In light of America's newfound acceptance of legalized weed, researchers everywhere have been deeply and sensually probing its effects on the sex lives of users.
And since this increased acceptance continually lends itself to comparisons to alcohol, a major question in the research community has been how high sex and drunk sex differ.
If you asked us, it's an open-and-shut case — you remember one, and wake up next to your Domino's delivery boy with the other — but alas, the scientific community hasn't conducted quite the level of in-depth sexual auto-experimentation we have. So, to explore it for themselves, they organized a series of interviews.
New York University's Joseph Palamar and his colleagues recruited 24 heterosexual adults to take part in a series of titillating interviews about their prior sexual experiences with alcohol and marijuana. Publishing their results in Archives of Sexual Behavior, the team found some pretty distinct differences between drunk sex and high sex that held true across genders and age groups.
1. Beer goggles are real, and really annoying.
According to the study, respondents “overwhelmingly reported that alcohol use was more likely to (negatively) affect the partners they chose." Across the board, booze was found to lower the standards of both men and women when it came to choosing a fuck-person, meddling almost universally with people's individual preferences for looks and personality. With weed however, this seemed to be much less of an issue. Bong goggles, as it were, are not a thing.
“With weed I know who I’m waking up with. With drinking, you don’t know. Once you start drinking, everybody looks good,” a 34-year-old female said.
Also, people on weed tend to fuck humans they already know — girlfriends and boyfriends and the like. Alcohol, on the other hand, “was commonly discussed in terms of having sex with strangers (or someone new),” the study found.
2. People regret drunk sex much more than stoned sex.
After drunk sex, the most common reaction of study participants was "What the fuuuuck did I just do?"
“The most commonly reported feeling after sex on alcohol was regret,” the study found. “Both males and females commonly reported that regret, shame, and embarrassment were associated with alcohol use, but this was rarely reported for marijuana.”
Not so with weed.
“I want to cook the person something to eat (after sex) when I’m high,” one male respondent said. “When I’m drunk, it’s like, ‘I’m out of here.’”
We're not doctors or anything, but those feelings of regret and negativity probably have something to do with drunk sex being associated more with strangers … or the fact that when you wake up, you're not sure who the person next to you is. It's hard to make someone Nana's famous blueberry pancake recipe when you don't know their name or why their penis is touching your decorative pillow.
3. Drunk sex makes you puke. Stoned sex makes you distracted. Both make you suck at sex.
Nausea, dizziness, vomiting, loss of consciousness — these symptoms read like the back of an Ambien prescription but they're all possible side effects of drunk sex, according to the study.
One male told researchers he accidentally fell asleep during sex while drunk. Another participant regaled the study team with multiple instances where sex had to be interrupted because “I’ve had to stop and go hurl.” Huh … we don't remember seeing those moves on Cosmo's '20 Spiciest Sexy Sex Moves' list?
Weed, on the other hand, was associated with fewer adverse physical effects. Instead, pot users experienced more mental interruptions during the deed.
One respondent said that marijuana decreased his motivation to bone. Another reported that being high distracted her from the experience.
“You’re so high … you start thinking sex is weird. ‘What is sex?'” she said.
4. Sex feels way, way better on weed.
We all know alcohol tends to numb sensation, and weed tends to enhance it. The study participants confirmed this, reporting that the increased blood flow marijuana brought to their unmentionables generally improved pleasure.
“Alcohol tends to be a lot more numb,” a male respondent said. “Everything is sort of blunted and muted, whereas with marijuana it’s intensified.”
This numbness was partially responsible for a longer duration of sex while drunk, too. But as anyone who's ever fucked drunk can confirm, that's not necessarily always a good thing.
It “sometimes lasts too long,” one female respondent said. “Compared to when you’re high — it feels so great and it might be a little shorter.”
Interestingly, the study also found that both men and women who have sex high report longer and more intense orgasms. One woman said hers were “magnified at least by five times.” Well we'll be darned …
Even better, marijuana facilitated “more tender, slow, and compassionate sexual acts, and to involve more sensation and sensuality than alcohol."
Well, yes. Typically any sex where you're not vomiting on your own dick then passing out is pretty tender.
5. Drunk sex is a risky temptress of the night.
“With regard to sexual risk behavior, the majority of participants felt that alcohol was riskier, sexually, than marijuana,” the study found. Both men and women said they exercised poor judgment when drunk and were more likely to black out, forget who they were fucking, or have unprotected sex. People who were banging high reported these findings to a lesser extend, but we're gonna chalk that up to the well-known high belief that condoms are balloons, not prophylactics.
Under the influence of weed, people said they felt more in control. In fact, one participant even interestingly noted that weed made him too paranoid to have unprotected sex or engage in risky sexual behavior. in that sense, then, weed acted as protection against the dark forces of seeping gonorrhea. Wonderful.
Lessons learned? Well, as many studies have previously shown, booze is more associated with high-risk sexual behavior. Aside from its rocky relationship with unintended pregnancy and STIs, research has also elucidated a strong correlation between sexual assault and drinking — while statistics on this relationship vary quite a bit between studies, it appears that between 69 and 89 percent of sexual assaults take place under the influence of alcohol. There's not much research on how many are associated with marijuana, however research has found that couples who smoke marijuana have significantly lower instances of domestic violence, and that it can actually be used to facilitate therapy and healing for sexual assault-related PTSD.
The good news? Booze and weed have such wildly different effects on people's sexual experiences that you can really choose your own adventure here. Some people like numb, vomit-enhancing sex, and others like sensuous, vaguely distracted sex. Depending on which of these camps you fall into, you can easily make it happen. Just remember to be safe out there when you're combining substances and sex, and when in doubt, have sex with yourself. You deserve Nana's pancakes just as much as the stranger on your converted futon.