Even though it may be a taboo subject for some people, choosing and using lubricants is something we should talk about. Personal lubricant, also known as lube, is a gel or a liquid we use during any kind of sexual activity. Sometimes the natural body lubricants are not enough and people need to turn to alternatives.
This means you care about your partner and want to make their experience enjoyable. You can use lubes during penetrative sex, masturbation or while playing with sex toys. They’ll help you increase the pleasure and reduce any uncomfortable friction between your skin and the other person/object.
This way you won’t experience any chafing and pain. Vaginal dryness is something that happens while breastfeeding, in menopause or during chemotherapy. There’s nothing to be embarrassed about and the best solution for a painless and comfortable sexual activity is to use store-bought lubricants.
Why use Lubricant?
Using lube is very important and there’s nothing to be ashamed of. Did you know that many people who produce enough natural lubricants still use the store-bought? Doing this boosts their sexual pleasure and makes the activity even more enjoyable.
Our body changes over the years, and after menopause, the women’s genitourinary area changes as well. Because the levels of oestrogen drop, this area may atrophy leading to less flexibility, the tissue becomes thinner, there’s less blood flow in the area and so, fewer natural fluids come out. This is a reason enough to buy lubricants for sex.
Everybody is different so something that works for your friend may not work for you. You may listen to their advice and buy the products they use, but ultimately, it’s all about what works best for you and your body type. People can experience different medical conditions that need to be medically treated. Sometimes these treatments lead to vaginal dryness.
Women who breastfeed, people who take antidepressants and antihistamines, breast cancer survivors and individuals with Sjogren syndrome experience this uncomfortable condition. Lubricating is very important when it comes to sexual activity that involves the anus. Because that part of our body doesn’t produce any type of natural lubricant, it’s crucial to use store-bought to avoid pain and discomfort.
How to Use Lubricant?
When it comes to using lubricants for sex, there isn’t just one right way to do it. When you apply it to the vagina, doctors recommend you apply it on the inside, at the opening and on the vulva. This way you get optimal lubrication in every region. If you and your partner are using a condom, put the condom first and then apply the lube on the outside.
If you’re using silicon-based or water-based lube, put a small amount at the tip of the condom on the inside, to avoid any friction. If you’re using some type of sex toy such as vibrators, carefully lubricate them as well. Remember to warm up the lube with your hands because most of the time the liquid is cold, and the parts you’re using it on, are very sensitive. You might want to try out a few different lubes in order to find the right one for you. But when you do, make sure you use it properly and in sufficient dosage.
Types of Lubricants
There are different types of lubricants for sex available. Every one of them has its unique properties and pros and cons. What type you’re going to use depends on the specific situation. If you’ve never bought or used it before, here are the four different types you can encounter.
Water-based lubes are the most common, there are many brands that produce them, and you can find them at different prices. They have no taste or smell and oftentimes feel like a natural lubricant. They don’t get in the way of oral sex and the chances of your skin irritating are low. A lot of these lubricants are enhanced with moisturisers like aloe vera, to extend their longevity because they’ll get absorbed quickly. These moisturisers will reduce any dryness and will soothe the skin.
Another great thing is their compatibility with any condom, a characteristic that oil-based lubes don’t have. Water-based lubricants work great with most sex toys but are not good for any shower play because the water will wash them off quickly. They’re also easy to clean and won’t leave any stains on clothes and furniture. If you have sensitive skin, this is the right type for you. But be careful and read the label because some of these lubes can contain glycerine. This substance can cause irritation and increase the chance of yeast infection.
These lubricants don’t contain any water and this can be both an advantage and a disadvantage for some people. They’re thicker and more slippery than the others. It may feel weird in the beginning because silicone doesn’t get absorbed in the skin. But don’t worry, this can lead to new ways to spice up your sex life.
They will last longer and you don’t have to re-apply very often in long sessions. Unlike water-based, you can use this lube in the shower because it doesn’t wash away easily. This means that if you stain your carpet or some clothes, you’ll need to clean it with soap and water. It’s advisable not to use this lube with silicone toys because they may break down after a while.
Oil-based lube is very slippery and will last longer than a water-based one. It’ll work well under the shower and for external sexual activities such as a hand job or some type of sensual massage. If you use it on the inside, it may cause a buildup of bacteria which will irritate you a lot. Avoid latex condoms and toys when you use this lube because it may damage them. This way you’ll be risking getting STDs or getting pregnant. Oil-based lubricants can be difficult to clean and can stain some materials.
If you’re sensitive to some of the ingredients in other lubes, going for the natural ones won’t be a mistake. They’re relatively new on the market and not a lot of people know about them. One of the most popular choices is coconut even though it can break the condom or stain your sheets. Another choice is aloe vera. This is a sustainable product but sometimes it can have a certain smell. It also absorbs faster than the rest of the other lubes, so you’ll need to reapply often.
What to Avoid
You should know that vaginas have a level of pH around 3.5-4.5, meaning the skin is healthy, so don’t choose a lube that has a different pH. Be careful and read the labels with caution. You can find flavoured, tingling, natural or warming lubes. It may seem fun in the beginning but you can end up having problems later. Some of the ingredients that shouldn’t be on the label are:
- Propylene glycol;
- Chlorhexidine gluconate.