Maia Leggott (she/they) is a freelance writer, budtender and advocate for loud, vulnerable and shameless storytelling. Their writing is informed by their personal experience with chronic illness, cannabis, mental health, sexuality, and more. They live in Toronto in a box in the sky with their black cat, Stella.
We’ve talked about cannabis and sex in the past, and are big supporters of safely combining the two; but what about cannabis and kink? Does our beloved herb have a place in our kinky fun?
First off, what is Kink?
Its definition seems to differ depending on where you look (which makes sense, because kink is different for everyone!)
According to The Ultimate Guide to Kink: BDSM, Role Play and the Erotic Edge, it's defined as an intimate and consensual exchange of power that can be physical, sexual, erotic, psychological, spiritual, or a combination of these. To that end, BDSM (bondage & discipline, dominance & submission, sadism & masochism) is an umbrella term that encompasses this exchange of power through various activities.
New York-based sex therapist, Sara Rosen, says kink often involves the sexualization of objects, behaviours, or activities that would fall outside the “norm” of sexual behaviour. (WTF is the norm, anyway?!)
The hallmark of kink is that the practice is “safe, sane and consensual,” a phrase introduced in the 1980s in an attempt to describe the values of the community, and differentiate BDSM from abuse.
During a BDSM scene or practice, the bottom or submissive (sub) receives stimulation, orders or behavioural adjustments, while the top or dominant (dom) provides these things. All activities are mutually agreed upon beforehand, and require participants to be of sound mind.
Kink can even transport the sub into a trancelike state known as “subspace,” an out of body experience that disconnects you from reality and promotes relaxation. One study found that BDSM activities reduced cortisol and increased sexual arousal. Sound familiar, stoners?
How does cannabis factor in?
It’s no secret that cannabis can make sex better for many people, particularly vulva-owners. We know that it can improve sex drive, orgasms and reduce pain. But kink isn't necessarily sex, and cannabis is a mind-altering substance. So the question is, if you’re high, can you be safe, sane and consensual?
Rosen says yes, but cautions against trying both for the first time.
“If you’re new to both, start with one on its own and work your way up to combining the two. It doesn’t mean you can’t combine them, but until you have that rapport and trust with a partner(s), it’s best to go slow.”
Cannabis can help you relax before or during a scene, and who knows... the ~chill~ factor may even facilitate the transition into subspace.
Rosen also says you can incorporate cannabis as a kink itself!
“Maybe you want your partner to tell you they’re going to grind you into a pulp, spread you out on a delicate hemp paper, roll you up and smoke you. There are many ways to bring cannabis and kink together.”
All you have to do is ask.
Cannabis and kink share stigma, and often live in the shadows of underground subculture; such things have a way of finding each other. In a place like Canada where cannabis has been legal for over three years, that stigma is shrinking. But if you're in an environment where it's illegal, this can add to the illicitness of a scene; but, it can also mean people are more reluctant to open up about it.
Be aware of the risks — but stay open.
As with any risky activity, it’s important to be aware of what lies ahead. Levels of legality can complicate access to cannabis, so it tends to stay more "underground".
Cannabis may be a proven pain reliever, but a loss of pain sensation can veer into dangerous territory during activities like impact play, slapping, or other rough play. It can also increase anxiety or paranoia in some folks, which may already be heightened when entering a scene. It’s important to consistently check in, and make sure everyone involved is comfortable.
It’s equally essential to have conversations around boundaries and expectations before using cannabis or initiating play. Agree on a word, phrase or gesture ahead of time that can get you out of a scene if necessary. If you’re a top, abstaining from use during play is a good idea, particularly if working with rope or hefty equipment.
Tolerance is important when combining cannabis and kink as well; all parties should know how they respond to the plant before incorporating it into play.
The bottom line
Cannabis can be a wonderful addition to a kinky lifestyle, but like many worthwhile things, comes with its own risks. Trust, safety, and consent are vital when exploring either cannabis or kink, but especially when exploring them together.
How do you feel about cannabis and kink? What has your experience been like? Do you think cannabis has a place in kink/BDSM?