Cannabis, Sex, & the Occult: A Conversation with Sophie Saint Thomas
“I write about cannabis and sex because that’s what I like. It’s the truth.” - Sophie Saint Thomas
IntroductionGoldleaf is proud to announce the release of The Intimacy Journal.
The Intimacy Journal is the result of our collaboration with the wellness experts at FORIA and Sophie Saint Thomas, author of the forthcoming Sex Witch: Magickal Spells for Love, Lust, and Self-Protection and contributor at VICE, Playboy, High Times, Cosmopolitan, GQ, and many other notable publications.
We recently had the opportunity to chat with Sophie about her thoughts on cannabis’ interplay with a smorgasbord of topics related to sex, kink, BDSM, gender, and the occult. She shared her perspectives on these topics and the typical results and associations that usually come about when pairing cannabis with sex.
Of course, your mileage may vary. A key point Sophie emphasized was that experiences with sex on cannabis differ from person to person, and even from sexual encounter to sexual encounter.
Equal But Different“There’s evidence that estrogen gets you higher and testosterone does the opposite.”
This sex-based difference in response to cannabis often leads to a mismatch in how high partners will feel when including cannabis in their lovelife.
That said, other factors (e.g. a person’s weight, frequency of past cannabis use, unique biochemistry, etc.) also play major roles in how someone will feel when using cannabis during sex. These considerations often necessitate that lovers take different doses of cannabis before heading to the bedroom (or the woods, on a billiards table, or wherever the mood may strike).
Sophie related that, from her own experience, she has found that men and women tend to prefer different varieties of cannabis.
“The industry is moving away from the indica and sativa model in terms of a more accurate and detailed response, but I hear a lot of women wanting to use indicas, indicating they would want a more calming experience. With men, it seems to be they want a more energetic experience from sativas.”
Some men, Sophie continued, shy away from using cannabis at all in their sex lives.
“There are a lot of dominant men who find that cannabis lowers their aggression and they just want to lie around and be cuddly, which is cool, but it can be frustrating if you took it for something else and then have that experience.”
Methods of AdministrationMost of us have a favorite way to consume cannabis. Some love the overwhelming power of dabs. Others appreciate the convenience and purity of vaping. Experienced cannabis connoisseurs may enjoy the tried and true comfort of smoking joints. Those of us in college (or who wish we were) may prefer gravity bongs made from bottles of pop.
Is there a specific method of consumption that outshines all the others when mixing cannabis with sex?
“I would say it really depends on what a person wants and is looking for. They’re all very different methods. A dab is going to hit you really quickly within a second of taking it and it’s going to be really intense, but you probably won’t be feeling it much by the time you’re done having sex. Whereas if you take an edible, it’s going to be a slow crawl and you might not even feel the high until two hours later and it isn’t going to be completely gone for around six hours, so that’s going to give you a really different experience. One thing a person may want to do to decide is ask themselves whether they want a body high and an alteration of the senses, like from edibles, or a more cerebral effect, like from inhalation.”
If you’re unsure of which method of administration would work best, experiment and use The Intimacy Journal to discover your preference/s.
Cannabis and Sexual Challenges
While sex feels incredible (when enjoyed with compatible partners), some of us may not be able to fully appreciate our amorous experiences because of a variety of medical conditions.
Cannabis has been proven to be effective as part of a patient’s health regimen for a whole range of health concerns—from cancer to diabetes to glaucoma and many other medical challenges. Can it also assist with sexual-related issues?
The answer depends on both the condition and the person.
Regarding vaginal dryness: “I wrote a very controversial article a while ago about ‘cotton vagina’ for VICE. This article was an interview with a very respected doctor. We talked about how cannabis dries, like dry mouth, but it’s not just the mucous membranes in your mouth, it’s everywhere. Again, it’s a controversial take, no one has a study on how cannabis affects a vagina’s ability to become wet. That being said, cannabis is really good for menopausal women and women who experience vaginal dryness for other reasons, especially when they use suppositories. Smoking or consuming weed in other ways probably would not have the same effect, although for some people it will. A suppository can produce wetness and make someone with vaginal dryness more comfortable during sex because not only is there actual oil in the product you’re putting in you, but it’s also going to increase blood flow and reduce pain, so I would say it’s the way to go.”
For women and people with vulvas who have trouble achieving orgasm, Sophie shared that: “It’s known that cannabis enhances physical sensation for everyone, so it can heighten sensation and that can help you achieve orgasm. First, we have to remember the sex educator mantra that the biggest sexual organ is the brain. So if you’re anxious, if you’re worried, if you have sexual trauma and a little bit of PTSD, if you’re stuck in your head and you can’t focus on the moment, you’re not going to be able to come. Maybe if you bring out the Hitachi and put it to the top setting, but that’s about it. So cannabis, by relaxing your mind, can make it easier to come; and it is a vasodilator, meaning that it increases blood flow, which is associated with increased orgasm. Also, since your senses are heightened, orgasm can not only happen easier, but feel better and more intense. Your senses can also blur, so it’s not just enhancing orgasm, but you might also feel like you can feel a song or taste a touch, so orgasms can be more varied.”
When asked about erectile dysfunction, Sophie contended that cannabis’ ability to act as a vasodilator may prove useful for men and people with penises who struggle with this issue. However, Sophie was careful to counterbalance that claim, as some people do report it’s more difficult to achieve an erection when stoned.
In regards to premature ejaculation?
“Cannabis may be useful for that because it gets you stuck in your head. I think it takes you a little out of your body and in that way can help your boner last longer.”
Try integrating cannabis into your lovelife if you have a sexual-related challenge and use The Intimacy Journal to track your results.
Kinky CannabisDo whips, chains...and cannabis excite you?
You’re not alone. According to Sophie, the cannabis and kink scenes are “definitely intertwined.”
Several fetishes involve cannabis, including: “forced intox, which is a consensual nonconsensual experience where someone will be tied up and then the dominant will make them take a dab and be in control of how high they get.”
If (legal) ageplay is more your thing: “There’s this website called FetLife that is a kinky social media site. On it, there’s a group about adult babies that like to get stoned in their diapers, and particularly get off on the crinkly feeling while being high.”
Cannabis can lead to incredible BDSM experiences, particularly for submissives.
“It can definitely help you enter subspace. Cannabis, even though it might be milder than LSD, is a psychedelic. I’ve certainly had experiences where I was having sex or in a kink scene and then my brain was just a visual that wasn’t where I was; I know other people have too. And cannabis can help you relax and surrender, which is great because it can be hard to enter subspace. I think it’s also really great for aftercare, when a sub and a dom will take care of one another after a scene. If there are any bruises from impact play, you could apply anti-inflammatory topicals, or just pass a joint to feel connected and talk about what you liked and what can be improved.”
Whatever your preferred kinks, cannabis can “definitely make people more sexually adventurous.”
The Sexual Ethics of CannabisRegardless of your own and your partners’ unique turn-ons, one thing that’s non-negotiable is consent.
Can a person under the influence of cannabis consent to sex or a kink scene?
“It completely depends. I think in some instances, it’s totally fine. I don’t really drink anymore; I only use cannabis. But my boyfriend, he’ll smoke sometimes, but he loves red wine. So we always unwind and then have sex. I’ll be on edibles or be smoking a vape and he’ll have a glass of wine. I certainly don’t consider that nonconsensual when we have sex and I’m the only stoned one. But I am transparent with him about how much I take and what I take, just like I can see how much wine he’s drinking, so I guess I think the line there is whether everyone is aware of the substances that the other partner is on.”
Potential for Sexual Assault SurvivorsAccording to RAINN, approximately 433,648 people (over the age of twelve) are raped or sexually assaulted each year in the United States. 18% of American women and 3% of American men have been the victims of a completed or attempted rape. In the transgender, genderqueer, and nonconforming communities, rates are even higher, with 21% of TGQN college students having been sexually assaulted.
With sexual violence so widespread in our society, does cannabis have the potential to help people reaffirm their sexual essence after experiencing such traumatic events?
“Yeah. I mean I know it has; that’s how I got my medical marijuana card and started studying about cannabis. There are no studies directly on sexual assault survivors who use cannabis for PTSD, but there are piles of really wonderful information on cannabis’ ability to treat PTSD and tons of studies on how sexual assault and rape lead to PTSD and the stats of the people that have it, so it’s really just connecting those two dots. I’m certainly far from the only one. I’ve spoken with countless people. It’s the same thing though as a combat soldier; cannabis can help quell nightmares. THC suppresses dreams, which is helpful if you’re having really bad PTSD nightmares. The thing about cannabis where it’s like, 'oh my god what was I just thinking about, I can’t even remember': that’s really helpful for people who have flashbacks. If you’re about to have sex and you’re having flashbacks, cannabis short circuits that and helps to keep you present and in the moment. There are also the issues of anxiety and depression. There’s just a whole lot of evidence that it works, and not only that it works, but that it’s quite safer in its side effect profile than some of the other medications being used for PTSD.”
Potential for Overcoming Sex-Negative ConditioningSometimes people unwittingly develop a sex-negative attitude. This can come about because of your parents’ beliefs about sex, your religious background, or from a variety of other reasons. We asked Sophie if cannabis can help overcome sex-negative conditioning.
“I know it can; I’ve done it to people. I’ve converted them to the ‘right side.’ Seriously though, religious trauma is very real. It can mess you up to be told that if you don’t follow a certain set of rules, especially if you’re gay or kinky or have been raped or a lot of things that the church doesn’t tend to handle very well and you feel like you’re doomed to hell. That’s really tough and draining to shake, so I don’t think it should be said lightly that cannabis can help you. I think it can not only act to help heal and safely confront trauma, but can help you to lower your inhibitions and maybe express and explore some things about your sexuality that you were taught and felt that you had to repress for a long time.”
Better Sex On CannabisSophie believes that cannabis can make you a better lover.
“Yeah. It can. There’s research that can be applied to this. It has been shown to reduce your negative bias, which I always describe as helping you go from seeing the glass half empty to the glass half full. So instead of being in bed with your partner and being like ‘Oh my god, here’s all the things I can nag them about right now,’ you’d be more inclined to change that thought process to ‘here’s all the good things I can say.’ And I think that’s pretty beneficial.”
Additionally, many cannabis-based products are exceptional additions to integrate into your lovelife.
“FORIA is really great. A lot of products just say ‘hemp oil,’ which is not the same as a full-spectrum cannabis oil like what FORIA produces.”
Lubes are one of the most popular cannabis-based products to include in lovemaking escapades. But are they good for both vaginal and anal sex?
“I personally think they work better for anal sex, mostly because anal sex is more high maintenance to begin with. I mean the asshole just isn’t self-lubricating. And I think that sodomy is holy. I love sodomy, so I don’t mean to say that it wasn’t meant to go there or sound like that, but it just wasn’t in the same way the vagina was. My anal sex recipe is putting in a cannabis suppository and then a butt plug to keep it in there and then fooling around for at least thirty minutes before taking it out and moving on to the dildo or the penis. I mean vaginal suppositories can be great. I actually like them best for relieving period cramps, and I’ve heard a lot of positive reviews from menopausal women regarding vaginal dryness, but I don’t know, the most fun I’ve had with that is to like turn your pussy into a topical, which is also a kinky thing to do. But I think it’s more pronounced for anal simply because of its effects, how it’s pain relieving without numbing you out like some drugstore lubricants do, which can be dangerous because then you can actually not feel if you’re hurting your body. And I think the added lubrication is just more useful in anal sex, but I certainly wouldn’t discourage anyone from using them vaginally.”
Reigniting Lost SparksSometimes, even in the best of relationships, time can put a damper on a couple’s sexual fulfillment. Would trying cannabis together be a good idea to help a couple rediscover their sexual chemistry?
“Couples can, whether they realize it or not, get stuck in a rut, where they’re just a bit nasty to each other. Not horribly, but you just learn to take someone for granted after a certain amount of time. However, cannabis really reinstates this childlike happy state where there’s just a lot of giggles and letting loose and having fun, and so I think the fact that it can make couples have fun reminds them how happy they make each other. Couples can start in a really slow, sexy, and safe way, like smoking a joint or a vaporizer in a bath together or using cannabis massage oil. There are just so many things you can do with cannabis, and I think it can absolutely help you break out of your shell and say yes to trying new kinks and maybe during dirty talk admit something you want to try.”
Cannabis and the Queer CommunitySexual attraction is a wide spectrum. There are people who are only attracted to the opposite sex, people who are only attracted to the same sex, and people who are somewhere between these two extremes. Does cannabis affect people differently based on their sexual orientation?
“I don’t think so. I think we have to just say that gender is fluid and it depends on the individual.”
Sophie also pointed out the historical links between the LGBT community and the cannabis community.
“The gay community and the cannabis community have a long and I won’t say beautiful relationship because it’s sad, but they really pushed forward the medical marijuana agenda to take on AIDS in the late '80s and early '90s. So I do think there is a kinship between the queer community and the cannabis community.”
The Magick of Cannabis
Sophie’s latest book, Sex Witch: Magickal Spells for Love, Lust, and Self-Protection, will be released in September 2020. For those drawn to alternative spirituality and the occult, we asked Sophie if cannabis can be used in sex magick or other sexual-based pagan practices and worship. If so, how?
Sophie laughed, half-joking that you can integrate cannabis into your magickal practices by “Smoking it, then masturbating and thinking about all the money you want to make.”
She continued, explaining that: “I hate to sound like a broken record, but it’s really individualized. I love getting really stoned and meditating, and I find it much easier to access a state of meditation when high, but I know other people who love weed but just don’t find it pairs well for that.”
The Intimacy Journal
Can The Intimacy Journal help everyone—regardless of gender, sexual orientation, preferred kinks, or any other factors—have richer sex lives?
Sophie enthusiastically confirmed that everyone could benefit from using this journal: “I see this as something that’s making medical information accessible to everyone and applying that to their love and sex life and helping them find what works for them.”
It’s a given that many sexual encounters come about spontaneously. What about if you hook up with someone and don’t have your Intimacy Journal with you? Would the results still be valid?
“Yeah. Absolutely. Think about it like a journal or diary. I’ve kept journals my whole life and sometimes I’ll go through periods where I’ll journal every day and sometimes I’ll go through periods where it’ll be like three months and I’ll be like I have so much to fill you in on, but time helps you process an experience. If you have a one-night stand and it was so great and you don’t know it’s a one-night stand yet, and you go back and journal about this great sex with this amazing guy you just met and then he ghosts you, if you waited and wrote until after that, then your entries are going to be totally different. I wouldn’t use the word skew, it’s going to be complicated data, these are complicated things, but I think there are definitely still things to be learned from that. If you are out with your friends and on a 20 milligram edible and are used to in your last relationship having really comforting and soothing sex, and then you were at this guy’s place and you got all freaked out by his roommates, you learn to chill on the edibles before a random experience. Or maybe the opposite could happen and you haven’t had a lot of encounters like that and it completely turns you on, and you’re like ‘fuck looking for a boyfriend i’m just gonna get stoned and have some fun for a little bit.’ So yeah, it’s gonna be a different entry, but I think that just by nature, sex isn’t a constant, so we can keep learning from all the different forms of it.”
We wrapped our conversation with a question about why Sophie, FORIA, and Goldleaf decided to create The Intimacy Journal.
“We’re making this journal because cannabis has been used as an aphrodisiac dating back to 2,000 BC in India. And by word of mouth and folklore and study and history, we know it is an aphrodisiac. Just think how different people are sexually, from orientation to body type to what they’re attracted to to what they’re looking for emotionally to where they are on having a hyper sex drive to a small sex drive to whether they have sexual trauma to whether they have body insecurities and have some anxieties around sex to whether they need help with libido to whether they are polyamorous or monogamous to what’s going on in their head mentally and emotionally, and then you also have cannabis, where depending on your tolerance level and your body composition and your testosterone levels, everyone is going to have a different experience. Some people don’t even like getting stoned, yet for some people it’s by and large their favorite experience. When you combine those together, it’s couture. I always say it’s not just off the rack, it’s couture, it needs to be tailored. So that’s why I want with this journal people to be able to document these things and find out what the best aphrodisiac is going to be for them because with all these companies rushing to find an aphrodisiac cannabis pill or cultivar, they may be fun and it’s dope if they get you horny, but it’s just not a one-size-fits-all model.”
Additional photography by: The Commercial Art Lab and Goldleaf