The Curious Connection Between CBD and Orgasm (plus other questions from the bedroom)
We hate to take the intimate, nuanced, and sometimes confounding (downright frustrating for many women) subject of orgasm and relegate it to chemistry….
We ARE essentially complex webs of chemical and electrical pathways underneath all that attraction, mood, desire, and Love Actually.
Wow...that's a sexy start to this article...
We can't make your partner super spontaneous and attentive (CBD only has so much influence) but we can look at other aspects of satisfaction in sex.
There's also the strange connection between CBD, Anandamide, and orgasm.
We'll get to that later.
Let's first address some key questions people have regarding CBD and sex.
Keep in mind that the researchers are busy studying cancer, mental illness, and autoimmune diseases first.
You know...the big ticket items like life and death!
In between those two is sex.
We'll look at what research is showing.
Since it's still limited on that front, we'll have to piece together clues.
We'll touch base on these key questions people have:
- CBD, sex, and hormones
- CBD and sexual anxiety
- CBD and sex drive
- Does CBD make men last longer
- Does CBD help with erectile dysfunction
- Does CBD intimate oil work
- CBD and painful sex
- CBD as a lubricant
- Best CBD for sexual support
- Recent study of CBD and male reproduction
- Finally...CBD and orgasm. Connecting the dots.
CBD, sex, and hormones
We take it for granted but a lot has to go right for sex to happen.
Forget the physical...like so many things in life, it's the mental that matters.
Especially for women!
Men are simpler in this respect.
Let's face it...they're playing checkers and we're playing chess in the bedroom.
That's primarily a function of Testosterone.
This hormone is the primary driver of libido.
When I was fiddling with hormone replacement after perimenopause, i can tell you the effects of testosterone are EXTREMELY powerful on libido.
When I first started it (before my body could adjust to it), I felt glimpses of what men must feel.
It's pretty raw!
All our hormones start dropping in our 30's (studies are showing it's getting earlier with environmental effects).
Women have testosterone as well!
Not as much but we have it and we need it.
It's not just for libido but heart and muscle health. Brain functioning.
Heck...research even tied it to a "care free" attitude on the world.
"It will turn out the way it will turn out".
That's the OPPOSITE of anxiety.
It's supreme (and occasionally moronic) self-confidence.
There's a great article here on why sex isn't just about feeling good...it's good for the immune system, our sense of confidence, and even as a window into our body's hormonal age:
Now, let's throw in dopamine.
Dopamine is your pleasure chemical used primarily for reward.
It's your drive (work hard, ambition, get out of bed, do something with that HAIR).
It's also your sex drive!
It's released during sex and if the sex is arousing enough, along comes epinephrine.
There are other players but we'll end with Anandamide.
It's named after the Hindu goddess of Bliss, Anand.
- The runner's high?? Anandamide (not endorphins).
- The effects of meditation, yoga, and...orgasm?
Guess what Anandamide is?
It's the most prominent endocannabinoid in the body!
It's CBD's first (maybe second since CBD is from a plant) cousin.
We'll look at that curious connection later.
One final note for sex and women.
It's much more nuanced!
There are parts of the brain and other hormones and neurotransmitters that are marbleized through the sexual experience.
Emotional areas of the brain light up. Oxytosin is one of your powerful hormones that come into play.
It's called the "love" drug and is all about feeling a connection with your partner.
Its levels go up when you hug or kiss someone.
Estrogen is also directly linked to sexual desire in women.
Interesting studies show that women's attraction to more masculine faces will change depending on their estrogen (and progesterone) levels.
Look...if you really need further confirmation of Estrogen's role in women's sex life:
Estrogen replacement in postmenopausal women can improve clitoral and vaginal sensitivity, increase libido, and decrease vaginal dryness and pain during intercourse.
That about covers it for estrogen!
We could go on and on about sex and hormones but we just want to set the stage.
Keep in mind that 75% of women don't reach orgasm with only intercourse and approximately 10-15% never reach orgasm.
Those are some crappy numbers, ladies. We can do better!
Like we said, lots has to go right.
So...how does CBD come into play?
CBD, sex, and hormones
First, CBD helps to bolster the endocannabinoid system.
Research is showing that this system (all animals have one) helps to balance key systems in the body:
- Endocrine system (ding ding ding - hormones like estrogen, testosterone, oxytocin)
- Immune system (inflammation response, pain, and more)
- Nervous system (mood, arousal, etc)
Okay...the endocrine and nervous system are directly tied to sexual function.
In fact, they ARE sexual function (and/or dysfunction).
Even the immune system is important as it relates to key impediments to good sex (anxiety, irritability, histamine issues, etc).
Let's start with the obvious suspects.
Unless it's a one night stand (Thank you testosterone, estrogen, and epinephrine), having a connection with our partner can drive great sex!
That's in large part due to oxytocin.
While studying autism, researchers realized that anandamide and oxytocin function (for social interaction broadly) were intimately linked.
In fact, you need anandamide for the oxytosin pathway to function!
Guess what helps to boost anandamide levels in the body WHEN they are insufficient?
Cannabidiol treatment was accompanied by a significant increase in serum anandamide levels, which was significantly associated with clinical improvement.
What about Estrogen?
Researchers originally stumbled on the intricate relationship between estrogen and the endocannabinoid system studying hormone driven cancers:
The most potent growth stimulating oestrogen is 17β-oestradiol (E2), which has been linked directly and indirectly with the endocannabinoid system
That's the system that CBD supports.
The relationship appears to be bi-directional and highly integrated:
First, the endocannabinoid system is implicated in behaviors and physiological functions that are known to be regulated in part by gonadal hormones.
There are dozens of studies right now. As we get more information, we'll add here.
So much about great sex comes down to removing the impediments to sex.
Let's look at CBD and those issues directly.
CBD and sexual anxiety
Our behavioral responses are complicated swirls of history, chemistry, genetics, and situation.
And then you throw sex in the picture!
Let's magnify all of that by 100.
CBD is showing powerful effects on anxiety across the board.
More importantly, it addresses the chemistry behind the curtains.
Cortisol is the main culprit.
Check out what research is showing for CBD and anxiety here.
A quick summary for research:
preclinical evidence strongly supports CBD as a treatment for generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive–compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder
What's worse than fear of sexual performance?
How about public speaking!
Pretreatment with CBD significantly reduced anxiety, cognitive impairment and discomfort in their speech performance, and significantly decreased alert in their anticipatory speech.
Focus on that word "performance".
Sub out "sexual" for "speech" right before performance.
This a great proxy of sexual anxiety that has hard (sorry for pun) research.
What about sex drive?
CBD and sex drive
We discussed the important of hormone balance and levels for sex drive above.
That's not the whole picture.
We have to remove anxiety and depression which are killers in the bedroom.
CBD is powerful on both counts as stress response can wreck havoc on sex drive.
Our response to stress maybe the single best thing we can do for sex drive.
This is especially for true for women (as if you don't know this already):
Similarly, for partnered desire, higher perceived stress predicted lower desire for women, but higher desire for men.
That inability to turn off your head is sex enemy #1.
Women in the high stress group had lower levels of genital, but not psychological arousal, had higher levels of cortisol, and reported more distraction during the erotic film than women in the average stress group. The main predictor of decreased genital sexual arousal was participants’ distraction scores.
It turns out that "distraction" was the key issue.
Turning everything off in the head.
Both psychological (distraction) and hormonal (increased cortisol) factors were related to the lower levels of sexual arousal seen in women high in chronic stress
Remember the stress hormone Cortisol?
The women who showed an increase in cortisol had lower scores on the Arousal, Desire, and Satisfaction domains of the Female Sexual Function Index.
Be gone Cortisol! You're not welcomed in our sex life anymore.
What about his side of the bed?
Does CBD make men last longer
There are some possible physical causes of premature ejaculation but let's face it...it's all mental.
In fact, there's a feedback loop of being worried about it which can cause the issue.
The whole "think of baseball" strategy.
We would rather have him think of you!
This is just a different variant of performance anxiety described above.
The public speaking research above is equally powerful for the psychological attributes.
Think about it….you have a speech all planned out before you go up (without CBD).
You know how you will start, your opening line, everything.
You get there and everything goes to hell!
Just the thought of doing this prior to speaking can create a nasty feedback loop insuring it happens.
CBD was able to address the chemical precursors to this performance anxiety.
In fact, it even brought down pulse and skin electricity signals that are NOT in our direct control.
The autonomic nervous system!
Of course, neurotransmitters are at play.
Research is showing that a low level of serotonin may be involved.
In fact, one of the side effects of antidepression medications called SSRI's is a delay or even inability to ejaculate (along with a host of others).
CBD's affect on serotonin (a hormone) was discovered through research into depression.
You can learn all about CBD and Depression here.
More detail on Serotonin and premature ejaculation here:
The safety profile on CBD is very strong.
I was on an SSRI after perimenopause sent me reeling (see Dre's Story) and I lost all sex drive!
Oh, and I couldn't sleep for 3 days straight so there's that.
The relationship between CBD and and Serotonin:
Our results suggest that the antidepressant-like effect induced by CBD in the FST is dependent on serotonin levels in the central nervous system (CNS).
What about the other side of the coin?
Does CBD help with erectile dysfunction
We first have to rule out the various hormonal and environmental triggers.
Stress. Alchohol. Smoking. Depression. Obesity. Heart disease. And more!
Low testosterone is a key thing to rule out as well.
Beyond that, erectile dysfunction is primarily a vascular issue.
Signals to the tissue that control constriction and relaxation are not working correctly.
Viagra, the blockbuster drug blocks an enzyme which allows blood vessel muscles to relax.
Nitrous oxide, is a vasodilator which allows the inner muscles of blood vessels to relax which expands the vessels.
Guess what system is tasked with smooth blood vessel muscle contraction and relaxation?
The endocannabinoid system.
In fact, there are CB receptors in both the vas deferan and lining of the blood vessel walls and muscle.
Researchers found this out when investigating heart and blood pressure issues (same pathways):
This study shows, for the first time, that CBD causes vasorelaxation of human mesenteric arteries via activation of CB1 and TRP channels, and is endothelium- and nitric oxide-dependent.
We look forward to studies on CBD and Erectile dysfunction specifically but it's fingerprints are all over the pathway and mechanism as play.
It's impact on nitrous oxide alone (which may be more effective than even Viagra) are key.
Keep in mind that vasodilation are key to women's sexual response as well!
This brings us to our next section.
CBD and painful sex
Pain in general, is directly moderated by the endocannabinoid system.
You can learn all about CBD and pain here.
There are different reasons for painful sex which need to be ruled out:
- Yeast overgrowth
- Low estrogen levels
- Neuropathic pain
The endocannabinoid system, if not functioning correctly, can impact all of these.
First, there's the immune system which controls inflammation, pain, and even cell growth and death.
More importantly, it's positively integrated with immune response to bacteria and yeast.
Let's look at research specific to female sexual response though.
We can't say it better than the researchers:
Results revealed a significant relationship between endocannabinoid concentrations and female sexual arousal, whereby increases in both physiological and subjective indices of sexual arousal were significantly associated with decreases in AEA, and increases in subjective indices of sexual arousal were significantly associated with decreases in 2-AG.
If that system is under duress, sexual arousal and the physical results (lubrication, arousal, etc) are going to suffer.
CBD directly supports a healthy functioning endocannabinoid system!
The study above is very interesting. It studies cannabis but CBD is one of the two dominant cannabinoids in the plant.
It's not just physical effects but signals in the nervous system with a reduction in anxiety, inhibition, and a greater focus!
This brings us to the next question on your mind.
Does CBD intimate oil work
We mentioned above in the erectile dysfunction section how various pathways under the control of the endocannabinoid system are at play.
That also goes for women!
The same vascular muscle relaxation is directly responsible for lubrication, heightened sensitivity, blood flow to important areas!
Add to this the reduction in anxiety and an increase in focus in the brain!
Then throw in a reduction in pain sensitivity, neurological inflammation (and therefore pain), anti-bacterial and anti-fungal effects, and just for the candle on top…
Heightening of the very chemical that gives orgasm it's bliss.
It happens to be an endocannabinoid!
This is just a smattering of the positives CBD oil would have on sexual satisfaction.
So…what can we do about it?
CBD as a lubricant
Some smart people then decided to add CBD to a lubricant.
The reviews have been very strong.
The only issue is finding the right one.
There are trade-offs in terms of ingredients, base oils, effects on latex, etc.
We want to avoid THC since many people are allergic to it and studies show that it might actually cause dryness down south.
We also want to avoid the usual suspects of bad actors (sulfates, parabens, glycerol, and more).
Basically, we would love just organic coconut oil (or mct oil) and CBD!
In the meantime, we will use the standard CBD oil here which meets these requirements!
Keep in mind that the oil may degrade latex!
We'll test the available CBD only lubricants on the market soon with a report (the work we do for the public :)
Best CBD for sexual support
There's a pretty good review of lubricants with CBD here:
There are pro's and con's to each of them in our books.
- We don't want THC (for large # of people allergic to it)
- We don't want nasty chemicals and preservatives (see her list above)
- We want the right consistency
Look...if you can put it in your mouth, it probably shouldn't be down there as well.
Ideally, we want organic coconut oil and CBD with a sufficient level.
Until we find the right product, we'll use the 1000 mg CBD Isolate with MCT (coconut derived) base oil below.
Finally...CBD and orgasm. Connecting the dots.
We saved the best for last (just to follow nature's cue :)
Remember way back up top when we talked about Anandamide??
The "bliss" molecule named after the Hindu goddess, Anand?
Research just directly tied it to the sensation immediately following orgasm.
The orgasm itself is an explosion of dopamine and oxytocin.
Both were mentioned above and have an intimate connection with the endocannabinoid system.
In fact, the endocannabinoid system is written all over the entire process of orgasm!
2-AG (2nd most prominent endocannabinoid in your body) spikes during orgasm.
Followed by Anandamide and feeling of "bliss" after.
Here's the key take-away.
2-AG appears integral to INITIATING an orgasm!
Remember the 15% of women that never reach orgasm or the 75% who don't via intercourse?
Not as much is known about 2-AG but can we please get to work on that!
Like we said, we don't want to make orgasm into a chemistry experiment, but we also don't remember the chapter on starting orgasms in high school chem.
Our grades probably would have been better. So would our orgasms!!
As always, let us know what works and doesn't work for you!