Many people use cannabis to enhance their sex life, but for newbies, I wondered how people can introduce this element into their play. I talked with three experts about the benefits of using cannabis to enhance sexual experiences. First, I messaged with Riley Manier, store manager at Babeland in Seattle, a woman-founded, sex-positive sex shop.
What preparations should you do before adding cannabis to your sex life?
At Babeland, we recommend several ways to prepare before adding cannabis to your sex life. The first and foremost is to communicate with your sexual partner to establish safe boundaries and discuss concerns long before cannabis is even brought into the bedroom. We recommend a yes/no/maybe list that helps folks, which is a long list of activities that can help couples compare and contrast things that interest them, as well as activities that are non-starters. If the intent is to experiment solo, give thought to what type of experience you may want—establishing consent also means establishing consent with ourselves! If interested in trying a cannabis product out with your sweetie, we always recommend that you try it first so you know what you’re asking another person to experience with you. And remember, cannabis affects us all differently so results may vary.
Describe the sensations that happen during arousal and how cannabis can help enhance these sensations.
Arousal is quite simply an increase of blood flow (vasodilation) which adds to heightened sensitivity and a rosy blush or flush in the skin. THC is one of many vasodilators, which is why eyes can get red after smoking. This means that sensations can be enhanced and orgasms can be more intense and/or occur in multiples. Cannabis is also a great tool for those who want to get in or out of “the zone,” especially if someone finds that they get distracted out of their ideal head space while sober.
What sex toys can aid in taking these sensations even further?
Since cannabis in the bedroom helps enhance sensations, we recommend toys that add an extra something whether it’s the heft of a solid stainless steel wand or the bass-like vibrations of a rumbly vibe. Stainless steel toys are also excellent massage aids so they’re highly recommended! Sensual products like massage oil candles can be a great way to reconnect with your lover after enhanced play by treating them to a luxurious massage with oil warmed by candlelight.
Any cautionary notes for those looking to bring cannabis into the bedroom?
The biggest cautionary note is to remember that cannabis is an arousal aid, not a magic potion that will overcome obstacles (looking at you, anal sex!). If activities aren’t pleasurable while sober, they likely won’t be while high either, so please don’t place unrealistic or unkind expectations on yourself or your lover. Different methods of consumption can also cause an experience to vary, so take time to explore your options. When dealing with psychoactive substances, it’s okay to stop if something seems amiss or feels wrong. Your emotional and physical safety, in the moment and after, should always be the top priority.
Starting with cannabis lubricants
I decided to get additional input from Chelsea Cebara, sex educator and co-founder of Velvet Swing, which makes a cannabis sexual lubricant available in WA and CA.
What is your advice for combining sex and cannabis?
Whatever you do, be intentional about it. In the kink community, we sit down with potential new partners and talk about what we want and don’t want out of the encounter. This is an excellent practice to employ when discussing adding cannabis to your lovemaking: what are you each looking to experience, what activities might you consider, what do you not want to happen… and what’s the plan if it does?
Start with topicals, and go from there. The easiest way to add cannabis to sex is with cannabis lube. The effects are localized and non-inebriating, so you stay in control. People are shocked when they learn they do not have to get high to enjoy cannabis’ sensitizing effects! Make sure you follow the use instructions, and once you know how you respond to topicals, consider adding a joint or a tincture. Edibles have a long-lasting, sensual high, but they are also the most risky—it’s easy to overdo it and that is NOT sexy—so I recommend trying those last.
Be prepared to experiment. If there’s one thing that’s true about cannabis it’s that it’s different for everyone. Strains that make one person horny might cause anxiety in another. Go slow and take notes on each experience for a while. Eventually you will find just the right thing.
Selecting Specific Strains and Terpene Profiles
Finally, I messaged Laurel Friesen, Founder and CEO of Heylo Cannabis, a cannabis extract company that pays special attention to terpene profiles in the plant.
Which strains and terpene profiles do you recommend for intimacy?
Every body and endocannabinoid system is different, so finding the best strain for sex is a personal journey. That said, a mild dose of THC can do a lot for intimacy, boosting dopamine to the brain, enhancing sensation, and connecting the mind to the body in novel ways. Too much THC, however, can induce anxiety, paranoia, and related feelings that can shut down a romantic evening. CBD soothes the mind and body, which is perfect for intimacy. I look for strains with a balance, like Harlequin and Aliens on Moonshine.
Terpene profiles exert tremendous influence on the effects of cannabis. I opt for strains high in valencene and nerolidol, like Green Crack CBD or Headband. They are mood enhancing, stimulating, and can help me tune into my body.
Despite offering different aspects of advice for introducing cannabis into sex, the three people I interviewed were consistent: Start slow, talk with your partner, and don’t try too much too fast.