How 5 Common Drugs Affect Sex

March 7th 2016

Lucy Tiven

Drugs and alcohol are a big part of hook-up culture on college campuses and at a local bars and clubs. A 2012 study published by the American Psychological Association found that only 27 percent of men and women who had engaged in casual sex did so sober.

While certain drugs are championed as aphrodisiacs, being too intoxicated can also contribute to erectile dysfunction and make it hard to achieve orgasm.

ATTN: looked into how five common drugs shape up in the sack.

1. Stoned Sex

As ATTN: has previously reported, smoking marijuana can make you more aroused and even improve the quality of sex.

A study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that that half of subjects were more attracted to a familiar partner after smoking, and two thirds of those surveyed reported increased sexual pleasure.

Why is weed such an aphrodisiac? The study cites observations made by Jarvik and Brecher, in "Drugs and sex: Inhibition and enhancement," who wrote that marijuana makes you less inhibited, enhances your sensory perception, and slows your perception of time, making intercourse seem to last longer than it would otherwise.

But don't reach for the bong too quickly. How marijuana effects sex depends on how stoned you get and how much you get stoned. High and frequent doses can also lead to increased frequency of erectile dysfunction and lower sperm counts.

2. Drunk Sex

Alcohol majorly factors into campus hook-ups. A study published in the Journal of Sex Research found that while drinking only contributed to 25 percent of "romantic" encounters between partners, women drank during 53 percent of casual hookups, and drank heavily during 38 percent of them.

"It doesn't appear that people actually enjoy sex more [while drunk or buzzed]," Matthew Johnson, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Johns Hopkins University, told VICE. "It's probably just the disinhibiting effect. Their social anxiety that usually comes along with approaching a [potential] partner is taken down. Or suggesting a sexual practice that you wouldn't usually suggest, particularly with a novel partner, [is] made easier as well."

While drunk goggles may make finding a sexual partner more likely, they don't necessarily improve intercourse or orgasms. Too much alcohol actually dulls the sensation of sex, and can contribute to the erectile dysfunction commonly known as "whiskey-dick." Booze also dehydrates you, which can make it difficult for women to self lubricate during sex.

3. Coke Sex

While cocaine is typically thought of as an aphrodisiac, it can also contribute to erectile dysfunction, or "coke dick."

The euphoria of a coke high can make sex novel and exciting, but heavy use impairs sexual function in both genders. This can lead to a bit of dry thrusting because the drug dehydrates partners and makes it difficult for men to achieve orgasms, according to research from University of California, Santa Barbara.

Some particularly adventurous coke users have reported applying cocaine to their skin due to its numbing properties.

Actress Pam Grier allegedly broke up with comedian Richard Pryor because a doctor found cocaine in her cervix, which she believed Pryor had applied to his penis. In Grier's memoir, she wrote:

He said, "Pam, I want to tell you about an epidemic that's prevalent in Beverly Hills right now. It's a buildup of cocaine residue around the cervix and in the vagina. You have it. Are you doing drugs?"

"No," I said, astonished.

"Well, it's really dangerous," he went on. "Is your partner putting cocaine on his penis to sustain his erection?"

"No," I said, "not that I know of. It's not like he has a pile of cocaine next to the bed and he dips his penis in it before we have sex." I had a nauseating flash of one of Richard's famous lines: Even my dick has a cocaine jones.

"Are you sure he isn't doing it in the bathroom before he comes to bed?" the doctor asked.

"That's a possibility," I said. "You know, I am dating Richard Pryor."

"Oh, my God," he said. "We have a serious problem here. If he's not putting it on his skin directly, then it's worse because the coke is in his seminal fluid."

Grier's doctor may have been misinformed or exaggerating. "It's extremely unlikely that there could be any toxic vagina effect of cocaine," Physician Jan Gurley told Jezebel.

4. MDMA Sex

MDMA use was championed in 1980s couples therapy due to its ability to trigger empathy in users, and has even become colloquially known as "the love drug."

MDMA, or "molly," releases serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain, leading users to feel euphoric, connected, and increasingly social. While molly's stimulant properties can result in an increased sex drive, it doesn't necessarily improve the actual quality of sex.

Like other stimulants, MDMA can cause men to struggle with arousal and ejaculation due to increased body temperature.

5. Trippy Sex

Psychedelics such as LSD and mushrooms and the dissociative party drug ketamine may be less popular as sexual supplements than other street drugs because of how distracting they can be. They also can prolong intercourse, and make it surreal in ways that certain users find enjoyable.

"I've had sex on LSD (for hours and hours) and its pretty much the greatest experience ever," one such Redditor recounted.

Not all shroomers agree. "Shrooms can lead to weird emotions," a Shroomery forum poster warns. "If you know the girl real well it works much better. I slept with this one counselor girl at a camp I volunteered at for kids and tripped on shrooms and partway into it I felt like I was starting to hate her and she just kept getting uglier and uglier." He added, "It's takes about a month to cum but once you do it's almost unnatural."

Johnson told VICE that the varied effects of these drugs can cause a perceived loss of self, that can improve or detriment sex depending on whether it is welcomed or received with anxiety.

"You could think to it as a more unconstrained form of consciousness," he said. "That can result in panic and anxiety at the loss of ego boundaries and confusion. [Or] it can lead to ecstatic states of intense feelings of unity with the universe and everything."