We’re laying all the slippery, slidey stuff out on the table. Yes, it’s time to talk lube, and whether you’ve used it before or you’re curious to try it for the first time, we’ve got the deets. Lube (or personal lubricant) can be useful for a number of reasons, so let’s slide on in there and see what’s what!
Lube is generally handy to have around, the main reasons likely being for pleasure purposes, to manage vaginal dryness, and to make anal sex easier.
Your vagina produces its own natural lubricant, which is a fluid that comes from the cervix and secretions from the Bartholin glands that keep the vagina lubricated. When you’re aroused, these glands create excess fluid to reduce friction. If your vagina is unable to produce its own natural lubricant then you may need a little help getting something in there, such as a tampon, fingers, a toy or a penis. Some common reasons for vaginal dryness are:
Lube is a slick, slidey substance you can put around the opening of your vagina to make sure everything glides in without friction, and the same goes if you’re having anal sex. The anus does not create its own lubrication, so lube is pretty essential for anal sex. And of course, there’s the added bonus that it makes sex, whether vaginal or anal, feel great too!
First things first… don’t try to use creams, soaps, lotions, petroleum jelly, moisturisers or the like inside your vagina or anus. While it may seem like these will do the trick (and they might in the short-term), this can cause infections down the line and could even irritate your skin down there. So, lube it is then!
You’ll want to start by choosing according to any allergies or skin sensitivities you have. If you know you are usually allergic or sensitive to an ingredient in, for example, your face wash or moisturisers, then you’re likely to be sensitive to it with lube too.
The most common types of lube you’ll find are:
Water-based - These can be used with silicone toys and condoms, both latex and non-latex, and may even decrease risk of condom breakage. Water-based lube is unlikely to stain sheets, and quickly washes off in water. Excellent choice.
Oil-based - These are known for being more long-lasting, so you won’t have to re-apply as much as other lubes. Great if you’re looking for a lube that can potentially double as a massage oil, but they’re not so good with latex condoms as they increase the likelihood of breakage. Oil-based lubes are also associated with higher rates of infections like bacterial vaginosis, and can stain sheets and clothes, too. So, they have some downsides.
Silicone-based - These are particularly good for sensitive skin, as they’re so silky smooth. Silicone is hypoallergenic, so if you’re worried about allergies this is the one to look for. And in the bedroom, silicone is compatible with condoms, and tends to last longer too, so less re-applying. Keep in mind silicone lube can affect silicone toys and allow bacteria to grow on them, so if you share toys with a partner you may want to opt for a water-based lube instead.
Natural - These are becoming more common. Natural means they’re created using only naturally derived ingredients. There are even organic, vegan and eco-friendly lubes popping up, which can be useful as many of them are free from parabens, and so, good for sensitive skin. But some natural lubes may have a shorter shelf life, so look out for the expiration date.
If you don’t already know if you are sensitive to any ingredients, it may be a case of trial and error, although there are a few ingredients you may want to look out for and avoid, as they are associated with increased irritation or inflammation. These include glycerin, petroleum, propylene glycol, nonoxynol-9, and chlorhexidine gluconate.
Generally, personal lubricants are designed specifically for the unique pH levels of the vagina, so most use relatively calming, non-irritating ingredients. It’s always best to check the label though, and know what you are putting inside your body.
Try ‘em out! Just like finding your favourite moisturiser, you may need to try a few brands, textures and scents to discover what works for your needs and preferences. Whether you are using lube to keep things slippy for your tampons, or you’re experimenting sexually, there’s a lube out there for you and you’re allowed to try them all to see what you like.
If you’re going to be using lube and also having oral sex, an edible, flavoured lube is sometimes preferred. This makes oral sex a bit more exciting and tasty! There’s no harm in trying this to see if you like it, but if you don’t fancy the idea, a classic unscented, flavour-free lube will do the trick too. Just make sure if you’re having oral sex you choose an edible one.
Do you have a lube preference? Or are you still looking for “the one”? We’d love to know! Shout out over in our private Facebook group, or drop us a note on Insta @itsyoppie. Don't forget that our personalised period box can get organic tampons, pads, liners (and more!) delivered easily and regularly through your letterbox. That frees up some headspace for thinking about the more fun things you can get up to down there...
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