Young adult stoners who drink have a better time between the sheets, according to new research.
A recent study, published in the journal Healthcare, found that sexual function is improved in “high-risk” cannabis consumers and moderate alcohol use, resulting in increased desire, arousal and orgasm.
This improvement is usually associated with less anxiety and shame, which researchers say helps facilitate sexual relationships.
But the increased sexual function is generally accompanied by unsafe sexual behaviour, “given that the use of drugs, notably alcohol and cannabis, in recreational nightlife settings is highly normalized and ingested in large quantities.”
Arousal was higher among cannabis consumers with high risk of substance use issues compared to non-consumers. But there were no differences in desire and orgasms based on how much they consumed.
Generally, the study shows that cannabis users rank higher on arousal and orgasm scales, but no differences were found in terms of sexual desire.
Participants who reported heavy drinking scored higher on the total sexual function questionnaire and the arousal scale than those who didn’t drink, but otherwise there wasn’t a significant difference between drinkers and non-drinkers.
For the study, researchers at the Spanish University of Almeria evaluated the sexual health of 185 female and 89 male Spaniards 18–30 years old who were either regular users of alcohol and cannabis, or non-users.
People who used substances other than cannabis and alcohol were excluded, as were participants with any mental health diagnosis that affects sexual health, such as depression or diabetes, to ensure the results weren’t influenced.
Researchers evaluated participants using screening tests for problematic use of alcohol and cannabis, as well as other tests measuring desire, arousal and orgasms.
On average, participants were around 21 years old, and no differences were found between men and women in terms of sexual function or scales.
Researchers suggest future research should delve into cannabis and alcohol users’ perceptions of their sexuality as well as the kinds of relationships they engage in, such as long-term, sporadic or unstable relationships.
In particular, they note that the relationship between anxiety, cannabis consumption and sexual function needs a more in-depth look.
The researchers recommend information and training for youth on sexual risks associated with substance use, as well as ways to reduce anxiety and shame during sex.