Van der Pop

Let Yourself Bloom

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Exploring the relationship between cannabis, sex + self-pleasure

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Whether you’re loving yourself or loving someone else, consuming cannabis before you embark on a sexual journey can greatly impact the experience. And while several studies have touted that cannabis hinders sexual experiences — especially for men — recent research from Stanford actually argues quite the opposite.

As it turns out, pot users are having “about 20 percent more sex” than “pot abstainers.” And according to the study’s senior writer, Michael Eisenberg, MD, this correlation is apparent across the board, irrespective of demographic or marital status.

While these stats speak well to shared sexual experiences, let’s focus on self-love for a second. As explained by a host of sexperts that Mic spoke to, including sexologist Dr. Jordan Tishler, "There are four main areas where sexual dysfunction can occur: Desire, arousal, orgasm, satisfaction […] Cannabis can help with all of these issues, particularly for women […] It's very useful for people trying to focus on themselves." Cannabis consumption has been linked to the release of oxytocin, sometimes referred to as the “love hormone” for its ability to regulate social interaction, as well as playing a role in things like empathy and orgasm. Certain strains also have reported effects including the reduction of anxiety as well as feelings of guilt or shame, and heightening the senses — all of which are likely to amplify your “me time.”

One study has gone so far as to explore the similarities between the sensory results of masturbation and getting high. In a 2017 study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, results demonstrated that there was a similar increase in endocannabinoid levels when volunteers consumed cannabis and when they orgasmed through masturbation, leading researchers to conclude that endocannabinoids might play an important role in the sexual response cycle. Basically, these two activities make you feel the same feels.

So, what kind of strains are said to heighten your sexual experiences? According to clinical sexologist, psychotherapist, and owner of a Santa Fe pleasure boutique Dr. Anne Ridley, it all depends on personal preferences. "Because of the wide range of strains out there... what may have the arousing or aphrodisiac-like affect on one may not on another," she explained to Mic. But in general, people feel more relaxed and euphoric, both physically and mentally, when incorporating cannabis into their sexual routines.

Heed Dr. Ridley and other experts’ advice if you’re looking for a new way to spice things up in the bedroom and consider cannabis. It can enhance feelings of sensuality, alleviate tension or nervousness, and allow you to really connect with yourself and/or the one(s) you love.

Story by Myra Green
Illustration by Elodie Lascar

Van der Pop does not endorse or condone the illegal consumption of cannabis.

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