Q. I’m a 34-year-old woman and I’ve been with my boyfriend for three years. When we moved in together last year, our sex life started to feel routine. We’re both using the same moves we’ve used since the beginning of our relationship. They sort of work, but I find myself getting bored. When I try to tell him this, he gets defensive and makes it seem like I’m saying he’s a bad lover. I’m not! I’ve seen articles about couples using weed to connect more honestly and make sex feel better, but every time I walk into a dispensary I’m overwhelmed by the selection. Plus, asking the person behind the counter about my sex life feels like TMI. Can you help me?—B.A.,
A. Most couples struggle with this at one point or another, especially when they’ve been together for a while. We live in a culture in which most, if not all, of our sexual knowledge comes from trial and error: We go by past experience and what we see modeled in porn and popular media. Adults often operate under the misguided belief that they should just know how to have sex. The reality is, it’s not that simple. Even past experience gets you only so far, because each new partner is different and people’s needs and responses change over time! This is why it’s so important for partners to be able to talk to each other openly and to give and receive feedback without taking it as criticism.
So before we talk about cannabis and sex, it’s vital that we talk cannabis and communication. When it’s used mindfully, cannabis can be helpful for these sorts of conversations. Don’t just get stoned and try to have a difficult conversation; set a time to talk, and give yourselves at least an hour so you’re not rushed. If you’re a current cannabis consumer, pick a product or strain that helps put you in a calm and grounded headspace. Use just enough to make you feel present and open.
Start with what I call “setting the listening”: Open the conversation by sharing your intention (“I want us to have more pleasurable sex together, and I have some ideas I’d like to discuss with you”) and then share any fears that might be standing in the way of a productive discussion (“I’m afraid you’ll hear this as criticism, when the truth is I think you’re a talented lover and I want us to work together to co-create awesome sexy times”). You’ve heard it a million times, but it’s worth restating: Use “I statements” to share your experience in a way that will be less likely to trigger defensiveness. It may also help to go in prepared with some suggestions for improvement rather than simply lamenting that things aren’t where you want them to be.
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