By Justin Lehmiller
A lot of people attempt to enhance their sex lives by turning to perception-altering substances, with two of the most common being alcohol and marijuana. But how exactly do these drugs affect us in the bedroom? A recent study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior offers some insight.
In this study, 24 young adults in New York City completed in-depth interviews in which they were asked to compare their past experiences using alcohol and marijuana during sex. Although this sample is obviously small, the findings are nonetheless informative. Here are some of the highlights:
Keep in mind that all of these findings come from a small study and shouldn’t be generalized broadly. Also, remember that these findings are based on self-report data, which means that people may not recall precisely how much of each substance they consumed or exactly how it affected them.
More research is certainly needed, but these results suggest that alcohol and marijuana seem to have quite different sexual effects. However, understanding the effects of these drugs is a very complex matter, given that they depend not only on dosage, but also on a given person’s body chemistry.
To learn more about this research, see: Palamar, J. J., Acosta, P., Ompad, D. C., & Friedman, S. R. (2016). A qualitative investigation comparing psychosocial and physical sexual experiences related to alcohol and marijuana use among adults. Archives of Sexual Behavior. doi:10.1007/s10508-016-0782-7
Note: The definitive version of this article was originally published on Sex & Psychology.
Dr. Justin Lehmiller is an award winning educator and a prolific researcher and scholar. He has published articles in some of the leading journals on sex and relationships, written two textbooks, and produces the popular blog, Sex & Psychology. Dr. Lehmiller's research topics include casual sex, sexual fantasy, sexual health, and friends with benefits. He is currently the Director of the Social Psychology Graduate Program and an Assistant Professor of Social Psychology at Ball State University.
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