How to Do It

I Had an Out-of-This-World Sexual Experience—Without Touching Anyone or Anything Else

Man smiling, with illustration of a marijuana leaf.
Photo illustration by Slate. Photos by Getty Images Plus.

Every Thursday, Rich and Stoya answer a special question they could only tackle together, just for Slate Plus members. Join today to never miss a column.

Have a question? Send it to Stoya and Rich here. It’s anonymous!

Dear How to Do It,

I recently had an experience where I started getting spontaneous orgasms, without any stimulation at all. My concern is how this happened—and whether I should continue.

I tried pot for the first time, and I started having these orgasms about an hour into the experience. They unlike what I’ve felt before as I wasn’t ejaculating at all (in fact I wasn’t even really hard). They were deep and full-bodied (not centered on my dick).

Is this a common experience? Is this what women’s orgasms feel like? Will this happen every time I smoke pot?

— High and Horny

Rich: No, this does not happen every time! But maybe from our writer’s experience…I don’t know! I’ve never felt anything close to that.

Stoya: It might happen every time they smoke pot. They should smoke some more pot and find out—I’m presuming they live in a state where this is legal.

Rich: Yeah.

Stoya: The downside is you spend a couple hours having orgasms that are novel to you, or you’re just stoned and nothing’s happening, but then you have your answer to the last question.

Rich: Exactly. In terms of clinical documentation, there was a case study published in 2017 in an issue of the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy called “Restless Genital Syndrome Should Be Distinguished From Spontaneous Orgasms: A Case Report of Cannabis-Induced Spontaneous Orgasm.” In the abstract, a case is described of a 40-year-old woman with persistent spontaneous orgasms after use of cannabis and five-hour, hard-pounding sexual activity. They keep saying in this paper, by the way, “hard-pounding sexual activity,” like over and over. The paper hard-pounds you with this phrase. I think it’s out in the Netherlands.

Stoya: My best friend is going to have to listen to hours of me convincing myself not to get “hard-pounding sexual activity” tattooed on my body.

Rich: It’s really good. So after this woman smokes weed, she has five hours of “hard-pounding” tantric sex—also, I didn’t know that hard-pounding and tantric could all go together, but apparently they did. She goes on to smoke weed some more and has these spontaneous orgasms. What’s up with that? They distinguished it from this syndrome called “restless genital syndrome” and they determine that this is the first case report of cannabis-induced, dose-dependent, spontaneous orgasms.

So to our reader’s question, is this common? It would seem absolutely not. It’s incredibly uncommon. In fact, one of the authors, Marcel Waldinger, a neuropsychiatrist in private practice in the Netherlands, told IB Times UK, “We need to know whether there are more incidents like this. So I’m interested in patients who will contact me if they’ve had the same sort of experiences. That is important to find out whether this is a very rare phenomenon or whether it occurs more often.”

A few columns ago, we suggested somebody get in contact with a sleep researcher for the data of it all. It is imperative, I would say, given this doctor’s solicitation that our writer contact this doctor and let him know about the case because it seems very, very under reported. Whether that means it’s uncommon or not is unclear. It seems pretty uncommon, though.

Stoya: As to one of the other questions in the letter: “Is this what women’s orgasms feel like?” Well, I have some questions as the person with the vagina in the room. I am asking you, Rich, as a penis-haver to answer some questions that I would ask the writer, but they did not give us a contact.

Rich: OK. I’m happy to be a proxy.

Stoya: Is every orgasm the same for you?

Rich: No. And it depends on the partner most of the time. It also depends on how long I go without; a huge part of it is how sexually excited I am during the lead up to it. If all day I’ve been wanting sex and I finally have it and then if it’s a good experience, it’s going to be way more intense than if not. But the letter writer is implying that they don’t feel it throughout their body and not just centered on the dick, and I would say that I don’t feel it throughout my body, even at its most intense, it’s very dick-and-prostate focused. For me, it tends to be localized.

Stoya: Oh, OK. All right. So even before I read Barbara Carrellas’ Urban Tantra—which I’ve begun to proselytize about, and I took one of Barbara’s breathing classes early in the pandemic—but even before I started doing that, most of the time, if I have more than three orgasms (and most of the time I did have more than three orgasms), I feel it in my whole body. And there’s energy everywhere. And my background in dance means I have spent time envisioning energy in my body. So there’s a framework that was familiar for me that may be at play here, but there’s a crunching and an expansion and it’s the whole body and it’s the fingers and it’s the toes and parts tangle and my whole pelvic bowl goes like, “unk, unk, unk.” And then sometimes it like takes a breath and we do it again. And I’m like, “Do I count this as another orgasm?” But then I never have an answer for that because then it’s happening again. And that is what a good orgasm feels like for me.

And then of course, there’s the McDonald’s ones where it’s pussy-centric. Ooh, I just compared the apparently standard penile-orgasm experience to McDonald’s. Oops.

Rich: I’m loving it.

Stoya: Yeah, but to answer High and Horny’s question, what you’re describing sounds like my, once the ball is rolling, multiple orgasms. I’m happy you’ve had this experience. Some women don’t orgasm at all. Some women have different experiences, just about everyone’s orgasms going to differ in some way or the kinds of orgasms they have, which kinds of orgasms they’re most prone to having.

But if they want to further their curiosity, I have another book that I already recommended recently: Annie Sprinkle’s Explorer’s Guide to Planet Orgasm. Not only does it have stuff that can be useful for people with penises, as far as getting into their bodies, Annie describes in detail all of these different kinds of orgasms. So if our reader is curious and they want to learn more, it might be a cool book for him. And also, they might find themselves able to have these spontaneous sorts of orgasms without the pot, if that’s something they want.

Rich: Yeah. From my understanding of the p-spot orgasm, that’s what it sounds like this person’s having. That’s when people will play with their prostates in an extended situation, and then they have these full-body orgasms and their penises aren’t always hard. And there isn’t always ejaculation, either. That’s what it sounds like somehow happened, but I have no idea what the science would be or what receptors those cannabinoids fit to make that happen. Seems like a pretty unique situation, but it also seems like a gift. So doesn’t really seem like there’s a problem here, nothing to solve per se, only an opportunity to explore more.

Stoya: It was fun to talk about.

Rich: It was. You learn something new. I didn’t know this could happen, but I’m glad that I do now. Something to aspire to.

More From How to Do It

I’m a 24-year-old woman who has been masturbating and having sex since age 16 and have never had an orgasm. Despite trying different methods and vibrators, multiple sexual partners over the years, experimenting with women when I felt I might be attracted to them, and checking with a gynecologist and my doctor to make sure there was no physical cause, I have still not orgasmed. I brought this up with a therapist a couple years ago, and we talked about it for about six months before I quit because I felt it wasn’t helping. I have a strong sense that the cause is biological/physical rather than mental, because I’m a very sexually open person who has no past sexual trauma and wasn’t raised to feel shame about sex. The internet is full of advice for women who can’t orgasm with their partners, but there’s very little for women who can’t orgasm at all. I’m terrified that this is the rest of my life and I will never be able to have a relationship in which I’m truly satisfied.