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CBD For Libido: Can CBD Improve Your Sex Life?

From CBD lubes to oils, here’s how you can use CBD to increase libido and improve your sexual experiences.

Article By
Daily CBD , last updated on July 21, 2021

The uses of CBD for sex range from CBD-infused lubricants for reducing pain to CBD oils for alleviating performance anxiety-related ED.

For people who suffer from painful sex, low libido, erectile dysfunction, PCOS, HSDD, and even just performance anxiety, CBD may offer a solution.

Here, we’ll explore all the ways CBD may help improve sexual desire and performance. We’ll also cover its limitations and when to avoid using CBD products entirely.

  • Table of Contents

How Does CBD Affect Libido?

There’s a lot of debate about whether or not CBD and THC increase or decrease libido. The truth is that neither cannabinoid directly improve sexual desire. That is, in the sense that other aphrodisiacs or sexual stimulants (such as yohimbe) work.

Instead, CBD takes a more passive approach. It boosts libido indirectly by addressing other factors that may have a negative impact on libido — such as stress, lack of sleep, performance anxiety, pain, and more.

We know that humans have better sex when we’re well-rested, less stressed, and pain-free.

That may seem obvious, but the reality is that tons of people don’t meet these basic needs — and it can be challenging to notice the connection between mental or physical stress and decreased sex drive.

When your body is stressed, sick, or otherwise out of balance, it doesn’t prioritize reproduction. This results in the symptoms we refer to as “low libido.”

Of course, not all sex is for the literal purpose of reproduction, but that’s what motivates your body to feel turned on and aroused.

Is CBD An Aphrodisiac?

Traditional aphrodisiacs tend to work to promote the health of your body, which may, in turn, enhance your libido. There are very few aphrodisiacs that are direct sexual stimulants. Most are simply adaptogenic or general health-promoting herbs.

When we’re healthier, we’re hornier. Simple as that.

You can think of CBD similarly — it isn’t that CBD increases your libido outright — instead, it relaxes the body, regulates homeostasis (balance). This eventually leads to a higher sex drive and/or better sex.

In this sense, CBD could be considered an aphrodisiac — however, its effects can take several days or even weeks for this benefit to present, and it’s not going to have a big impact on people who aren’t stressed or out of balance already.

But let’s be real, in this day and age, that doesn’t account for very many people.

CBD & Painful Intercourse

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 75% of women experience pain during intercourse at least once — many of them for extended periods of time.

Although the ACOG recommends that anyone experiencing painful sex for an extended period of time talk to their doctor about it, another study shows that only 51% of women tell their partners about pain during sex — let alone their doctors [2].

Painful sex can occur for a lot of reasons, but one of the primary causes is dryness. Vaginal dryness can cause painful friction and irritation during and after sex. There are many causes, including menopause, low libido or HSDD, side effects from birth control, or other medications — just to name a few.

This is where CBD lube comes in.

CBD lube is just like any other sexual lubricant, but it’s infused with CBD.

The benefit of CBD in these formulas are three-fold:

  • It alleviates pain directly
  • It relaxes the muscles to further reduce friction (the lubrication part takes care of most of this)
  • It prevents or alleviates inflammation caused by friction (inflammation leads to pain)

If you experience painful sex due to other reasons, like endometriosis, ovarian cysts, or PCOS, the anti-inflammatory properties of CBD may work to calm irritation and reduce pain for these conditions as well.

CBD & PCOS

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common condition among women, affecting at least 10% of the population — and likely many more due to misdiagnosis, symptoms with numerous potential causes, and poor patient care for women experiencing pain.

One study showed that nearly 70% of women who were diagnosed with PCOS during the study had not been previously diagnosed [3].

PCOS is a syndrome that impacts hormones, often caused by high testosterone levels, as well as ovulation and insulin levels. One of the main symptoms of this condition is poor libido. This can also lead to pain during intercourse due to vaginal dryness.

Other symptoms include weight gain, depression, and infertility. A PCOS diagnosis can really change your life. It’s important that anyone with missed or irregular periods, excess facial hair, or ovarian cysts ask their doctor about PCOS.

Can CBD Help With PCOS?

When it comes to treatment, doctors are still figuring out what works best — and it largely depends on what symptoms you have, whether you’re trying to get pregnant, and many other factors.

CBD may help manage some symptoms of PCOS, however.

PCOS sufferers may use CBD to maintain regulate insulin and blood sugar levels as well as relieve anxiety and depression symptoms. This requires consistent long-term use of CBD (orally).

CBD has been shown to increase sensitivity to insulin, which in turn allows the body to regulate blood sugar more easily [4]. Another impact of this insulin sensitivity is easier weight loss, which is one main challenge of having PCOS. CBD has also been shown to provide relief for anxiety — a common side effect of PCOS [5].

CBD & HSDD (Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder)

Hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD) is a disorder characterized by low sex drive in women. It affects up to one-third of American women and can take the form of low sex drive, absence of sexual fantasies, and lack of desire to have sex [6].

Similar to erectile dysfunction, this disorder can become a major cause of personal distress — it can be embarrassing, and many sufferers report it as a cause for challenges in personal relationships.

There are very few studies that examine why HSDD occurs in women and how to address it. The one dedicated medication, flibanserin, has numerous negative side effects like depression, insomnia, and hypotension — not to mention that users can’t drive for six hours after taking the drug [7].

However, many doctors and researchers believe HSDD may be linked to depression or stress [8]. As such, it’s possible that CBD — as a powerful stress-reliever — may offer support for this condition.

CBD & Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction (ED) can occur for any number of reasons — from stress to high blood pressure to tobacco use and more.

In young and old men alike, a common cause is performance anxiety. Many people feel that sex is a high-pressure situation in which they have to perform perfectly. This pressure can ironically make it more difficult to perform at all.

Performance anxiety, along with societal pressures for men to perform sexually at will, can cause trouble when it comes to getting erections, keeping erections, and maintaining a high sex drive overall.

It’s important to note that there is no reason to feel shameful about ED. Around 30 million men in the United States experience ED [9].

Many men reach for medications like sildenafil (Viagra) or tadalafil (Cialis) too quickly. They want to fix the issue with ED ASAP using prescription medications that change the way blood flows into the penis. This is a “mechanical” fix because it affects the anatomy of the penis.

Most ED is not caused by a mechanical issue. Rather, it’s a psychological issue surrounding the pressure to perform and stress. This means the best course of treatment is to address the issue with anxiety — something CBD is particularly useful for.

ED medications carry a multitude of side effects such as diarrhea, headaches, priapism, and more. They’re worth avoiding unless completely necessary.

With that said, mechanical issues can also cause ED — so if stress management doesn’t work, speak with your doctor about other options.

How to Use CBD For ED

There has never been any official studies on the effects of CBD for treating ED — but there are a ton of anecdotal reports of men who have used it successfully for mild to moderate ED.

CBD is specifically used to alleviate performance anxiety that causes ED — especially in young males. It’s administered by taking CBD in the form of an oil or gummy at least an hour before engaging in sexual intercourse.

Sexologist Diana Urman reports that CBD puts users in a better mood, feel less inhibited, and are overall less anxious — all of which facilitates better sexual performance.

When it comes to topical treatments (enter CBD lube), Urman reports that CBD can cause increased sensitivity, which can make it easier to get an erection during foreplay. This can also lead to better, stronger orgasms.

CBD For Sex: What The Research Says

When it comes down to it, the use of CBD for sex really depends on the person and the couple. It works wonders for some people but doesn’t offer any benefit to others.

Some studies even show lower sex drive in male cannabis users (THC) [10]. Another study found that cannabis increased sex drive in users who don’t experience a certain side effect of THC intoxication called prolactin elevation [11].

It can be confusing to determine what the research says about cannabinoids and sex, but the science supports the idea that CBD can improve various aspects of sexual health through its anti-anxiety and analgesic benefits.

When your body is relaxed, inflammation is reduced, and stress is kept at bay, you’re more likely to feel aroused. When you’re aroused, all aspects of sexual performance functions better — including erections, vaginal lubrication, and more.

CBD & Drug Interactions To Watch Out For (When to Avoid Using CBD)

When using CBD for libido, it’s important to check for drug interactions with your other medications.

If you take medication for ED, it’s a good idea to take a lower dose of CBD to avoid increased effects of both the CBD and the ED medication.

Neither of these substances interacts directly, but CBD or other cannabinoids may slow the metabolism of prescription ED medications — thus increasing the chance of side effects.

Other common interactions include anti-anxiety medications, antidepressants, blood thinners, and antihypertensives (blood pressure medications).

While the chances of a negative drug interaction are low, it’s important to rule out some of the more severe interactions that are theoretically possible.

The bottom line is that if you’re taking any prescription medications, it’s wise to speak to your doctor before taking CBD for any reason.

Final Thoughts: Is CBD an Aphrodisiac?

While CBD is not an aphrodisiac in the traditional sense, there is strong evidence pointing to its ability to cause increased libido and sexual satisfaction through indirect means.

Because CBD promotes better health, lower anxiety, reduced pain, and reduced inflammation, the effect is often a better experience during sex.

Whether you suffer from a disorder that causes you low libido or you simply want to elevate your experience of sex, CBD lubes and oils may provide enhanced sex drive and better sex overall.

References

  1. Pamplona, F. A., da Silva, L. R., & Coan, A. C. (2018). Potential clinical benefits of CBD-rich cannabis extracts over purified CBD in treatment-resistant epilepsy: observational data meta-analysis. Frontiers in neurology, 9, 759.
  2. Carter, A., Ford, J. V., Luetke, M., Fu, T. C. J., Townes, A., Hensel, D. J., … & Herbenick, D. (2019). “Fulfilling his needs, not mine”: Reasons for not talking about painful sex and associations with lack of pleasure in a nationally representative sample of women in the United States. The journal of sexual medicine, 16(12), 1953-1965.
  3. March, W. A., Moore, V. M., Willson, K. J., Phillips, D. I., Norman, R. J., & Davies, M. J. (2010). The prevalence of polycystic ovary syndrome in a community sample was assessed under contrasting diagnostic criteria. Human Reproduction, 25(2), 544-551.
  4. Migrenne, S., Lacombe, A., Lefevre, A. L., Pruniaux, M. P., Guillot, E., Galzin, A. M., & Magnan, C. (2009). Adiponectin is required to mediate rimonabant-induced improvement of insulin sensitivity but not body weight loss in diet-induced obese mice. American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, 296(4), R929-R935.
  5. Zuardi, A. W., Cosme, R. A., Graeff, F. G., & Guimaraes, F. S. (1993). Effects of ipsapirone and cannabidiol on human experimental anxiety. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 7(1_suppl), 82-88.
  6. Julia‘Jill’K, W. (2002). Female hypoactive sexual desire disorder. CNS drugs, 16(11), 745-753.
  7. Baid, R., & Agarwal, R. (2018). Flibanserin: A controversial drug for female hypoactive sexual desire disorder. Industrial psychiatry journal, 27(1), 154.
  8. Kingsberg, S. A., & Simon, J. A. (2020). Female Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder: A Practical Guide to Causes, Clinical Diagnosis, and Treatment. Journal of Women’s Health, 29(8), 1101-1112.
  9. Nunes, K. P., Labazi, H., & Webb, R. C. (2012). New insights into hypertension-associated erectile dysfunction. Current opinion in nephrology and hypertension, 21(2), 163.
  10. Du Plessis, S. S., Agarwal, A., & Syriac, A. (2015). Marijuana, phytocannabinoids, the endocannabinoid system, and male fertility. Journal of assisted reproduction and genetics, 32(11), 1575-1588.
  11. Androvicova, R., Horacek, J., Tintera, J., Hlinka, J., Rydlo, J., Jezova, D., … & Palenicek, T. (2017). Individual prolactin reactivity modulates response of nucleus accumbens to erotic stimuli during acute cannabis intoxication: an fMRI pilot study. Psychopharmacology, 234(13), 1933-1943.
  12. Blessing, E. M., Steenkamp, M. M., Manzanares, J., & Marmar, C. R. (2015). Cannabidiol as a potential treatment for anxiety disorders. Neurotherapeutics, 12(4), 825-836.

Further Reading

Further Reading