What Is Lube and How to Use It: A Sex Expert Explains

Lubricant, commonly known as lube, not only adds excitement and variety to sexual experiences with its different textures, sensations, and flavors, but it also plays a crucial role in promoting safe sex. While using lube can significantly reduce the risk of tearing and injury, particularly during anal or rough penetrative sex, it also enhances pleasure and can address various concerns such as vaginismus and anorgasmia.

Unfortunately, there is still a prevailing misconception that lube is an afterthought or unnecessary, depending on the type of sexual activity. Some people even feel stigmatized when it comes to the idea of using lube. However, it’s important to note that everyone, including individuals with a natural wetness (WAPs), can benefit from the added comfort and enjoyment that a little extra lube can provide.

Some individuals still mistakenly believe that products like Vaseline and various lotions can be used as a substitute for proper lubricants when it comes to sexual activities. However, it’s important to note that these alternatives are not suitable for this purpose. Whether you’re new to using lube or simply need a refresher on how to use it and which type to choose, we’ve got you covered with all the information you need about the different varieties available, such as water-based, silicone-based, extra-thick, CBD-infused, or flavored options. Rest assured, we’ll guide you through the world of delightful and effective lubricants.

What is lube?

Lube, also known as lubricant, should not be confused with the lubricants used in automotive settings. The focus here is on the lubes designed specifically for sexual pleasure and comfort. In simple terms, lube is a liquid that is applied to the genitals or anus to enhance comfort and increase pleasure during penetrative sex by reducing friction.

Lube serves multiple purposes. It can be used to supplement natural lubrication, such as the fluids produced by the glands inside the vagina, or to provide lubrication where it doesn’t occur naturally, such as around the anus or rectum. By adding moisture or glide, lubes make the sensations smoother and more natural. Additionally, flavored lubes can be used for taste or to add an extra element of sensation play.

What is lube used for?

Lube serves the not-so-obvious purpose of increasing lubrication during sexual activities. This is particularly important when using toys or engaging in any form of penetrative sex, whether vaginal or anal, as it helps minimize discomfort.

For individuals with vaginas, natural lubrication can vary depending on hormonal levels, which fluctuate throughout the menstrual cycle, during menopause, pregnancy, and can also be influenced by factors such as stress, breastfeeding, and certain medications like contraceptives or SSRIs.

It’s worth noting that more than 30% of individuals with vaginas experience natural dryness, even when feeling aroused. There is absolutely no shame in reaching for lube to help prepare for sex. In fact, using lube can make the experience safer and more enjoyable for everyone involved.

When should you use lube?

Soft Paris, lubricant experts, provide valuable insights on when and how to use lube to enhance your sexual experiences. Here are their recommendations for different situations:

With Condoms: While condoms typically come pre-lubricated, the lubrication may dry out during intense or prolonged sex. To ensure effective protection, it’s crucial to add extra lube. However, it’s important to use a water-based lube as oil-based lubes can cause condoms to break.

With “Female” Condoms: When using female condoms, also known as internal condoms, it’s advisable to use lube unless the condom is already pre-lubricated. Always check the packet to confirm which type of lube is safe to use.

With Dental Dams: Dental dams are thin latex or polyurethane squares used to cover the female genital area or anus during oral sex to prevent the transmission of STIs. Applying lube to the side of the dam that will touch the vulva or anus can significantly enhance the experience. Remember to opt for a water-based lube to avoid any potential breakage.

For Anal Sex and Using Anal Toys: Unlike the vagina, the anus does not naturally lubricate, so using lube is crucial for anal pleasure. Even if it may not initially feel necessary, not using lube during anal sex can lead to anal fissures, which may only be felt hours after intercourse. It is recommended to use a lube specifically designed for anal play, as these lubes tend to last longer and provide added protection. One recommended option is Sliquid’s vegan and organic Sassy Anal Lube.

How to use lube

When it comes to applying lube, it’s best to start by putting a small amount on your fingertips and then applying it to the desired areas. This could be the vulva, vagina, anus, penis, sex toy, condom, or any other part of the body. Some lubes can even be used for nipple play or as massage oil for an extra slippery experience.

The amount of lube you should use varies depending on factors such as your natural lubrication, whether you’re using a condom, the type of sexual activity you’re engaging in (foreplay, massages, anal sex, vaginal sex), and the specific product you’ve chosen. Start with a few drops (around two to three) and see how it feels. If you’re satisfied, you can stop there. If not, feel free to add more. It’s generally better to have too much lube than too little, so don’t hesitate to add more if needed.

When applying the lube, directly apply it to the vulva, anus, or penis, and use your fingers to spread it around. There’s no need to rub it in like a moisturizer; simply ensure that you get good coverage. Remember, lubrication may not last indefinitely, so you may need to reapply more lube as you go to prevent dryness and maintain comfort.

Extra need-to-knows

  1. Use lube with sex toys: It’s essential to use lube when using sex toys to ensure comfort and protect both yourself and the toy. This will also prevent any potential friction or discomfort during use.
  1. Check compatibility with your toy: Be mindful of the type of lube you use with your sex toys. Silicone-based lubricants can damage silicone toys, so it’s safer to opt for water-based lubricants that are compatible with a wide range of materials.
  1. Ensure compatibility with condoms: It’s crucial to choose a lube that is compatible with the type of condom you’re using. Oil-based lubricants, such as vaseline or hazelnut oil, can make condoms porous and less effective, increasing the risk of breakage. Water-based lubes such as KY Warming Jelly or Maude Shine are generally safe to use with condoms.
  1. Check for allergies: Before using a new lube, it’s wise to perform a patch test to check for any potential allergies or sensitivities. Apply a small amount of the lube on a small area of your skin and wait for any adverse reactions before using it on more sensitive areas.
  1. Lubricants are not contraceptives: It’s important to note that lubricants are not contraceptive methods. Most lubricants do not contain spermicide, so they do not prevent pregnancy or protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Always use appropriate methods of contraception and practice safe sex alongside using lubricants.

By considering these extra need-to-knows, you can ensure a safe, enjoyable, and comfortable experience when using lubricants during sexual activities.