Cannabis Can Enhance Intimacyby Erin Hiatt
Couples since the dawn of time have been searching for ways to make love stay and aphrodisiacs have had a role in love stories. In fact, you could go to the grocery store now and fill your cart full of them, but chocolate, pretty much anything that smells like pumpkin pie, and oysters are the most well-known.
Ancient Romans documented using oysters as aphrodisiacs in the second century AD. High in zinc, they have been associated with improving a man’s sexual potency, but you’d have to eat a lot of oysters. If you took a trip to the bookstore you could pick up the “Kama Sutra,” probably the best known guide to sex and intimacy but more than 500 years old.
Modern couples might be curious about Ecstasy, known for its tactile electricity, or cocaine for its ego enhancing king-of-the world qualities. Alcohol, the most available drug of choice, will ease inhibitions and likely make you more open to flirtations leading to a sexual experience.
But they all have a problematic downside, negatively affecting sexual performance. They may get you in the bedroom but often don’t finish the job. And as for intimacy – the bonds of friendship – forget it.
Cannabis, however, may lower your inhibitions like alcohol without the next-day hangover, and enhance your pleasure, but gently, unlike molly or cocaine. And it could enhance your relationship outside of the bedroom.
Intimacy is a big word, encompassing many qualities of healthy relationships; availability, openness, and willingness to explore, to name a few.
Dr. Randi Smith is a licensed psychologist and professor working in the Denver area, and she sees a lot of couples that come into her practice looking to enhance their intimate relationships. When asked about cannabis, she explains that “there can be an enhanced physical pleasure for one or both of them that could heighten their physical experience and their intimate connection.”
Psychedeliclibrary.org tells us that “marijuana is not an aphrodisiac. There is no chemical evidence that marijuana produces an increase in sexual desire. For most smokers, marijuana can and does increase sexual pleasure.” Marijuana may slow down the awareness of passing time, magnify pleasant sensations and intensify colors, sounds, and create a sense of well-being. How could all of that not be good for enhancing intimacy?
The research on cannabis enhancing intimacy and sex is a very mixed bag. There hasn’t been a lot done and with the many strains that could be used, well, it’s tough to find a sure-fire recipe, where like fine wine, you may find one to up your sexual game.
Marco and Alana have a home that feels lived-in, and you can tell they have two young daughters, both by the childlike artwork on the walls and the tiny Lala Oppsie dolls strewn across the floor. The cushioned ottoman in the living room sits slightly atilt because Marco and Alana don’t want to invest in new furniture until the girls are old enough to stop tearing the place apart. But that crooked ottoman serves as an excellent footrest, because after those little girls go to bed, they will put their feet on it, lean back, and smoke a bowl.
Marco and Alana didn’t have time to really get to know each other before they had their oldest daughter. Alana laughs as she explains their marijuana use together, saying “I got pregnant like the second day I met Marco. It’s fun because we never had that chance to be a couple before we had kids. We can be silly and fun and kind of carefree.”
Both of them are longtime cannabis users. Marco stumbled on his dad’s stash when he was 15 and ironically, knew just what to do with the joint because he had learned about marijuana from the DARE programs in school. Alana didn’t use pot until college, and she loved how it made her feel relaxed and chilled out. Now she waits for Marco to get home from work so they can use cannabis together.
Marco notices that they feel a closer connection and “definitely joke around and humor each other more.” Alana, who has a tendency to get giggly and relaxed when she uses, notices that Marco can sometimes be introverted, inwardly focused and daydreamy. Cannabis works well for them.
But an inward turn, Dr. Smith says, can be a problem for intimacy, especially when one partner is a regular user and the other isn’t and finds marijuana use objectionable or obtrusive. “One partner thinks, ‘My husband or my boyfriend is so busy smoking pot and sometimes we have great sex but he’s just checked out,’ or ‘I don’t feel like I have his entire attention or he turns inward and gets hungry and stupid and so therefore I don’t want to be with them [sic].’”
Bryan and Jacob have been together for 16 years and live in a New York City apartment overlooking the Madison Avenue Bridge. Their user habits are very compatible and very much part of their couple’s routine. Most days they have been stoned together. They even have hanging on their tiny pantry door a shoe organizer that holds all their munch candy. They make a special to trip to Costco to buy their goodies in bulk.
Bryan says, “If we have the day off we’ll smoke first thing in the morning before coffee. But if we have to work, we wait until the afternoon or try to make it to 4:20 before we smoke. I get the best I can buy, one that will give really intense body highs or really incredible mental moments.”
“There can be an enhanced physical pleasure for one or both of them that could heighten their physical experience and their intimate connection.”
Jacob once quit cannabis use to get a job, and Bryan had to stop for a few months while under the care of a psychologist who prescribed antidepressants. During that time, they both continued to use out of each other’s company. They noticed a relationship disconnection, fighting more often and spending less time together.
Bryan chose to walk away from psychological care, preferring to stick with cannabis, not only because of the pills’ negative effects on his sexual performance but because he believed that the pills were affecting his ability to connect with Jacob. He feels that marijuana “allows me to be in present in the moment and everything’s nicer.”
Jacob agrees. “You forget about all the worries and all your daily troubles with the bills and it helps you connect with someone. You can let go of your brain.”
Intimacy and sexual fulfillment depend upon a person’s willingness to make compromises about their need to control a situation. Marijuana may be useful to people who have difficulty letting go of fixed ideas, when the logistics of living a life together can overwhelm the spirit of the initial partnership.
Like any repetitive behavior such as video games, watching too much television, or the Internet, too much cannabis can disrupt intimate patterns if use occurs at the expense of more partner-oriented activities.
Alana does admit that if she “was putting the kids to bed and he was downstairs ripping a bong, it would be a problem.” But overall, both couples wholeheartedly agree that when on the same page, cannabis use only adds to their relationships, both sexually and emotionally.
If a couple decides together that they want to include cannabis in enhancing their intimacy, Dr. Smith has a few words of advice. “I would recommend that they start off slowly and caution against edibles, which seems to be causing lots of problems because people ingest and don’t really know how much they’re taking before it’s too late.”
Jacob and Bryan wish that they lived in Colorado so they could go to a marijuana retail store to buy marijuana. Perhaps you may want to take advantage of your resources and have a date night!
Find and create your own intimacy mix. Turn off the phones and take an open and loving journey together, wherever that road may lead.
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