How Does Recreational Marijuana Use Affect Your Sex Life?

By Kelly Burch 12/07/18

A new report found that cannabis use can affect your sex life in a variety of unexpected ways. 

couple in bed after using marijuana and trying to have sex

Changes to marijuana policy are sweeping through the country, but experts say that legalizing weed could have unintended consequences where Americans least expect them: in the bedroom. 

According to a report by The Verge, cannabis use can lead to people having more sex and using contraceptives less often, so much that legalization has increased the birth rate by about 16 births a year per 10,000 women of childbearing age. It can also change the quality of the sex people are having, although whether pot will make your experience better or worse is a toss-up. 

“It’s not like the more, the better,” said gynecologist Melanie Bone, who prescribes medical marijuana for patients who have low libido or trouble orgasming. “Maybe some amount will relax you and make you more open to sensations and less inhibited with your body, but if you get super stoned, you’re not going to be able to concentrate.”

Lubes infused with cannabis claim to increase pleasure, but Bone said that is open to debate. 

“For many of the lubes, is it more hype or more true response?” she said. “The only way to know is to study it,” something that is difficult to do because of the on-going federal prohibition on pot. 

One study found that for men, cannabis use is linked with difficulty climaxing, and another study found that it can lower sperm quality. However, another study found that marijuana use is associated with more sexual partners and that it doesn’t seem to affect sexual functioning.

Michael Eisenberg, a urologist at Stanford University, found that women who use marijuana have 34% more sex than women who don’t smoke, and men who use pot saw their sex life expand 22%. Although people who use marijuana might just have more sex than people who don’t, researchers still found an increase tied to use.

“The interesting thing about the study is that we also were able to look at all different demographic groups, based on race and ethnicity, marital status, and education level,” Eisenberg said. “And across all groups, you saw the same relationship, so it’s not like this association is being driven by one particular group.”

In addition, a working paper published last month found that more and riskier sex associated with cannabis use is driving up birth rates. 

“Our novel results reveal that birth rates increased after the passage of a [medical marijuana] law corresponding to increased frequency of sexual intercourse, decreased purchase of condoms and suggestive evidence on decreased condom use during sex,” the authors wrote. “More sex and less contraceptive use may be attributed to behavioral responses such as increased attention to the immediate hedonic effects of sexual contact, delayed discounting and ignoring costs associated with risky sex.”

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Kelly Burch writes about addiction and mental health issues, particularly as they affect families. Follow her on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.