Melissa Vitale, a 26-year-old publicist in Brooklyn, smokes a joint every time she masturbates.
“Cannabis is one thing that helps me escape my brain and focus on the feelings of my body rather than the million things running through my head,” she said. “I've always found that whether with a partner or solo, cannabis always heightens the experience, so when I smoke weed, it's never a quick act but rather a dedicated journey of self-love.”
Dee Dussault, a 39-year-old in Los Angeles who founded the cannabis-enhanced yoga company Ganja Yoga, uses cannabis “to relax and enjoy more sensitivity in sex,” and DeJanae Evins, a 27-year-old cannabis educator and entrepreneur, also in Los Angeles, said smoking before masturbating is “like letting the oven preheat to just the right temperature, right mood, right state of being.”
A new study by the sex toy brand Lioness and the cannabis brand Bae shows that Vitale, Dussault, and Evins are onto something. Because Lioness can measure users' vaginal contractions, it can record when and for how long they're orgasming. So, for the sake of science, seven brave volunteers used the Lioness both sober and after using a Bae vape in order to compare their results.
One effect that seemed to come out in multiple ways was cannabis's ability to draw out experiences. Though anything can feel longer when you're stoned, the users' Lioness data showed that both their orgasms and their overall masturbation sessions really were longer. While they spent an average of 8 minutes masturbating sober and orgasmed for about 50 seconds, they spent about nine minutes masturbating stoned and orgasmed for about 75 seconds.
It's enough to make any woman say, “I'll have what she's having.” And in this case, what she's having is weed.
But the most exciting finding of all may be that weed can apparently make women multi-orgasmic. Fewer than 30% of the subjects had multiple orgasms sober, but more than 70% did high. Two lucky women even had four orgasms while stoned. That's probably why, even though the women's sessions were longer overall, the amount of time they took to reach their first orgasm wasn't necessarily longer — it was all over the place, with some taking more time and some taking less.
A Body of Research
This was a small study sponsored by two brands, but we have other reasons to believe cannabis can enhance women's sexual experiences.
A 2019 study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that women who smoked before sex had double the chances of having "satisfactory orgasms" and reported increased sex drive and decreased pain during stoned sex. The study's lead author, Dr. Becky Lynn, Director of the Center for Sexual Health and Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Saint Louis University, said she believes this is because weed decreases anxiety, slows down the perception of time, and intensifies sensations.
“Marijuana can dramatically lower stress and thereby possibly open doors to greater sexual enjoyment and longer time spent with a vibrator (or likely a partner), enjoying sexual stimulation,” said Dr. Felice Gersh, an obstetrician-gynecologist (OB/GYN) as well as founder and director of the Integrative Medical Group of Irvine, California.
Cannabis could also increase the desire to have these sexual experiences in the first place. A 2017 study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that men who smoked weekly had 22% more sex, and women had 34% more. And who could blame them? Smokers also say cannabis increases sexual enjoyment and orgasm intensity, according to a 2018 study in Psychology and Sexuality.
There are other data on the connection between cannabis and multiple orgasms as well. The dating site Match's 2016 Singles in America survey found that regular smokers were 109% more likely to experience multiple orgasms.
More Relaxation, More Pleasure
Experts are still stumped as to why that is, but Gersh thinks that like the rest of the findings, it could come down to relaxation.
“High stress would raise the circulation of cortisol, which then lowers thyroid hormone production,” she said. “Low thyroid is associated with poor sex hormone production. This would then result in a lower sex drive and reduced ability to be multi-orgasmic. Lowering stress would possibly yield the results seen — more multi-orgasmic women.”
Doctors and other professionals have noticed these patterns since before they were studied. Lynn was actually inspired to research the topic after several patients reported successfully treating sexual dysfunction with cannabis. “They would tell me desire and orgasm were much better,” she said.
Sex coach and CannaSexual creator Ashley Manta hears similar things from her clients. “Some common themes include heightened sensation, deeper embodiment, more accessible pleasure, increased lubrication, and a feeling of the labia being engorged,” she said.“I have also heard reports of folks who find it easier to fantasize after consuming cannabis.” — Ashley Manta Click To Tweet
But Liz Klinger, co-founder and CEO of Lioness, said that for her and some of her users, the effect depends on the type of cannabis and how it's consumed.
“I've seen differences with different types of cannabis strains, different methods of consumption, dosages, and whether it's full spectrum,” she said. “Sometimes, cannabis is an enhancer, like when it enhances your senses and everything feels great. Other times, cannabis can sort of detract from sex — like if it's cannabis that's good for making you sleepy or cannabis that acts as a sort of painkiller/body numbing.”
In addition, some research suggests that too much weed can hurt your sex life. One study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that men who smoked daily were more likely to experience premature or delayed ejaculation or inability to orgasm, though it did not find such a connection in women.
In short, it's too soon to draw definitive conclusions.
“Much more research into female sexuality with cannabis is needed,” Gersh said. “We truly don't yet know about the impact it has on all the hormones of the body, or even directly on the production and release of neurotransmitters.”
In the meantime, though, women will likely keep conducting their own personal experiments — and often with excellent results.
Feature image by Oleg Ivanov/Unsplash