For all the perks that come with sex, it can also be awkward, painful, or even embarrassing. To alleviate these anxieties, people sometimes choose to lubricate their sexual encounters (pun intended) with substances. After all, what’s a romantic night without a shared bottle of wine?
If we’ve learned anything from the classic film Eyes Wide Shut, steamy nights and altered perceptions go hand in hand. Whether we like it or not, lubricating sex with substances will happen; the question is which substance will present the least amount of obstacles on the path to intimacy. The problem with most intoxicants is that while they may numb the critical voice in your head so you can feel more “in-your-body,” they also have the power to numb all the amazing emotions and sensations sex can bring.
If you are going to use a substance before sex, experts in legalized states say cannabis is the one to choose. According to sexologist Nick Karras, “unlike alcohol which impairs your senses and judgment, cannabis heightens and focuses your awareness.” On the flip side, alcohol can increase aggressiveness and impair memory–two things that don’t lead to connection but rather a night you’d like to (and may very well) forget. Choosing cannabis over alcohol can increase intimacy with your partner by focusing awareness on each other, and stop you from making the questionable sex choices you would make if you had a few too many.
Even pediatricians have weighed in on the issue. Consuming intoxicants before sex is especially prevalent amongst teenagers, as the first sexual experience can be the most nerve-wracking. Pediatrician and parent, Aaron E. Carroll, wrote in the New York Times that when we acknowledge the reality that teenagers will likely consume something, the risks involved with cannabis and sex “seem scary only when viewed in isolation. Put them next to alcohol, and everything looks different.” Carroll goes on to say that the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence reports that alcohol use is a factor in 40 percent of all violent crimes in the United States (including 37 percent of rapes and 27 percent of aggravated assaults), whereas cannabis has no such association. He concludes, “when someone asks me whether I’d rather my children use pot or alcohol, after sifting through all the studies and all the data, I still say ‘neither’… But if I’m forced to make a choice, the answer is ‘marijuana.’”
Of course, the best reason to choose cannabis over alcohol is that it’s simply a better experience. In a recent study conducted by the Archive of Sexual Behavior, an overwhelming majority of people questioned said they prefer having sex while high more than having sex while drunk. Unlike alcohol, there is a little-proven correlation to cannabis use and men’s ability to perform. In many studies, the opposite holds true for cannabis and performance–especially for women. Perhaps this is why cannabis users report having more sex than those who do not partake.
Of course, the best reason to choose cannabis over alcohol is that it’s simply a better experience.
So, next time you feel anxiety creep in, and you want to reach for a vice before hitting the bedroom, remember not all substances are the same. When you get beyond the good and evil and accept the reality of substance use for sex, more productive conversations can be had on which substance will increase intimacy, not prevent it. With all the information we know now, the answer is clear: when it comes to true connection and substance use, one beats out the rest.
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