Marijuana, Alcohol and Ecstasy: Do They Impair Sexual Function?

Researchers surveyed 679 young adults to find out how three substances – marijuana, alcohol, and ecstasy – affected sexual behavior.

What did they discover?

Alcohol, marijuana, and ecstasy (also called MDMA and Molly) can have different sexual effects on young men and women, new research suggests.

In a survey of 679 people aged 18 to 25 entering nightclubs and dance festivals in New York City, about 40% said they had used all three substances in the past.

Alcohol and ecstasy were more likely to make people feel more attracted to others and more attractive themselves than marijuana. Similarly, alcohol and ecstasy tended to make users more sociable, increasing their chances of meeting partners. Marijuana didn’t have as much of an effect; about a third of the respondents said marijuana made them less sociable.

Ecstasy users reported feeling more sexual passion, with more intense orgasms and longer sexual encounters than alcohol or marijuana users.

Men had more sexual problems when they used alcohol or ecstasy, but for women, marijuana was linked to more sexual difficulties.

Almost a third of those who used alcohol said they’d felt post-sex regret. The rates were lower for ecstasy and marijuana (13% and 7%, respectively).

The information can help both doctors and patients better understand the effects and potential repercussions of substance use in regard to sexuality.


New York University

“Young Adults Report Differing Sexual Effects from Alcohol, Marijuana, and Ecstasy”

(News release. January 10, 2018)–marij.html

Psychology & Sexuality

Palamar, Joseph J., et al.

“A comparison of self-reported sexual effects of alcohol, marijuana, and ecstasy in a sample of young adult nightlife attendees”

(Abstract. Published online: January 8, 2018)

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