July 15, 2022

The Truth About CBD & The Sexual Response Cycle

By now, you've probably stumbled upon CBD in some way, shape, or form. You may have seen it as an ingredient in your favorite skincare products, or maybe you've even tried CBD gummies to help you relax before bed.

You can even stumble upon CBD-infused sexual lubricants nowadays. You see “CBD for better orgasms!” in big, bright font staring back at you.

CBD for better orgasms? Sounds too good to be true.

So what does CBD do — if anything — to the sexual response cycle? The answer is...potentially a little bit of everything.

Let's take a closer look into CBD's impact on sexual arousal and the response cycle.

The Sexual Response Cycle

First, a quick Sex Ed 101 lesson.

The sexual response cycle is divided into four stages of emotional and physical changes that happen as a person goes from aroused to engaging in sexual activity.

These phases are:

  • Excitement
  • Plateau
  • Orgasm
  • Resolution


Excitement, arousal, desire — these all refer to the same phase. At this point the heart starts beating faster, blood starts flowing to the genitals, and sexual desire increases.


While plateau doesn't have an extra exciting name — this is the time when things get super stimulating. In between arousal and orgasm, the plateau phase is basically when all the bodily changes in Phase 1 intensify. This phase lasts until the brink of orgasm.


Aka climax, this is the peak of the sexual response cycle. The tension that was built up gets released and one experiences intense pleasure.


In the final phase of the cycle, the body returns to a normal state. Muscles relax, breathing slows, and the body goes back to its usual function.

Resolution happens whether you have an orgasm or not.

Partners may feel extra good vibes, emotional closeness, and a touch of fatigue.

Why Might CBD Help The Sexual Response Cycle?

Some experts think that CBD increases blood flow, which might help boost sensation and lubrication.(1) CBD might also be working to help ease the mind and body — setting the mood to get amorous.

CBD & The Excitement Phase

Some people swear that cannabis helps increase their sexual desire. And studies have found people experience boosts in libido after using cannabis prior to sex.(2)

And it looks like it’s not just a placebo effect, research suggests that cannabis might affect parts of the brain that control arousal.(3)

CBD is a key compound in the cannabis plant, but it’s hard to say if it’s CBD that’s driving surges in sexual desire, or THC, or a combo of the two.

But there are a lot of anecdotal reports on CBD helping get people in the mood. It's possible that CBD can help when it comes to relaxing the mind to allow for arousal.

For example, some people have performance anxiety (a big desire-killer). CBD has anti-anxiety properties that might ease that overworked mind — so you can feel relaxed and present with your partner.  This in turn might help stoke your sex drive — since your mind isn't preoccupied with nerves!

CBD & The Plateau Phase

This is that hot-and-heavy phase, and CBD might help increase pleasure during the deed itself.

One study on cannabis users found that:(4)

  • 52% use the plant to enhance their sexual experience
  • 69% said they could relax more during sex
  • 74% reported increased sensitivity
  • 73% reported increased sexual satisfaction

That's a lot of data that points towards increased pleasure during the entire sexual experience.

One thing that can get in the way of sexual pleasure is pain. And if you struggle with a pain disorder, it could cause anxiety during sex and turn into a negative feedback loop. CBD has pain-relieving qualities that might ease muscle tension and pain during sex.(5)

A CBD-infused lube could be particularly helpful to reduce pain due to tight muscles and friction — ultimately amplifying pleasure while you're in the thick of it.

CBD & Orgasm

Cannabis research suggests that the plant may help improve orgasm, too. In one study on women's sexual functioning, 52% of participants noticed better orgasms.(2)

In another study, 65.7% said they experienced more intense orgasms after using cannabis before sex.(4)

These studies looked at the whole plant and not just CBD. But through full-spectrum CBD or broad-spectrum CBD, you can benefit from the entire range of naturally-occurring hemp compounds.

CBD & Resolution

This phase generally marks the end of the sexual experience — but the CBD may still be working its magic to get you feeling extra relaxed.

While you're chilling in the post-coital afterglow, CBD can help keep the blissful sensations and intimacy going.

How To Use CBD For Sex

You have loads of options!

  • Arousal support. A CBD tincture 45 minutes before might help set the mood. Or you could even do a couples CBD cream massage to loosen tight muscles and prolong the foreplay.
  • Plateau support. In addition to a pre-sex dose of CBD, a CBD-infused lube might enhance sensations, increase lubrication, and potentially reduce pain.
  • Orgasm support. As orgasm is the culmination of the plateau phase, a CBD-infused lube might also help you achieve the “Big O.”
  • Resolution support. The final phase is about returning back to normal, but you can keep the good feels alive with a CBD gummy. Or, surrender into a peaceful night's sleep with a dose of CBD oil before bed.

CBD's Got You Covered From Arousal To Release

CBD might be your best pal as your body cycles through the sexual response process — arousal, plateau, orgasm, and resolution. It can potentially help to:

  • Ease sexual pain
  • Promote relaxation
  • Smash sexual performance anxiety
  • Increase sexual desire
  • Boost sexual pleasure

With so many ways to bring CBD into the bedroom and beyond — why not give it a try next time you and your boo hit the sheets?



  1. Sweet, J. (2019). Can CBD Make Sex Better? Here’s What the Experts Say. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/cbd-sex-effectiveness
  2. Lynn, BK, et al. (2019). The Relationship between Marijuana Use Prior to Sex and Sexual Function in Women. Sexual medicine. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.esxm.2019.01.003
  3. Androvicova, R, et al. (2017). Individual prolactin reactivity modulates response of nucleus accumbens to erotic stimuli during acute cannabis intoxication: an fMRI pilot study. Psychopharmacology. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00213-017-4601-1
  4. Wiebe, E, et al. (2019). How Cannabis Alters Sexual Experience: A Survey of Men and Women. The journal of sexual medicine. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsxm.2019.07.023
  5. Kassel, G. (2021). Are CBD Suppositories the Answer to Better, Less Painful Sex? Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/healthy-sex/cbd-suppositories-better-less-painful-sex

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