How To Get The Most Out of High Sex

Photo by Lucas Ottone

From increased blood flow to enhanced orgasms to a higher sense of connectedness, there’s a lot to love about stoned sex. While the market is loaded with cannabis lubes and other topicals to enhance pleasure, it's true that the intoxicating effects of an old-fashioned joint or edible can make the experience even more special. However, if we’re going to tout all the benefits of stoned sex, it’s only fair (and responsible) to get real about the pitfalls. Whether it's cottonmouth or the trippy change in time perception—or worse, an inability to give consent—there are crucial considerations before you start dabbing in bed. Keep reading to identify seven things to watch out for during stoned sex and how to prevent them. 

You need your mouth during sex. From deep kisses to oral, sex is best when messy and wet. But nothing gets in the way of that like dry mouth.“Mouth dryness is the worst. This also happens when consuming alcohol, so be prepared for hydration breaks,” says clinical sexologist and relationship advisor Katie Lasson. One study suggests that cottonmouth happens because the activation of cannabinoid receptors inhibits the salivary secretion in the submandibular glands. To fight dry mouth, make sure that you have water on hand. Sucking on hard candy can help, and if you breathe through your nose and only open up as needed for sexual purposes, you should be fine. However, if you ignore your cottonmouth, it can creep down your throat and lead to bad breath. 

Time slows down 
One of the trippiest effects of cannabis is its ability to slow downtime. According to Leafly, a Yale School of Medicine study found that high participants overestimated time by as much as 25 percent. This can be more apparent during sex. You may find yourself going down on your partner, wondering why they’re taking forever to come when in reality, it’s just been a few minutes. “It affects how you feel the time flow,” Lasson says. “If both partners use it, it most probably is not an issue, but if not, then for one partner who is not using it, then time goes too slowly, and the desire passes.” So, if the partner receiving oral sex is sober, they may wonder why the hell you’re giving up after three minutes. Stay mindful, stay present, and pace yourself

You say the wrong thing
Cannabis can lower our inhibitions. Ideally, this will help you relax into your true self, helping you ask for what you want in bed or experiment with novel additions to your sex life such as dirty talk or role-playing. But this could also lead you to blurt out the wrong name during sex or laugh at your partner’s request to spank you. The bedroom is a scared space of vulnerability, and no one likes being laughed at or called the wrong name. To avoid harmful lowered inhibitions, stick with a dose that’s low and safe for you. Communicate with your partner so that they know you took cannabis. And don’t mix it with other substances such as alcohol. 

You take too much
When it comes to cannabis, dosage is everything. One person may feel present and horny after consuming 10mg of THC, but 50mg might make them want to hide under the covers. Meanwhile, a medical patient may need 100mg to combat their PTSD in order to relax and enjoy sex. Because individual dosage varies so greatly, it’s crucial to understand your tolerance level. To do so, start low and go slow. Learn what dosage is best for you outside of the bedroom first. When you’re ready to add it to sex, make sure you communicate with your partner exactly how much you took so that they’re prepared to help you if you feel too high. “You can always smoke more, but you cannot smoke less. Thus, proceed slowly but confidently. Should you ever find that you took too much and your sexual functioning is impacted, just ride it out, cuddle with your mate, and try again later,” says clinical sexologist Dr. Kyle Zrenchik, Ph.D.

You get stuck in your head
With the correct dose and the proper set and setting, cannabis can help you be fully present in the moment. If you take too much in unfamiliar territory, it’s possible to get stuck in your head and therefore unable to focus on pleasure. In addition to regulating your dosage with the advice above, it’s helpful to develop a mindfulness practice that you can integrate into your sex life. Cannabis enhances the senses—not just touch but also smell and taste—which are all crucial to a delicious sexual experience. Regardless of if you’re at home with your spouse or under the stars with someone new at a musical festival, ground yourself in the now by fully focusing on your five senses.

Anxiety sets in
How can cannabis treat anxiety but also cause it? According to a 2016 survey of medical marijuana users, 58 percent say they use marijuana to treat their anxiety. However, for others, even a low dose of THC can trigger paranoia and panic — which is a terrible thing to experience during sex. “Few things cause sexual dysfunction as effectively as anxiety. During procreation, the body is designed to relax. This allows muscles to expand, blood to flow, hormones to be released, and sex to be pleasurable. However, when we are experiencing performance anxiety or fear, then our bodies tense, our brains send signals to our sexy parts to prepare for danger, and, essentially, we lose our mojo,” says Dr. Zrenchik. To avoid cannabis-induced anxiety, remember that it’s not a one-size-fits-all medicine. Various doses, methods of intake, and strains produce various effects in different people. The only way to understand how cannabis will affect your anxiety is to gradually experiment, ideally under the supervision of a medical practitioner. Reiterating the theme above, you should know your body’s reaction to the substance before using it to enhance intimacy. Create a safe word with your partner so that if THC-induced anxiety does set in during sex, you can press the pause button and focus on good old-fashioned snuggling. 

You can’t give consent
As much as the cannabis community loves touting the safety of cannabis, the truth is that any mind-altering substance can affect consent. For those in long-term relationships with a partner that shares or understands your cannabis use, this can be avoided by always discussing what and how much you took and picking a safe word so that you can tap out at any time. It can be trickier to implement consent in a casual situation, and the safest way to avoid cannabis interfering with consent is to have sex sober. However, that may be unrealistic all the time. So, always stick with a dose that’s safe for you. Make sure your hookup knows you’re lifted. Keep water, snacks, and other calming tools nearby. And always speak up the moment that you feel uncomfortable. 

By responsible consumption and communication, most stoned sex mishaps can be easily prevented. But remember that goddess Mary Jane is always on your side. And, if you do find yourself feeling anxious, you can always stop, snuggle, sip some water, and have a snack. Now go forth, light up, and get off.

Sophie Saint Thomas is a freelance writer based in Brooklyn originally from the US Virgin Islands. Her writing is published in GQ, Playboy, VICE, Cosmopolitan, Forbes, Allure, Glamour, Marie Claire, and more.