Regular Marijuana Use Tied to More Frequent Sexual Activity

Nicola M. Parry, DVM

October 27, 2017

Men and women who regularly use marijuana are having about 20% more sex than those who do not use marijuana, a new study shows.

Andrew J. Sun, MD, and Michael L. Eisenberg, MD, both from Stanford University, California, published the results of their study in the November issue of the Journal of Sexual Medicine.

"A positive association between marijuana use and sexual frequency is seen in men and women across all demographic groups," the authors write, adding that its regular use "does not appear to impair sexual function."

According to Dr Sun and Dr Eisenberg, the association between marijuana use and sexual function has long been a topic of debate, and data are lacking on this relationship.

The researchers therefore performed the study, which they say is the first of its kind, to investigate the relationship between marijuana use and sexual frequency at the population level in the United States.

They analyzed data from 51,119 respondents (55.1% women) aged 25 years to 45 years who participated in the National Survey of Family Growth. The survey, sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is conducted annually and asks respondents about their frequency of heterosexual intercourse in the last 4 weeks, as well as their patterns of smoking marijuana during the previous year.

They included data from 2002, which was the first year it included men and women, through 2015.

Overall, 24.5% of men and 14.5% of women reported having using marijuana.

Women who reported no marijuana use in the past year indicated having intercourse 6.0 times, on average, during the last 4 weeks compared with 7.1 times among daily marijuana users.

Similarly, men who reported no marijuana use indicated having sex 5.6 times during the last 4 weeks compared with 6.9 times among daily users of marijuana.

The investigators found an overall trend for both men (incidence rate ratio [IRR], 1.08; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.05 - 1.11; P < .001) and women (IRR, 1.07; 95% CI, 1.04 - 1.10; P < .001), linking increased marijuana use to higher sexual frequency.

This positive association remained across all cycles of the National Survey of Family Growth, as well as after adjustment that controlled for multiple socioeconomic and anthropomorphic factors.

"The overall trend we saw applied to people of both sexes and all races, ages, education levels, income groups and religions, every health status, whether they were married or single and whether or not they had kids," Dr Eisenberg said in a press release.

"To our knowledge, we are the first to report an increase in sexual frequency linked to marijuana use," the authors write.

And although these findings do not prove a causal link between marijuana use and sexual frequency, they suggest that regular marijuana use will not impair sexual function or motivation, Dr Sun and Dr Eisenberg note.

"Importantly, the association of marijuana use and sexual function warrants further study," they conclude.

The authors have reported no financial conflicts of interest.

J Sex Med. 2017;14:1342-1347. Abstract

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