Lube Up!

Over the past few years working as a sex educator, I’ve noticed that whenever I hear people talk about lube it always seems to be in the context of someone saying they don’t need it.

I also hear many misconceptions about lube and its uses, which is why I wanted to share my thoughts on why I think incorporating a personal lubricant into your sexual activities could change them for the better.

First let’s talk about some of these misconceptions.

The one I hear most often is that lube is only for anal sex. It’s true that lube can be a really important step in anal penetration, since the anus doesn’t produce natural lubrication. It can make anal penetration smoother, more comfortable and even safer, because more lubrication means less risk of small cuts and abrasions, which can serve as an entry point for STIs.

But the thing is, lube does all these things for vaginal sex too! In fact, I recommend lube for all kinds of sex—anal, vaginal, manual (fingering, hand jobs, fisting), masturbation, etc. Lube even makes condom use safer and more enjoyable. It reduces the chances of condoms breaking from too much friction, and makes penetration easier. It’s precisely why most condoms come pre-lubricated, after all.

The next misconception I hear often is that lube is only needed if the receiving partner has lubrication issues. It surprises me how much people rely on natural lubrication when we talk so little about how to trigger and maintain it.

The truth is, many people do actually have difficulty maintaining natural lubrication for the entirety of foreplay and penetration, and this is totally normal, especially with longer sessions. Instead of addressing this though, we’re taught sex in a way that normalizes friction, forced movements and even pain for women during vaginal penetration.

A clear example of this is the cultural acceptance of first-time sex as a naturally painful experience for women, when in fact the pain most women experience is usually due to a lack of lubrication and proper preparation through foreplay, and therefore is completely unnecessary.

It’s rare for our bodies to produce a continuous stream of lubrication when aroused, so even when highly aroused, it’s normal to lose some or even all of that wetness, at which point penetrative acts can suddenly become uncomfortable or even painful.

So a recap on why lube is awesome: It will not only make sex safer, but also more comfortable, which means you’ll probably be able to do it and enjoy it for longer. Pretty awesome, right?

Adding lube to your sex life can be intimidating at first, since there are so many types and brands out there, so here’s a mini-guide to choosing a lube.

There are three types of lube out there: water-based, silicone-based and oil-based.

Water-based lubes are the most common and popular type. They are great for all kinds of sex and provide an easy clean up because they eventually absorb into the body much like a moisturizing cream, and usually dry without staining the sheets or clothing. Since they’re water-based, a little can go a long way in increasing or extending natural lubrication.

The only downside is that water-based lubes can dry up more quickly and require more application than other types. Recommended brands are organic ones like Sliquid Organics or Yes, since your skin will absorb it.

Other brands worth checking out are Bodywise Maximus, ID Glide and Pink. Try to avoid lubes containing glycerin or sugar, as these ingredients can lead to yeast infections and irritation.

Silicone-based lubricants are often thicker and won’t absorb into the body, so they’ll last longer without needing to apply more. This makes them ideal for situations without natural lubrication like anal sex, but they’re still great in all other situations.

The downside is that they can be messy since they won’t dry up and disappear on skin, clothes, or sheets. Depending on the brand, they can also be sticky. They’re not recommended for use with silicone-based sex toys since they can break them down, but most are certified as safe with latex condoms. Recommended brands include Bodywise Liquid Silk, Wet, ID Millenium, and Astroglide X.

Oil-based lubes are no longer recommended because they can break down condoms and linger inside the body with the possibility of trapping and causing infections.

There you have it, an introduction to why and how to give lube a chance!

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