems. They have some women in those samples that used cannabis – and they don’t show any difference in an ability to conceive, but ironically they do seem to be having more sex than the other women in the study.
FL: What about smoking pot every time you have sex – good idea?
Mitch: The cool thing about sex and relationships is variety in that something as simple as laying on your bed another direction or going into another room of your house can make all this difference. And then really making sure that you get the opportunity to talk about it, to praise to your partner for the things you like. Sometimes it can be just as simple as grunting and groaning a little bit more just to get the message across that “Yes, this feels good.” And suddenly you find you like this person more and you’re willing to talk about positive and negative things more. The bottom line is if you do it every time it’s not special anymore.
For more stories about the intersection of intimacy and cannabis read the Freedom Leaf Magazine Valentine’s Day 2015 Special Edition.