June 19, 2012

Lube: You should use it.

by Missy May

So many erotic novels make becoming aroused out to be some simple, five-second thing. Us girls know the truth. Here's a handy guide to the different types of lube you can use for... well, whatever!

Don't we all wish it was that easy?

Despite the way erotica and porn portray it, most women just don’t get wet that easy. Actually it takes 15 to 20 minutes just for her to get aroused. Vaginal dryness is caused by, but not limited to, low estrogen levels, menopause, breastfeeding, drug use, stress, extended play, and some women just don’t produce as much as others. If you experience pain during intercourse or play due to dryness or would like to know a little secret to enhance your sex life I would love to introduce you to my amazing sexual side-kick, lube.

Lube is “a substance for lessening friction, especially in the working parts of a mechanism.” In this case it is used to “lessen friction” for sexual acts. I would like to introduce you to everything from the most common lubricants (water based) to some not all that well known (olive oil). I want to tell you the pros and cons of each type, and go over some cautions one should take when buying a lube. Let’s start with a little history.



In the Middle East around 350 B.C olive oil went from being used for culinary and medicinal purposes to brothels and bedrooms. It was originally thought to be a contraceptive, but, as we know today, doesn’t work for that. Olive oil is still widely used today for a personal lubricant, but I wouldn’t suggest it. In 1927, KY Jelly was introduced into the world for medicinal purposes (IE vaginal exams), and later, in 1980, sold over the counter for sexual use.

Not long after we were given KY many different companies followed, and today we have a very wide variety to choose from. Let’s take a look at what types of lubricant are available to us today.

The most common is water based. These are safe to use with condoms and toys, but are quick to dissipate and usually need to be reapplied. These wash away easily with water, or soap and water, thus making them a poor choice for use in the tub, shower, or pool. Water based lubes are also a poor choice for anal play because they are not thick and dry out quickly, causing damage to the rectal tissue.



One of my favorite types of lube is silicone based lubes. These are thicker than water based, making them a better choice for long sessions. These do not absorb into the skin easily, making them messier than water based, and need to be washed off with soap and water, or wiped away with a wipe. Since it is thicker than water based lubes, you can use silicone for anal play, but not for use with silicone toys. Silicone bonds with silicon and can mess up your silicone toys if used together. Silicone based lubes are often used in the making of pre-lubricated condoms.

Next we will look at oil (or petroleum) based lubes. It is advised that you do not use this type with condoms as it can cause tiny holes in the latex resulting in unwanted pregnancy or spreading STD/STI. This type can be used for couples who are sensitive to the ingredients in the other lubes. I, personally, cannot suggest this type of lube to women. The vagina cannot cleanse itself of oil as easily as it can other types of lube, and oil can trap bacteria in the vagina causing infections.

Now we will discuss anal lubes. These are specifically marketed for anal use, but there are other lubes (IE silicone) that are just as good for anal play. Anal lubes are thicker, more gel like than runny liquid, or contain a numbing agent. It is not recommended that you use numbing agents on the anus during anal play as you cannot feel what is going on and damage may occur. Some anal lubes come with applicators that make applying the lube much easier than if it came with a pouring type lid.

There are also organic or natural lubes that are marketed to those of us who are “green” and don’t want to affect the environment, or for people with sensitivities to ingredients in most other lubes. These do not contain the harsh ingredients other lubes do, are not animal tested, and most are made from plant extracts and such.

There are fertility lubes which do not affect the body, are pH-balanced, and play nice with the sperm. These are marketed at couples who are trying to conceive, since the lube will not harm the sperm like water or saliva will. When trying to conceive you should pick your lube carefully as many ingredients, not just spermicides, will mess with the body’s pH balance or harm the sperm.



For the men there are masturbation lubes, which are, as implied, for masturbating. If it is advertised as a masturbation lube then it is not safe for vaginal or anal intercourse or for use with a condom, but if it is advertised for use with intercourse it can be used for male masturbation. You would use this type of lube to avoid chaffing while masturbating.

Finally, we shall look at specialty lubes; these are lubes with special qualities such as warming, cooling, tingling, flavored, and edible. These contain special ingredients like peppermint, taste/aroma, and are meant to enhance your sexual pleasure. Many of this “his & her” lubes are sold as hot and cold, or flavored like strawberries and chocolate. The flavored lubes should only be used with oral sex because possible sugars could cause an infection for women.

As you’ve probably noticed lubes have a lot of different uses, sexual intercourse (anal, vaginal, oral, self-pleasure, use with toys), medicinal purposes (i.e. pelvic exams), but there are risks that should be considered when choosing a personal lubricants. You should always check the ingredients list, know what you’re sensitive or allergic to (most common: glycerin, parabens, and latex), and avoid using sugar lubes for insertion.

For some fun, I did a little research and came across this shocking list of non-lube* “substitutes”:
Baby Oil
Crisco
Suntan Lotion
Hair Conditioner
Hand Lotion
Margarine
Neosporin
Monistat
Vaseline
Vegetable oil
Spit
Shampoo
Orajel

Do you know of any non-lube substitutes?

*This list is for pure fun and I do not advise you use any of these for sexual acts. They are not meant for sex and should not be used that way in order to avoid infections.

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