Cannabis and sex—they are two things that go great together.
But in an industry that’s becoming more nuanced by the day, cannabis can have many uses in the bedroom beyond simply smoking a joint and turning out the lights. Just ask Ashley Manta, the 31-year-old founder of CannaSexual, who is on a mission to show the world how cannabis can help conquer sexual difficulties and lead to a more satisfying sex life.
“My approach is, if this is a thing you are curious about, I can help you do that better.”
“In terms of the totality of the potential, I don’t think people give [cannabis] enough thought. We generally operate in a very narrow construct of what sex and sexuality look like, largely based on what we see in porn,” said Manta, a self-described “bubbly buxom blonde” who isn’t shy about sharing her own sexual experiences with the world.
“In terms of the totality of the potential, I don’t think people give [cannabis] enough thought.”
Based on Experience
Manta has been working as a sex counselor for a decade, though she was a late-comer to cannabis, first consuming it “on purpose” when she was 23. She discovered the cannabis stereotype was just that; she’d met people with PhDs who consumed it regularly.
In 2013, Manta moved to California and visited a dispensary for the first time. Around this time, she also had her first pleasurable intercourse in a decade. This is because she was facing trauma from being raped a decade before. Cannabis played an important role in relaxing her for the experience and allowing her to feel pleasure instead of pain from penetration.
She began to shift the focus of her counseling from sexual violence to enhancing pleasure, with a short stint as a phone sex operator on the way. And she found her niche by offering what few other counselors should: Showing individual people and couples how cannabis could enhance their sex lives.
Cannabis can awaken, rather than dull, the senses. So around 2015 Manta set out to discover how the plant could enhance sexuality in ways other substances could not.
Awareness, Mindfulness, Communication and Cannabis
If you take one of Manta’s classes or book a private session, the first thing you’ll learn about is communication by staring into your partner’s eyes wordlessly for two minutes. Most people, she says, don’t know how to do it when it comes to sex.
“People don’t know how to ask for what they need. They don’t know how to negotiate in the bedroom. People have shame about the bodies, about things they are into, about enjoying pleasure,” she said.
“I really kind of help figure out what it is they’re missing or what’s holding them back, using a combination of awareness, mindfulness, communication and cannabis to start to adjust these things.”
And cannabis can help in many ways. Say someone gets nervous about sexual performance? She might suggest a strain high in CBD to help calm them. Maybe a woman experiences pain with penetration? She suggests cannabis oils combined with toys and gentle touching. Or maybe it’s stress from work, life or a past traumatic sexual experience?
“Stress is such an arousal killer and being able to take enough stress away that you can have a pleasurable experience, by yourself or with a partner, is one of the main benefits of cannabis, to get you out of your head and into your body.”
She does most of her counseling in Southern California, as well as in Denver, Colorado, but is willing to travel wherever (given the clients provide travel expenses). Manta also writes for several publications, makes media appearances and is never shy about sharing her own sexual exploits to her thousands of Twitter and Instagram followers, so they know the things she suggests have already been tried—by her.
Manta is also in the process of developing her own line of sex toys and products. “I want to be an educational resource and a lifestyle brand,” she said.
The one wild card, of course, is that cannabis affects every person differently, so it’s often a journey of discovery with clients, sometimes trial and error.
“What works for me and my body may not work well for you and your body,” she said. “My approach is, if this is a thing you are curious about, I can help you do that better. If it’s not your thing, you can still have amazing sex.”