Marijuana users have more sex

New study challenges the idea that using marijuana could be bad for your sex life.

Researchers at Stanford University have linked regular marijuana use to more frequent sex. The study, which analyzes data from 50,000 reproductive-aged Americans, is the first in the United States to examine the relationship between sex and marijuana use at population scale. The results came as a surprise to the researchers. “I had assumed there would be no relationship, or even a negative one, similar to that seen for smoking tobacco,” said urologist Michael Eisenberg, the study’s senior author.

Marijuana users have 20 percent more sex

Instead, Eisenberg found that marijuana users are having about 20 percent more sex than people who abstain from the drug. The study also suggests the effect is dose-dependent: more frequent use was associated with more frequent sex. What’s more, the link was found across all kinds of demographic groups. “The overall trend we saw applied to people of both sexes and all races, ages, education levels, income groups and religions, every health status, whether they were married or single, and whether or not they had kids,” said Eisenberg.

The trend also held up when the researchers accounted for survey respondents’ use of other drugs, like cocaine and alcohol. Eisenberg says this suggests the connection goes beyond less inhibited personalities being both more sexually active and more likely to use marijuana. But he also cautions that his results don’t necessarily mean that marijuana causes people to have more sex. “There are arousal pathways that are stimulated by marijuana that could explain the results,” he said, “but for this study, it’s important to know that correlation does not mean causation.”

Doctors seek answers to patients’ questions

According to a recent Gallup poll, one in eight Americans say they currently use marijuana, and 45 percent say they’ve tried it at least once. That’s a record high and a number likely to grow as more states legalize the drug for recreational or medical use. That means more patients are asking their doctors about how using marijuana might impact their health—questions doctors aren’t always able to answer. “I see patients come in with a variety of sexual complaints,” said Eisenberg. “As we examine health and lifestyle related factors that may impact sexual function, marijuana has come up more and more frequently. As I looked in the literature, there was not a lot of data available. I wanted to fill that gap.” The findings will be published today in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.


Featured image courtesy of Duncan C.