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Lubricants can significantly enhance your sexual experience. If you’re not using one, you might be missing out. Lubricant often gets a bad reputation. Many people believe that you only need to use lube if something is wrong or if there is an issue with your body. However, this is far from the truth. I encourage all couples to consider using lubricant during intimate moments.
Today, I will discuss various types of lubricants, what is lube for, the stigma surrounding lube so that you might consider incorporating it into your bedroom activities, factors to consider when buying them, and why you should choose one over another.
What is Lube For?
Lubricants serve as a substitute for natural moisture and help reduce friction during penetrative intercourse. They have been used for over a thousand years in countries like Japan, Korea, and China. The first documented use dates back to 350 BC in ancient Rome and Greece, where olive oil was used as a lubricant.
How does Lubricant work?
Lubricant helps reduce friction during intimate moments, making both vaginal and anal penetration, as well as self-pleasure, more comfortable and enjoyable. This can minimize the risk of irritation. Initially, lubricant was mainly associated with menopausal women to address vaginal dryness due to lower estrogen levels. However, it is now widely accepted and encouraged for individuals of all ages.
Using lubricant is particularly beneficial when using condoms, as it lessens friction and reduces the chances of breakage. This can help prevent unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections. It is even suggested to use lubricant with pre-lubricated condoms, as it allows both partners to adjust the slipperiness to their preferred level of comfort.
Remember, there is no shame in using lubricant. We hope that after learning more about lube, you’ll feel more comfortable incorporating it into your intimate moments.
Types of Lubes
Lubricants have improved significantly in recent years, with many high-quality options now available. Using lube does not mean there is something wrong with you, your body, or your sex life. It also doesn’t mean that you’re not attracted to your partner. Lubricants can enhance sensation, pleasure, and comfort during intimate moments, making various positions more enjoyable and even facilitating the use of sex toys.
There are three major categories of lubricants: water-based, silicone-based, and oil-based.
Water-based lubricants are popular, affordable, and less likely to cause irritation. However, they evaporate and need frequent reapplication. They’re also unsuitable for water play.
Silicone-based lubricants last longer and can be used with condoms. However, they can degrade silicone sex toys.
Oil-based lubricants last long and are readily available, but they can’t be used with latex condoms and may stain sheets.
let’s talk about a water-based lubricant that contains organic aloe barbadense leaf juice as its primary ingredient. This essentially means it has aloe vera, making it a plant-based or aloe-based lubricant. These types of lubricants are quite similar to water-based ones, but they use aloe vera instead of water.
Other ingredients include xanthan gum and agar, which are thickeners, lactic acid to achieve a pH level that resembles the vagina, potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate, and natural flavorings such as vanilla and lemon. It has a pleasant scent and a slightly thicker texture.
Moving on to silicone-based lubricants, last longer than water-based ones and require less frequent application. It has a sleek glass bottle, and though the quantity may seem small, it lasts a long time. While they’re safe to use with condoms, they should not be used with silicone sex toys.
Lastly, let’s talk about oil-based lubricants. They are long-lasting and usually non-irritating. However, they are not compatible with latex condoms, can cause allergic reactions due to nuts or seeds, and may stain sheets. Coconut is one such oil-based lubricant that has a thicker consistency and feels soft on the skin.
You can also use regular coconut oil as a lubricant, but be aware of its higher pH and potential for causing yeast infections. Additionally, use a scoop to avoid contaminating the jar with germs from your hands.
Which Lube is Best for You?
I’d like to offer my top two suggestions for choosing the right lubricant for your needs.
If you’re new to using lubricants, I recommend starting with a water-based lube. Water-based lubricants are pH-balanced and safe to use with condoms. They glide on smoothly and won’t leave stains on your sheets. This lube is great for vulva play, penetration, and use with bedroom accessories. However, they do have a few downsides. Water-based lubes absorb easily into your skin, so you might need to reapply them during your intimate activities. Additionally, they aren’t suitable for shower or bath play, as water will wash them away.
For those who want a longer-lasting lubricant or plan to engage in extended intimate sessions or shower play, I suggest trying a silicone-based lubricant. Silicone-based lubes are excellent for marathon sex, shower play, and backdoor exploration, as they remain on the surface of your skin.
How to Use Lube?
For male condoms, apply the lubricant on the outside of the condom instead of directly on the penis. With female condoms, you may apply lubricant both inside and outside the condom for increased comfort. This is recommended even if the condom is pre-lubricated.
How to Choose Lube?
Choosing the right lubricant can significantly enhance your sexual experience.
1. Consider pH Level
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that vaginal lubricants, particularly water-based ones, have a pH below 4.5 and an osmolality below 1200 nanograms per milliliter.
When looking for a lubricant, consider the pH level. For vaginal intercourse, choose a lubricant with a pH between 3.5 and 4.9 to match the vagina’s pH. For anal intercourse, use a lubricant with a pH of around 6. Pay attention to the osmolality of water-based lubricants, as high osmolality can cause dryness and dehydration of vaginal tissues.
2. Contemplate the purpose of the lubricant
Consider factors such as the type of intimate activity, whether you plan to use it with a sex toy, and if you or your partner will be wearing a condom. For instance, silicone-based lubricants can damage sex toys and are not ideal for such use. Oil-based lubricants have a longer-lasting effect but can weaken latex condoms, making them unsuitable for condom use.
3. Keep your skin in mind
Water-based lubricants are generally suitable for sensitive skin and can be used for most types of intimacy. If you have allergies, carefully check the product labels, as some lubricant ingredients might cause irritation or skin reactions even for those without known allergies.
4. Consider personal preferences
Lubricants come with various features, such as taste, scent, and sensation-enhancing properties like tingling. Your choice of lubricant should be guided by your preferences and those of your partner.
What to Avoid?
Stay away from parabens, nonoxynol-9, chlorhexidine, benzocaine, Cyclomethycaine, and Cyclopentasiloxane. Additionally, don’t use petroleum jelly, lotions, or baby oil for vaginal intercourse.
When choosing a lubricant, consider purchasing sample packs or trying them out in a store before committing to a full-sized bottle. A high-quality lubricant should feel silky, smooth, and not sticky on the skin.
Benefits of Using Lube
Nowadays, there is a wide variety of lubricants, or lube, available from numerous sources like pharmacies, health stores, and supermarkets. This makes it a perfect time to introduce lube into your intimate life. Let’s discuss its multiple benefits:
- Lube is versatile and for everyone: There’s no specific demographic for lube users. It is used by people of all genders, ages, and sexual orientations, and can be applied during self-pleasure as well. Apply it to any body part you desire or with a sex toy. Lube comes in water-, oil-, or silicone-based forms; just ensure you choose one compatible with you, your partner, and your sex toys.
- Enhancing pleasure: Lube isn’t only for when things are dry; it can be used anytime to boost pleasure. It comes in various flavors and can create sensations like warming or cooling effects. Some lube may even help delay ejaculation. When used with a condom, lube can make sex feel more natural, increasing overall enjoyment.
- Addressing dryness: Vaginal dryness during sex is normal and can occur due to various factors like hormone levels, menstrual cycle, stress, or medication. The penis can also experience varying natural lubrication levels. Dryness is nothing to be embarrassed about – use lube and enjoy! If you have concerns, consult a medical professional.
- Great for anal sex: The anus often lacks sufficient natural lubrication, so lube is essential for anal sex. Apply it generously during foreplay, anal intercourse, or with anal sex toys for a more enjoyable experience.
- Making sex safer: Lube reduces friction, lowering the risk of injury during sex. When using condoms, lube minimizes the chances of breakage or slipping, offering better protection against STIs, including HIV. For latex condoms, use water- or silicone-based lube, as others may weaken the condom. Remember, lube isn’t a contraceptive; always use proper methods to prevent pregnancy. To learn more about contraception options, explore available resources.
Lube is an essential component of a pleasurable and comfortable intimate experience. By understanding the different types of lubes available, their benefits, and how to choose and use them correctly, you can enhance your intimate activities and ensure a more enjoyable experience for all involved.
Is it safe to use lube during pregnancy?
Yes, it is generally safe to use lube during pregnancy. However, it’s essential to choose a lube that is compatible with your body and any condoms or toys you may be using. Water-based and silicone-based lubes are usually the safest options.
Can I use household items as lube?
t’s not recommended to use household items as lube, as they may not be safe for internal use or compatible with condoms and toys. It’s best to use a product specifically designed for intimate use.
Do I need to use lube if I produce natural lubrication?
Even if you produce natural lubrication, using additional lube can still enhance pleasure and comfort during intimate activities. It’s especially helpful in situations where natural lubrication may not be sufficient.