All about lube

Picture going down a water slide without enough water … It is not comfortable, or fun! Adequate water is needed for the slide to be slippery and cut down on the friction between it - and you! Lubrication is a lot like that. Adequate lube reduces friction, and too much friction can cause discomfort or pain. Reducing friction can also increase pleasure, so adding a personal lubricant into your sex life is not just for when you need a little “extra,” but can enhance your sexual activity and make it feel “extra!” It is an easy and inexpensive addition that can make sex slicker, longer lasting and more enjoyable.

When a woman is sexually aroused, there is an increased blood flow to her genitals. This is called vasocongestion, and this process is responsible for how the wetness begins taking place. Some women lubricate more than others. It may help to think about it sort of like sweat. Some people sweat a lot, some sweat very little. In the same way, women naturally lubricate in varying amounts. Let’s be clear, the cultural myth that a woman getting “wet” is the indicator that she is “turned on” and ready for penetration is simply not clinically based. The best indicator to indicate if a woman is aroused is listening to her words letting you know she is. On the flip side, a lack of lubrication does not always indicate lack of arousal. This is important for you and your partner to understand.

Many women do not naturally lubricate enough to allow penetrative sex to be pleasurable for them. Furthermore, quite often there is not enough time allowed for adequate arousal before intercourse and thus not enough time for a woman to experience the increase in blood flow and progression to lubrication that’s needed. Using lube with protective barriers like condoms is encouraged because it decreases friction that can cause discomfort. Also, lubricant is an absolute must for anal sex, as the anus does not self-lubricate at all.

There are many reasons why any woman of any age might not produce sufficient vaginal lubrication to allow pleasurable intercourse. Experiencing times of vaginal dryness is not an “old lady” issue. It may occur on and off in a woman’s life or it may be the nature of the way your individual body works all of the time. Certainly, a woman’s hormonal shifts in life can be a significant factor. It is not unusual to experience times of dryness during pregnancy, breastfeeding, and midlife. However, other factors can affect lubrication such as stress, alcohol, medication side effects, dehydration, and skin irritation to name a few.

There are several different categories of lube available. It is best to think through each type and possibly try a few to determine what will work best for you and your partner. I highly recommend you test out what you buy on skin other than your vulva or vagina first to determine any sensitivity. The underside of your arm works well, dab some on there and wait a day to see if you tolerate the lube without irritation.

Silicone based lube:  Generally well tolerated, non-irritating, and unlikely to cause allergic reactions. Choose one that has the least amount of ingredients. Safe to use with condoms. Not safe to use with silicone sex toys. A little goes a long way, not runny and stays where you put it. Long lasting, does not evaporate, and stays slippery. Dries like a soft powder, is not sticky or gummy. Suggestions: Uberlube, Sliquid Products, Swiss Navy, Good Clean Love

Water-based lube: Closer to a woman’s natural chemistry. Check ingredients, may have some that can irritate the vulva and vagina. Dries up quickly. Easy cleanup. Safe with latex condoms and silicone toys. Suggestions: Slippery Stuff, Sliquid products, Pjur Woman Aqua

Food Oils: Not recommended for vaginal lubrication. Can speed up growth of bacteria in the vagina. Not to be used if you are prone to yeast infections or bacterial vaginosis. Doesn’t flush out of your system easily. Oil causes breakage - do not use with condoms! Suggestion: Unrefined coconut oil

Petroleum-based lubricants (Vaseline, mineral oil) These products should not be used internally and are not recommended. They can irritate and promote bacterial growth that can lead to infections. Never use with condoms or other latex barriers - they cause breakage