When it comes to a satisfying sex life, there are a lot of factors to consider — open communication, physical compatibility, emotional connection — many levels need to come together for a relationship to thrive. But, there are a few practical matters that can still get in the way of sexual intimacy, even if everything else is jiving. Enter: CBD — could it be your sex life’s new favorite sidekick? Although we’ve touted the multiple health and wellness benefits of CBD before, it wasn’t until recently that we were introduced to the idea of bringing it into the bedroom.

Since CBD is currently having a moment in the spotlight of wellness trends, it really should come as no surprise. As more people tap into its healing properties to help decrease inflammation, support optimal gut health, relieve anxiety, calm our pet’s anxiety, clear up our skin, improve sleep, help us focus, etc., it was only a matter of time before it made its debut into bedrooms across the country.

Pain, anxiety, anti-inflammatory, muscle-relaxing, convenience—all are very valid reasons why you might consider using CBD products for sex. Others who aren’t experiencing any issues at all may still choose to use CBD for its ability to relax the mind and body—two things that benefit almost any sexual experience.

Being the wellness guinea pigs that we are, we had to learn more about how the buzzed-about hemp plant extract can enhance our sexual wellbeing and intimacy. But, while the market is flooded with products for men, we found that natural products specifically for women’s sexual health are few and far between. We’re excited to team up with Foria as our partners on this post, since sexual wellness through the therapeutic offerings of plants is what they’re all about. Want to know more? We did too, so we interviewed Kiana Reeves, their Director of Community Education to answer the questions about sex and CBD we’re all wondering about.

So what exactly is the connection between CBD and sexual wellness?

There are a number of ways CBD can support sexual wellness, especially when speaking about the different delivery methods. When talking about topical CBD, here are some of the main benefits you can experience:

Increased Arousal.

Arousal is the physical process of blood flowing to the genitals, it is also what allows penetration to feel good. CBD is considered a vasodilator which means it increases blood flow to the blood vessels. When CBD is applied topically to the absorbent tissues of the vulva and vagina, it *may* support the body’s arousal capacity by increasing blood flow to the genitals. (We say *may* because no one has done a study yet on female arousal and cannabis applied to the genitals, but based on years of solid customer feedback we are pretty confident that CBD is an excellent tool to support your arousal.)

Decreased Tension/ Pain.

You have probably seen CBD in all sorts of muscle and pain products by now. That is because CBD is both anti-inflammatory and helps decrease muscle tension. When it comes to the pelvic floor, people can often carry tension that they are unaware of, either from postural habits, injuries, sexual trauma, or scar tissue from childbirth to name a few. Pain is another very common issue we see with females (about 3 out of 4 females experience painful penetration at some point) — hormonal shifts (like menopause and postpartum), imbalances (like endometriosis and PCOS), and other issues like vulvodynia and vaginismus can all contribute to pain or tension in the pelvis — which often leads to painful sex. CBD can support all of these by decreasing muscle tension and decreasing inflammation. The benefit here is that the less tension and restriction in the pelvis, the more blood flow you’ll have- which can lead to heightened arousal and access to pleasure.

Increased Sensation.

Sensation during sex/ penetration is influenced majorly by 2 things: level of lubrication, and level of arousal. Arousal is what increases lubrication in females, through the engorgement of the erectile tissue beds in the genitals. With CBD both supporting blood flow and decreased tension, the benefit is heightened arousal – which means heightened lubrication and sensation, which is why a large percentage of our customers report having better orgasms and deeper pleasure both with their partners and when used solo. Awaken is more than just a “CBD product,” though. It’s really a masterpiece of herbal formulation.

Awaken balances several botanical extracts — all of them with long traditions as aphrodisiacs and extensive research into their active compounds — and they all work together to stimulate multiple receptors and systems in the body. The primary ingredient is our proprietary extract of kava kava (which stimulates the same receptors that THC does) and there’s an anti-inflammatory effect with cardamom (which has been called a “dietary cannabinoid” by scientists). There’s ginger (antispasmodic and warming), peppermint (cooling), cacao (which also has effects on the human endocannabinoid system), and vanilla (which also has soothing effects). The whole formula just smells & tastes amazing, and the aroma alone really evokes this decadent, yummy mood. CBD may be the most famous ingredient, but in this blend it really is a supporting character — part of this amazing plant symphony.

What are the key differences between CBD and THC?

Each cannabinoid is unique and works differently with the body. The main difference between CBD and THC is that CBD is non-psychoactive. THC is the part of the plant that when ingested, makes you feel “high”. Both of these cannabinoids are known to be vasodilating, which enhances blood flow to the blood vessels. CBD has become a well-known anti-inflammatory and helps with tension, while THC has a stronger pain-relieving effect.

In terms of improving your sexual experiences, how do the two differ?

THC has that upfront ‘wow’ factor that really surprises people, so we used other botanicals in Awaken to round out CBD’s effects.

Can CBD help with hormonal changes that can affect sex drive, like pregnancy, postpartum, or menopause?

CBD won’t necessarily affect your sex hormones directly (like the production of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone), but what it can do is help reduce stress which majorly impacts all of our systems, including the production of healthy sex hormones. What happens when we are chronically stressed, overworked, tired, etc. (*ahem* most people in the US) is the production of excess cortisol. Cortisol essentially tells our bodies that we are under threat and shuts down or de-prioritizes other systems that are nourished through a regulated para-sympathetic “rest and digest” state.

CBD helps the body move towards homeostasis, which is the place of balance in our body where there’s the opportunity and resources to return to optimal health.

There is really interesting research coming out about the wide range of benefits people are experiencing from CBD – from the relief of postpartum depression to helping support some of the less comfortable side effects of menopause, alongside menstrual cramps and other painful pelvic conditions.

How do you know how much CBD to take (dosage) and when? (Before, during, after…)

CBD dosage varies from person to person because we each have our own unique endocannabinoid system. It is a relatively safe plant compound to experimenting with in terms of finding the right dose for yourself. Our Basics Tonic is about 17mg per serving, and we encourage customers to find a dose that feels rights for their needs. CBD is adpatogenic and because of that it can both support energy levels and sleep. 

The most important thing is how you bring the cannabinoids into your system. Swishing a CBD oil in your mouth allows for increased absorption, while swallowing the oil or capsules loses a lot of CBD in the digestive process. Oral swishing of CBD oil also gets it into your system faster (although a CBD vape pen is the fastest way to affect your mood). Some people will use CBD for sleep while others will find that it give them energy or clarity of mind.

Whatever it is, just know that CBD isn’t forcing those changes like a drug — it’s supporting your body’s capacity to rebalance naturally.

What is the best way to reap the benefits of CBD for sex? Topical or ingesting?

Topical will have the most immediate and in the moment effect, so if you are looking for enhanced sensation and arousal, I would use a topical. If someone is working on increasing their libido and energy levels on a regular basis, then also including an oral tonic to help restore balance in the body would be beneficial.

Can CBD help with men’s sexual health too?

CBD doesn’t have a gender preference, and by that, we mean that CBD’s inherent ability to support the body in balancing its most vital functions (including sexual health) makes it a wonderful tool for anyone to work with. That said, the topical effects of CBD for someone for a penis will most likely be less noticeable than when used vaginally. We do have a CBD suppository that can be used vaginally or rectally to improve blood flow and relaxation to the pelvis though, which again is an essential part of arousal (and for men – that is where your prostate is located – also known as the male g-spot).

Any documented side effects we should be aware of?

There are no known dangerous side effects of CBD. However, it can alter or interact with certain pharmaceuticals, so it is best to check with your Doctor or other health practitioner first to see if CBD is a good addition to your wellness routine. But the most people experience (and generally at higher daily doses) is a little drowsiness or dry mouth.

This post is sponsored by Foria. Foria is a holistic health company committed to vibrant well-being. Our wellness formulas unite traditional herbs & botanicals to create natural enhancement products that are thoughtfully designed for both women & men. Our products for sexual pleasure and relief are available at THC dispensaries in CA and CO, and we offer similar products with CBD online at foriawellness.com, with an intimate arousal oil (Awaken), CBD suppositories for menstrual relief (Basics Suppositories) and a CBD wellness tonic (Basics).

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