What’s Lube Got to Do with It?
Wetter is better, we’ve all heard it, but not all are experiencing it safely as they should. Keeping it wet during sexual play minimizes damage to the delicate tissues of the vagina and anus. When vulva owners become sexually aroused, the vagina produces lubrication. It’s a built-in convenience due to the sexual response cycle. The natural juices helps reduce friction, discomfort, and irritation making sex easier and more pleasurable. Sometimes you may not get as turned on as you’d like, and that’s where artificial lubricants come in to save the sexual moment.
They’re composed of different materials—natural, oil-based, water-based, silicone and hybrids which are a combination of the two and are available in delicious flavors too. What works best for you will depend on trial and error, but before you get to that sexy homeplay, there are a few things you should know: Lubricants with a high osmolarity causes water to rush out of the cells increasing cellular dehydration thus dryness. Some lubes contain the following ingredients that are not considered body safe:
Nonoxynol-9 – a chemical that immobilizes sperm to prevent pregnancy and at one time thought to prevent sexually transmitted infections but was found to be ineffective in doing so. Nonoxynol-9 can kill good and bad bacteria altering the vaginal environment resulting in an infection called bacterial vaginosis. It can also cause tissue irritation making you more susceptible to other sexually transmitted infections.
Glycerin -- a humectant ( moisture retainer) is contained in a lot of lubricants, especially the warming or flavored. Although those special effects might add a little spice, your vagina might not like the aftereffects. Glycerin is a metabolic byproduct of sugar, which can serve as food source for microbes that may contribute to yeast infections. Not everyone who uses a lubricant containing glycerin will get a yeast infection, but if you’re prone to them, you may want to avoid it.
Petroleum or petroleum-based ingredients – Vaseline or baby oil can stick around for a little longer than other lubricants. It can alter the vaginal pH leading to contracting bacterial vaginosis. Petroleum is not a typical lube ingredient, but this is just a gentle warning to avoid use of petroleum-based lubricants.
Propylene glycol – acts as a humectant, preservative, and more. Propylene glycol is sometimes used as a base for deicing systems, such as antifreeze. It can cause vaginal irritation.
Parabens – used as preservatives, it’s hotly debated as an endocrine disrupter which acts like estrogen potentially causing breast cancer.
Chlorhexidine gluconate – acts as an antibacterial agent. This chemical can cause irritation and inflammation.
When to use lubricant
There are a multitude of reasons why healthy vulva owners may not lubricate enough. A person might choose to use an artificial lubricant when:
vaginal dryness due to medication
changes in hormone levels
loss of lubrication during a long session of sexual activity
vaginal pain or itching, which can happen when sensitive vaginal tissue is very dry
natural lubricant is insufficient to reduce the friction of sex
Types of lubricant
There are several options comprising varying substances with different benefits.
Water based -- You may find yourself applying more as they don’t last long, they are quickly absorbed by your skin. In order to help with this issue, a lot of water-based lubricants have been carefully formulated with high-quality moisturizers like Carrageenan or Aloe Vera. They’re soothing to the skin, reduce dryness, and don’t interfere with your sexual experience. Totally compatible with condom and the majority of sex toys. However, they’re not ideal for the bath or shower as they tend to wash right off.
Silicone based -- last longer than water-based lubricants, making them a good option for people with severe vaginal dryness or a history of pain during sex. They are not safe to use with silicone sex toys, and they can be greasy. often contain no water. Silicone isn’t absorbed by your skin, giving a whole new and exciting range of possibilities and spice up your sex life. As silicone is hypoallergenic, minimizing reactions.
Oil based – work but can lead to infection and are not condom friendly. Oil-based sex lubes can easily double for fun and sexy massage time. In addition to that, another reason you may not want to use these lubes is because they can stain your clothing and sheets. Can be difficult to clean up.
Hybrids – combination of silicone and water-based giving you the benefit of both. Don’t forget the silicone toy rule.
Natural – some people have had bad experiences with lubes that burn or itch. These might be right for you if you’re concerned about what you are putting down there. Coconut oil is a popular choice. It can break down latex, increasing the risk of condom breakage, and stain sheets. Prevent cross-contamination by not using the same jar of coconut oil for sex that’s used for cooking.
How to use Lubricants
Be liberal with lube, as there is no such thing as too much lube when having sex.
If you are using a condom, once you put it on, apply the sex lube to the outside of your condom.
Apply the sex lube directly to your vagina or penis.
Use during foreplay as an igniter.
If you are having anal sex, you should focus on thoroughly lubing up your anus.