Discovering Cannasexuality with Ashley Manta
The average herbalist has most likely thought about, if not experimented with cannabis and sex but it probably hasn't extended past smoking before or during the act. Ashley Manta has taken two of her favorite activities, combined them and perfected the craft of using cannabis as an aid to sexual pleasure. Her bright, bubbly personality and honest information makes Ashley the ideal educator when it comes to sex and cannabis. She has conquered a troubled past, completed her college education and become a successful ganjapreneur, bestowing her the right to coin the phrase 'Cannasexual,' as she lives up to the term. Ashley Manta is the epitome of turning negatives into positives, using cannabis as a sexual stimulant for pleasure.
This beautiful, vibrant young Pennsylvania native did not always exude such confidence and sass. Ashley struggled with coping after being sexually assaulted at a young age. "That shifted the trajectory of my life," she told us. "It changed fundamentally how I found myself, how I found my relationship with sexuality..." It wasn't until she was 18 that she attended her first Take Back The Night rally, where she participated in the Survivor's Speakout. "After listening to about five or six people tell their stories, I suddenly found myself at the podium." For the first time in her life, Ashley shared her story in front of 400 people.
"It made such a huge difference," she admitted. "That I was able to tell my story and reclaim my narrative and feel like I wasn't alone for the first time. And that made me want to tell my story more and, sort of by extension, it made me want to learn more about trauma. Specifically sexual trauma." From then on, Ashley not only learned how to cope herself, but she also became devoted to helping people heal from their trauma. She began teaching classes focused on sexual boundaries and consent for high schools and colleges. Ashley has also worked with the Philadelphia District Attorney's office as a victim advocate and The Clery Center For Security On Campus to develop a curriculum and documentary about sexual violence awareness. Overall, her work as a crisis counselor has helped herself and countless others.
However, she did confess that consistently working juvenile cases of sexual assault began haunting her. "I would see the case files in my dreams. I would have nightmares. I would be sitting in court having flashbacks. It was just not a good scene for me because I realized that there was still more healing I had to do," she recalled. Ashley recognized that staying surrounded by the reminders of her past may have benefited her in some ways as well as others yet, she knew she would not fully heal nor was it going to help her grow. She then decided to make a slight career shift.
"I decided to kind of pivot in my sex ed career to focus more on pleasure and empowerment and helping people have joyful, confident, blissful sex lives," she said. Ashely decided to turn her career focus from coaching healing methods to teaching pleasure tips and techniques. Although her focus shifted, her past found its way of creeping back up. After speaking with a former classmate who confessed that she had been sexually assaulted by the same person who raped Ashley, she decided to name her rapist in a blog on her website knowing that there had to be other women who were a victim of his actions. "I posted this blog in March 2015 and my website got 22,000 views the first day," she told us. "Within a week, seven more women messaged me to say that that same individual had either sexually assaulted them or attempted to."
The feedback from her blog caused Ashley's PTSD to skyrocket. "I had to quit my job because I couldn't work because I couldn't get out of bed because I was crying all of the time, depressed. I wasn't interested in sex and I felt broken all over again." Ashley found herself back in a depressed state, speaking to her therapist and lawyer for reassurance of her decision to name her rapist online. She was fortunate to have the support of others in her decision however, she admitted to finding solace in cannabis.
Surprisingly, Ashley didn't smoke marijuana until the age of 23. She had a stigma against cannabis because her rapist was smoking during her assault, so she vowed to stay away. It wasn't until she was in college, where she was introduced to some friends in a philosophy class who had smoked. She realized that not all herbalists are bad people, as she had come across some kind and respectable individuals who smoke. Those friends were able to open Ashley's eyes to the beautiful side of cannabis. "They had me over to their house and they set up this little gravity bong. I took one hit (lol) and I sat on a bean bag chair, watched Empire Records and felt amazing."
Her move from Pennsylvania to southern California broadened her experience and knowledge of cannabis. "In Pennsylvania, you're choices are kind of... weed or, no weed," she laughs. "Being in California and walking into a dispensary and saying 'here are the things that I want to address... what are some products that you can recommend that are helpful for that?' That's a game changer!" She began tuning into her body and its senses when she used different cannabis products before sex. "No one was really talking about what products would be good for sex. And no sex educators were really talking about cannabis."
Over the years, Ashley has taken both sex and cannabis, and dissected them both. Now, she uses her knowledge and personal experiences to create seminars geared to bringing out your cannasexuality. Ashley has branded herself as the Cannasexual and defines the term as, "anyone who mindfully and deliberately combines sex and cannabis to deepen intimacy and enhance pleasure." And her classes reflect just that!
A class with Ashley Manta depends on your interests, education and comfortability. Newcomers may start with a Cannabis 101 course, explaining the basics of marijuana, strains, cannabinoids and more. Or, a Beginners Sex course for those not very sexually experienced. Climbing up the course ladder, you can learn about hand sex, masturbation, participate in demonstration classes or even have Ashley host a snuggle party! (To hear a more in depth conversation about Ashley's classes, listen to our interview starting at 18:28)
Ashley not only teaches countless categories of cannabis & sex related classes, she is also the most well known published author who writes about cannabis and sex. To date, she has over 70 published articles, she currently has a column in Dope Magazine and writes for Leafly as well. She also has a blog on her website. Ashley Manta is the most published cannabis/sex author in the country.
An amazing ganjapreneur, Ashley also takes her classes on the road, traveling the country to appear at high schools, colleges, and events such as SXSW that she will be attending this month to participate in a panel about the Surprising Health Benefits of Sex & Cannabis. If you want to have an Ashley Manta class in your state, she is available for booking.
With the ever-evolving cannabis industry constantly taking the nation by surprise, Ashley Manta has done just that by making herself the staple of cannabis and sex education. Her warm spirit is contagious as she provides comfortability along with helpful knowledge in her discussions and classes. Admirable in all ways, she is a conqueror of what many let defeat them. Ashley Manta has transformed from a sexual assault victim to a self-fulfilling ganjapreneur.