What You Need to Know About Marijuana & Your Sexual & Reproductive Health

Dec 14, 2017 at 3:00 p.m. ET
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Now that marijuana has been legalized in several states, Americans are smoking weed more than ever. Naturally, this could have an impact — both positive and negative — on various aspects of their lives, including sex and fertility. To get a better idea of this relationship, Stanford recently conducted a survey in which participants were asked how many times they’ve had intercourse with a member of the opposite sex in the past four weeks and how frequently they smoked marijuana over the past year.

It turns out, those who use pot are having about 20 percent more sex than those who don’t, the findings indicated. Of those studied, 24.5 percent of men and 14.5 percent of women said they had used marijuana. Women who didn’t have marijuana in the past year had sex about six times during the previous four weeks — that number went up to 7.1 for daily pot users. Among men, the corresponding figure was 5.6 for nonusers and 6.9 for daily users.

While the study’s data may seem to point to a direct correlation between sex and marijuana, the reality of the relationship is not as easily explained.

Below are facts you’ll want to know about marijuana use and your sexual and reproductive health.

How many people use marijuana?

The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that more than 20 million adult Americans are current marijuana users. The drug is legal for medical or recreational use in 29 states — a number that could climb.

More: Let’s Talk About What Marijuana Can (Maybe) Do for Your Sex Drive

Can using marijuana lead to more sex?

Marijuana is linked to having more sex, but before you smoke up, keep in mind that the research doesn’t say that consuming more marijuana equals having more sex. A study by Stanford University School of Medicine found a positive correlation between sexual intercourse frequency and marijuana. While the correlation is strong, it is not causal.

“Marijuana use is very common, but its large-scale use and association with sexual frequency hasn’t been studied much in a scientific way,” Dr. Michael Eisenberg, an assistant professor of urology and senior author said in a statement.

Can using marijuana lead to better sex?

Unfortunately, marijuana doesn’t seem to impact sexual performance. The medical community has largely indicated that frequent marijuana use may actually impair sexual desire or performance. Nonetheless, the Stanford analysis of more than 50,000 Americans ages 25 to 45 found that using the illegal drug doesn’t seem to impact sexual performance. The findings were published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.

“Frequent marijuana use doesn’t seem to impair sexual motivation or performance. If anything, it’s associated with increased coital frequency,” Eisenberg said.

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Can heavy marijuana use impact chances of conceiving?

If you and your partner are trying to have a baby, marijuana might be making it more difficult. According to a study by the Oxford University Press, prolonged marijuana use may lower a male’s sperm count by nearly a third.

“The men who smoked marijuana more than once a week produced sperm counts that were 28 percent lower, on average, than those who smoked marijuana less frequently or not at all,” according to SexInfo Online.

Heavy using has also been linked to erectile dysfunction, but other studies say it stimulates activity in brain regions involved in sexual arousal and activity.

So enjoy yourself, but know when marijuana could enhance — or hurt — your sex life.

By Kristen Fischer

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