Ask the Doctors: Marijuana and Orgasms

Sex and orgasms feel better and more intense when I’m stoned (marijuana). How can I learn to make it feel that good when I’m not stoned?

Marijuana has quite a few effects on the body, so there are different ways that it can affect sex. Depending on which parts are more intense for you, learning to enjoy sex when you’re not stoned can take different directions. So here are some possibilities, but bear in mind that some of these might not be relevant to you.

1) Anxiety is one of the barriers to sexual pleasure and a lot of people report that marijuana lowers anxiety. So if getting stoned has that effect on you, you might find that sex without marijuana feels more inhibited or you might have more difficulty tapping into your desires/fantasies. If that’s going on for you, you could take some time to explore your authentic desires.

Does you enjoy the same sexual acts? Do the same things feel good? Are there things that you’d like to do, but hold back out of concerns around what your partner might say? If your baseline sex feels less intense because of anxiety or such, sensate focus, learning to stay present, and looking for ways to tap into your desires might be really helpful. Take it slowly so you can figure out where your pleasures and boundaries are.

It can also be really important to explore the root causes of your anxiety and address them, rather than using a drug to get rid of the feeling. Your emotions are there to tell you when there’s something going on and switching them off is like taking the battery out of a smoke detector. It might be OK for a while, but when you really need it, it won’t be working. So figuring out why you might feel tense or nervous and then taking steps to deal with that is a really important thing.

2) Another effect of marijuana is that it can heighten the sensation of touch and alter the perception of time. This can make things feel more intense and as if they’re lasting longer. While marijuana is often a quick path to this sort of experience, a lot of tantra practices can help people tap into similar states without an exogenous aid. Mantak Chia’s book The Multi Orgasmic Woman is a great one- it’s very clearly written and translates the Taoist practices into a Western-oriented perspective quite well. There are also lots of workshops on the topic, both here at Good Vibrations and in other places, as well as some great books.

3) Marijuana can lower blood pressure and dilate capillaries (hence, bloodshot eyes). I would expect that to shift the physical sensations of sex and orgasm, although I can’t say specifically how and I’d love to find someone who could. (Most experts on drugs don’t actually know a lot about sex, so if anyone out there can point me towards someone who can address, this, please comment below or email me at!)

My guess is that since sexual arousal also causes capillaries to relax, marijuana might make that happen more quickly and to a larger degree. I’d expect that to increase the sensations of arousal, simply by boosting part of the somatic experience. Similarly, drugs that increase heart rate and breathing can trigger fear or panic, since the physical sensation can cause the emotions. But that’s just a guess.

Assuming some accuracy here, I’d think that sensate focus and learning to deeply experience the sensations of arousal would enhance the capacity to feel them without needing to turn the volume up quite so much. Once you’ve learned how to notice the more subtle sensations of arousal that your body is already experiencing, you may find that it’s just as intense an experience. Louder music isn’t always better- with the volume turned down a bit, you can pay attention to more of the melodies and harmonies.

4) Marijuana can relax muscles, which can certainly make sex easier and require less warm-up. If you’re on the receiving end of penetration, learning how to relax the pelvic floor with mindful attention and taking more time for warm-up would make that easier without chemical enhancement. It takes practice, but you actually can learn how to do it intentionally.

There are some great books on the topic, like Pelvic Power. It’s not about sex specifically, but it can really help you discover how much intentional control over your pelvic muscles you can develop. When you learn how to do that, you’ll probably find that sex becomes a lot easier and you won’t need marijuana to make it happen.

More warm-up and building more arousal can also be a big part of that, which takes us to the next one:

5) If your partner is also stoned, distortions in their time perception and the tendency to get hyperfocused might also affect your sexual experiences. For example, if you or your partner are devoting more time to giving pleasure than you would do while having sex sober, then it’s likely that would enhance your experience, in and of itself. Clearly, learning how to take extra time and slow down would help improve non-altered sex.

6) Marijuana is well-known for causing cotton mouth. Some women also report that it can cause vaginal dryness, so some people might find that in some ways, sex feels better when they’re not smoking. Of course, if you’re  using a lubricant, that’ll be less relevant, but it’s a possibility to be aware of.

Ultimately, I think that the solution isn’t to look for ways to make non-altered sex feel the same as stoned sex. Tantric and other breathing practices, sensate focus, slowing down and learning how to stay present in your body while experiencing pleasure won’t result in re-creating the same experience as sex with marijuana. Instead, they can help you find amazing pleasure that can more than rival your experiences while stoned. Plus, you may find that you’re more deeply connected to your partner, which often makes sex feel better, too.

Learning how to this may be easier if you take a vacation from pot. There’s going to be a learning curve and it’s easy to get discouraged at first, especially if you’re going back and forth between the intense sensations with marijuana and the less intense ones without it. So I’d suggest taking at least a couple of months off from stoned sex to really give it a good try. That can help you get over the learning curve and into the zone of amazing, non-enhanced sex.


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Dr. Charlie Glickman

Charlie Glickman is the Education Program Manager at Good Vibrations. He also writes, blogs, teaches workshops and university courses, presents at conferences, and trains sexuality educators. He’s certified by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists, and loves geeking out about sex, relationships, sex-positivity, love and shame, communities of erotic affiliation, and sexual practices and techniques of all varieties. Follow him online, on Twitter at @charlieglickman, or on Facebook.

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