While both alcohol and marijuana appear to potentially increase risk for unsafe sex, alcohol use may increase the likelihood of having sex with a stranger, leading to less post-sex satisfaction, suggests new research.
For the study, the researchers compared self-reported sexual experiences related to use of alcohol and marijuana.
“Sexual encounters on marijuana tended to be with someone the individual knew,” said one of the researchers Joseph Palamar, Assistant Professor at New York University Langone Medical Center (NYULMC).
“Sex on alcohol was often with a stranger so the situation before sex may be much more important than the drug used,” Palamar noted.
The researchers noted that the sexual effects tended to be similar across males and females, and both alcohol and marijuana were generally associated with loss of inhibitions.
Both drugs appear to be potentially associated with increased feelings of self-attractiveness, but possibly more so for alcohol, and participants reported feelings of increased sociability and boldness while consuming alcohol.
While some participants reported that marijuana use made them more selective in choosing a partner, many participants — both male and female – felt that their “standards” for choosing a partner were lowered while under the influence of alcohol.
“It wasn’t surprising that alcohol use reportedly led to less post-sex satisfaction than marijuana,” Palamar said.
“Participants reported feelings of regret more frequently after sex on alcohol, but compared to alcohol they generally didn’t report poor judgment after using marijuana,” Palamar noted.
In this study, the researchers interviewed 24 adults (12 males and 12 females, all self-identified as heterosexual and HIV-negative) who recently used marijuana before sex.
Alcohol was more likely than marijuana to lead to atypical partner choice or post-sex regret, showed the findings published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior.