Stones drunk sex
Photo: Al Browne

Is Stoned Sex Better Than Drunk Sex? Here's The Science

The true winner, though? Sober sex, obvs.

POSTEDBYDEE CUNNING

They weren't lying when they said alcohol makes you lose your inhibitions. A few drinks down and, having effectively shut down the thought-processing areas of your brain, you're feeling pretty darn primal – in fact, at this stage all your brain is good for is breathing, eating (greasy kebabs), and sex. Yes, you've turned into a primal sex machine. It sounds kinda sexy when you put it like that, and there's no denying that sloppy, messy drunk sex can be great fun – as long as its safe, consensual and not the result of a regrettable beer-goggle mishap, or a prelude to an impromptu barfing sesh.

Weed, on the other hand, that's in an entirely different category. A few puff-puff-passes and your mind's probably gonna feel like it's half way to the stars, whilst your body's all about the here and now, super-sensitive to the touch. It's intimate and best served with someone close. It might also make you more creative in the bedroom. Stoned sex can be really incredible – as long as you don't fall asleep, that is.

Obviously sober sex is always going to be the winner here, but what does science have to say? Is stoned sex better than drunk sex? This New York University study – a qualitative investigation into the sexual experiences of 24 adults who recently used marijuana before sex – gives us some answers.

 

Beer goggles are real

Well, not as in you can buy them from your local fancy dress store (please let us know if you actually find some beer-filled goggles), but the “beer goggle” phenomenon is pretty common. That's because the area of the brain that wants us to mate – the “reptilian” brain – is the oldest part, and located so far down that it keeps functioning however much we drink, until we're ready to pass out. That's long after the booze has wreaked havoc with our decision-making centers, by the way. The participants in the study “overwhelmingly reported that alcohol use was more likely to (negatively) affect the partners they chose,” and both men and women said that drinking lowers their standards.

Weed goggles, however, aren't really 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,” one participant said. The study also found that sex on marijuana was much more of an intimate affair: more boyfriend/girlfriend action, and far less randoms.

 

Stoned sex = less regrets

It makes sense that once our decision-making centers are back in action – and we've probably woken up with a horrendous hangover – that regret is a common feeling after drunk sex. According to the study, “both males and females commonly reported that regret, shame, and embarrassment were associated with alcohol use, but this was rarely reported for marijuana.” No shit, Sherlock. “I want to cook the person something to eat (after sex) when I'm high,” one participant responded. “When I'm drunk, it's like, 'I'm out of here.' Or get away from me.”

 

Alcohol can be a physical mood killer

Mid-fuck spins, nausea, blackouts or, well, vomit are alcohol's favorite nasty surprises. You've been having the best night of your life – or so you think – and you're going absolutely wild in the sack. So far so hot, until – oops – that kebab from earlier has grown a mind of it's own and wants to get the hell out of your toxic acid stomach in double-quick time. One participant of the study encountered a similar issue, confessing that he needed to take a short break from sex because he “had to stop and go hurl.” Thanks for the mental images. And then, of course, there are the equally sensitive alcohol-induced issues of vaginal dryness or your guy losing his hard-on. #MoodKiller

Negative physical reactions aren't so common with weed; you're much more likely to be interrupted by your mind, usually via a loss of motivation. “You're so high (on marijuana) … you start thinking sex is weird. 'What is sex?'” said one participant. Yeah, come to think of it, it is pretty weird.

 

Stoned sex usually feels better

According to the study, booze numbs sensations whilst weed enhances them. “Everything is sort of blunted and muted, whereas with marijuana it's intensified.” Getting high leads to “more tender, slow, and compassionate sexual acts, and to involve more sensation and sensuality than alcohol.” Both men and women reported longer and more explosive orgasms while high; one participant even shared that her orgasms were “magnified at least by five times.” Wow. Just saying, but there should totally be an orgasm version of the Richter Scale – feels like 20,000 kilograms of dynamite; people near the epicentre would definitely feel this quake.

But you do generally last much longer in bed when you're drunk – for better or worse. It “sometimes lasts too long,” a respondent said. “Compared to when you're high, it feels so great and it might be a little shorter.”

 

Drunk sex can be riskier

According to the report, “with regard to sexual risk behavior, the majority of participants felt that alcohol was riskier, sexually, than marijuana.” Come on, guys, do you really think Mr Reptilian gives a toss about condoms? As a very wise man once said, “you bring the tequila, I'll bring the bad decisions.” The participants confirmed that good judgment became history when they got drunk, reporting that they were likely to blackout and forget who the fuck they'd been fucking, what they'd been doing or whether or not they'd wrapped it up. *Facepalm*

Weed was obviously quite different (are you noticing a pattern here?), with participants feeling like they are more in control and much less likely to have risky sex. “One participant interestingly pointed out that marijuana use decreased his likelihood of engaging in risk behavior because while high he was too paranoid to give in,” the report says.

You can't argue with the results: (in this little sample group, at least) marijuana has trumped alcohol by a mile – but we can't say we're surprised. Of course, not all of us smoke, and not all of us drink – some of us do neither – but ultimately, it all comes down to personal preference. There's definitely some valuable lessons to be learned here though, particularly with regards to drunk sex. Yes, drunk sex is pretty much a fact of life, but if we don't want our sex to go south, maybe we'll all go a little easier on the shots next time.

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