Keep Them Coming: I smell sex and cannabis with Ashley Manta, The CannaSexual
In my 20s, I found that cannabis made sex more erotic for me—definitely a pleasant discovery. I was able to get out of my head, simply focus on the experience I was having, and unleash my orgasm way easier.
By the time I was around 35, I had a group of friends whose consensus was that sex is often better when paired with cannabis. There’s even research from the National Library of Medicine showing that women have two times higher odds of reporting a satisfactory orgasm if they use cannabis before sex.
As a coach, I’ve been advocating for weed lubes to my clients for a few years. It wasn’t until 2020 that I started taking my own advice, as I had my own medical issue that created this sensation of “hitting a brick wall” where I felt so tight during penetration that it caused pain. I immediately got my partner and myself two kinds of CBD lube: one water-based and one coconut oil-based.
I was lucky I knew of potential remedies because of my work, but I only had a rudimentary understanding of why these remedies did the trick. I wanted more answers, so I reached out to Ashley Manta, better known as The CannaSexual.
Manta wrote a book called Merry Jane’s The CBD Solution: Sex: How Cannabis, CBD, and Other Plant Allies Can Improve Your Everyday Life in 2020. She also co-founded the Sex and Cannabis Professional Alliance, a group dedicated to education and destigmatization of the pairing. Manta has been a Sex Educator for over 15 years. When she moved to California and had access to medical cannabis, it was surprisingly helpful for her on several levels.
“I personally am a trauma survivor, and I’ve had pain with penetration my entire adult life. No one was ever able to help me. Most doctors kind of shrugged. The quasi-helpful ones were like, ‘Well, you know, lots of foreplay.’ One actually suggested lidocaine. I was like, wow, that’s horrifying,” says Manta.
“Yeah, just numb your pussy. You’ll be fine, right?” I quipped.
“You don’t need to feel anything,” she chimed in sarcastically. Manta and I chuckled sadly together, knowing all too well this doctor is not the only one making such a suggestion.
In 2014, Manta used a coconut oil-based lube infused with THC for the first time.
“I tried it and had a remarkable experience of not experiencing pain with penetration for the first time in my adult life. And I was like, holy shit!” She knew she needed to educate others about its benefits.
When Manta started advocating for pairing cannabis with sex, she received plenty of pushback.
“[A lot of people told me,] ‘No, one’s going to take you seriously if you talk about weed,’” she recalled. While we know some people don’t agree with us openly advocating for THC’s use during sex, the tides are clearly turning: 37 states have legalized medical use of cannabis, and 18 have legalized recreational use.
Manta says that cannabis can help people who feel disconnected from their bodies.
“[It’s good for people who are] not able to discern sensations easily, because we all walk around dissociated most of the time, because we live in a capitalist Hellscape,” she says. Agreed.
“We live in this hustle culture, so having something that physiologically and psychologically slows you down, so you can go, ‘Oh, that’s right. I do have a body. Huh? What does that body want and need right now?’ That’s really the miracle of cannabis in my opinion.”
So how does this all work?
“THC and CBD are both cannabinoids that are compounds that exist in the plant,” says Manta. “CBD is what my friend Chelsea [one of the SCPA co-founders] calls a ‘slutty cannabinoid’. It has weak action at a number of superficial receptors.” Manta says she finds it humorous how popular CBD got simply because of state law loopholes.
If you’re in a state where THC is not legal (sorry, Kansas), you can certainly use CBD alone. But Manta will tell you that THC in combination with CBD is even better.
I was curious about the science behind this, so I reached out to Dr. Jenny Wilkerson, a cannabinoid scientist and Assistant Professor at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. She confirmed that cannabinoids working in concert with one another is a process called the “entourage effect.”
“The therapeutic dosing of a cannabinoid may be enhanced by combining it with other cannabinoids, while also decreasing any side effect profile,” says Wilkerson.
She also explained THC is a vasodilator that increases blood flow and, lo and behold, you need increased blood flow to your genitals to experience pleasure. THC also has anti-inflammatory effects and blocks pain receptors, allowing more pleasure-based receptors to activate.
The first medical dispensary opened in Missouri October 2020. A lot of residents are still learning about cannabis’ use as medicine. Others are simply ecstatic their favorite plant is more accessible with less legal worries. No matter what kind of cannabis consumer you are, most people still don’t know how to use it to enhance sexual pleasure.
As Manta explained, part of the whole CannaSexual ethos is mindfully combining sex and cannabis. This includes having conversations about consent with your partner(s) before you consume, where you discuss what’s on the table or not—aka establishing boundaries.
“You can’t just smoke some mystery joint and hope for the best,” she says.
Adding cannabis to your sex life takes intentionality. Manta gave some basics for the newbies: First, more THC is not better.
“Really, for sex especially, you want to stay between 10 and 20% THC, right around 15% as a solid sweet spot,” says Manta.
She recommended ratios of five THC to two CBD for folks wanting a more subtle relaxation effect: “That’s going to work out well for people who are newer, who don’t want to get stoned off their asses.”
Manta also had some words of wisdom when it comes to selecting your strain, the two main cannabis plants being sativas and indicas.
“Do not buy into the idea that sativas are buzzy and indicas are sleepy. It is not only false, that would be like saying red wine makes you hyper and white wine makes you sleepy. Like, that’s not how that works.”
If you want to figure out what works for you, purchase a gram or a pre-rolled joint, and smoke a little bit. Wait for it to kick in, then masturbate and see how you feel.
“See what goes on in your body, then write it down,” Manta advised. “‘Cause THC is terrible for short-term memories. So you’re not going to remember shit.”
Also, don’t focus on the strain name as much as the grower or dispensary. Blue Dream from one dispensary won’t be the exact same as it is from another retailer—or even your own plants. When you log what you smoked, note where you got it, too.
Basically, you’ve got to find what works for your own body.
“I get it all the time from journalists asking, ‘What’s the best strain for sex?’ I’m like, I don’t know. What’s the best sex toy to get off?” Manta says.
And there it is. One strain won’t work for all people and all purposes. What makes me relaxed and ready to receive pleasure may make someone else feel the opposite.
I’m looking forward to running an experiment by buying different strains from different dispensaries and then having pleasure sessions. It’s such a hard way to spend my time, just getting high and cumming to figure out what weed works best for me.
It’s no longer procrastibating if you’re doing it for science, right?