Cannabis appears to increase sex drive and satisfaction, and may help close the gender gap when it comes to sexual pleasure, say those behind a new study.
Researchers at East Carolina University and North Carolina State University in the US have suggested that cannabis could help to close the so-called ‘orgasm gap’ by increasing desire, satisfaction and orgasm intensity in both men and women.
The research team, led by Amanda Moser, a sexologist and cannabis researcher, investigated the effects of cannabis on sexual functioning and satisfaction, given the lack of science in this area to date.
They surveyed over 800 adults between the ages of 18 – 85-years-old. The majority of participants were female, white/caucasian and most said they were in a monogamous relationship. Almost a quarter of the participants identified as LGBTQIA+.
Participants were asked a series of questions related to sex and cannabis use, including its effect on desire, satisfaction, masturbation and orgasm intensity. Over half reported using cannabis daily for recreational and medicinal purposes and intentionally used cannabis before engaging in sex.
Cannabis was shown to have a ‘positive influence on perceived sexual functioning and satisfaction’ regardless of gender or age.
Over 70% of men and women reported that cannabis ‘slightly or significantly increases desire’. In contrast to previous research, men perceived either ‘no effect or an increased ability to achieve and maintain an erection’ when using cannabis.
In addition, over 70% of men and women reported that cannabis ‘slightly or significantly increased orgasm intensity’, with over 40% of women saying cannabis increased their ability to have multiple orgasms during sex.
“The relaxation effects of cannabis may contribute to increased desire or reduced inhibitions that might contribute to increased sexual functioning and satisfaction,” the authors state.
Closing the ‘orgasm gap’
They go on to say that these findings, along with further research, could have implications in the treatment of conditions such as vaginismus (which causes debilitating pain during sex) and in increasing libido. Low libido, or lack of sex drive, is a common symptom of many physical and mental health conditions and is experienced by many women during menopause.
According to Moser and colleagues, cannabis could even help close the ‘orgasm gap’ – a term coined to highlight the disparity in orgasms between men and women’.
Research shows that men are statistically more likely to orgasm per sexual encounter compared to women. More than 90% of men report reaching orgasm ‘usually or always’ during sex, compared to less than 20% of women. Over 80% of women say they don’t orgasm from intercourse alone.
“Women may be more likely to orgasm when using cannabis before sexual encounters, which could contribute to equity in the amount of sexual pleasure and satisfaction experienced by both women and men,” the authors say.
They concluded: “Overall, cannabis use tends to have a positive influence on perceived sexual functioning and satisfaction for individuals despite gender or age and cannabis might help to decrease gender disparities in sexual pleasure.”