Skip the Viagra — light up a joint instead. According to a new study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, marijuana may be the reason more Americans between the ages of 18 and 25 are having more sex.
For the study, researchers analyzed data from approximately 50,000 Americans who participated in an annual Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey between the years of 2002 and 2015. Said Dr. Michael Eisenberg, a urologist at Stanford University Medical Center and senior author of the study: “We reported how often they smoke — monthly, weekly or daily — and how many times they’ve had sex in the last month. What we found was compared to never-users, those who reported daily use had about 20 percent more sex. So over the course of a year, they’re having sex maybe 20 more times.”
Women who did not smoke daily had sex approximately 6 times per month, on average; men who didn’t use marijuana had sex an average of 5.6 times a month.
Other factors were taken into consideration, such as alcohol, hard drug use, religion or having children. Despite the difference, the “pattern persisted,” said Eisenberg. The more people smoked marijuana, the more they were having sex. The new research challenges past research claiming cannabis consumption causes erectile dysfunction.
While there is a notable correlation in the research, this doesn’t necessarily mean that weed is responsible for a heightened sex drive, said Mitch Earleywine, a psychologist at the University at Alban. He said, “In some surveys, we saw that people [who used cannabis] did have sex more, but it seemed to be mediated by this personality type that’s willing to try new things or look for thrills.” In other words, people who smoke weed tend to have personality traits that result in them having a higher libido.
Of course, it is entirely possible marijuana does get people “in the mood.” Said Eisenberg, “It’s possible it makes men or women more interested in sex.” He added, “We don’t want people to smoke to improve sexual function, but it probably doesn’t hurt things.”
This isn’t the first research of his kind. Previously, scientists were able to induce sexual behavior by injecting a cannabinoid — the class of psychoactive compounds in marijuana — into rats. But as NPR points out, people aren’t rats. Regardless, another study published in 2012 found that women became more aroused when watching erotic films when they had cannabinoids in their system. Said Earleywine, a psychologist: ”It gets people to appreciate the moment more anyway. They like food more, find humor in things more easily, so it wouldn’t be stunning to think they would enjoy sex more.”
We certainly can’t argue with that.
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