Photo: Alanna You
As the normalization of cannabis increases, so does the passion of its enthusiasts. The daily user is not someone who consumes to the point of intoxication, but for presence and experience. Ask anyone who considers themselves a “cannabis connoisseur” for advice, and you will likely receive a grocery list of products and suggested applications tailored to your desired mood and/or setting! They understand that the plant’s effects are not binary, and that when consumed correctly, it has the ability to achieve both physical and mental relaxation.These aspects naturally lend themselves to both intimacy and sex, and the market has caught on.
Products and discussions surrounding sex and cannabis are becoming more accessible and common, yet the struggle for many to vocalize and find confidence remains. Enter Ashley Manta, the “priestess of pleasure”. As a sex educator and coach, she has gained popularity throughout North American cannabis circles as the go-to person for such issues. As the creator of CannaSexual®, Ashley uses her vast experience and expertise to help individuals discover and accept their sensuality both solo and partnered, utilizing cannabis to encourage an enhanced and mindful experience.
We had to opportunity to discover more about how her candor around sexuality has allowed her to carve a fulfilling and innovative career (and of course, we had to include some handy cannabis pleasure tips!)
Photo: Mary Jane University
How did you arrive at being a cannabis sex educator and coach?
I’ve been a sex educator since 2007–I got my start as a rape crisis counselor and sexual violence prevention educator in K-12 and colleges. Then I became a victim advocate in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office, but burned out after a year. I decided to switch my focus to sexual health, empowerment, joy, and pleasure. When I moved to California in 2013, I experienced medical cannabis for the first time. It was incredibly effective for managing the emotional and physical symptoms of my PTSD, and I realized that there was an opportunity to become well-versed in cannabis and bring my body positive, pleasure-focused sex education perspective to the industry. Coaching was a natural extension of teaching because folks often want to work with me one-on-one after coming to one of my workshops.
So many women are reticent about discussing their sexual experiences – what inspired you to be so open about your own?
This is who I’ve always been. In high school, I was the awkward one who talked about sex too much and didn’t understand why no one would admit that masturbation is awesome. That trend continued into college and I hosted my first sex toy party in my sophomore year of school. After that, I realized that I would always be the chronic over-sharer and decided to embrace it. I find that when I share my stories and experiences, people seem to respond by feeling more empowered to share their own, or at least try new things in their own lives and tell me about it. I love that I get to be a sexual inspiration and “permission-giver” for folks.
Do you have a preferred intimacy routine?
My intimacy routine is highly sensual–I burn sage and palo santo to cleanse the room, then light incense and diffuse essential oils. I have a color-changing light bulb, so I set that to red or blue, and I put on a playlist that matches the mood I’m going for. I start by applying Foria Pleasure to my bits about 20 minutes before sexy fun times begin. Then, I’ll usually smoke some flower or do a dab to get my head in the right place. I also like to put on something sexy and dance around my bedroom, all before my boyfriend arrives.
Photo: Nikolay Mikheev, courtesy of Culture Magazine
How can people new to the world of cannabis integrate the plant into their sex life?
One of the best ways to start is to use what you already have on hand. Try a bit, masturbate, and see how it impacts your mindset and physical experience. If you can’t afford to go out and buy a lube, but you have a good bit of flower at home, infuse your own oil and use that (topically, not as an edible!)
Is there a particular product you wish existed?
I’m pretty happy with the current products on the market, honestly. Now that Foria has expanded their product line to include hemp-CBD suppositories, massage oil, a tincture, and vaporizers, I feel really good about the product options. I do wish there was more education around how to use them to enhance sexual experiences.
What has been your most gratifying moment in career thus far?
Being on the cover of Sexual Health Magazine in January was one of the most profoundly validating moments in my career. In the same month, Dope Magazine published an interview I conducted with one of my professional heroes, Betty Dodson. I’m getting certified as a Betty Dodson Bodysex workshop facilitator over the summer and I could not be more thrilled to be learning from someone whose work has had such a powerful impact on me.
What’s in store for Cannasexual®?
My vision for Cannasexual® is to present educational workshops and retreats all over the world, to have a full roster of coaching clients, and to write and publish a book and a memoir. Eventually I’d like to have a team of people working with me to do all of the logistical things that I struggle with–people who are execution rock stars who can help me manifest my dreams for the brand.
Looking to bring a little herb to the boudoir? Get a load of Ashley’s top 3 cannabis pleasure tips, featured in the February Chill Box!
“Negotiate before you medicate–have a conversation about what’s on the table sexually before you enjoy the cannabis you’ll be consuming. Check in frequently because consent is crucial!”
“Before you smoke, set an intention for both the sex and the cannabis. What do you want the cannabis to do for you? What kind of sexual experience do you want to co-create with your partner?”
“Try new cultivars and products on your own–and masturbate–before adding a new product to partnered sex. That way, you know what to expect!”