The lowdown on lube: When to use it, why to use it and everything else in-between
By Lizzy Bliss
You don’t need lube, right?
Wrong. If you’re one of the 80% of people who don’t use personal sex lubricant and think it’s only for post-menopausal women who suffer from vaginal dryness, it’s time to step outside of the box and into the 21st century.
What is lube?
Lube (also known as personal sex lubricant or KY-jelly) is usually a liquid or gel applied to any body part or surface to reduce friction or irritation and increase pleasure and comfort during sexual activity.
We humans have been using sex lube for thousands of years, with the earliest recorded lube users being the ancient Romans and Greeks, dating as far back as 350BC. Luckily for you, olive and coconut oil aren’t your only options anymore.
Why use lube?
Why not? Seriously, it makes everything better. It’s hard to think of a single sexual act that doesn’t benefit from some extra lubrication. Whether it’s foreplay, masturbation; mutual masturbation; oral sex; sex; anal sex; sex toys; or whatever else you might be into, the addition of a little bit of lubricant is guaranteed to enhance your experience.
Lube is loads of fun, relatively cheap, and plays an important role in having safe sex. Not only does it reduce skin on skin friction to avoid chafing, but it also helps stop condoms from breaking and prevents microscopic tears through which STI pathogens can enter the body. In short, when it comes to sex, the wetter, the better.
How to pick your lube
Water-based lube is the most common, versatile, cost-effective, and readily available lubricant on the market. It can be used in almost any sexual situation you might find yourself in and is completely compatible for use with condoms and silicone sex toys. It’s also easy to clean and won’t stain your clothes or sheets.
The downside to water-based lube is that it washes away in water, so it’s not ideal for bath or shower use, and you may have to re-apply frequently as it dries out faster than other lubes. Flavoured, scented, or warming water-based lubes could also contain glycerine which may cause vaginal irritation, so make sure you read the label.
Silicone-based lube is like slippery silk on your private parts and lasts the longest of all of them. It won’t wash away in the shower and doesn’t need to be re-applied as often, making it ideal for those marathon sessions or anal sex. Silicone-based lube also feels thicker than water-based lube, is entirely safe to use with latex condoms or toys, and generally doesn’t contain any preservatives.
The only negative thing about silicone-based lube (other than the fact that it might be a bit more difficult to wash off) is that it’s not compatible with silicone toys, as it will break down the silicone rubber on the toy and turn it gummy over time.
Oil-based lube is not as common as water-based or silicone-based lube and not nearly as versatile, but it can still serve a purpose. They are super slippery, long-lasting, and can just as easily be used as a massage oil. They are ideal for masturbation and water play and can be used during unprotected sex with your partner.
Please note that they are not suitable for use with latex condoms as they break down the latex, causing condoms to break. They are also more prone to causing skin irritations and yeast infections while at the same time being difficult to clean off your sheets and body.
How to use lube
The good news is that there really isn’t a wrong way to use lube. You can never use too much lube, so please don’t be shy, but a little bit really goes a long way. If you’re worried about your 600 thread count Egyptian cotton bed sheet, you can throw down a towel, although this is usually not necessary.
Stopping in the heat of the moment to look for your lube can really be a passion killer, so a good idea is to start using it during foreplay already. Squirt a little bit onto whichever surface you wish, whether it’s a finger, a vibrator, or a penis.
A drop or two is usually enough, and you can warm it up in your hands if you wish; just don’t be shy to re-apply as often as necessary. Use it liberally during a sensual massage, foreplay, or the main event. It enhances literally any sexual experience! (Pro tip: a drop of lube on the inside of a condom feels amazing)
Trust me, lube makes everything better, and you’ll wonder how you ever went without it.
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