Dear Playboy Advisor: Can Weed Help Me Revive My Sex Life?

Dear Playboy Advisor: Can Weed Help Me Revive My Sex Life?

Written by

ASHLEY MANTA

Q. I’m a 34-year-old woman and I’ve been with my boyfriend for three years. When we moved in together last year, our sex life started to feel routine. We’re both using the same moves we’ve used since the beginning of our relationship. They sort of work, but I find myself getting bored. When I try to tell him this, he gets defensive and makes it seem like I’m saying he’s a bad lover. I’m not! I’ve seen articles about couples using weed to connect more honestly and make sex feel better, but every time I walk into a dispensary I’m overwhelmed by the selection. Plus, asking the person behind the counter about my sex life feels like TMI. Can you help me?—B.A., San Diego, California

A. Most couples struggle with this at one point or another, especially when they’ve been together for a while. We live in a culture in which most, if not all, of our sexual knowledge comes from trial and error: We go by past experience and what we see modeled in porn and popular media. Adults often operate under the misguided belief that they should just know how to have sex. The reality is, it’s not that simple. Even past experience gets you only so far, because each new partner is different and people’s needs and responses change over time! This is why it’s so important for partners to be able to talk to each other openly and to give and receive feedback without taking it as criticism.

So before we talk about cannabis and sex, it’s vital that we talk cannabis and communication. When it’s used mindfully, cannabis can be helpful for these sorts of conversations. Don’t just get stoned and try to have a difficult conversation; set a time to talk, and give yourselves at least an hour so you’re not rushed. If you’re a current cannabis consumer, pick a product or strain that helps put you in a calm and grounded headspace. Use just enough to make you feel present and open.

Start with what I call “setting the listening”: Open the conversation by sharing your intention (“I want us to have more pleasurable sex together, and I have some ideas I’d like to discuss with you”) and then share any fears that might be standing in the way of a productive discussion (“I’m afraid you’ll hear this as criticism, when the truth is I think you’re a talented lover and I want us to work together to co-create awesome sexy times”). You’ve heard it a million times, but it’s worth restating: Use “I statements” to share your experience in a way that will be less likely to trigger defensiveness. It may also help to go in prepared with some suggestions for improvement rather than simply lamenting that things aren’t where you want them to be.

Ask your boyfriend what he wishes could be different in your sexual escapades. Maybe he’s been longing for more dirty talk or something to spice up your hand-job techniques. You can also talk more broadly about the way you approach sex. Is it often the same routine of kissing, groping, oral, then penetration till someone comes, then sleep? Try shaking things up by having a date night when you just make out or just masturbate in front of the other, or have an “anything but the genitals” rule where you can touch every part of the body except what’s between your legs. Try dressing up in sexy outfits or pretending you’re strangers who met at a club. Think outside the box. Cannabis can help loosen your inhibitions and allow you to access the parts of yourself you may be too shy to share with your partner. It may feel awkward at first, and that’s okay! Embrace it. Call it out. You’re on the same team; this is all about finding mutual wins.

As for finding the right product, I understand your reluctance to ask budtenders for advice. Honestly, though they can tell you the benefits of particular products the store carries, they’re likely not able to give specific recommendations for sex, because desire and arousal are so subjective. It helps to go in knowing how you want to feel—more energized, less stressed, more relaxed, etc.—and ask for recommendations based on that. Avoid using indica/sativa as a predictor of effects. Those designations have become conversational shorthand but aren’t actually reliable, because people vary so much in body chemistry and tolerance, not to mention mindset and setting. Broadly, I can tell you that inhalation methods (smoking, vaping) are better for quick-acting results; topicals (massage balms, creams, bath products and genital-focused intimacy oils) are best if you don’t want to feel intoxicated; and edibles are best left to more experienced consumers due to their high variability and length of onset time (it can take up to two hours for edibles to reach maximum effects). Hope this helps!

 

Q. I struggle to orgasm with a partner. What would be your advice for me or my partner? Can cannabis help with this?—H.R., Annapolis, Maryland

A. We talked about the necessity of communication, and the ways cannabis can support it, in response to the previous question; now let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. If you struggle to orgasm during penetrative intercourse with your partner, you have many options. Cannabis topical oils can be applied externally to the vulva: the clit, inner labia and vaginal opening. Let it marinate for around 20 minutes and note if your sensations are heightened. Remember that oil and latex are not compatible, so if you’ll be using oil products during sex, make sure to choose oil-friendly barriers. Also, remember that most people with vulvas need clitoral stimulation to orgasm, so don’t be afraid to pull out a toy or use your fingers during or after penetration. You can also choose positions that are better for clitoral stimulation—for instance, lying on top of your partner (like cowgirl but flat) and grinding your clit against their pelvis as you rock back and forth. The internal clitoral structure is much larger than the little button you see on the outside. (Check out this diagram of the clitoral complex.) This means you get to experiment with this newfound knowledge of your anatomy and try to find different ways to stimulate all the parts of your clit. You and your partner can work cooperatively to explore this uncharted territory together.

 

Q. My girlfriend and I have a lot of fun during sex, but she tells me that every time we do it I’m hurting her with my penis. How can I fix this?—R.S., Jefferson City, Missouri

A. This is such an important question; thank you for caring enough to ask! Consensual pain during sex can be awesome, but when a partner is experiencing pain during penetration, that’s cause for concern. Different factors can contribute, including (but not limited to) insufficient lubrication, not enough warm-up, cervical soreness, STI complications, pelvic-floor tension or spasm and involuntary contraction due to psychological factors such as trauma. I encourage anyone experiencing pain with penetration to see a health care professional to rule out physical causes.

Cannabis is an excellent pain reliever, so one way to reduce discomfort during sex is to use a THC- and/or CBD-infused suppository. It’s inserted vaginally about 30 to 60 minutes before foreplay begins, and it helps reduce discomfort and inflammation. Another product has become incredibly popular among folks who experience pain with deep penetration: Ohnut. This wearable accessory goes around the shaft of the penis and creates a bumper that prevents it from going past a certain point. This is great for people who have sensitivities but enjoy vigorous penetration or deep insertion through doggy style and similar positions.

Finally, I cannot overstate the importance of lube. Many mistakenly believe that lube is only for older adults, or that if a person is turned on they should be sufficiently wet without the need for synthetic lube. According to sex educator Emily Nagoski the truth is that most people with vulvas get wet when aroused about 10 percent of the time. That means the rest of the time they could be incredibly turned on but not very wet at all. When it comes to pain, lube reduces the likelihood of micro tears in the vaginal tissue, which can be painful and increase the likelihood of STI transmission. In short, lube is probably good for everyone. As famed pleasure pioneer Betty Dodson likes to say, “You should never touch a pussy with a dry hand.” Or a dry toy. Or a dry penis. You get the idea.

  

Q. Are there sex toys that can make me orgasm without losing my virginity? I’m 23 years old, and because of my personal beliefs I want to be a virgin when I marry, but I also want to enjoy my body. Can you help?—S.C., Studio City, California

A. I’m so happy to hear that you want to enjoy your body and experience orgasm. I can tell that your personal beliefs are important to you, and I want to honor them while correcting some misinformation you may have received over time. First and most important, virginity is a social construct. If you line up five adults and ask them to define the loss of virginity, you’ll receive five different answers. Some will say vaginal penetration with a penis, some will say any sexual contact including masturbation, some will say penetration with any object, some will focus on “popping the cherry” or perforating the hymen. Quick anatomy lesson: The hymen does not seal the vaginal opening. It’s a donut shape, with a hole in the middle. When the hymen is stretched, it can cause bleeding, but independent of penetration, the hymen can also be worn away from engaging in activities such as horseback riding or biking. The “hymen checks” you hear about some doctors performing at the behest of controlling parents are not a reliable indicator of anything.

What all this means in regard to your question is that you can use fingers, dildos, vibrators, plugs or any other pleasure-inducing toy to enjoy your body without impacting “virginity,” since only you can truly decide what constitutes virginity. If you choose not to include toys of that nature, you still have plenty of external-stimulation products to explore.

I fully support setting appropriate boundaries for your comfort and beliefs. Those decisions, whatever the basis, are yours to make and are entirely valid. I simply encourage you to explore your body and your pleasure in ways that feel good for you—and try not to fixate too much on amorphous concepts like virginity.


Q. I smoke almost every day, and I recently got some CBD oil I would like to try. Someone told me that CBD oil reduces the effectiveness of smoking or ingesting THC. Is this accurate?—S.K., San Mateo, California

A. This question comes up all the time. There are many misconceptions about THC and CBD, especially with regard to sex. Some say that CBD can counteract the sensation of a too-intense high, but studies have yet to fully confirm this. What is true is that the cannabis plant produces numerous compounds called cannabinoids; THC and CBD are just two of them. These cannabinoids work in concert with each other and interact with the endocannabinoid system that promotes homeostasis in the body. All cannabinoids are valuable, and they seem, based on preliminary research, to work better together. So to answer your question—no, taking CBD oil will not decrease the effectiveness of smoking THC. If anything, in my opinion, it may give you a more balanced mind-body experience.

I recommend a one-to-one CBD-to-THC ratio for people who are new to combining sex and cannabis so you can enjoy the sensation-enhancing benefits of THC without getting too intoxicated. Because hemp-derived CBD still operates in a legal gray area, it’s crucial to choose reputable sources for your products. Make sure test results are available that show the products are free of pesticides and solvents, and don’t go bargain hunting. If you can buy it at a gas station, it’s probably not good quality.

Finally, choose full- or broad-spectrum CBD products over CBD-isolate products. As you just learned, CBD works better in conjunction with other cannabinoids, including THC, so full-spectrum CBD products will include many of those other helpful cannabinoids, including up to 0.3 percent THC—the maximum allowed by law for a cannabis plant to be considered hemp. (Yes, hemp is cannabis; it’s just a legal distinction referring to the amount of THC a plant contains.) So go forth and enjoy the ride!