Here’s How CBD Can Dramatically Improve Your Sex Life
Experts say pain relief, lowered stress levels, balanced hormones, and increased blood flow are going to amp things up in the bedroom.
There’s CBD in your deodorant, your serum, and your toothpaste. Your grandma’s using it for her arthritis. Even IKEA put CBD in meatballs (ew, but OK). The “green boom” and legalization of cannabis across many states has resulted in the normalization of hemp-based supplements and with the mainstream embracing CBD. (Maybe you even have some in your medicine cabinet right now.)
Chances are, you’ve also seen an explosion of CBD topicals (lubricants, creams, gels, and suppositories) and ingestibles (capsules, gummies, and tinctures/oils) geared towards boosting your sex life and sexual wellness.
As it turns out, there are a number of applications cannabidiol can have in the bedroom, from managing your hormones to alleviating pain, and even to increase your libido (so… buckle up).
A disclaimer: After almost 100 years of everything cannabis-related being off-limits, there’s not a ton of human research to back up CBD’s medical claims. One reason? “CBD is still considered a Schedule 1 drug on the Controlled Substance Act and as such, researchers and scientists are prohibited in doing studies,” says Bonni Goldstein, M.D., medical advisor to Weedmaps, a site that connects cannabis consumers, patients, retailers, doctors, and brands. So although anecdotal evidence has swelled like a tsunami (a survey from Remedy Review reported 68 percent of people said CBD improved their sex life), we’re still (eagerly) waiting for clinical backup.
Ahead, a look at what we do know about CBD’s ability to boost libido, enhance orgasm, foster intimacy, and more.
Pain, Be Gone
One of the best-known uses of CBD is as an analgesic — it’s used to relieve pain. And this is a big deal for many women when it comes to sex. Dyspareunia (a blanket term for disorders leading to painful sex) is a barrier that keeps upwards of 40% of women from enjoying — or even experiencing — intimacy and experiencing pleasure, according to some estimates.
There are a number of ways topical CBD can help, explains Colleen Gerson, a functional medicine coach and herbalist at Foria, a CBD sexual wellness brand. Lubricants and suppositories can “enhance pleasure and libido by increasing blood flow, which increases lubrication and sensation, relaxing smooth muscle tissue, and easing tension,” Gerson explains.
This probably comes down to CBD’s well-known anti-inflammatory properties and ability to relax the muscles (less pain, inflammation, and tension would all contribute toward alleviating dyspareunia).
Citing six years of feedback from the Foria customer base, the anecdotal evidence for this use is astounding, Gerson says. (Seriously, read the reviews. Claims include it “saved my marriage”.) What’s more, in a 2019 survey conducted by Remedy Review of over 500 adults, 98 percent of those surveyed said CBD helped alleviate pain during sex.
Achieving Orgasm, Starring CBD
If the big O has been slightly out of reach (or less than satisfying), enter: cannabis. A 2019 review paper showed cannabis led to longer, more satisfying orgasms.
How? CBD can increase blood flow to tissues and improve nerve sensation, both of which can help make sex more pleasurable while intensifying an orgasm.
“There is anecdotal evidence to suggest that the direct application of CBD-infused lubricants to the genitalia increases blood flow to the area,” explains Robert Flannery, Ph.D. of Dr. Robb Farms. “An increase of blood flow to female genitalia has shown to increase sexual arousal and the intensity of orgasms. Both very good things.”
Less Stress, More Libido
When you’re stressed or anxious, sex is probably the farthest thing on your mind. Science confirms this, too — studies have shown that the stress hormone cortisol can lower your libido.
“It has been widely studied and shown that anxiety — both general and specific to sexual performance — limits a woman’s sexual arousal,” Dr. Flannery says. One of the biggest ways CBD consumption can help a woman’s sex life, especially for those suffering from sexual performance anxiety, is its ability to reduce anxiety (by triggering the serotonin receptor), he explains.
“By reducing cortisol and activating the PNS (parasympathetic nervous system), we’re going to drop into a more restful, receptive, sensually supportive capacity of the body,” adds Gerson. So if anxiety is getting in the way of your eh… extracurricular activities, consider CBD’s anxiolytic benefits as a potential solution.
Of note: this may just apply to women. One study showed that cannabinoids could potentially lower a man’s sex drive, though this particular study looked at marijuana (aka, all the cannabinoids, including THC), not just isolated CBD.
Balancing Hormone Levels = Higher Drive
CBD could potentially help your body balance hormone levels, which can increase sex drive. “The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) works overall to maintain homeostasis in the body, to regulate systems and organ function towards balance and harmony,” said Gerson. “So CBD’s relationship with our hormones and reproductive health is likely multifaceted, as ultimately a balanced body is fertile and vital (in it’s reproductive years).” She called hemp an “ally to hormone balance.”
This also comes down to how it (purportedly) helps the body deal with stress. In theory, if you manage bodily stress, your hormones will recalibrate as well. “While CBD can support some of the symptoms of hormone imbalance like pain, anxiety, or insomnia, it can also support via a key underlying root, stress,” says Gerson.
And FYI, if you’re open to it (and in a state where it’s legal), you might want to try THC, too, which may have an even greater impact than CBD to turn up the heat, Gerson adds.
Emotional Intimacy, Initiated
There’s another way CBD can improve your sex life: It can provide for a deeper emotional connection during intimacy.
Here’s how: “CBD increases the serum concentration of an endocannabinoid neurotransmitter called anandamide, which is closely associated with oxytocin, known as the ‘cuddle chemical,’ ‘hug hormone,’ ‘love hormone,’ or ‘moral molecule,’” Dr. Flannery explains. “Research has shown that an increase in anandamide during social contact, including a sexual experience, increases the pleasure of said contact.”
“The etymology of the word ‘anandamide’ is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘ananda,’ which translates to ‘joy, bliss, delight,’” he adds (sounds very kama sutra-esque). “This might give some insight as to what it can do.”
Want to use CBD to boost your sex life and sexual wellness? Experts say pain relief, lowered stress levels, balanced hormones, and increased blood flow are going to amp things up in the bedroom.
5 CBD Lube Options to Try That Will, Um, ‘Make Your Vagina Feel High’
Zoe Weiner・ February 21, 2019
Below is everything you need to know about diving into the wild(ly fun) world of CBD lube. And no—it won’t get you high.
What are some of the benefits of CBD Lube?
“CBD lube can lead to increased sensitivity for some, and most experience relaxation which creates more willingness to receive pleasurable touch which in turn may lead to better and stronger orgasms,” says Tammy Nelson, PhD, a board certified sexologist and the author of Getting the Sex You Want. “ Using CBD lube can help with vaginal pain, with penetration, and can decrease and even prevent irritation.” She notes that some manufacturers claim that CBD lube can moisturize and regenerate skin, but says that hasn’t seen any studies that can confirm that.
Research has, however, shown that there are some other sexy potential benefits associated with getting herbal in your intimate activities. CBD, and cannabis’s other standout element, THC, work with the endocannibinoid system in your body, which controls homeostasis and “can effect everything from your mood to your appetite to your sex drive and your body’s response during sex,” Dosist VP of Brand Derek McCarty told Well+Good last year.
CBD lube can also be beneficial for people who might experience pain during sex, which can be caused by a number of different things including vaginismus, vaginitis, PCOS, or vaginal tearing from birth. “CBD can help reduce tension in the pelvic floor so it can decrease pain with penetration and inflammation,” says Cyo Nystrom, CEO and co-founder of Quim. She also points to studies that show CBD to be very beneficial for people experiencing PTSD from sexual trauma.
Are there any risks?
The biggie, as with pretty much all CBD products, is that there’s no regulation just yet so you’ve gotta be a wise label-reader so you know exactly what you’re getting. AKA if what you’re using is actually legit “CBD products vary greatly depending on the CBD source as well as the modality of consumption,” says Nystrom, adding that different people can also respond to different types of CBD in varying ways. “I encourage people to do their own research and try and few different products a few times before making a judgment call.”
Another important thing to keep in mind is that many CBD lubes are oil based, so they aren’t safe to use with condoms because oil can cause latex to tear (which, ya know, kind of defeats the purpose of a condom). And apparently, there is a such thing as “too much of a good thing.” “If you use too much or the CBD lube is too potent, you run the risk of dulling sensation,” says Nystrom. Duly noted.
…But what do people who have actually tried it say?
“It was amazing,” Rachel S. (who, understandably, requested that her last name not be used here) told me over email about her foray into the wild world of cannabis lubricant. “I would describe the feeling as if just your vagina was high without your mind being high. Everything felt intensified compared to normal.” In the words of Cardi B., okurrrrr. One thing worth noting, though: The lube Rachel tried was a mix of CBD and THC, so don’t expect as many fireworks with a CBD-only iteration.
Given Rachel’s high praise, I decided to try the whole CBD lube thing for myself by way of Foria Awaken ($48). And, well, it really was amazing. It may have been part placebo effect, but it helped me chill the F out and relax while getting down to business in a totally new way… and I was damn near tempted to cancel my Friday night plans of going out and meeting boys to stay home with my CBD-lube and the Internet’s favorite vibrator. True story.
Ok, I’m convinced. Which products should I try?
1. Kush Queen Ignite CBD Lube, $50
Photo: Kush Queen
This water-based lube promises “instant” results, and since it doesn’t contain any oil, it’s compatible with latex. (as mentioned, a lot of these lubes are made with coconut oil, which means they can cause condoms to break). One reviewer described Kush Queen’s lube as leaving his sexy bits feeling like they were being “hugged” for hours after use, which sounds wonderfully promising.
2. Foria Awaken, $48
As far as CBD lubes go, Foria’s Awaken was the OG. It’s made with broad-spectrum CBD, kava kava extract, and botanical and aromatic oils in order to, “enhance tactile sensation & pleasure while decreasing tension, discomfort and dryness” (um, sign me up). They’re meant to be used as a sort of “pre-lube” to really get things going on the outside (aka your clitoris), and shouldn’t be mixed with latex condoms because of the whole “made with oils” thing. A few highlights from reviewers, who have clearly loved this product: “I’m grinning ear to ear just talking about it,” “pretty divine,” and “tastes the best.”
Shop now: Foria Awaken Lube, $48
3. Privy Peach CBD-Infused Intimate Oil, $45
Photo: Privy Peach
Designed with women in mind, Privy Peach’s CBD oil not only helps you *
* and enjoy what’s going down when you’re getting down, but it also promises to help stimulate your body’s own lubrication while increasing circulation to your lady parts. It starts off as a semi-solid, which is dosed out into 10 perfectly sized, single-use servings, but melts into a satisfying oil when it comes in contact with the heat from your skin (… while, ya know, things are heating up).
4. GoLove CBD Intimate Lubricant, $68
This water-based lube (read: can be used with condoms) features CBD that acts as an anti-inflammatory that also encourages blood flow for “optimal sexual wellness.” It feels like a true lube, so will get things nice and slippery but with the added benefits that CBD brings to the table bed.
5. Quim Smooth Operator Intimate Serum, $48
This lube is packed with all kinds of good stuff. In addition to the CBD, it’s also got aloe which the brand’s website says will “improve collagen and vaginal elasticity, reduce inflammation.” 8-10 pumps of the stuff should be enough to get you going, and in addition to adding a little flavor to your sex-life (whether with a partner or alone), it also works as a vaginal moisturizer.
Originally published February 21, 2019; updated March 5, 2021
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