6 Ways High Sex Compares To Drunk Sex

Smoking weed and drinking alcohol are two things some people enjoy doing. Another thing people often enjoy doing? Having sex. And, as many people already know, combining one of the two former pastimes with the latter comes with specific pros and cons.
If you compare high sex to drunk sex, ultimately, it comes down to personal preference: Some people enjoy smoking a pre-date joint, while others prefer a glass of wine. And plenty of people out there don't like how it feels to be high or drunk. Everyone knows what works best for their own bodies. (And oftentimes, that means not combining weed and alcohol if they want to avoid nausea and "the spins.")
"My general feeling is that alcohol is kind of a poison," says Jordan Tishler, MD, an expert on Cannabis therapeutics. "In small doses, some people find it enjoyable, but it tends to make sex worse."
Of course, whether you're getting high or drunk for sex (or anything), the most important thing to remember is that moderation is key. But, when it comes to mixing these substances with sex, how do weed and alcohol really differ? Here are six things to know about combining weed or alcohol with sex.
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Cannabis Can Boost Emotional Connection.

Some studies suggest that, when the THC in cannabis binds to your cannabinoid receptors, this affects emotional processing by reducing negative bias, so you're more likely to see things in a positive way. Using cannabis shortly before sex can increase your empathy and emotional connection with your partner, Dr. Tishler says. "Even lusty, one-night stand sex is about making some sort of a connection," he says. "The connection [cannabis fosters] happens between people’s minds, not so much their genitals."

This intimate feeling extends into post-sex cuddling, since an orgasm leads to the release of both dopamine and oxytocin. Often referred to as the "cuddle chemical," oxytocin can increase empathy. "Cannabis stimulates both [dopamine and oxytocin], but it really pushes the oxytocin, which leads to a feeling of satisfaction and intimacy," Dr. Tishler says.

Interestingly, one 2014 study found that the post-sex bonding effect of oxytocin was ineffective if alcohol was consumed, since conversations after drunk sex were deemed less deep in terms of subject matter and more negative in general compared to conversations after sober sex.
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Both cannabis and Red Wine Can Increase Desire.

Great news for wine lovers: There may be good reason to add a romantic glass or two of red wine to your date night. One 2009 study found that moderate consumption of red wine increased women's sexual desires. However, the researchers only saw boosted desire in the group that drank red wine (and not other alcoholic beverages), indicating that when it comes to arousal, it may be that not all alcohol is created equally. However, another study found that women who were moderate drinkers of alcohol (not red wine specifically) had more orgasms and sex than non-drinkers and light drinkers.

That doesn't mean that cannabis lovers see no boost in desire, and, in fact, many report that they do get a libido lift from weed. "Cannabis is clearly beneficial for erectile function, desire, and libido," Dr. Tishler says.
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Cannabis Can enhance Physical Sensation.

Cannabis increases blood flow to the brain and stimulates blood flow to the genitals, Dr. Tishler says. "[This] helps with relaxation and lubrication in women and erectile dysfunction for men," he says. "It also has this heightened tactile experience."

Molly Peckler, a cannabis-friendly matchmaker and consultant, says that cannabis increases sexual sensation for her, but she says that it's important that each person selects the right strain of marijuana for them. (Peckler says she's had wonderful experiences with Grandaddy Purple, an Indica strain.) While Sativa strains are known for leading to more invigorating and energetic highs, Indica strains are known for providing more relaxing and anxiety-relieving highs — which can be great for a cozy night of love-making.

"When you’re drunk, your sensations are dulled; and when you’re high, your sensations are enhanced,” Peckler says. And, in fact, one 2009 study found that while alcohol increased sexual risk-taking, it had no impact on physiological sexual arousal.
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Alcohol, in particular, Lowers Inhibitions.

Alcohol is often consumed before sex, because it lowers inhibitions. This is a double-edged sword, says Jennifer R. Berman, MD, a Los Angeles-based urologist and women's sexual health expert. "It’s beneficial in some cases of overcoming fear or body images issues, but it’s also a minus because you can drink too much," Dr. Berman says. Not only can you drink too much to enjoy sex, but you can become too intoxicated to give consent. (And, sadly, research suggests that half of all sexual assaults are committed by men who had consumed alcohol.)

Of course, cannabis can also lower inhibitions when over-consumed, but not in the same manner as alcohol. "It’s not a blackout in the same sense as alcohol, but more of a hallucinatory and altered state, from paranoia to visualization," Dr. Berman says. "It’s not the same amnesia." In fact, one small 2016 study found that people tended to regret drunk sex more often than high sex.
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You Can Use Cannabis For Sex Without Getting High.

If you're not into smoking, vaping, or edibles, you can still enjoy the perks of high sex, thanks to a slew of innovative cannabis products specifically meant to make sex better. Whether you're looking for anal suppositories to make anal sex feel better, or topical products like the so-called "weed lube," if you live in a legal state, you can experienced the heightened sensations cannabis offers without getting the psychoactive effect. (We recommend starting with Foria's pleasure spray.)

Along with these types of products, CBD capsules may be another way to get the pleasure-enhancing effects without the high, says sex educator Ashley Manta. Like THC, CBD is a cannabinoid found in marijuana, although it doesn't hold the same psychoactive properties as THC. Due to the restrictive federal laws surrounding cannabis, however, research on CBD and humans is still limited, and more research is needed before we can definitively say this works.
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Alcohol is easier to get in most states.

One undeniable benefit of adding booze instead of weed to a night of sex is that it's legal in all 50 states. Currently, 29 states and Washington, D.C., have legalized medical marijuana, and eight states (plus D.C.) have legalized recreational use. However, those laws go against federal law, which continues to classify cannabis as a Schedule I substance, in the same group as heroin (cocaine, surprisingly, is Schedule II). So, picking up a six-pack of beer or hitting up a cocktail bar before having sex is just a much easier endeavor for most people.