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Using Lube During Sex: Why Does Lube Make Sex Better?

Who would’ve thought a little bit of extra liquid can make your sex life significantly better? 

Well, turns out a lubricant definitely can!  

Let me tell you about a survey conducted by Dr. Debby Herbenick, a professor at the Indiana University School of Public Health and lead investigator of the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior (NSSHB). 

Dr. Herbenick tells Gizmodo that after they compiled data from their NSSHB 2009 survey, they came towards an astounding conclusion. Around 30% of women (aged 18-59) “experienced difficulty with vaginal lubrication during the most recent time they had sex.” 

Thirty percent guys! That’s not a small number – AT ALL. This prompted me to write an article about the importance of lube in your sex life. 

I mean, lots of guys simply don’t consider the fact that not all women get wet in equal measure, since it depends on several factors, such as stress, hormonal changes, alcohol, birth control, etc. 

Plus, penises get chafed too, don’t they? 

So, let’s talk about lube a little bit, shall we? 

In this article, you can expect to see the following info: 

  • What is a lubricant? 
  • What is a lubricant used for?
  • What does lube do for guys? 
  • Does lube make sex better? 
  • Why does lube make sex better? 
  • Does lube make oral sex better? 
  • Types of lubes and what can be used as a lubricant; 
  • Substances you should avoid in lubricants;
  • How can you use a lubricant for the first time? 
  • The basics of using lube during sex;
  • And finally, you’ll get info on how to choose the best lube for your sex life.

Common Questions About Lubricants and Their Use

Basically, here I’m going to try to cover all the basic stuff you need to know about lubricants, so brace yourselves! 

What is a lubricant?

Well, say hello to Mr. (or Ms.) Lubricant, also colloquially called lube. 

Lubricants have a pretty simple definition (and this according to Wikipedia): “A lubricant is a substance, usually organic, introduced to reduce friction between surfaces in mutual contact […]” They’re actually used in industry too, helping mechanisms and machines function better. Sound familiar? 

Well, the same goes for the personal lubricant – it’s a type of liquid that’s also designed to reduce friction during sexual acts such as penetration (vaginal or anal), but also during masturbation. There are several types of lubricants and I’ll go over them later on in the article. 

What is a lubricant used for? 

As I mentioned above, you can use lubricant for any type of sex play that involves friction. 

It can be vaginal or anal penetration, masturbation/stimulation of the clitoris or the penis when using sex toys and condoms as well. 

Here you have to be careful though – some sex toys and condoms don’t go well with particular types of lubricants. Like, for example, you can’t use oil-based lubricants on condoms, since they can break it down. 

Some women have trouble with vaginal dryness, and it can get quite severe sometimes. This also means that intercourse will most likely cause her pain and it’s very likely that she won’t find it a pleasurable experience (and if this is the case, neither will you). 

Women can experience this for a variety of reasons – if they’re going through chemotherapy, taking birth control pills, breastfeeding, or have some sort of hormonal imbalance. It can also be related to stress. 

And lubricants can be a great aid in situations like these. It can make sex much more pleasurable and make it last longer. And, you can apply on almost any part of the body. 

What does lube do for guys? 

Lube isn’t just for women, I hope you got that by now. It doesn’t make you any less of a man or any less of a good lover if you use one. I hope you got that too. 

Lube can do a lot of stuff for you guys. It can make sex last longer, for one. It allows you to get into your own specific rhythm and stick to it. The AARP reports a similar survey that asked almost 2000 men about the benefits of lube. Besides making sex generally more enjoyable, it also made up for longer lovemaking sessions. And who doesn’t want that?! 

Lube can get you both in the mood. Even if you initially don’t feel like it or your wife/partner can’t get wet enough and feels self-conscious about having sex! 

So you can save the night with some good lube without having to miss out on a potentially very pleasurable and satisfying game in the sack. 

Why Does Lube Make Sex (Feel) Better? 

Mostly because it reduces friction and makes the skin more smooth when it touches somebody else’s skin or a toy. 

It helps to moisturize your skin and make it more slippery, and this is especially important for penetrative sex, like anal or vagina intercourse. This is because it reduces chances of injury, micro-tears, and bleeding. 

Types of Lubes 

There are several basic types of lubes. Before purchasing one, you should definitely inform yourself about the specificity of their ingredients, how effective they are in water, how they affect sex toys and condoms, and which ones are gentler on your genitals. 

So, let’s take a look at the different types of lubes out there, and see what you can use as a lube.  

Water-Based Lubes 

Water-based lubricants are probably the most versatile you can find from all types of lubes. 

These are usually the safest ones to use for sex toys (because silicone-based lubes can destroy toys made from silicone) and for almost all types of sex acts and sex play (including oral sex). 

Another great advantage of the water-based lubes is that they can be used with condoms (latex and non-latex ones). Other types of lubricants that can be used for condoms are silicon-based ones. 

Water-based lubricants won’t leave stains on your sheets and they’re pretty soft to the gentle genital area, especially soothing for women that are experiencing vaginal dryness. 

The shortcomings of water-based lubes are that they can’t really be used during shower/bathtub sex or any type of water sex or masturbation since they’ll wash off immediately. For this kind of thing, you’d want to consider silicone-based ones. 

And since it’s a water-based lube, another con is that it doesn’t last as long as the silicone ones, since the skin has a tendency to absorb it faster. But this shouldn’t discourage you from using one, because you can always reapply it once you notice it’s beginning to disappear. 

As you might have guessed already, water-based lubricants’ main ingredient is – well, water. This is why people who have more sensitive skin and women who are prone to yeast infections and UTIs can use them. 

I would advise you, however, to look out for water-based lubricants that contain glycerin because it can be a culprit behind the aforementioned yeast infections and UTIs, especially in women who tend to develop them more often. 

Silicone-Based Lubes 

Silicone-based lubes feel a bit different than water-based ones. People often compare them with feeling “silky” and “smooth: on the skin because of their different consistency. 

The good thing about silicone-based lubes is that they last longer than water-based ones since they’re not so easily absorbed by the skin. In fact, if you opt for this option, you’ll notice how little you’ll have to reapply silicone-based lubes as opposed to water-based ones. 

And, as I mentioned earlier, silicone-based lubes are great for sex that includes being in any type of water or in the shower – its structure doesn’t allow it to wash away from water. 

Often silicone-based lubes are made to be hypoallergenic, which means they’ll be gentle on your gentle areas. 

What you might dislike about these types of lubes is that they do leave stains on the sheets. 

Also, if you’re using any silicone-based or silicone-made sex toys, you can’t really be using a silicone-based lube since it will cause damage to the superficial layer of the sex toy. It might also cause a build-up of bacteria in the places where abrasions have formed. 

If you’re wondering about condoms, though, don’t worry – silicone-based lubes are pretty safe to use with condoms. 

Oil-Based Lubes 

Oil-based lubes are probably the longest-lasting from all the types of lubes listed here. But, that also doesn’t mean they’re the best. 

People sometimes like to use oil-based lubes because they combine them with erotic massage sessions, so it all kinda binds together nicely. 

And while they’ll definitely work in the shower (oil and water don’t mix, right?), and will keep you going longer in the bedroom, they might not be the best option for the vagina itself and can also cause trouble when using a condom. 

Oil-based lubes are reportedly connected with vaginal infections such as yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis. Also, they can interfere with the latex in latex condoms and make it easier for the condom to break or damage during friction. Not to mention they’ll definitely leave stains on your sheets that’ll be damn hard to clean up afterward. 

If you and your partner still opt for these kinds of lubes, though, you can find some of them at home as well. Coconut oil is one such oil-based lube that’s also considered a natural lubricant. 

Hybrid Lubes 

If you ever encounter the term “hybrid lube” it probably means the lube is a mixture between silicone-based and water-based ones. 

You can find these types of lubes on the market, and you can also mix them yourself if you have both separate types of them at home (just be careful with any silicone toys, though.) 

Flavored Lubes

Flavored lubes are usually either silicone or water-based ones, and can be fun to play around with, but you should be careful about some of them containing sugar. Sugar can cause vaginal irritation and potential yeast infections. 

Natural Lubes 

Some people prefer natural lubes to water or silicone-based ones because they (understandably) don’t want to use products with many or some synthetic ingredients on their bodies and genitals. 

Natural lubes should usually have primarily natural and organic ingredients such as extracts from plants and natural oils. 

The downsides to these types of lubes are that their expiration date is much shorter than other types of lubes. But, then again, this has to do with their natural properties, so it isn’t much of a downside when you think about it, right? 

However, you should also be aware of a lot of potential false natural lubes out there that companies often market as organic or natural. These often have only a couple of plant ingredients, while the majority of them are still synthetic. 

CBD Lubes 

And last but not least on my list of types of lubricants, I present to you the CBD lube. 

Now, for those of you who don’t know, CBD stands for “cannabidiol”, which is an active ingredient in the cannabis or marijuana plant. 

CBD lube can be both oil and water-based. So, if you use a condom during sex, picking a water-based CBD lube is definitely the safer option. 

And, if you don’t use a condom, and you opt for an oil-based CBD lube, you can always turn to Spark!

Substances in Lubes That You Should Avoid 

Here I’d also like to mention a couple of synthetic substances that you should avoid when it comes to lubes. 

As we saw so far, there are several types of lubes and not all of them contain the same ingredients, even if their bases are different. 

You might want to avoid irritants and potentially carcinogenic ingredients such as:

  • Nonoxynol-9
  • Glycerin
  • Petroleum
  • Chlorhexidine gluconate
  • Propylene glycol

Also, please don’t forget to take into consideration your wife’s/partner’s vagina. 

Vaginas tend to have pH levels from 3.5 to 4.5, so the lube of preference should also have a pH value in about the same range. 

You can test its pH value with litmus strips if you really want to be sure about the choice of lube. 

How Can You Use a Lubricant for the First Time? 

Lubricant’s don’t really come with an instruction manual, because it’s not necessary. 

There isn’t a right or wrong way to use one. You can just apply it to whatever body part you want and that’s it. At first start small. Put just a tiny bit of lube on your fingers to see how it feels and notice how long it takes to dry up so you know when to apply it again. 

Then you can continue to rub it on your genitals or have your partner do it and vice versa. 

Also, test the lube on the area you mean to use it most. See if it feels okay if there isn’t any allergic reaction or burning feeling. If there is, go wash it with normal temperature water immediately. 

Where do you put the lubricant? 

You can put the lube on your own and your partner’s body and on toys as well if you’re using some. 

If you’re using it for intercourse, make sure to put it both on your partner’s vagina, on the vulva, and on your penis as well, or on the condom, if you use one. 

The same goes for anal intercourse. 

Where should I put a lubricant when using a condom? 

When you’re doing anal or vagina intercourse, put a water-based or silicone-based lube outside on the condom. 

You can also use a bit on the tip of the condom before you put it on your penis. But put a very small amount so the condom doesn’t slip off. 

Make sure to check the expiry date 

Lubricants have expiry dates and it’s important to know this when you buy one. 

Also, pay attention to how much time has passed after you’ve opened it, even if there’s still time before it expires. This is because once you open it, it might lose its effectiveness over time, and even cause irritation. 

So if you’ve already opened it, but haven’t used it in a while, and then want to use it again, try it on the skin of your hand first to see if it’s still ok to use (and check the expiry date as well!) 

Will the lube stain your sheets? 

Depends on what you’ll be using. If it’s a water-based lubricant it shouldn’t stain your sheets, but it does happen occasionally. 

Silicone-based lubricants and oil-based ones will stain sheets, but there are ways to get them off your sheets, so it’s not the end of the world. 

How to Choose the Best Lube For Your Sex Life 

The good thing about having lots of products to choose from is that you can find something after your own taste. 

Be that as it may, I assure you, choosing a lube is actually much simpler than you think. 

Listen to your body 

Lots of sex-related stuff are highly personal in nature, and the same can be said for lubes. 

And when choosing one, you simply have to listen to your body, see how it reacts to it, how it feels on the skin, and how it makes you feel when you do end up using it. 

If you want less synthetic ingredients, then definitely look for natural lubes and maybe even try using coconut oil. 

Consider the activity you’re planning to do in bed 

Different sex acts and sex occasions require different types of lube. 

If, for example, your wife or partner is trying to get pregnant, then you should get a more natural type of lubricant. 

Preferably, they should be flavorless and not contain perfume, since a lot of these kinds of lubes can meddle with vaginal pH balance and chase off potential sperm swimmers trying to reach those fallopian tubes! 

Instead, if you still want to use lube, search specifically for sperm-friendly ones, that won’t be an obstacle to your baby-making plans. 

Or, if you want to practice anal sex with your partner, you will definitely need A LOT of lube for that. 

What is the best lube for anal sex?

Well, when it comes to anal sex, the lube has to be somewhat thicker than a regular one since the anus doesn’t have a natural lubricant ability as the vagina does. 

Also, the walls of the anus are thinner and more delicate than vaginal walls, so you need to keep them lubricated more often and for a longer time if you plan on having anal sex. 

And since the anus tends to absorb water quickly (because it doesn’t have a natural lube), it means you’ll have to reapply water-based lubes pretty often. 

And that makes silicone-based ones a pretty good idea to use in this case. 

The right amount of lubricant you should use 

Again, this is a matter of individual preference and use and there’s really no general rule as to how much of a lube you need to use during sex. 

I mean, it’s pretty straightforward – the more you use it, the less friction and less risk of small tears there’ll be and the more you enjoy it. 

But don’t take this as an invitation to use a whole 500 ml bottle in one go! (unless you really want to, that is). 

You can even do a little trick – put just a tiny drop of lube inside your condom (if you’re using one with your partner) and see how it enhances the experience once you start having sex. 

Does Lube Make Oral Sex Better? 

The short answer is – yes, lube can definitely make oral sex better. And this goes for both a blowjob and cunnilingus. 

You can use both water-based and silicone-based ones for this, but generally water-based are better since they’re, you know, water-based and will basically go in your mouth. 

If you thought saliva is enough for oral sex – think again. Regular lube tends to last longer than saliva and make the experience smoother and longer. 

Besides, if you’re not that big of a fan of how genitals taste, you can always get a lubricant with a flavor and get in on the fun while your partner gasps with joy at your every move.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to lubes, it’s important to experiment and see which of them suits you and your partner best. 

Also, if you’re using condoms and/or toys, make sure you’re informed about the type of lube suited for them. 

If you or your partner are particularly sensitive in the genital area, I’d advise you to stick to more natural lubes, and hold the “fewer ingredients the better” mantra close to your heart. 

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