Sex. Weed. Those are two of the most discussed and taboo topics of our time. Last week an article was published in NPR titled “Does smoking pot lead to more sex?” The title is pretty self-explanatory. The study looked at men and women who smoked pot and those who didn’t to see how much sex they were having. They found women who smoked pot had sex 7.1 times in a month and for men, 6.9 times in a month. The research found that over the course of a year, those who smoked pot had around 20 times as much sex as those who didn’t.
Now as they say in every statistics class, correlation does not equal causation. There is currently no direct evidence saying weed is the reason people are having more sex but the research is very important. For one, it is a very cool thing to study. As a college students, nothing grabs your eye like a story about weed and sex. It’s coverage of two taboo subjects, sex and weed, things we’ve been taught to avoid since we were in elementary school.
It is also important, however, because of the way interests in the country are shifting. When we were all growing up, these subjects were so far out of the public sphere, nobody wanted to do any research on them separately, let alone together. Marijuana was (and still is) considered a gateway drug. The only course of study on its effects was to tell students smoking weed was bad. If you smoked weed then you would get into harder and harder drugs until you were doing cocaine and wasting away in a gutter somewhere. And sex. Don’t even get me started on sex. Sure, sex-education in school wasn’t as bad as what you had saw in “Mean Girls” but it was up there. Generally speaking, we were told to wear condoms and that was it. I don’t think I was even given the talk by my parents.
All of that is changing now. There are currently eight states where weed is allowed for both recreational and medical use. There are dozens of other states where it has been decriminalized, even though Congress still says it is a felony to possess. In fact, there are only three states that still consider weed completely illegal.
Yet doing any research on weed is actually really hard because the federal government has decided that weed is still an illegal study. As a result, it’s very hard to actually get a hold of pot to carry out any kind of research without breaking federal law. These laws were born out of the “War on Drugs,” something that has been called a failure by many people. It is unlikely these restrictions will be loosened anytime soon, especially with the Republican party in control.
It’s pretty clear what Republicans feel about sex. For decades the party has been pushing for an abstinence first plan for sex education. In places where conservative governments have power, progressive sex education doesn’t exist and so teenagers are forced to learn about sex and their bodies from random places on the internet or not learn at all. That is not a solution for anything going forward.
Research on weed and sex is really cool. It opens, or can open, so many doors for future research. That research, however, can only be done if people realize how society is changing. Whether people want to admit it, society is becoming more progressive. If we want future generations to be safer and more knowledgeable about the world, we need to make taboo subjects less taboo.