Goldstein smoked his first joint in 1994 and has been working to legalize marijuana ever since. He serves on the Board of Directors at PhillyNORML has been covering cannabis news for over a decade.
Though cotton mouth seems to be a downside, many marijuana consumers have long credited the weed with being a natural aphrodisiac.
Pop-culture's star-making machinery has taken notice. Witness superstars like Rihanna and Lady Gaga unabashedly turning themselves into pot pinups.
So, with tens of millions of Americans enjoying a golden age of domestic cannabis (legal or not) it's important to get the facts about sex, marijuana and the a new kind of American media icon: The Sexy Stoner.
Lisa Mamakind Kirkman is the author of Sex Pot: The Marijuana Lover's Guide to Gettin' It On. Kirkman explains how pop stars hit on a natural appeal to cannabis consumers by posing with a blunt.
"I, personally, get turned on by a hot bud or toking pic and if a gorgeous stoner is also in the picture — well, there's not much better than that, save enjoying that bud in person with that gorgeous stoner," says Kirkman.
Humans have long felt this common flowery amour. Back in 2006, I interviewed Dr. Mitch Earleywine, a professor of psychiatry at State University of New York Albany, on the details.
Chris Goldstein, Philly420: Many cannabis consumers, even scientist Carl Sagan, report that their best sexual experiences are when they smoke pot. So does marijuana affect a person's sex drive?
Mitch Earleywine: It turns out we don't have a whole lot of data addressing actual desire and we do have are tons and tons of sort of informal clinical reports where people say that sex is certainly enhanced during or right after marijuana use …and so it's hard to even entertain the idea that somehow your sex drive would drop with long term use.
Philly420: So when you talk about those anecdotal reports …are people saying their sexual experience is enhanced or their sex drive is better?
Earleywine: We've got data from as early as the 1980s suggesting that the experience is better. Men report seeing themselves as more giving and that people are more sensitive to touch. In part, because time is distorted after smoking marijuana, people at least seem think that they are spending more time engaged in the sex act. There is a lot of enhanced orgasm reports both in Charlie Tart's data from 1971 all the way back to ancient Chinese medicine in 200 AD. So I think this is a pretty consistent effect and one that folks like to talk about. I do want to caution that cannabis is not a lubricant… and we do see the drying of the mucus membranes in your eye or anywhere else. I recommend that people keep that in mind if they are planning sexual contact after using marijuana.
Philly420: So the red eyes and the cottonmouth aren't from the smoke itself but this is part of the overall effect of cannabis intoxication?
Earleywine: In fact all mucus membranes are dryer after cannabis use.
While not as old as sex, photos of stoner starlets have been around awhile, too.
Akin to hotrod car publications, cannabis enthusiast magazines/websites often had cover girls with spectacular pot plants. The accompanying advertisements are also heavy on the skimpy bikinis. The noticeable trend, sometimes labeled "Boobs & Buds," has caused some controversy. Even within the marijuana reform community some women wanted something different out of their cannabis connoisseurship.
Yet Kirkman and others seemed to be ahead of the curve; and are staying there.
"Yes, the sexy stoner woman image has gone completely mainstream, what with both Rihanna and Lady Gaga dressing up as very kinky versions of the herb itself for Halloween 2012. I talk quite a bit about this in the White Issue of Skunk magazine in my article 'Why Don't We Do It In the Road.'"
With marijuana now legal in two states and efforts to decriminalize gathering steam in many others, the topic of sex and pot together is now getting some air. But it's been a slow ride.
"There was a time when my own brand of stoner sexuality was frowned on upon by mainstream publications as mixing too many taboos at once," Kirkman said.
The honest conversations about marijuana in the media are refreshing. For 75 years the government has been a source of misrepresentations about cannabis and sexuality — and news reports have largely regurgitated the falsehoods. With Valentine's Day just around the corner, let's look at some common cannabis-copulation myths, discussed during my 2006 interview with Earleywine.
Philly420: Can smoking or eating cannabis affect sperm count in men?
Earleywine: There was one study of men living in a hospital who smoked 8 joints per day for 8 days and their sperm count was lower, but certainly not down to the point of sterility. Their sperm count did go back up after they stopped smoking completely. So it is a short-term drop and I guess if I had a client who was having fertility issues then I'd recommend them stopping just to have that extra chance. But it's nowhere near birth control and that's my fear… that there are some people out there that think that heavy cannabis use is contraception and that is just not the case at all!
Philly420: What about women - is there anything pointing to marijuana use making it tougher to conceive?
Earleywine: The only data we have are from studies of women who are having fertility problems - and they have some women in those samples that used cannabis - and they don't show any difference in an ability to conceive, but ironically they do seem to be having more sex than the other women in the study.
Philly420: What about smoking pot every time you have sex - good idea?
Earleywine: I would not say so. I think that the cool thing about sex and relationships is variety in that something as simple as laying on your bed another direction or going into another room of your house can make all this difference. And then really making sure that you get the opportunity to talk about it, to praise to your partner for the things you like… Sometimes it can be just as simple as grunting and groaning a little bit more just to get the message across that 'Yes, this feels good.' And suddenly you find you like this person more and you are willing to talk about positive and negative things more. And the bottom line is yes cannabis can enhance that …but, you know, once in a while is great ...but if you do it every time it's not special anymore."
The full audio interview with Dr. Earleywine is available on the Public Radio Exchange here.
Contact Chris Goldstein at email@example.com