A new study makes a rather tantalizing claim: sex is better with marijuana than it is with alcohol. 

This is not news to the readers of our many posts on sex and cannabis, a known aphrodisiac all the way back to ancient Indian tantric rituals. But nonetheless, a team of researchers associated with the New York University's Center for Drug Use and HIV Research (CDUHR) has assembled a group of 24 heterosexual adults to show that, for many reasons, marijuana is a better way to enjoy sex than alcohol.

The goal of the study, it should be noted, was not to determine who had a better time - a drunk or a high couple. As more states legalize marijuana and it becomes more popular nationwide, the researchers were interested in examining if and how marijuana use may influence risk for unsafe sexual behavior.

"With marijuana becoming more accepted in the U.S. along with more liberal state-level policies," said Joseph J. Palamar, PhD, MPH, an affiliate of CDUHR and an assistant professor of Population Health at NYU Langone Medical Center (NYULMC), "it is important to examine users' sexual experiences and sexual risk behavior associated with use to inform prevention and harm reduction."

From this standpoint, marijuana was judged a better bet than alcohol, because study participants were less likely to engage in risky sexual behaviour, or regret the decisions they made while they were high.

"It wasn't surprising that alcohol use reportedly led to less post-sex satisfaction than marijuana," said Dr. Palamar. "Participants reported feelings of regret more frequently after sex on alcohol, but compared to alcohol they generally didn't report poor judgment after using marijuana."

A Washington Post writer pulled some interesting quotes and insights from the study. Among them:

  • People are generally more aware and discerning when it comes to picking their sex partners: "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.
  • People who are high want to spend time together afterwards, not shy away from each other: "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.' Or get away from me."
  • The sex is simply better: "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."

h/t The Washington Post, Science Daily.