Sex Is Better with Cannabis than Alcohol
Recreational Marijuana legalization has been steadily gaining steam. Last month in New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo — who was once an ardent opponent of legal cannabis — indicated his support for legalizing recreational use of the drug in the state. This comes after Michigan in November joined 9 other states and the District of Columbia in legalizing recreational marijuana. These include California, Arizona, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Florida, and Nevada. At the same time, 33 states have legalized cannabis for medical use.
While the federal government still considers cannabis a Schedule 1 drug — which means that it thinks cannabis has no valid medical use and is dangerous to users — research continues into the effects of the drug. One such recent research project looked into how the drug affects sex.
What the Researchers Discovered
The study was conducted at New York University (NYU) and was published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior. The researchers were interested in knowing if marijuana use resulted in unsafe sex. They compared behavior under the influence of marijuana to behavior under the use of alcohol.
The study’s sample size was small. The researchers conducted interviews of two dozen adults, all who were within the age range of 18 through 35. They found the subjects through the placement of a Craigslist advertisement, which stated that they were seeking subjects who, in the previous 3 months, had had sexual relations while under the influence of marijuana. They essentially asked these subjects to compare their experiences of sex under the influence of marijuana to those while using alcohol.
Not surprisingly, every subject experienced different things while under the influence of both substances, but researchers found certain commonalities. Among these commonalities was the fact that many subjects asserted that the influence of both marijuana and alcohol affected how they chose a sex partner.
But researchers found that the use of alcohol was more likely to affect a subject’s choice in a negative manner. Often subjects indicated that they felt regret after engaging in alcohol-infused sex. A 34-year-old woman said that when drinking alcohol it was not uncommon for her to have sex with someone she did not know. She also said that, under the influence of alcohol, she was not able to be discerning in her choice of sex partners. But, under the influence of marijuana, she had none of these problems.
A number of subjects in the study also indicated that they experienced differences in sexual sensitivity depending on whether they were under the influence of marijuana or alcohol. A 27-year-old man said that he felt numb when having sex under the influence of alcohol, but that under the influence of marijuana he felt intensified sensitivity during sex. He felt more aroused as well, even when engaging in simple touching, and body sensations were far more intense.
Due to this increased sensitivity during sex, researchers found that marijuana positively affected the duration of sex as well as the ability to achieve an orgasm. A 34-year-old woman told researchers that her orgasms while under the influence of cannabis were 5 times greater than without such use. Though others in the study indicated that they could not achieve orgasms because their minds under the influence of marijuana were unable to focus.
Other Findings of the Study
Joseph J. Palamar, who is an associate professor of population health at NYU and one of the lead authors of the study, said that the illegality of marijuana also played a role in participants’ sexual behavior. He said that, because alcohol is legal everywhere for adults, it was not inducive in enticing someone into an intimate situation. But, because marijuana was illegal, one person could entice another into an intimate situation through the offering of the drug.
Palamar believes that more research into the subject is necessary. He says that they need more “empirical evidence” before they can categorically assert the findings of this particular study: that the use of alcohol creates riskier sexual behavior than cannabis does.