Women’s sexual pleasure is primarily about relaxation. To get aroused and primed for orgasm, we need to be physically and emotionally comfortable. Two common obstacles to enjoyment are pain and anxiety, so most supports for women’s sexual health focus on overcoming those issues.
Pain or distress during intercourse can create an upsetting cycle of discomfort, self-blame and withdrawal from intimacy. It can be difficult to talk about these things with a doctor or partner, but it’s also important to address them for physical and emotional well-being.
There are many reasons that can cause painful sex, including fibroids, endometriosis, ovarian cysts, pelvic inflammatory disease, nerve damage, tissue injury, emotional trauma and infections. The pain often stems from inflammation, muscle spasm or dryness, and can be especially common in the months after childbirth and during menopause. The struggle is all too common; the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says painful intercourse affects three in every four women.
Anxiety is the other half of our sexual difficulty, and it impacts women very differently than men. While men can obsess about their sexual performance, women often struggle to get aroused because of chronic stress1. Either situation can make it hard to fully experience a steamy moment and follow it through to orgasm.
Everyone needs and deserves pleasure, to feel connected to their body, and to feel comfortable expressing their desires. With or without a partner, sex is an integral component of adult health. Modern medicine recognizes this and research is exploring many ways to improve our access to fulfilling physical release.
Research has found that men who are satisfied with their sex lives can enjoy the experience without taking things personally. For many, a sense of Zen playfulness is key. For women, the most important factors to help reach this state are spending more time to build arousal, having a partner who knows what they like, emotional intimacy and clitoral stimulation during orgasm.
Can Cannabis Bring Us Closer to Bliss?
Some components of cannabis can be a great fit with sexual therapy. In particular, CBD’s array of possible pain-relieving2, anti-inflammatory3 and anti-anxiety4 effects seem like a match made in heaven for body bliss. In the United States, there are already sexual aids made with CBD extracts, though they aren’t yet legal in Canada. These products are designed to ease stress and pain, and include CBD-rich vape pens, lotions and lubricants. Although there isn’t much research yet on the effectiveness of topical cannabis preparations, many sex therapists say using CBD on your sex bits is low risk, and it’s possible that a quality lubricant infused with CBD could make sex more comfortable and enjoyable for both men and women by increasing blood flow and nerve sensitivity.
THC, the intoxicating compound in cannabis, can also be beneficial, although the results seem to vary from person to person. Some find that a relaxing, uplifting high helps them get playful and confident in bed, others find it can cause drowsiness or anxiety and puts them off. It’s recommended that you take a start low/go slow approach and experiment with a variety of strains to find what works for you. Also, smoking or vaping cannabis before sex is usually preferable to using edibles, since ingested doses are notoriously hard to measure, and the effects often won’t be felt for a comparatively long time—upwards to two hours.
Despite the challenges with using cannabis in the bedroom, many people seem to like it. Three recent studies show that about two thirds of people who’ve tried cannabis before sex said it enhanced their experience. They reported feeling more pleasure, increased libido and stronger orgasms, as well as more frequent sex than people who hadn’t introduced cannabis into the bedroom. Global News put together a short segment earlier this year outlining the latest stats on cannabis and coitus.
What if I Don’t Feel Comfortable Using Cannabis for Sex?
If you don’t like the sensation of having sex while high, there are many other ways you can relax your body and open your mind to the sensations of your pleasure:
● Mood lighting
● Pelvic floor exercises (to reduce pelvic pain)
● Relationship-building activities, like date nights, relaxed conversation time, or shared hobbies
● Activities that make you feel good about your body, like yoga, dance, or exercise
If you do choose to explore the world of cannabis-infused intercourse, this article suggests some strains that might hit the spot. Either way, as long as you stay connected to your needs, give your body the TLC it deserves and play within your limits, your sexual experience is looking up.
 Russo EB. Cannabinoids in the management of difficult to treat pain. Ther Clin Risk Manag. 2008;4(1):245-59.
 Witkamp R, Meijerink J. The endocannabinoid system: an emerging key player in inflammation. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2014 Mar;17(2):130-8.
 Blessing EM, Steenkamp MM, Manzanares J, Marmar CR. Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders. Neurotherapeutics. 2015;12(4):825-36.