Using marijuana helps some men who identify as gay, bisexual, or trans experience less shame and anxiety around sex.
Marijuana could help gay and bisexual men establish intimacy and experience less anxiety around sex, according to a small pilot study. Previous research has shown cannabis loosens inhibitions and enhances sexual experience, but those studies predominantly focused on straight sexual encounters.
The study, published in the Culture, Health & Sexuality journal, featured 41 men between the ages 15 and 30 who did not identify as straight. These participants were then interviewed for up to two hours regarding marijuana use during sex. A majority of the men reported enhanced satisfaction and increased feelings of intimacy toward their partner. It also allowed them to feel less anxiety and shame about their appearances, especially when meeting through dating apps like Grindr.
This suggests marijuana as a therapeutic tool for men who connect negativity or shame with sex, researchers wrote on The Conversation.
“In our study, we found that the use of cannabis can allow men to access a deeper sense of sexual freedom and intimacy in a context where same-sex sex is historically stigmatized,” the researchers wrote. “In other words, the sexualized use of cannabis can help sexual and gender minority men overcome feelings of anxiety and shame resulting from internalized homophobia, biphobia and/or transphobia, so that they can more fully enjoy the sex they want.”
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According to subject responses, these stigmas and negative associations can discourage gay, bi-sexual, or trans individuals from opening up during sex. Marijuana helped the majority of men in the study release inhibitions and access deeper emotions, however. Participants also found themselves enjoying sexual activities they previously didn’t, thanks to cannabis.
“I’ve been having anal sex for, like, probably a decade, but until very, very, very recently while having an edible [i.e. ingesting cannabis], I’ve never actually liked it… It’s never been better than a six out of ten,” one study participant said, reports Insider.
“I’m actually enjoying this for like the first time, solidly, like a nine out of ten [after taking the edible]! And then the next time I had sex without an edible, I was enjoying it as an eight out of ten. I’m like, ‘Huh?!’ So it changed something in me.”
Due to the small nature of this study, it’s worth noting these results don’t represent the rest of the population. The study was also limited to men only within Vancouver, Canada. But researchers still believe this identifies marijuana as “a ‘strategic resource’ for sexual minority men to deliberately achieve both physiological and psychoactive effects.”
According to the study’s authors, “Given that the contexts, patterns and motivations for using cannabis for sex align closely with those typically associated with chemsex, we will keep looking at how cannabis may be able to reduce or replace more harmful drugs used with sex.”