When a woman is aroused she becomes wet or has vaginal lubrication.
It is often assumed that vaginal lubrication is an automatic response to a woman’s sexual arousal, but it doesn’t always occur the way we might like it to. Lubrication is influenced by one’s hormonal fluctuations, among many other things. A reduction of estrogen levels, as seen when a woman has reached menopause, has had a hysterectomy, has just given birth or is breast feeding, can decrease natural lubrication, as can certain drugs, medication and quite often stress. Even if lack of natural lubrication is not an issue for you, artificial lubricants (also called lube) can enhance already pleasurable sexual experiences.
Oil based lubricants like Vaseline or body oil are completely incompatible with safer sex measures. Oil destroys latex and, therefore, is destructive to latex condoms, gloves, dental dams, and diaphragms. Even if you are not using latex condoms or dental dams, like when you are masturbating, oil based lubricants are not such a wise choice. It is difficult to remove Vaseline and baby oil from inside your vagina and this can lead to infection. It is a much better idea to use water based lubricants. They are specially formulated to be non-irritating to genital tissue, can be easily washed out of your body and, most importantly, can be used with latex condoms.
Lube can be used in a variety of ways. You can use them by yourself. Many women find it pleasant to rub a drop or two on their vulva while they masturbate. The lubricant allows them to rub their clitoris without too much friction. You can use them for vaginal sex (either with a dildo or with a partner). Having two lubricated surfaces sliding against one another can be very enjoyable. As for anal sex, additional lubrication is an absolute must. The anus and rectum do not produce any natural lubrication of their own, so you have to add some. If you don’t use a lubricant, penetration can be damaging to the thin, sensitive tissue inside.
Sometimes you will find that while using a lubricant it will dry out a bit and become sticky. There is no need to apply more. With a water based lubricant all you need to do is add some water and it will become slippery again. For me, the easiest way to do this is with a little spray bottle of water. Sounds kind of silly, but you just spray and you are back in action.
Only a few years ago when you went out to buy a lubricant all you could find was KY jelly. Most pharmacies didn’t offer much else. Well times have changed. Yesterday, I looked around in the condom and feminine products aisle and found 4 brands with a couple of varieties among them. Now that we have choice, it can be a bit overwhelming when selecting a lubricant. So, what are we to do? Experiment, just like you would when buying shampoo or soap. If you buy your sex toys and products from a specialized store or vendor, see if they offer trial sizes or samples. If you have a bit more of a budget, you can buy a few different ones and try them out.
Some things to keep in mind are:
Like any product, before buying lube read the ingredient list to avoid any bad reactions. Ingredients to keep an eye out for are methyl paraben, propyl paraben and glycerin. Even if you do not have allergies you should consider avoiding lubes with parabens as they have been linked to cancer and not much is know of their long term effects on/in the body and in our environment.
This is a detergent that was claimed to kill the HIV virus in the laboratory setting. The Centers for Disease Control now report that it has now been proven ineffective against HIV and with regular use it can leave you at higher risk for contracting the virus. It can be irritating to the skin (inside and out) and may leave you at higher risk for developing small tears in your vagina or anus. The possible risk with no benefit indicates that Nonoxynol-9 should not be recommended as an effective means of HIV prevention. For safer sex purposes it is wise to avoid lubricants with Nonoxynol-9.
Lubricants containing nonoxynol-9 lubes have a strong taste. They may leave you at greater risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease and they also don’t taste very good. Another reason to avoid using these lubricants. Many other products have a sweet sort of taste. It isn’t offensive, but it may take some getting used to. If it bothers you, you can always try a fruit flavoured lubricant. They are likely to be sweet and definitely fruity!
I have tried so many different brands over the years and I have enjoyed many different ones. Right now (2012) I am enjoying the following lubes because of their texture and because they are paraben free and have organic ingredients.
Originally published at Seska for Lovers 2000.