Save this content for laterSave this content on your device for later, even while offline Sign in with FacebookSign in with your Facebook account Close

Marijuana users have more sex, researchers find

By: Christopher Ingraham, The Washington Post
October 27, 2017 Updated: October 27, 2017 at 9:26 pm
0
Caption +
A woman smokes marijuana during the annual 4/20 marijuana gathering at Civic Center Park in downtown Denver, Wednesday, April 20, 2016. Public consumption remains illegal under the state's recreational pot law, which was passed in 2012. Fans of the drug have long marked April 20 as a day to enjoy pot — especially at 4:20 p.m. — and to call for increased legal access to it. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

Regular marijuana users have about 20 percent more sex than abstainers, according to a new study from researchers at Stanford University.

The study analyzed data on 28,000 female and 23,000 male participants in the National Survey of Family Growth, a nationally representative CDC survey of Americans age 15 to 49. It found that women who smoked marijuana daily had sex with a male partner an average of 7.1 times per month, compared to 6 times per month for nonsmoking women.

Similarly, men who used marijuana daily reported having sex with a woman 6.9 times per month, compared to 5.6 times for nonusers.

Those findings held true even after the researchers controlled for a number of demographic variables known to affect sex habits and marijuana use. "The overall trend we saw applied to people of both sexes and all races, ages, education levels, income groups and religions, every health status, whether they were married or single and whether they had kids," author Michael Eisenberg said in a statement.

Further bolstering the findings, the study also found what researchers call a "dose-dependent relationship" between marijuana use and sex frequency: as respondents' marijuana use rates increased, so did their frequency of having sex.

The study does not, however, necessarily indicate a causal relationship between marijuana use and sex. "It doesn't say if you smoke more marijuana, you'll have more sex," Eisenberg said. For instance, people who are naturally inclined to have more frequent sex may be predisposed to marijuana use, rather than the other way around.

Nevertheless, it does seem plausible that a causal effect could be at work here. Some qualitative research published in 2016, for instance, found that respondents generally said that stoned sex was more pleasurable than drunk or sober sex. A 2003 study also found that over half of marijuana users said the drug was a libido-booster, compared to 26 percent who said it inhibited their sex drive.

"In humans, sex is not only a means to procreation but serves as an important source of physical pleasure and expression of emotional intimacy," the Stanford authors write. As such, a fair amount of other research has found a link between the frequency of sex and overall physical and mental health. People who have more sex, on average, are happier and less stressed, they have lower blood pressure, and better cardiovascular health overall.

This underscores a key point about drug use. We all know the risks associated with marijuana use - dependency, impaired driving, decreased academic performance, etc. But when discussing drug policy we rarely talk about the benefits of drug use.

That's partly by design: for decades, research into drug use has been focused almost uniformly on drugs' detrimental effects. This bias is baked into the very names of the institutions that fund much of this research - it's why we have a National Institute on Drug Abuse, rather than a National Institute on Drug Use.

For pot in particular we're just now starting to understand some of the potential benefits of the drug, including euphoria and relaxation, pain relief, lower rates of opiate dependence and domestic violence, decreased use of more harmful drugs, and, apparently, better sexual health.

But policymakers' discussions of how and whether to regulate drugs like marijuana rarely take those benefits into consideration.

Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Incognito Mode Your browser is in Incognito mode

You vanished!

We welcome you to read all of our stories by signing into your account. If you don't have a subscription, please subscribe today for daily award winning journalism.

Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

It appears that you value local journalism. Thank you.

Subscribe today for unlimited digital access with 50% fewer ads for a faster browsing experience.

Already a Subscriber? LOGIN HERE

Wake up with today's top stories in your inbox

Wake up with today's top stories in your inbox

Already a print subscriber?
Already a digital subscriber?
 
This is your last FREE article for the month
This is your last FREE article for the month

Subscribe now and enjoy Unlimited Digital Access to Gazette.com

Only 99 cents for Unlimited Digital Access for 1 month
Then $2.31/week, billed monthly, cancel anytime
Already a print subscriber?
Already a digital subscriber?

 
Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

It appears that you value local journalism. Thank you.

Subscribe today for unlimited digital access with 50% fewer ads for a faster browsing experience.

Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

Some news is free.
Exceptional journalism takes time, effort and your support.

Already a Subscriber? LOGIN HERE

articles remaining
×
Thank you for your interest in local journalism.
Gain unlimited access, 50% fewer ads and a faster browsing experience.