During sex, our bodies undergo various processes — our heart rate and blood flow increase, our muscles tense and our brain produces hormones that stimulate pleasure.
At the center of it all is the nervous system. Within the nervous system is a complex network of neurotransmitters and receptors called the endocannabinoid system that regulate hormone production, physical sensation and emotional processing.
When you add CBD to your sex life, cannabinoids can interact with this system to heighten your libido, relax your body and enhance your experience.
Sex is physically and psychologically stimulating, and CBD can affect how our brain interprets these sensations.
In this guide, we’re exploring the chemistry between this unlikely pairing.
Understanding CBD and Sex
So, how exactly do CBD and sex fit together? In short, CBD — a cannabinoid derived from the flowers, leaves and stems of the cannabis plant — interacts directly with your nervous system, your body’s central command for the regulation of hormones related to touch, sensation and emotion.
More specifically, CBD interacts with your endocannabinoid system (ECS), a complex system of endocannabinoids (neurotransmitters) and receptors that help regulate various actions throughout the nervous system.
Many of these receptors are located in the reproductive organs and sexual tissue. CBD can increase blood flow to these tissues, which can increase sensitivity and the production of natural lubricants.
Sex and the Brain
Sex is physically and psychologically stimulating, and CBD can affect how our brain interprets these sensations.
That said, ECS receptors are found throughout the brain, specifically in the hypothalamus and pituitary gland, which release endorphins — hormones that create feelings of happiness and relaxation — at the end of the sexual response cycle.
Studies conducted by neuroscientists at Rutgers University suggest that 30 sections of the brain activate during an orgasm in both men and women. CBD can influence these regions, which include:
- Sensory cortex – This complex registers physical stimulation. This includes stimulation of the clitoris, cervix and vagina in women and the stimulation of the penis in men.
- Limbic System – This network influences our emotive responses and behavior. When our bodies become aroused, neurochemicals flood the limbic system to create feelings of attachment, love and pleasure.
- Hypothalamus – This structure regulates our autonomic nervous system or the unconscious activities our body performs. When the hypothalamus is stimulated, sexual behavior can increase.
What Are the Benefits of CBD For Sex?
Is CBD good for sex? Are there certain CBD effects on hormones? To fully understand the relationship between CBD and sex, more research is necessary. However, it’s believed that CBD may heighten the physical and emotional sensations felt during sexual activity.
This is all tied to relaxation.
Harvard Health found that CBD can help you loosen up and enjoy sex by:
- Improving circulation – Bloodflow is essential to how the body functions during any sexual activity. Your heart rate increases and blood induces stimulation by rushing to endogenous zones. Ample blood flow is particularly important for male genitalia function.
- Lowering stress levels – Research equates lower stress to a higher sex drive and heightened sexual pleasure in those who identify as male and female.
- Balancing hormones – Hormones regulate everything from sex drive and attraction to sensual sensations, and a healthy hormone balance allows your body to operate at peak capacity.
All that said, CBD may help to increase libido, relaxation and physical sensation during sexual intimacy. Let’s explore the specifics of sex and CBD in depth.
#1 May Boost Libido
Your libido, or sexual desire, is regulated by your nervous system and your hormones, which are chemical messengers in your bloodstream that send signals to different parts of your body.
As you know, CBD may interact with ECS receptors in your brain that promote sexual pleasure and positive feelings. It may also help to reduce stress.
Stress increases your body’s supply of cortisol, a fight-or-flight response hormone. A study from the Journal of Sexual Medicine linked an increase in cortisol to low sexual performance and fewer instances of sexual arousal.
Fortunately, CBD can ease stress by inhibiting cortisol production to increase sexual desire and feelings of contentment.
#2 May Benefit Fertility
CBD’s link to fertility lies in its role in the endocannabinoid system. ECS receptors are present within our reproductive organs. And a study published by the British Journal of Pharmacology suggested that endocannabinoids and ECS signaling plays a role in:
- Sperm production
- Embryo development
The endocannabinoid system also plays a role in successfully transporting eggs to the
uterus, where they are fertilized. As such, when you use a CBD oil or consume a CBD
gummy, the cannabinoids can help regulate these processes.
#3 Can Act as a Lubricant
While there are multiple CBD infused lube brands currently on the market, their effectiveness is not verified by science. However, studies are underway.
When applied topically, it’s believed that a CBD lubricant can help tissues retain moisture and relieve topical friction. That said, you’ll want to be cautious when incorporating any type of oil-based lubricant. Per the Women’s Health Network:
- All oil-based lubricants can erode materials like latex and polyisoprene, frequently used in condoms.
- CBD products with additives or flavorings made for ingestion can cause discomfort or irritation to delicate areas of the skin and the genital region.
- There is not yet a purity standard for CBD, which means there could be trace amounts of THC, which can enter your system during intercourse. Make sure to source quality products from transparent companies.
That said, it’s advised to speak with a medical professional before using a CBD lubricant.
#4 May Relieve Physical Discomfort
Contracted muscles and a lack of lubrication can make an intimate experience uncomfortable. Other times, those dealing with chronic physical conditions may find it difficult to partake in sex.
Fortunately, CBD may help ease cramps, aches and injuries to make intimate experiences more comfortable. Cannabinoids bind to the body’s ECS receptors, which moderate communication between your nerve endings and the brain.
CBD can also suppress unpleasant inflammation — which occurs when white blood cells flock to an injury — whether it occurs before or during intercourse. CBD oil may also counteract physical discomfort by regulating the release of dopamine, a pleasure hormone that also regulates blood flow and movement.
Although more research needs to be conducted to confirm CBD’s potency and absorption rates, medical professionals are hopeful that this ECS pathway could open new doors for the management of physical strain.
#5 May Heighten Feelings and Sensations
Although CBD alone does not induce psychotropic effects, the compound can affect how we register physical sensations, which may lead an improved sexual experience.
Research published by Neuropsychopiharacology found that CBD can activate the brain’s right temporal cortex, where the brain processes sound. Why does that matter? The Marital Intimacy Institute indicates that auditory arousal is key to enhancing erotic experiences.
In addition, a 2022 study from researchers at the University of New Mexico found that cannabinoids may have a positive psychological impact on healthy young adults since CBD plays a role in the production of dopamine and serotonin, which are linked to sex drive and sexual arousal.
#6 May Support Healthy Skin
During intercourse, blood flow increases to deliver oxygen to the skin and improve its complexion. And CBD may help support healthy, glowing skin. Learn more about how to take advantage of a CBD beauty boost.
Within the skin are ECS receptors, which are located in the dermal cells. These cells are responsible for giving the skin its structure and strength. They also include our sweat glands and hair follicles.
A 2020 study published by Clinical Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology suggests that CBD may help defend your skin against pathogens and toxins during sex. It may also soothe irritated skin that’s dry or itchy.
Forms of CBD For Sex
CBD can be taken at home in many forms, depending on its intended use. Those looking to ease physical symptoms immediately can opt for topicals and inhalants, while CBD oils and CBD gummies for sex can stay in your system for a longer period of time to boost libido and sensations:
- Topicals – This option usually comes as an herb-infused tincture, oil, lotion or cream to rub on your body. These forms work to target specific areas of the body. However, it’s important to note that skin permeability is generally low, so you’ll want to use a product with high CBD content.
- Consumables – These forms can come as beverages, gummies or dissolving capsules. Options that must go through the digestive tract can take up to two hours to absorb into the bloodstream. As a result, a lower percentage of CBD is successfully transferred.
Safe Sex With CBD
Although CBD is federally legal, testing processes are not standardized and CBD has yet to receive approval from the FDA due to concerns over external contaminants.
For products that may affect your most intimate moments, as well as your most sensitive areas, it’s critical to source your CBD from a reputable CBD retailer. As you shop, vet the products with the following checklist:
- Request test results – Quality companies test their products and make these results publicly available. These results are usually listed on a certificate of analysis (COA), which should ideally be conducted by a third party and unique to each product batch.
- Locate THC and CBD percentages – These numbers should be readily available on the company’s COA. A study by the University of Pennsylvania showed that only 30% of CBD products contain actual CBD content as listed on the label.
- Source CBD from the U.S. – Cannabis plants are highly regulated in the U.S., compared to other countries. As such, it’s less likely that the CBD you buy is contaminated with pesticides, carcinogens and heavy metals.
Lastly, if you opt to use CBD as a lubricant, consider patch testing to test for any irritation.
Get Intimate With Zebra CBD
Adding CBD to the mix can boost your sexual desire, relax your body and heighten sensations during intercourse. That said, like a sexual partner, it benefits to be picky about the CBD you add to your sex life.
At Zebra CBD, our CBD oil is third-party tested and comes with a label accuracy guarantee to ensure you’re getting a safe and transparent CBD product. We offer a variety of CBD products, including CBD oil, CBD gummies, CBD chewable tablets and CBD topicals.
Make sparks fly with Zebra CBD.
Vox. This is what your brain looks like during an orgasm. https://www.vox.com/2015/4/1/8325483/orgasms-science
Physicians Lab. CBD and the Endocannabinoid System. https://physicianslab.com/cbd-and-the-endocannabinoid-system/
Women’s Health. Can You Use CBD Oil as Lube or For Anal Sex? https://www.womens-health.com/cbd-oil-as-lube
Scientific Reports. Cannabis consumption and prosociality. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-022-12202-8
Laura M. Brotherson, LMFT. Auditory Arousal. https://maritalintimacyinst.com/wp-content/uploads/AUDITORY-AROUSAL.pdf