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Pot smokers most often label marijuana as sex-enhancing. But there are marijuana researchers who report studies that find that marijuana enhances sexual activity, and there are marijuana users who report that use of the drug enhances their sex lives.

Experts and Marijuana Users Disagree

Scientists most often label marijuana as sex-inhibiting. Pot smokers most often label marijuana as sex-enhancing. But there are marijuana researchers who report studies that find that marijuana enhances sexual activity, and there are marijuana users who report that use of the drug enhances their sex lives, inhibits their sex lives, or has no effect on their sex lives at all.

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The scientific data on marijuana and libido are all over the map. But there are common sense reasons that one individual might find marijuana to be a turn-on and another might it to be a turn-off.



Marijuana and the Female Libido

When marijuana researchers refer to sexual difficulties caused by marijuana use in women, they are most likely to be referring to failures of ovulation, reduced likelihood of pregnancy even if a child is conceived (due to changes in the receptivity of the lining of the uterus to the embryo), and disruptions of the menstrual cycle. They are less likely to be referring to difficulties in achieving orgasm or loss of interest in sex.

There is some science to suggest that the endocannabinoids in marijuana may reduce genital arousal in women. Smoking marijuana has been suggested as a treatment for a condition known as persistent genital arousal disorder in women, which is most likely to occur in women who have bipolar disorder or who have suddenly stopped taking antidepressants.

But in most women genital arousal is only part of sexual stimulation. Disinhibition regarding touch may allow a woman to feel aroused along all of her erogenous zones, not just the obvious body parts such as the vagina and the breasts. Many women are stimulated on the midline of the abdomen, the nose, the indentation at the upper lip, the crown of the head, and the tip of the tongue.




Some women find that their sexual energy is too "hot" to control when they do not use marijuana or a similar calming drug. They find that their libido is manageable when they smoke pot. There are women who smoke pot prior to sex in part to feel more in charge of their lovemaking.

Is Marijuana a Negative or a Positive in Women's Sex Lives?

Despite what experts warn, many women report that their sex lives are enhanced by the occasional use of marijuana. Regular use of marijuana, on the other hand, may be a major turn-off. As one woman put it:

"When we (the woman and her husband) first tried smoking pot before making love, it made every touch an ecstatic experience. But over the two years since my husband lost his job and started just sitting around the house smoking grass all day, the very sight of him makes me nauseous."

Or as one man described his relationship, "When we're tokin', there ain't no pokin'."

The short-term effects of marijuana use on sexual enjoyment by women depend on whether dropping inhibitions are relevant to her sexual enjoyment. Not every woman needs to be disinhibited. The long-term effects of marijuana on sexual enjoyment by women are tied in to a number of factors that are not related to the biological effects of the drug, such as whether she and her partner can pay their bills.

Continue reading after recommendations

  • Bari M, Battista N, Pirazzi V, Maccarrone M. The manifold actions of endocannabinoids on female and male reproductive events. Front Biosci. 2011 Jan 1, 16:498-516. Review.
  • Photo courtesy of randomix on Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/randomix/452314690/