Sex. Most people have it, lots of people talk about it, and it’s even regulated by law. However, as I know very personally, it can be a pain… literally. That’s where my best friend, lube, comes in. In its various forms, it can help reduce friction during all kinds of sex and make things more enjoyable for all parties involved.
Why use lube? Lube is essential for certain sexual acts, such as anal sex, because the rectum does not produce its own lubricants. Lube can also make vaginal intercourse more pleasurable for all parties. Even though the vagina can secrete its own lubricant, some do it better than others. If you have a vagina, you might find that you need to use lube all the time, sometimes or not at all and that’s okay! Using store-bought lube is common and completely normal.
The most common form of lube that you may have come in contact with is water-based lubes. This style of lube is the gooey substance that coats most condoms. This will be the safest bet when it comes to skin sensitivities, price, and compatibility with any toys or physical contraceptives. While they are easy to clean and don’t stain, they don’t work in water so shower sex is out of the question.
Oil-based lubes should NOT be used with condoms as they can break down the latex, breaking or tearing the condom, and putting you at risk of pregnancy and contracting STIs. Though safe to use with toys, fingers and other appendages, these lubes can still trap bacteria and cause infection, so be careful!
Silicone-Based lube does not mix with silicone! Silicon lube, the more expensive of lubes are safe to use with latex and most toys, but this breed of lube will ruin silicone toys. Silicone lubes are usually described as “silky and luxurious” and are safe to use in the shower, and last longer than water-based lubes, but because they are impervious to water, they may be messy and hard to clean.
Where do you get these products? Almost any grocery store will have a sexual wellness aisle, but if shopping in person isn’t your style, try online retailers like Amazon, or adult shops such as Adam and Eve, or Portland’s own SheBop the Shop. For those with a smaller wallet, Planned Parenthood gives out free lubes and lubed contraceptives.
Tips and tricks: Oral sex usually doesn’t require lubricants (spit will do) but flavored lubes and condoms can come in handy (Warning: They may contain sugar that can irritate skin and lead to infection). Lubes can be used on the inside and outside of condoms for added pleasure. A dab of lube in the tip of the condom before application can increase sensitivity. Finally, don’t be afraid to talk about lubricants! Having open, honest conversations about your needs can impact both your partner’s pleasure as well as your own. Now go out and find the perfect lube for you and slip into something more comfortable!