How Cannabis Alters Sexual Experience: A Survey of Men and Women

J Sex Med. 2019 Nov;16(11):1758-1762. doi: 10.1016/j.jsxm.2019.07.023. Epub 2019 Aug 22.


Introduction: Cannabis is reported to enhance sexual function; yet, previous studies have shown that physiological and subjective indices of sexual arousal and motivation were associated with decreased availability of circulating endocannabinoid concentrations.

Aim: To explain this contradiction, we evaluated which aspects of sexual experience were enhanced or diminished by cannabis use.

Methods: We used an online questionnaire with a convenience sample of people who had experience with cannabis. We asked questions regarding various aspects of sexual experience and whether they are affected by cannabis. We also asked about sexual dysfunction.

Main outcome measure: Aspects of participant sexual experience enhanced by cannabis.

Results: We analyzed results from 216 questionnaires completed by people with experience using cannabis with sex. Of these, 112 (52.3%) said they used cannabis to alter their sexual experience. Eighty-two participants (38.7%) said sex was better, 34 (16.0%) said it was better in some ways and worse in others, 52 (24.5%) said it was sometimes better, and only 10 (4.7%) said it was worse. Of 202 participants, 119 (58.9%) said cannabis increased their desire for sex, 149 of the 202 participants (73.8%) reported increased sexual satisfaction, 144 of 199 participants (74.3%) reported an increased sensitivity to touch, and 132 of 201 participants (65.7%) reported an increased intensity of orgasms. Out of 199 participants, 139 (69.8%) said they could relax more during sex, and 100 of 198 participants (50.5%) said they were better able to focus. Of the 28 participants who reported difficulty reaching orgasm, 14 said it was easier to reach orgasm while using cannabis, but only 10 said that sex was better.

Clinical implications: The information in this study helps clarify which aspects of sexual function can be improved or interfered with by cannabis use.

Strengths & limitations: We asked about specific sexual effects of cannabis and were therefore able to understand the paradox of how cannabis can both improve and detract from sexual experience. Limitations of this study include bias that may have been introduced because the sample included only people who responded to the advertisements; it may not represent the general population of people who use cannabis. Moreover, over one-third of our sample said they use cannabis daily and so represent heavier than average users.

Conclusion: Many participants in our study found that cannabis helped them relax, heightened their sensitivity to touch, and increased intensity of feelings, thus enhancing their sexual experience, while others found that cannabis interfered by making them sleepy and less focused or had no effect on their sexual experience. Wiebe E, Just A. How Cannabis Alters Sexual Experience: A Survey of Men and Women. J Sex Med 2019; 16:1758-1762.

Keywords: Cannabis; Sexual Dysfunction; Sexual Experience.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Emotions
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Libido / physiology
  • Male
  • Marijuana Use / psychology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation
  • Orgasm / physiology
  • Sexual Behavior / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / epidemiology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult