This Week in Sex is a summary of news and research related to sexual behavior, sexuality education, contraception, STIs, and more.
Could Orgasms Be Another Benefit of Cannabis?
In recent years, we’ve learned that there’s more to smoking marijuana than just the high.
We’ve been told cannabis can reduce pain and nausea in cancer patients and others, and not surprisingly, it can elevate mood.
And now, a study suggests that we might add better orgasms for women to the list of potential benefits.
Researchers surveyed 373 patients at an obstetrics and gynecology practice in St. Louis, Missouri. They asked the women about arousal, lubrication, orgasm, pain during sex, overall satisfaction, and marijuana usage.
About one-third of participants (34 percent) reported having used marijuana before sexual activity. Most of these women reported an increased sex drive, better orgasms, and decreased pain, but no change in lubrication.
But here’s the kicker: Women who used marijuana before sex were two times more likely to report a satisfactory orgasm than women who didn’t. Moreover, women who reported frequent marijuana use were also two times more likely to report satisfactory orgasms (even if they didn’t use the drug before sex) than those who reported infrequent marijuana use.
The authors concluded that “marijuana appears to improve satisfaction with orgasm” and that more studies could help us understand whether marijuana could be used to treat sexual dysfunction in women.
Before we pass you the bong, however, we have to remind you of the usual caveats on research studies like this. The study found a correlation between using marijuana and enjoying orgasm, but it is not enough to prove that the marijuana itself caused the orgasm to be better. There may be other differences between these women and their peers (like, perhaps, the weed users are just a more relaxed, hedonistic bunch). Also, this was a small study of women who all went to the same doctors’ office, so they’re not representative of all women.
Lastly, this was a self-report survey. Some women in the non-use group might be sneaking some special gummy bears before sex and not want to admit it. And people may be reporting better sex than they are really having.
That said, it does not surprise us at all that a drug known to relax people and ease pain might also improve orgasms among women.
Relax, Utah: Premarital Sex, Adultery, and Sodomy Are Now Legal
Last week, Utah’s Republican governor Gary Herbert quietly signed bills to update the criminal code in his state. The changes repealed a 1973 law that declared fornication (meaning sex outside marriage) to be a criminal “offense against the family.” Up until this year, premarital sex, adultery, and sodomy were considered class B misdemeanors punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Such laws were considered unenforceable due to court rulings on privacy like the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2003 Lawrence v. Texas decision, which declared anti-sodomy laws to be unconstitutional.
Nonetheless, the process of taking these laws off the books in Utah was not without controversy. State Rep. Keven Stratton (R-Orem) said during debates: “What is legally [permissible] is often far below what is morally right. And I recognize our laws are not strong enough to rule a [sic] immoral people.”
We don’t think this is an issue of morality, but we agree with Rep. Stratton that legislating sexual behavior doesn’t work. Of course, it is hard to judge how many Utahns were violating these antiquated laws because so little data on sexual behavior is collected. In fact, Utah is one of the few states that does not ask high school students if they have engaged in sexual behavior as part of the national Youth Risk Behavior Survey.
In Kentucky, Sex With Animals Is Finally Illegal
Until a new law was signed last week, Kentucky remained one of only a handful states where bestiality—sex with animals—was not illegal. Sexual abuse of animals was part of the state’s sodomy law, but the Kentucky Supreme Court struck down that law in 1992. That was more than a decade before the U.S. Supreme Court found that all sodomy laws were unconstitutional.
Efforts to add sexual abuse of animals back into the state’s criminal code have been under way for a few years. A measure introduced (but not passed) in 2017 made sexual assault or sexual touching of a pet dog or cat a crime punishable by one to five years in jail or up to ten years if done in front of a child. Some felt that that bill did not go far enough because it was limited to household pets.
Dee Robinson, the activist who drafted that bill, explained at the time that she was trying not to anger the Kentucky Farm Bureau. Apparently, that group and others representing farmers and hunters feared that a law punishing animal cruelty could be interpreted broadly and used to ban hunting or artificially inseminating livestock.
The law signed last week did not restrict the rules to household pets. Instead it outlawed “any act committed between a person and an animal for the purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification, abuse or financial gain.” The law did, however, make specific exceptions for artificial insemination and “accepted animal husbandry practices.”