Is Marijuana Sex-Enhancing? Or Sex-Killing?

Special to The 420 Times

By Michael Castleman

Alcohol, pharmaceutical and recreational drugs, —you name it, their effects on sex are well-documented and generally quite predictable. The exception is marijuana. Its sexual effects are all over the map, from “I can’t stand having sex stoned,” to “I never have sex without it.”

Those who call marijuana sex-inhibiting typically report that it pulls them so deeply inside themselves that they lose their sense of connection to their partner and to lovemaking. Meanwhile those who call marijuana sex-enhancing usually say that it boosts their desire, enhances enjoyment of sensual touch, helps them feel closer to their partner, and adds to overall sexual pleasure and satisfaction.

For the past 40 years, scientists have tried to pin down weed’s sexual effects. The first study, in the mid-1970s was… how can I put this delicately? —ridiculous. It showed that marijuana reduces blood levels of the sex hormone testosterone by up to 50 percent. Because testosterone fuels sex drive in both men and women (yes, women produce male sex hormones), the researchers said this could cause libido loss. This study was widely reported in the news media and trumpeted by law enforcement and government officials. It’s still cited today.

But it was totally wrong. It triggered a flurry of reports on marijuana and testosterone that were published in the late 1970s. These studies—and there were several—showed no significant suppression of testosterone induced by marijuana, and no significant loss of libido or sexual impairment in lovers who used it, even frequent users.

Things became more realistic in the 1980s, when several studies showed that pot’s effects on lovemaking are all over the map, from strongly sex-inhibiting to strongly sex-enhancing, but most people reported enhancement. The best report, based on interviews with 97 adults in Kansas City, showed that “more than two-thirds of subjects reported increased sexual pleasure and satisfaction with marijuana use. About half of both sexes also reported increased sexual desire while using marijuana. Emotional closeness and physical enjoyment of snuggling were also enhanced.” But one-third said the drug was not sex-enhancing, and half reported no increase in desire. [Weller, RA and JA Halikas, “Marijuana Use and Sexual Behavior,” Journal of Sex Research (1984) 20:186.]

That was pretty much where things stood for 20 years.

Then, in 2003, Canadian researchers interviewed 104 Toronto adults about their reactions to marijuana. Did it increase libido?

One-quarter said it “often” or “always” did, 40 percent said “sometimes,” and one-third said it “seldom” or “never” enhanced their sexual desire. About half called the drug sex-enhancing, but half said it was not. One-third said sexual enhancement was a key reason they used weed, but half said sex played little, if any, role in their use of the drug. [Hathaway, AD, “Cannabis Effects and Dependency Concerns in Long-Term Frequent Users,” Addiction Research and Theory (2003) 11:441]

In 2008, another Canadian team interviewed 41 adults. About half said marijuana boosted their libidos, increased sensitivity to touch, and enhanced erotic pleasure. But half said it did not. [Osborne GB and C Fogel. “Understanding the Motivations for Recreational Marijuana Use Among Canadians,” Substance Use and Misuse (2008) 43:539]

As it happens, I write a sexuality blog (“All About Sex” for PsychologyToday.com), and some months ago, I put this question to my readers: How does marijuana affect your sex life?

Marijuana enhances sex: 67%

• “I’m not a frequent smoker, but when I have smoked and then had sex, its been the most amazing sex of my life.”

• “Marijuana engulfs me in sex foam. I’m just pure sex on that stuff. It’s great. I could never feel that way sober or drunk.”

• “Definitely enhances sex. A few tokes make me feel horny the vast majority of the time, and it makes the whole experience much more enjoyable.”

• “Cannabis is soooo good for sex that sometimes it can become awkward because the woman might get the wrong idea…”
Marijuana destroys sex: 12%

• “My boyfriend and I have smoked (fairly heavily) for the past year and I would say that it 100% has a terrible effect on our sex life. It’s been a huge libido killer for our relationship.”

• “As I’ve continued to use marijuana (been almost 5 years smoking now) it’s inhibited sex for me more and more.”
It depends on the dose, strain,
and one’s mood: 20%

• “The effects of marijuana strongly relate to how a person is feeling prior to smoking. If I’m in a bad mood and smoke, sex is completely out of the question because, as stated above, I become too “inward” and just can’t connect with someone else. On the other hand, if my beau and I have had a great night out and top it off with a bowl, it’s definitely got its merits.”

• Contrary to popular belief not all buds are alike. Some of it makes you want to be very sexual and I’ve had some of the best orgasms of my life after using marijuana. Some of it makes you feel more introverted and thoughtful. Perhaps you should consider that like any drug, there are variations of it that give different responses.”

• “I find that indica shortly before sex is just unbeatable for mind blowing lovemaking. Sativa should be avoided as it’s cerebral nature will make your mind wander.”

Now, these comments come from is a self-selected pool, so I make no claim that the comments to my blog post are representative. But they show that marijuana’s sexual effects are, indeed, unpredictable. Of course, many drugs have multiple effects, typically, a major action and then side effects. But compared to most drugs—and all other recreational drugs—weed seems to have a wider range of effects.

What do you think? How does marijuana affects your sex life?

Michael Castleman has been a journalist specializing in health and sexuality for over 30 years. His writing has appeared in many magazines: Redbook, Self, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, Ladies’ Home Journal, Men’s Health, Men’s Fitness, Men’s Journal, Psychology Today, Natural Health, and Salon.com.

Related post: Does Marijuana Spark Up Your Sex Life Or Deflate Your Libido?

Visit his website at: www.greatsexafter40.com

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  • Zack

    I find that I have a very interesting penis – drug relationship. Drink booze? Its not up. Drugs? Nope, not even MDMA, or cocaine. Sober? Good to go. Marijuana? Rockstar.

  • Rich

    I think it really depends what kind of weed you are smoking. Weed that gives you “couch lock” is obviously going to make you feel less connected to your partner. Weed that makes you more in tuned and insightful will probably enhance your experience. If a true answer is to be given there has to be some control. Giving a group of individuals all the same strain will give better insight. Just asking people who say the smoke and have sex if it’s better is really useless.

  • Sarah

    I found this article because I was searching for WHY my libido is SO enhanced with pot. I didn’t really do much drugs when I was younger because it never agreed with me and I hated it… but over the last few months I have found an edible indica (I think from the descriptions I have heard) version that my assistant gave me and now… suddenly in my mid-30′s I can barely stand how increased my libido is! It has brought out a whole side of me I never knew I had and it last for days after I eat it. I am super curious WHY it does this but there is no doubt in my mind that it not only makes me want sex WAY more but it makes me feel more like a sexual creature and when I HAVE sex it is the best sex I have ever had! My biggest concerns was that it was messing up my hormones and increasing my testosterone levels somehow.

  • Sum Yung Gai

    Studies done on marijauna cannot view marijauna as a singular substance. Marijuana is split into indicas, sativas, or indica/sativa blends. Different strains contain different cannabinoids, so it’s fair to say that the effect on a person’s libido would be determined by that particular strain’s cannabinoid levels and how they interacted with that particular person’s cannabinoid receptors. Performing a study without taking this into account would be akin to lumping Ritalin (Methylphenidate) with Methamphetamine simply because both compounds have a methyl group, or testing the effects of alcohol by using only Bud Light.

    Any study on the psychoactive effects of marijuana conducted in the 1970s (or at the time when marjuana was classified by the FDA and made illegal) should be disredited, as cannabinoid receptors weren’t discovered until the 1980s, and are still being studied today. While I don’t know the details of how the modern studies were conducted, it doesn’t sound like they are testing individual cannabinoids, or even sativas and indicas separately, but that’s purely speculation on my part.

    From personal experience, some strains have greatly increased my sexual response. Others have led to the aforementioned “couch lock” which generally decreases my libido(not to mention the notion that tired, lazy sex is awkward at best). For me, the effect has more to do with energy levels and attention span than other psychological factors.

    More interestingly, I find that marijuana does make sex more appealing regardless of the strain. When I’m high I put more weight into the positive aspects of sex (fun, partner intimacy). Adversely, when I’m sober, I have a hard time getting past the negatives and impracticality of sex (messy, unproductive, distracting, pregnancy, STDs). I imagine this effect would be exacerbated in more conservative individuals, especially considering that they can blame their “temporary lapse of judgment” on the drug.

  • kutloano

    weed makes you relax and takes your mind off things.i smoke weed every night with my partner and yes we sure wake up late for work.

  • Neida

    I have been smoking weed since the last 10 years. I must say I need it every time I want to have sex with my bf.. so much so that if I don’t smoke I couldn’t enjoy sex at all.. I’m quite worry about this as I don’t want to be dependent on weed to enjoy an amazing sex. Do you know how can I stop this intoxication?

  • jesse

    if the weed works for sex 10 years then just smoke before sex. neida… but you were worried how to stop the intoxication. .. my answer is, your opinions doesnt matter. just lay there..!!

  • joe

    nope, with my experience, very rarely ill find a weed that gives me a total boner, but ive been high and sometimes dont feel like having sex, the key is to be in love with your lover and get high together, og kush is a very horny weed., omg its orgasmicly hot!!

  • L. Stapleton

    I have tried several sexual enhancers on the Internet and none of them worked. Horny goat weed, maca, you name them! Marijuana is the only thing that works for me. It makes me laugh, and after, my body becomes very sensitive and it definitely makes me feel super horny. Unfortunately it has a side effect that I hate. It increases my heart rate too much, that is why I use very little. A little goes a long way anyway.

  • white22

    It definitly increases sexual pleasure for me. I last only minutes without it but with it I went for a hour n a half last night

  • http://www.facebook.com/guga.bzr.5 Guga Bzr

    .After a certain level that is almost impossible to know because it varies with person and strain it desensitises dopamine receptors so it densities sex to making it last longer similar to other drugs but milder.

  • http://twitter.com/fearless10 fearless10

    its for sex thats y god put it and us here …. a duh… great for massage too

  • lynn

    Every sexual experience I’ve had while high has been fantastic. I smoke one and lts like a horny switch turns on!

  • lost in NC

    I can only speak from personal experience with my old man. I am not by ANY means anti recreational drug use so please do not slam me on this one. He is a 51 year old male, healthy and for the last 15 years had issues with sex until he met me as far as desire and “finishing” until he met me. The only diff was he had quit using due to upcoming job change and testing.We had a great sex life. As soon as he started smoking heavily again, it dropped off. Now it is completely stopped. He has no desire etc which is not good and is ultimately going to be the end of our relationship.

  • Mtl1993

    Definitely increases sexual desires. Done it the past 2 days for the first time and how I’ve never enjoyed sex as much as i did when I smoked a joint. Every touch is much more intimate, just wow. If you never done it I highly recommend it!!

  • http://www.ParanoidHuman.com/ Paranoia Management Coaching

    I think in the cerebral people, and the cerebral strains, those that tend to make one “focused inward” there is a unique opportunity for channeling this energy outward and experiencing mind blowing pleasure and connection through physical intimacy.

  • Chickabae

    I don’t smoke all the time but when I do sex is the best feeling ever, even self pleasure, my whole body gets tingly and things feel a million times better, it also puts me completely in tune with my partner. By far the best and most loving experience of my life is sex with pot.

  • Samuel P.

    How can one identify indica?

  • Erik

    Pure Indica or pure Sativa is truly rare, but identifying an Indica dominant variety is not that difficult of a task. Most of your Indica dominant’s will have a larger fan/sun leaf than a Sativa, and the inter-node’s spacing will be much tighter in comparison. Long, stretchy, far spaced inter-nodes with thin slender fan/sun leaves is most likely Sativa. Short to medium bushy plant with tight inter-node spacing and broad, large fan/sun leaves defines an Indica dominant. Hope this helps. We are talking about tomatoes, yes?

  • Erik

    Or did you mean the dried flowers? True sativa dominant varieties will have a wispier, popcorn shaped dried flower as opposed to the indica’s large dense colas. Most of the true tell is in the titrating process. In other words, puff and yee shall see. Heirloom tomatoes are my favorite. Thanks for your readership.

  • Bob

    Over the last few years, my usage has increased dramatically. I began to notice that I have a hard time keeping my erection. As soon as I read the reports, last night, I am going on the wagon. It’s not worth it! Will cialias help till the thc get out of my system??

  • Uthar

    It enhaces for a while… Bue once you are a heavy smoker it kills your libido. You are just not present, you are in “the mist”.
    This is my own personal experience.
    Its not worth it dudes… I rather have my libido and sex drive at full speed.

  • Mridul

    in my earlier sex life marijuana always helped me do sex for 20+ minutes in single shot. I was so addicted to it, without weed I was only 5+. now in my early 30s sex is in my full control but I still miss that feel of smoking a lot ant fucking whole night in which the final one was 2 hour long dry fuck

  • Whyzz

    I’m in my late 60′s and 5 years ago I smoked my first joint in over 30 years with some young people in their 20′s and 30′s. I started a sexual relationship with one of them and a joint has me doing things I didn’t think were possible anymore. I see that marijuana use is growing faster among seniors that young people. I wonder why.

  • stonermarijuana

    I am a heavy smoker and always have sex high. I enjoy it 100% and it makes me last over 3x longer than myself sober. However depending on the strain (indica or sativa) you can have a negative experience. I have seen that Sativa can make you over think things: being paranoid, judgement, pregnancy scare, etc. and Indica is quite the opposite: strictly a body high, thus you enjoy the intimate and physical experience.

  • josie

    I think it depends if it Sativa or Indica and what type of strain also.

  • Buzz Killer

    I smoke it occasionally ( A few times a month) and it significantly increases the pleasure for me. But for my GF who smokes multiple times PER DAY, has made her sex drive a step short of non-existant.

  • xBumblesBouncex

    You really can’t identify indica and/or sativa bud by looking at a bag of bud. The most notable difference is in the appearance of the whole plant, before it’s harvested. Adult indicas are a lot shorter (3-4 feet) where sativa can reach many feet higher (I’ve heard of 8-footers). But the most notable difference is the appearance of the leaves. Sativa leaves are longer and more slender, like the traditional pot symbol and indica leaves are shorter and wider and tend to be a darker shade of green.

  • Vixen

    Boyfriend and I are not frequent marijuana users (at most 3x a month) but every time we use it, we literally have the best sex ever. I’ve always had multiple orgasms when I’m high (came 6x once). I don’t know if it also differ in the form you take it, but we don’t smoke it we eat the brownies. With ingesting the weed I experience more of a “body high” than smoking the weed, which is to me more of a “head high”. Sex is better when eating it.

  • reverie

    Hell no! It killed not just my sex drive, but also my drive for anything else. After being a regular smoker for 10 years, glad to say I’ve finally grown up and I’m done with it. I divorced Mary Jane months ago and I don’t miss her. I’m a new person AND a better parent because of it. :)