I love lube. For me, having sex without lube is like brushing your teeth with a dry toothbrush. It might do the job, but the result is… sticky, a little sore, and doesn’t leave you feeling refreshed. Lube is not an optional luxury that sits in the bedside drawer waiting for the “right time”. Whether you’re spending intimate time with yourself, a partner, or multiple partners, an intimate lubricant should be involved.
No bedroom is complete without at least a strain or two on hand, especially if you plan on using sex toys. (You should be using sex toys, but that’s another story.) For me, lube is as essential to sex as condoms and clean hands. If I show up at someone’s house to have a good time and there’s no lube on the nightstand, I head for the door.
No lube, no boobs
I was surprised to learn that not everyone is with me on this. In the rooms (albeit mostly queer and Pacific Northwest) I’ve been in, lube was as common as sheets and tarot cards. If you’ve never tried lube before, or have reservations, it’s probably not your fault. There are powerful forces working to convince you that you should be there. Dark forces, gathering in the night, who seek only to irritate your genitals.
One of these malevolent creatures is misogyny – it tells us that using intimate lubricant is somehow a failure; that needing it for sex is a failure on your part or that of your partner. He whispers: How dare you not get wet? there must be something wrong with your body.
Another monster under the bed is machismo. This tells us that using lube means you are a bad lover and have failed to arouse your partner. It’s all nonsense. There is nothing wrong with your body. There is nothing wrong with your technique. Sometimes bodies don’t do what we want them to do and, surprise, surprise, sometimes genitals don’t behave like movies, TV, books, and pornography tell us they should.
Pleasure is not the enemy
What is disheartening is that these attitudes continue to shape not only popular opinion, but also medical research into sexual health. Most of the studies I’ve looked at while researching this story focused on intimate lubricants focus on solving a problem. I found only one or two that even mention sexual pleasure, and one of them is a study on the few articles on sexual health mention sexual pleasure. It’s 2022, can we stop pretending people shouldn’t like to get off? Or that sexual pleasure is not important? Because it is. Put that Plymouth-Rock-Puritanical-Hester-Prynne nonsense in the rearview mirror.
Anyone who’s ever touched themselves knows that having a little something extra (saliva, natural moisture, etc.) improves the feeling. And feel good that’s the whole point! Water-based or silicone-based lubes made from high-quality ingredients can be like rocket fuel for your sexual pleasure.
Not only do they prevent chafing (and microscopic tears) on the most sensitive parts of your body, they make things so much better. Lubricant is like sexual MSG. It makes everything better, and some people are strangely afraid of it.
We’ll get down to business
OK, so where to start? Easy Peasy: Order yourself a bottle of any unscented, unflavored, glycerin-free water-based lubricant. You don’t want perfume, because when you’re in the heart of the matter, that’s going to make things weird. (It’s the same with flavored lubes.) Ideally, you want lubes with as few ingredients as possible. Keep it simple.
Brands like Sliquid do the trick and are comfortable to use on all genitals, plus they’re inexpensive. In my experience, they can leave you a bit sticky afterwards. For a more upscale lubricant, I would suggest those of Maude or Dame. These lubes meet the above criteria but leave a nice clean finish and last a little longer when you use them.
The other type of lube you will come across is silicone based. These lubes are oil-based, which means they last much longer than water-based lubricants, because your body won’t absorb them as quickly; this makes it the most common choice for anal play and anal sex. However, they can interfere with the vaginal flora, so it’s generally not recommended to use them for vaginal play or vaginal sex.
There’s also another big caveat with silicone-based lubes: you can’t use them with silicone sex toys. Silicone-based lubricant can degrade silicone toys over time. If you use silicone lube with a silicone toy, be sure to use a condom. My favorites here are from the same brands as above: Sliquid and Maude.
Other than that, the only advice I have left is this: Play! Play with yourself. Get some lube, set aside some time, grab a favorite toy and go for it. The only way to learn how to use lubricants is to use them, and the best way to practice is with yourself. Learn how applicable they are, how much you like to use them, and where is the best place to store them. Sex should be easy, frictionless and pleasant to the touch, and a good lubricant will help in all three cases.
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