Although I’ve been smoking cannabis for the majority of my life and currently serve as Playboy’s resident cannabis editor, I only recently started to explore its uses beyond a treat for a quiet evening with friends or a calming supplement at the end of a stressful day.
As the legalization of cannabis continues to spread across the world, its many benefits are just beginning to surface. You can smoke, vape, eat or drink your way to a euphoric and relaxed state that’s perfect for meditation, behavioral therapy, a sore body and a whole lot more.
Recent studies show that, in the proper doses, cannabis can make sex much better. A 2017 study by investigators at the Stanford University School of Medicine claims that, despite previous medical warnings about frequent use impairing sexual performance, an analysis of more than 50,000 American ages 25 to 45 indicates quite the opposite.
“If anything, it’s associated with increased coital frequency,” said Michael Eisenberg, M.D., senior author of the study. “The Relationship Between Marijuana Use Prior to Sex and Sexual Function in Women,” a 2019 study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine, points out that most women who use cannabis before sex report increased drive, heightened orgasms and a decrease in pain.
Although studies about the intersection of cannabis and sex are relatively rare—given that cannabis is still federally illegal—there’s enough evidence of the potential for increased pleasure to pique your curiosity, right? But where do you begin? Here’s my simple step-by-step guide, based on plenty of personal testing.
STEP 1: Talk to your partner(s).
When it comes to sex, communication is key. The activity should, of course, be pleasurable for both parties (or all parties; we’ll stick to parties of two for simplicity’s sake), and you can’t achieve mutual pleasure without talking candidly about what each of you wants. If you want to use cannabis and your partner wants to help you achieve orgasm (as they should), there are plenty of variations that can help you get there. But I repeat: Communication comes first.
STEP 2: Pick the right product.
CBD is a non-psychoactive alternative to high-THC products. It may offer the same relaxation without the trippy euphoria—or creepy paranoia—that can come with THC. Once you and your partner settle on THC, CBD or some combination of the two, it’s time to discuss method. If you’d like a spot-specific high versus an all-body high, then perhaps a topical, such as a lubricant, is right for you. If you want an all-body high and don’t want to wait to feel the effects, smoking or vaping is a good call. If you’re concerned about getting too high too quickly, an edible or a drink could be the perfect fit.
STEP 3: Remember, dose matters.
You and your partner will likely require different doses to achieve all the apparent sex benefits of cannabis. The key is to err on the side of caution—smoke little by little, eat little by little. You can always take more, but nothing’s less pleasurable than having your partner fall asleep on top of you just before you climax.
STEP 4: Take it slow.
Everyone’s experience of cannabis is unique; this is true regardless of strain, psychoactive composition or method. So once you and your partner start getting busy, it’s crucial that you take your time—especially if it’s your first time combining the two. While some people tend to feel more intensely during sex and therefore orgasm more quickly, others may encounter cannabis’s numbing effects, allowing them to play with new positions and generally last longer. If you and your partner prefer to orgasm together, be sure to check in with each another—i.e., don’t get too distracted by your heightened pleasure.
STEP 5: Practice.
Incorporating cannabis into your sex life is like losing your virginity all over again. You have to retrain your body to move with your newly heightened senses. As a cannabis editor, I thought I knew all there was to know about cannabis for sex just by researching it. I thought smoking my usual joint would make for great results. Instead, I got drowsy. I wanted to eat and sit rather than gyrate and thrust. Like going all-in on the dessert menu after a decadent meal, I overindulged. But that’s okay, because I tried again. And again. And again. And now I know that joints suit me for recreational use, but when it comes to sex, lubricants are best for my partner and me.
Embracing cannabis for sex requires a lot of trial and error—as with any over-the-counter drug—so keep trying. I assure you, the final result will be worth it.