Looking back 50 years to the days of the 1960s, abundant in sexual liberation and social change, one could point to countless cultural shifts that led to modern-day American life. It’s safe to say two ideals remain unchanged today: people love having sex, and they love consuming cannabis.
When you smoke cannabis or have sex, you are experiencing a heightened production of dopamine which leads to increased pleasure. Using cannabis doesn’t impact dopamine neurons directly, but it does suppress neurons that inhibit dopamine production.
Cannabinoids in cannabis work directly with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which processes cannabinoids naturally produced by the body and mediates the cannabinoids in cannabis.
The two most popular cannabinoids one would most likely encounter at their neighborhood dispensary are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive favorite, and cannabidiol (CBD), the non-psychoactive, medicinal underdog that has boomed in popularity recently.
Since legalization took hold all over the country, many companies have stepped up to fill the niches of cannabis and recreation, cannabis and music, or cannabis and health. For a few, that niche was cannabis and sex. We spoke to some of the pioneers who are making things happen behind closed doors in the cannabis community.
Kim Koehler was never a regular cannabis user but quickly took notice of CBD’s benefits before starting Privy Peach, a company focused on lubricants, intimate oils, tinctures, and topicals enriched exclusively with CBD. After learning about the anti-inflammatory and circulation-boosting properties of the cannabinoid and seeing the lack of cannabis products made specifically for women and people with vulvas, Koehler decided to dive into this market that is often ignored.
“There are very anti-THC people that are so desperate to improve their sex lives—because that’s their relationship—that they’re willing to, at this point, try anything,” Koehler said. “I mean that’s the point I was at.”
She plans to eventually explore THC products, but CBD has looser regulations state-by-state and can be sold online. In fact, Koehler is currently finalizing a distribution deal as one of the first U.S. CBD companies to export products to sex shops in and around Mexico, which recently legalized CBD.
At just over a year old, Privy Peach is on the rise. Foria, on the other hand, has been in the industry about five years, boasting cannabis-infused intimacy lines with varying ratios of CBD and THC. Director of Communications Kiana Reeves said that the company started the conversation of applying cannabis to the genitals and combining cannabinoids to enhance access to pleasure.
With Foria’s variety of products, Reeves echoed Koehler, recognizing not only limited consumer access to products based on THC laws and regulations, but the varied structure of each person’s endocannabinoid system. Reeves said Foria is a cannabinoid company first and foremost.
“Where we really are positioning the conversation is, ‘What does the role of cannabinoids have to play in wellness?’ including sexual health,” Reeves said.
Reeves, who is queer, said that Foria strives to be inclusive of all genders and sexual orientations. Directly tied to this is Foria’s aim to educate the public, break free from the sexually repressed landscape we are often surrounded by, and destigmatize sexual exploration.
“I love that it’s applicable across the board to all people,” Reeves said. “Anyone who wants to express themselves in any capacity—to explore their pleasure, to empower themselves, to expand on that—that’s really our goal in this conversation.”
Other companies are fully embracing the edible market for sex and intimacy.
The cannabis-infused chocolate company 1906 entered the edible cannabis industry with a variety of tailored experiences. Every 1906 product has a 1:1 THC:CBD ratio; products are enriched with plant medicines from around the globe, and their edibles are designed to take effect in 20 minutes or less.
1906 also looked toward intimacy and sex with their LOVE aphrodisiac chocolates. Alongside the 1:1 ratio in each dose, LOVE contains herbal supplements with a number of specific purposes like helping increase ability to achieve orgasm; assisting in pelvic, brain, and full-body blood flow; boosting libido; and lowering blood pressure.
Director of Retail Development Jim Freeland said that making LOVE effective for the user, no matter their gender, inherently helps to not only be inclusive for any person or relationship, but it also allows couples and groups to experience the effects of LOVE together.
“We just, honestly, realized that there’s a great connection between our brand and the [LGBTQ] community for a number of reasons,” Freeland said. “There’s more of an openness in the LGBTQ community to explore things that will help enhance your life. That goes beyond the product itself. We want to celebrate more love throughout the world.”
While companies like 1906 started with cannabis and worked toward intimacy, Ted Naylon stood on the other side of the aisle. He created Hard Mojo, a male enhancement pill already thriving in the market, when he realized that no one had thought to infuse cannabis with a product like his. This led to CannaMojo, a cannabis-infused, male enhancement pill that became the first of its kind.
The foundation, or the Mojo, has a blend of all-natural supplements aimed to help sexual and erectile dysfunction, longevity, and arousal, while the 10mg dose of THC distillate in each pill increases desire and sensitivity.
While the current CannaMojo pill is marketed toward men, Naylon said that the base functions of Mojo’s supplements make it a pleasurable, accessible experience for any person.
Naylon has received positive feedback from women and female-bodied people who have tried CannaMojo as it is now, though he receives daily inquiries about creating a product specifically tailored to people with vulvas and is in the process of developing one to ensure CannaMojo is inclusive for all genders.
“We’re going to have a his-and-hers version,” Naylon said, “like, with a gay, male couple, both of them are getting the experience, and we want to bring that into the bedroom with both men and women … It’s all really exciting that we’re pioneering this whole category of intimacy and THC together. It’s what people want.”
Strap Up Custom Gear
Lou DeLucia is another professional working with products surrounding sex and intimacy, and he similarly noticed the need to embrace cannabis along with it. He is co-owner of Strap Up Custom Gear with Stephen Hook in Denver and initially began the venture about four years ago with the intention of shaking up the leather community and offering comfortable, custom gear to folks in the LGBTQ kink community of all shapes and sizes.
Among the custom options Strap Up currently offers are two cannabis leaf prints, and DeLucia said creating custom gear that embraces cannabis designs was a no-brainer.
“With the amount of people here who consume cannabis, it’s become more mainstream to have a belt or a harness in the gay community,” DeLucia said, “and you can put cannabis on it. If you love cannabis as much as we do, why wouldn’t you?”
As a company that often ships and travels to locations across the country and around the world, DeLucia said that cannabis-related gear clearly flourishes in some areas over others, and cannabis-specific, custom demands will likely shift with the cultural landscape going forward.
As Colorado enters the second half of the first, full decade of legal, recreational cannabis sales, many professionals are eager to see where the flourishing intersection of cannabis, intimacy, and sex lands. On his end, DeLucia is eager for Strap Up Custom Gear to grow with the expanding market in Colorado and the United States and encouraged weed lovers far and wide to embrace the delightful combination that is cannabis and sex.
“We really built on, not only fitting every shape and size, but also fitting every personality and unique style,” DeLucia said. “If you are a cannabis user, cannabis belongs in the bedroom in some way, shape, or form. If you’re not smoking it before sex, you might want to try wearing it during sex, and that’s where we come in.”
Photos courtesy of featured brands