If there is just one tip from a Sex Therapist that is sure to take your sex life to the next level, it is USE LUBE! Personal lube is often used in shame and is historically not a hot topic but lube is finally having its moment and it is about time. Why do YOU need to know this? Well, that’s simple. It is because lube is for everyone, everywhere. Lube makes sex better! Whether you are 20 or 99, lube can enhance pleasure and make it easier for you to try new stuff out. So let’s get into it.
HOW DOES LUBE MAKE SEX MORE PLEASURABLE?
The main way it makes it more pleasurable is by reducing pain. The slip that it provides cuts down on the painful friction that can sometimes be present with sex. If you have woken up after sex, gone to the bathroom and noticed stinging, this is why. The friction can lead to swelling, tearing and irritation. And this can lead to many health issues including but not limited to Bacterial Vaginosis (BV), Yeast Infections, UTIs, STIs and more. This makes using lube a safer way to have sex also!
HOW ELSE DOES LUBE MAKE SEX SAFER?
By putting safety first, you are opening up a world of fun and sexual adventure! With less pain you can try more positions. You can enjoy deeper and harder thrusts during penetrative sex. And by using lube you can also respect your vagina’s microbiome-the collection of bacteria, fungi, viruses, and their genes, that naturally live inside of your vaginal canal. Sex can throw off the PH levels of our microbiome by the latex condoms are made of, your partner’s semen, saliva entering the space or other factors. Lube can help to normalize those PH levels and minimize disturbance. You better put some respect up on your vagina!
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF LUBES?
There are 3 main types of lubes: Water-Based, Silicone-Based and Oil-Based.
Water-Based lubes have what many report to be a more natural feel. They are also light and easy to wash off. And they are safe for use with all types of condoms. This is the reason they are the all-around choice for many. However, water-based lubes tend to wear off quicker, making reapplication more necessary.
Pros: It doesn’t stain or leave a residue, washes off easily and is compatible with your toys.
Cons: It does not last very long and may need to be reapplied several times.
Chamin’s Water-Based Lube Recommendations
Sliquid H2O is nice all around odorless lube that doesn’t stain and feels really natural. And Wicked Aqua, a water based lube that feels like silicone, is fragrance and paraben free and vegan. The bottle is also pretty sexy and the slow drip it gives when coming out of the bottle can be a turn on too.
Silicone-Based lube is great for sex in the shower or tub or anywhere water will be a part of the fun.That is because it is stickier, holds up better and won’t wash away. I know it is counterintuitive but water is not a natural lubricant. It can bring about more friction that hurts and can make things drier. So when you are ready to get down in the hot tub or shower make sure to bring a little silicone lube to maximize pleasure.
It is also great for anal play. The lining of the rear door is a thin, delicate tissue that can tear easily. Lube is a MUST for anal play. And silicone lube is a great choice because it is thicker and won’t wear off quickly. But you may want to keep it away from your silicone based toys. It can break them down and kill your vibe! Get it? Vibe…rator? Keep in mind, there has been a lot of development in this area and many new silicone based lubes are now compatible with your toys. So dig a little deeper here.
Speaking of breaking things down, silicone-based lubes can destroy latex condoms. Don’t nobody need that!
Pros: It is thicker and you won’t need to reapply.
Cons: It can be messy, sticky, hard to clean, may leave a stain, can damage your toys and break down your condoms.
Chamin’s Silicone-Based Lube Recommendations
Penchant Premium Sensitive is for sensitive skin which means it is hypoallergenic, unscented and paraben and glycerin free. It is known to last long and not to stain. UberLube has great slip and comes in a cute bottle that your kids won’t know is lube!
Oil-Based lubes are natural and feel really great on your skin. Coconut or grapeseed oil are most commonly found in these types of lubes. They make for a more heavy moisturizer than water-based but are not quite as sticky as silicone-based ones. However, they can be messy and stain too. So put away those nice new sheets you just bought or they will pay the price. Oil-based lubes can be used for a nice sensual massage as well as intercourse and outercourse. However, they can mess with the effectiveness of a condom and for some, they can also wreak havoc on your vagina’s microbiome messing with your PH levels, causing yeast infections or bacterial vaginosis.
Pros: They are all natural and double as a great massage oil.
Cons: They are not safe with latex condoms or sex toys made of rubber, pvc or latex and may increase risk of infections
Chamin’s Oil-Based Lube Recommendations
I like Coconu, a coconut oil based lube that is hypoallergenic, USDA certified organic, cruelty-free and free of parabens, gluten, fragrances, and dyes. Also, AH! YES OB Plant-Oil Lubricant which has certified organic ingredients, is responsibly formulated, doubles as a great message oil and is really smooth to the touch.
Each lube has its time and place depending on the needs of the user. Feel free to play around with all types. There is a different lube for every occasion and act.
THINGS TO WATCH OUT FOR IN LUBE?
Many of the popular over-the-counter products are loaded with ingredients that are not good for you. Yes, that includes the ones you see at the doctor’s office. Even the best doctor’s are often unaware of all of the different types of lubes and what goes in to them.
Here are some of the most frequently used top offenders in your lubes:
- Glycerin and propylene glycol can cause irritation and lead to infections.
- Parabens and sulfates have been linked to difficulties in conceiving.
- Petroleum jelly can lead to vaginal infections and can break down your condoms.
- Chlorhexidine gluconate is an antibacterial that can ruin your vagina microbiome and kill healthy vaginal bacteria.
Anything with toxins in it should be used with caution. Do a skin test on your hand or arm and see if you have a reaction. And if you are concerned about ingredients, always go with the brand that uses less of them and uses ingredients you know or can easily research. Be a lube nerd. Your vagina will thank you.
DO LUBES COMBAT THE VAGINAL DRYNESS MANY WOMEN FACE WITH MENOPAUSE AND PERIMENOPAUSE?
Yes, yes, yes!!! Menopause and perimenopause mess with your PH levels due decreases in estrogen and testosterone. This creates dryness and increases your risk of BV, UTIs and yeast infections. That is a fact. The way we deal with this is to add lube. But it does not have to be a bummer. And if you are in this stage of your life right now, you are in for a treat! We are in the middle of a lube revolution, baby! There are so many new brands coming out all of the time now. There are also hybrids, ones that contain CBD and THC, flavored lubes, warming lubes and so much more. Your vagina can be a whole mood and you deserve it! You get to experiment and play around in a way that women have not been able to ever before. It is time for your vagina to live its best life!
There is a lot of stigma and shame out there around the idea of using lube. We hide it in the back of our nightstand drawer. We sneak down the aisle in the store and bury it under our other purchases. But why the hell should there be shame? I blame it on misconceptions we have about wetness. Men and women alike have fallen victim to the myths we have about being wet. Penis owners in heterosexual relationships can feel like they are not turning their partners on enough if they have to use lube which bruises their egos. Vulva owners can feel like there is something wrong with them because they are not naturally lubricated enough which messes with their self-esteem. And all because of lies! The truth is, wetness varies for all kinds of reasons: medications, stress, time of your cycle, body image, performance anxiety and then of course, hormone levels and stage of life. In older women, the rate and amount of vaginal lubrication decreases due to less amounts of estrogen after menopause. Postpartum women report more dryness and soreness as the result of just giving birth. And depending on the time of month during your menstrual cycle, you can be wet as a whistle or dry as bone!
In addition to all this, we have been sold this idea that wetness means you are burning hot with desire. Contrary to belief, desire is not always physical. Say it louder to the folks in the back! Desire is not always physical! Sometimes there is an emotional or spiritual desire to be sexual with your partner. You want to feel closer to them to connect with them. And there is also an intellectual desire to be intimate with your partner. You may know that it will be good for the two of you to spend your time this way. You want to pleasure your partner and know that will, in turn, make you feel good and satisfied, as well. You may understand that sex can help to relieve stress. Or you may want to ease your menstrual cramps. Or you may want to take a stab at managing your insomnia.
And don’t get me started on the number of times vulva owners may be experiencing wetness and not actually be interested in having sex. There may be sexual stimuli present but you are in no way interested in engaging in sexual activity. There is a whole term and emerging research on this. It is called arousal non-concordance. Your level of wetness, which can be involuntary, does not supersede what your mind wants or what you state out loud.
One really big factor for folks like me, is the stage of life I am in. Let’s be honest, if you have kids, a career, family obligations and more, you probably do not have as much time to have sex. Foreplay is delicious and wonderful but it can be a luxury. Lube is a great way to speed things up, maximize the time you have and kick your sex life into the next gear.
Even young people, who start off wet, can find that the amount of natural lubrication they produce varies from the start to the end of a sex session with a partner. Lube helps to keep the slip consistent. Young folks can and should benefit from the safety, slip, sensuality and fun lube has to offer.
MINDFUL LUBE EXERCISE
Lube application can be sensual and teasing and pleasurable all on its own. This makes it a wonderfully mindful activity. Mindfulness is all about paying attention in a particular way to what is happening in the present moment without judgment. It is proven to minimize stress, improve focus, make your mood better and reduce anxiety. And when paired with sex it can help improve your connection with your partner, help you to feel more intune with and connected to your own body, make you more aware of what you like and don’t like and INCREASE PLEASURE. You can make it a mindful activity by tuning into your senses. What does it look like as it slowly drips out of the pump? How does it feel in your hand? Can you feel the anticipation of what it will feel like to slather on you or your partner’s body/on your body? As you apply it how does your partner’s body respond to it? How do you respond to it? What do you see? Hear? Smell? Feel? Taste?
You can do this during partnered sex or solo sex. Give it a try now. Thank me later!
As we age, we get more comfortable with owning our sexuality but lube doesn’t need to be only for the age advanced, sexually experienced or people with a particular need. Lube is for everyone, everywhere. Shout it from the mountain tops! It makes sex better for all!
Special thanks to all of my sexy friends and sexy AASECT certified Sex Therapists Paola Rodriguez, LMHC and Lori Shapiro, LCSW-C, LICSW for their input on one of my favorite subjects!
To learn more about lube, and there IS more to learn, feel free to email me or call 917.476.9381.,