A few weeks ago I caught up with the fantastic, warm and incredibly intelligent Laura Miano, who’s in her final year of studying a Masters in Sexual Medicine focusing on sexual and reproductive health. She’s currently working as a sex therapist in training at the Australian Institute of Sexology and Sexual Medicine, a local Naarm (Melbourne) company run by sexologist Chantelle Otten.
Laura identified early on that she was interested in psychology and studied a Bachelor in Psychological Science before she found her true calling in sex therapy and is now “obsessed with her job”. Outside of this, Laura also spends her time each week writing articles on a mens online publication called Man of Many and runs the instagram page @lauramianosexology.
She uploaded an IGTV not long ago about a uni assignment she had recently completed about how weed affects sexuality and I was so keen to find out more! Have a read below about some of the highs and lows of weed when it comes to sex and sexuality.
G: So what exactly happens in our body when we smoke weed? And how does this broadly affect our sexuality?
L: When you smoke weed, chemicals known as cannabinoids (such as the psychoactive THC and non-psychoactive CBD) bind to receptors in your body known as cannabinoid receptors.
Basically these receptors are found all over your body.
They’re in parts of your brain which are know to regulate sexual motivations such as arousal and desire for sex and they also do the opposite so they might inhibit your sexual arousal and desire. They're also found in organs that produce sex hormones (such as ovaries and adrenals) and also in parts of your genitals (penis and clitoris).
They’re not exactly sure how this chemical process causes the changes in sexuality that we know and experience but the fact that they do makes it evident that weed does impact sexuality.
G: Is this impact positive or negative?
L: It can be both. For example, with men if they smoke a lot of weed it can cause their sperm count to decrease while other research talks about the stress reducing factors.
More broadly speaking, the chemicals in weed target both the dopamine and serotonin receptors in the brain which control opposite functions of sexuality.
Dopamine: a neurotransmitter that activates reward circuits in the brain
Serotonin: a neurotransmitter that is a natural mood stabiliser
So one increases our sexual desire and the other decreases it. The overall impact isn’t the same for everyone though. Some people have negative experiences, some people have positive. It really depends on the individual as everyone is so complex and unique.
How you said it impacts you positively and negatively:
“I feel more comfortable and accepting of my sexuality.”
“Depends on the setting. Sometimes great, sometimes it triggers past trauma.”
“It helps get me out of my head and anxieties. I’m more in the moment and able to relax and enjoy.”
G: So with all that going on, what are some of the common experiences people have?
L: For the people who reported positive effects, it was generally around having heighted or more intense and longer orgasms, more satisfying and pleasurable sex, they might have had sex for longer or might have been having sex more frequently.
My favourite thing that I learnt from the whole assignment was that when you smoke weed your perception of time is slowed down. So (some) people experience really intense and powerful orgasms and that can be because their perception of time is slowed. This orgasmic experience stretches out over a longer period of time!
For the people who reported an increase in sexual function, it is generally associated with being more mindful i.e. an increase in focus, attention and awareness in the present moment.
Some people experienced a reduction in their inhibitions and when transferred to a sexual experience they might have been willing to try something they wouldn’t or hadn’t tried before.
In addition to that, in general when you are having sex your anxiety might just decrease naturally because you’re focusing on something else (unless of course you have performance anxiety). By quieting your mind, that in itself can help reduce stress and anxiety. It’s a complex situation!
What you said happens for you:
“I open up to trying new things that I wouldn’t have the confidence to do sober."
“I get HORNY AF.”
“I love it as it helps me wind down and actually enjoy slow intimate time.”
“Reduces inhibitions and I feel I can be wild and loud and get my hoe on haha.”
“When I was 18, getting stoned used to heighten every touch, make everything electric.”
“It doesn’t. I fall asleep.”
“It’s my favourite masturbation partner.”
G: What about lube + CBD oil?
L: I have heard if you put CBD oil (the non-psychoactive component of weed) on your genitals it can make them more sensitive and improve orgasms by making them more powerful.
Lube + CBD oil = love or hate?
"I have this lube with CBD in it and I don't know if it actually does anything or if it's all in my head?"
"It was the first lubricant to completely mute my pain during sex, foreplay, everything."
"Sex is painful for me and it made it so much better and easier for me and my partner!"
"It's not to do with lube, but I use a suppository with CBD and it SIGNIFICANTLY improves my endo pain."
G: So what are your main take away messages for someone who wants to experiment with weed and their sexuality?
L: If someone is interested in experimenting, I’d say:
- Ease into it (less is more)
- Don’t focus too much on what is happening (i.e. avoid, if you can, becoming too hyper-aware as that can trigger anxiety)
- Try to quiet your mind
- It’s also a good idea to reduce expectations of what you think it should look or feel like
- If you don’t feel an enhancement that’s totally ok as well