Smoking marijuana and having sex light up the same reward centers in the brain, but that’s not all they have in common. According to a new study from researchers at Stanford University, there’s a positive link between regular marijuana use and how often people have sex.
On average, they report Friday in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, pot smokers have about 20 percent more sex than those who abstain from the drug. It doesn’t imply causation, the researchers note, but it does imply that marijuana doesn’t impair sexual function or desire.
This study is the first to report an increase in sexual frequency linked to marijuana use. Previous reports about the effect of marijuana on sexual performance have been mixed. Some showed that heavy users are more likely to report erectile dysfunction, while others indicated that marijuana stimulates activity in the brain related to arousal. The new study says that concerns that pot smoking will hinder a person’s ability to have sex are overblown — but it doesn’t go all the way to say that smoking more marijuana means having more sex.
“Frequent marijuana use doesn’t seem to impair sexual motivation or performance,” senior author Michael Eisenberg, M.D., said in a statement. “If anything, it’s associated with increased coital frequency.”
Eisenberg and his team analyzed the data of 50,000 Americans collected over the past 15 years by the National Survey of Family Growth, assessing self-reported patterns of marijuana use and self-reported frequency of heterosexual intercourse every four weeks. Their respondents varied in age from 25 to 45.
In their analysis, they found that female daily marijuana users had sex an average of 7.1 times in those four-week periods, whereas women who didn’t smoke had sex only six times in the same time frame. For males, nonusers had sex 5.6 times in that period while daily users averaged out at 6.9 (nice).
The differences may seem small, but they average out to pot users having 20 percent more sex than pot abstainers — good news for the 22 million Americans who currently smoke. Of course, the study comes with a few caveats: It only examines heterosexual people and relies on self-reported data. Nevertheless, the link between marijuana use frequency and sex frequency was observed to people of both sexes and all races, ages, education levels, income groups, relationship statuses, and religions.
While the study authors note that “the biologic underpinnings of how marijuana modulates sexuality are not fully understood,” scientists do know that marijuana affects male sex in one way: Guys who smoke more than once per week have significantly lower sperm counts. Finding a happy medium between more sex and good sex, it seems, is key to making marijuana work for you in the bedroom.
If you liked this article, check out this video about the inaccurate representation of weed in TV and movies.