With 22% of 18—29-year-olds in the US smoking weed, the issue of cannabis usage is coming up more and more on dates and in relationships. Dating apps like Hinge and Bumble have features for people to indicate whether they smoke weed, and there are several dating apps just for cannabis users.
Sex and weed have been mingling for years. There are plenty of studies that find that cannabis can increase sexual activity and enjoyment, and a slew of sex-focused cannabis products promise to reduce pain associated with intercourse and enhance the experience in the bedroom, so it's not much of a surprise to find weed factoring into more aspects of dating.
But anti-weed stigma is a real issue for singles: 76% of women and 62% of men in a 2015 survey by the dating app Match said they wouldn't date regular smokers. On top of that, some challenges can come up once smokers are in relationships, like negotiating each other's usage and navigating consent under the influence. From meeting people to having sex while stoned, here's our guide to dating in the modern age of weed.
Finding 420-friendly partners
Lots of dating apps now let people indicate whether they partake or not, so putting that information on your profile is one way to start filtering out people who aren't OK with it, says dating coach Lana Otoya. To be extra overt about it, you could write “420 friendly” on your profile, says sex coach and CannaSexual creator Ashley Manta.
If you don't want to go through the effort of figuring out whether your matches will be OK with your habits, try a weed-specific app like High There, 420 Singles or My 420 Mate. Weed-focused events can also provide avenues for stoners to meet partners, says Manta. You can search for them on eventhi.io.
The sooner you talk about weed usage with your dates, the better, says sex coach Kristen Thomas. That way, if they have an issue with your habits, you won't waste time trying to make it work. If you're nervous about disclosing your usage right away, you can ask your date if they smoke or their general feelings about weed, she says.
Manta even advocates getting the conversation over with before your first date. One way to do this is to have a FaceTime call that includes a virtual smoke session. “If cannabis is part of your life, whether medically or recreationally, it's good to know upfront if a prospective partner is on board with that.”
Negotiating each other's weed usage
In general, Otoya cautions against opining about your partner's weed usage. “Not everybody needs to live their life the way you do, including your partner,” she says. “Changing people doesn't work too well in relationships, and I advise against it.”
If your partner's smoking habit is impacting you negatively, Manta suggests keeping it about your own experience. You can bring it up by saying, “when you do X, I feel Y.”
“That's valid if it's affecting you directly, although you cannot expect to control their behavior and ultimately have to make choices on compatibility if it's an ongoing issue,” she says. If your concern is less about the impact on you and more about how it's affecting their life more generally, it's not really within your rights to comment. “It's not your job to make sure they're accomplishing their goals, and no one gets to tell anyone else how to live their life.”
If your own smoking habits bother your partner, you can offer to put boundaries around it, like always smoking outside or not doing it before family gatherings, says Otoya. “A couple who is going to have a healthy long-term relationship should be able to find a compromise that works for both parties.”
Elise, a 33-year-old working in finance in Massachusetts, is a daily smoker in a relationship with a non-smoker. “It got difficult when we moved in together because he can't stand the smell and doesn't want to be around it. I've adapted a lot in that I've switched my primary use of consuming to edibles and don't smoke in our apartment as much,” she says. “I do still smoke in the house occasionally, especially in winter; we open windows, and there's only one room that I smoke in, so there are smoke-free spaces he can go.”
If you're unable to find a compromise, you may need to have a conversation about your relationship's future, says Manta. “No one deserves to be made to feel bad for their choices around self-care. Your partner is allowed and encouraged to negotiate boundaries around consumption in their presence, or brushing teeth after consuming/before kissing them, but otherwise, it's really not their place to tell you how to live your life.”
“It is a good idea to talk about sex, boundaries, and fantasy before you get baked together,” says Thomas. Some people love stoned sex and even have better sex under the influence, while others feel it compromises their ability to consent.
Because people have varying reactions to weed, a lot of it is about knowing your partner. “I am very affectionate when under the influence, and [my partner] was the opposite,” says Adam Marshall, a 39-year-old facilities manager in LA. “It basically came down to knowing [that] if she smoked, that any form of intimacy was off the menu for the night.”
Even if you know your partner's general tendencies, it's a good idea to talk about what you want any time you're smoking and sex is a possibility. “Have a conversation prior to consuming any cannabis product about what you're consuming, how much, what your intentions are, what your boundaries are, how to tell if you're in distress, and how long you'd like to play,” says Manta. “I encourage regularly checking in throughout the experience to make sure everyone is still on the same page.”
If you're both cool with getting intimate while stoned, Thomas suggests using a “red, yellow, green” system to communicate your boundaries: If you're comfortable, you can say “green,” if your comfort zone is being pushed but you still want to continue, you can say “yellow,” and if you're completely out of your comfort zone and want to stop, you say “red.”
A lot of couples enjoy lighting up together and find that it enhances their relationships as well as their sex lives. The key is to make sure you're on the same page, both about each other's usage and about anything you might do under the influence. Cannabis will only bring you closer if you take the opportunity to have discussions about it and get to know each other better through it.
Featured image by Matheus Ferrero/Unsplash
Original publication: Feb 2020.
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