Ashley Manta: The CannaSexual
By Solomon Rand
Most fans of cannabis come around to learning about how the plant they love benefits their sex life. While alcohol is associated with clumsy, sloppy and occasionally dysfunctional sex, cannabis has been associated with enhanced pleasure, multiple orgasms, and a greater feeling of intimacy with one's partner. Ashley Manta is not just a believer in cannabis-enhanced sex, she's a proselytizer of it. Through her website CannaSexual, she uses science and personal experience to promote the idea that cannabis and sex are an adult version of chocolate and peanut butter that more people should be willing to experiment with.
Manta was relatively late to the game when it came to cannabis. A self-professed child of D.A.R.E. culture, she didn't have a high opinion of the plant until her grad school cohort relieved her of her cannabis virginity courtesy of a gravity bong rigged up from a 2 liter bottle and a Mr. Coffee can. She laughingly recounted, with a slight air of embarrassment, how an old friend reminded her after her first hit that back in her youth in Pennsylvania, she used to consider “weed” as a path to the devil. But this devil’s weed turned to a hobby, and soon became intertwined with her professional career.
Manta’s first foray into public speaking about issues of sex was discussing her own sexual assault at a Take Back the Night rally. Talking about such a personal topic in front of a crowd is no doubt the stuff of many people’s nightmares, but she felt it allowed her to “reclaim my narrative”. She was spurred to study the nature of sexual trauma to help her better understand the effects of her assault on her own mind and body. This led her to the West Chester University Women’s Center, an array of Women's Studies courses, and eventually to work as a rape crisis counselor and victim advocate. She stood with survivors of assault in emergency rooms, police departments and courtrooms, helping them to recover and find justice where it could be found. After years of this advocacy left her emotionally burnt out, she needed a radical shift, so she picked up and moved to Los Angeles where she spent a year as a phone sex operator. She later wrote A Feminist’s Guide to Phone Sex based on her experiences talking dirty to strangers. This kept her rent paid as she prepared to launch her career as a full-time sex educator, with a particular focus on cannabis.
Currently, Manta holds talks and seminars on sexual pleasure throughout California and across the country. She spoke of an upcoming hand sex class in which she'll be performing her hand job and prostate massage technique live on a demo bottom (who is far more comfortable with his body than I am). Manta laid out her ground rules to cannabis-assisted sex thusly: “1. Negotiate before you medicate, say what is and isn’t on the table, and get everyone involved on same page. A little leg work up front allows for both parties to be comfortable. 2. Go low and slow, use as little as you need to get the effect you want so that communication stays open and effective.”
In explaining her success in this field, Manta said “I talk a lot about my own experiences, and I think people respond well to that honesty.” She demonstrated that honesty, as she dropped that she's getting laid about once a week with her regular lover and a mix of more casual partners as nonchalantly as some of us describe having takeout for dinner. “My sex life is the best it’s ever been in my entire life and I couldn’t be happier” she remarked with a contented grin, stating that seven or eight times out of ten, she's high during the experience
She's equally open with her opinions on the available cannabis products to get you there, with the caveat that you shouldn’t take her word for it and go with what works for you personally. She's a big fan of the Foria line of products, whether it's lube or their vagina and anal suppositories. Manta also recommends micro-dosing, as it allows for more effective communication when both partners still have their heads about them. If you're looking to vape as a couple (or more), as a general rule Manta believes body highs are preferable for intimate lovemaking while more cerebral highs lend themselves to really going at it. Lately she's been enjoying the Connect bud from Canndescent, feeling that rather than getting hung up on strains and the indica/sativa divide, she'd rather have a more specific idea of what the effects will be. Then you can just enjoy as your sex life reaches “a magical level”.