The Wonderful World Of Lube
When it comes to sexual health, lube is a great tool for all people! An easy way to start to understand why is with debunking two common myths.
Myth #1 - I shouldn’t need lubrication if I’m turned on
FALSE! When bodies don’t spontaneously create natural lubrication, we might feel like it implies something is wrong with our partnership or our body. Not true!
There are so many factors that impact our arousal:
- Not enough foreplay
- Medical conditions
When you use lotion to support your skin you probably don't assign much emotional value to it – it's what lotion is for! What if we start thinking about body-friendly lubrication the same way? It's there to support all of us, it doesn't mean anything is wrong, and how lucky we are to have something so simple that can increase pleasure so much!
Myth #2 - All lubes are created equal
FALSE! In the United States, there are no general FDA regulations to keep lubrication ingredients and chemicals in check.
When people come to me with a variety of symptoms such as burning sex, painful sex, itching, rashes, yeast infections, and other sexual complications, my first question is always what kind of lubrication they are using. Lubes that aren’t formulated for bodies can mess with our pH levels and create all sorts of issues. Long story short? Friends don’t let friends use bad lube!
So how can we know which lubrications to choose? I’m so glad you asked!
Five types of lube and how to use them
Water-based lube is the BFF of lubrications because it can be used in most situations, with most people, and with most tools and toys.
- It pairs with almost all toys and condoms
- It won’t stain sheets or clothes
- It supports sexual health and wellness and can be used to provide vaginal or vulva moisture
- It can help when inserting a tampon or menstrual cup
The downside? It often absorbs faster and offers lower staying power, especially with active airflow nearby like a fan. Water-based lube will also leave you wanting in the tub or shower.
If you think of lubrication as your friend, silicone lube is the one that arrives to a party first and is the last to leave.
- It has incredible staying power
- It is made with ingredients that support sexual health such as silicone and vitamin e
- It doesn't leave much mess behind
- It rarely needs to be reapplied, even when you're in water
- It works in a variety of experiences, including vaginal and anal sex play
- It works great with toys made with ceramic, glass, and non-silicone based plastics
- Some silicone lubes are also designed as and double as great massage oils
The downside? It should be used with caution with all silicone toys (note: silicone is a super common component in vibrators and sex toys).
If you're looking for a longer-lasting lube, you might be surprised by how silky and smooth oil-based lubrication is.
- It pairs with with silicone or other toys and tools
- Longer lasting than water-based lube
- Offers nice glide & barrier protection
- Often made with all natural and environmental/body-friendly ingredients
The downside? It is NOT the right choice for latex condoms – a condom paired with oil-based lube can break down in just 30 seconds! It can also stain sheets or clothing, so be careful!
Hemp or CBD-infused products combine lubrication with the known benefits of hemp to soothe your body before, during, and after play. Hemp or CBD products do not induce the sensations of being high.
Pro tip: CBD takes time to work its full magic. Spending a longer time on massage or foreplay is a great way to get its full benefit.
Flavored lubrication can make for all kinds of new fun. And while it's great for our mouths, flavored lubes are downright terrible for vaginas and anuses. They can easily lead to yeast infections due to the warm, moist environment.
Pro tip: If using flavored lubes for oral sex, remember to wipe off your body parts and use a different lube before moving to vaginas and anuses.
So how should we use lube?
So far we've debunked some common myths and learned the ins and outs of the different types of lube (yes, that pun is on purpose) so let's talk about how to put it to use.
4 tips to keep in mind:
- Apply lube directly on the genitals or anus using clean hands. Try thinking of this as an important part of your connection, not something you have to check off your list in order to start the connection.
- Put a bit directly on a toy and enjoy! You may want a tissue or hand towel nearby – lube is slippery, of course, and a lot of toys have curves that don't exactly invite it to stick around.
- Put a dab on the top of a menstrual cup or tampon to help with insertion. This is a lifesaver for some clients.
- Self-apply to pre-lubricate. It's kind of a like a tailgate party for one – and learning about your body is a big win for you and your partner!
Worried you may be doing it wrong? There's no wrong way to learn! The goal is to apply enough lube in the right places so you reduce friction and increase pleasure. We all learn as we go. Even sex therapists!