Though it is currently still classified as an illicit substance at the federal level, cannabis, or marijuana, is being decriminalized and legalized in an increasing number of states and territories in the United States (National Conference of State Legislatures, 2019; National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, n.d.). At the same time, there is evidence to suggest that use is increasing and attitudes towards use are becoming more permissive (Cerdá, Wall, Keyes, Galea, & Hasin, 2012; Johnson et al., 2015; Johnston, O'Malley, Bachman, Schulenberg, & Miech, 2016; Mason et al., 2016; Miech et al., 2015; Wen, Hockenberry, & Cummings, 2015). While rates of cannabis use increase as individuals become more positive in their attitudes towards use, relatively little research has been devoted to the sexual effects of acute cannabis intoxication, including what sexual behavior people engage in while experiencing the effects and what their subjective sexual experience is like, nor what factors might be influencing these outcomes. Two such factors, perceived social norms and sex-related expectancies, or the anticipated sex-related outcomes of use, have been shown to be predictors of substance use and sexual behavior respectively, though neither has been linked directly to sexual behavior and experience while experiencing the effects of marijuana (e.g., Buckner, 2013; Currin, Croff, & Hubach, 2017; Hendershot, Magnan, & Bryan, 2010; Martens et al., 2006; Napper, Kenney, Hummer, Fiorot, & LaBrie, 2016). The current study explored the extent to which perceived social norms and sex-related expectancies predict participants' reported sexual behaviors and experiences while feeling the effects of cannabis. Findings highlighted the relative frequency that participants reported engaging in oral, vaginal, and anal sex WEEC, and were consistent with much of the previous literature on the subjective effects, with most participants reporting increases in positive effects, such as desire and arousal, some reporting no change, and few reporting decreases. Of the identified predictors, enhancement and intimacy expectancies as well as descriptive social norms around cannabis use and sex WEEC were predictive of the general sexual behavior outcomes with main partners while only descriptive social norms around sex WEEC were predictive of the sexual risk behavior outcomes with casual partners. Enhancement expectancies were the most consistently significant predictor across subjective effects, with disinhibition, intimacy, and risk expectancies as well as descriptive social norms around cannabis use predicting fewer subjective effects. The results highlight potential educational and risk-reduction intervention points, and lend support to the sexual therapeutic potential of cannabis.
|Advisor:||Wells, Brooke E.|
|Commitee:||Hubach, Randolph D., Simmons, Megan K.|
|School Location:||United States -- Pennsylvania|
|Source:||DAI-B 80/09(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Sexuality, Social research|
|Keywords:||Cannabis use, Human sexuality, Substance use|
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