Find out why lube is important for sex, how to use it, the best kind of lubes, and what some women think about lube.
Lube, short for personal lubricant, was first created in Ancient China [600BC] by boiling red seaweed into a thick, water-based substance called carrageenan. The lube was discovered to be efficient for personal lubrication during sex and for thickening foods and medicines. It was popularly known in Chinese society for its versatility.
Despite being in use since ancient times, there continues to be a prevailing misunderstanding about lube that can make it difficult for women to acknowledge its necessity to themselves and their partners.
What Is a Lube?
Lube is a gel or liquid applied to the genitals during sex to prevent unwanted friction between body part[s] or sex toys and help increase wetness. Maintaining a satisfying sexual experience requires adequate lubrication.
What Is the Purpose of a Lube?
The main purpose of lube is to enhance the sexual experience. There could be friction between body parts during sex that could reduce or limit pleasure. Certain things like aging, hormonal changes, menopause, birth control, and other medications can make the vagina produce less natural lubrication.
Lubricant makes masturbation adventurous and enhances foreplay. Using additional lubrication is necessary to avoid friction or pain during sex and can make your sexual experiences more enjoyable, even if you already produce enough natural lubrication when aroused.
Types of Lubricant
There are multiple types of lubricants to choose from, each with its own advantages and disadvantages depending on your individual needs. Whether you’re experimenting with lube for the first time or thinking about switching to a different brand, it’s important to understand the distinctions between these types:
- Water-based Lubricant
The key ingredient in a water-based lube is water. It is more common compared to others [silicon and oil-based lube] because it is safe to use with latex condoms and silicone sex toys. Since it is mostly water, it is easier to wash off and doesn’t stain sheets. However, it dries out quicker than other lubes so it needs to be reapplied at intervals. The water-based lube contains additives like glycerin to help retain moisture and preservatives to prevent microbial growth in the product.
- Silicone-based Lubricant
This lube is the best option for shower sex because it is longer-lasting and won’t rinse off easily like a water-based lube —it needs to be washed off with soap and water. It isn’t advisable to use silicon-based lube with silicone sex toys as it can break down the surface of the sex toys. However, It is safe to use with a latex condom.
- Oil-based Lubricant
Oil-based lubes are better for external sexual activities like massages and hand jobs. While the oil-based lube lasts for a long period, it tends to linger inside the body and might cause a build-up of bacteria that can irritate the body and possibly cause yeast infection. It is also difficult to clean and can stain surfaces.
If you are looking for natural lube, refined coconut oil is a good choice.
Tips for using Lubricant
One of the first things to do is to place a towel underneath you to guard your sheets against lubricant stains. While there is no right or wrong way to use a lube, it can be used creatively in many ways as listed below:
- Lube can be used for an epic hand job
Contrary to the popular opinion that lube is made for women, it can also be used by men for a smooth hand job.
- Smear your toys with lube
Make using toys more fun by smearing lube over them.
- Finger your partner with lube
Trickle some lube on your fingers before sliding them into your partner’s vagina. Gently rotate your fingers inside and use your thumb to play with your partner’s clit while at it.
- Use it in the shower
Shower sex can get a lot better with lube. Make sure to opt for a silicon-based or oil-based lube for a longer-lasting experience.
- Sensual massage
You can dole out a sensual massage on your partner’s back or inner thighs with lube before going in.
- Solo play
Lubes aren’t meant for partnered/penetrative sex only. They can also be used during solo play.
3 Women Share Their Experiences with Lube
In this article, we spoke with three women who shared their experiences with lubes — and their favorite brands.
“I have been sexually active for decades and I never thought it could get better until I started using lubes. I get dry down there easily and the friction makes it hurt [a lot].
I usually needed about three days for my ‘lady’ to get back to normal because of the wound caused by the friction. I found it hard to admit that I needed extra help and even when I got a lube, I felt insecure for a long time.
I got the Durex water-based lube, but I wasn’t a fan of it — it dried too quickly. My favorite at the moment is the one from the Kiss brand. It is affordable and less irritable.”
Tomi, 36, Brand Strategist.
“The memory of the first time I used lubricant and experienced an orgasm will always stay with me. It was earth-shattering [laughs]. My sex life prior to that was ‘good’ but I didn’t know it could be ‘great.’ While I didn’t have any issues getting wet naturally, I just decided to try a lube on one of my sexual explorations and I haven’t looked back since then.”
“I used to hold the belief that lubricant was exclusively intended for women experiencing menopause and facing difficulty with sexual activity. I kept recommending lubes to my older female friends without realizing that I needed them just as much. Before using lube, I had never orgasmed from penetrative sex. It was a dilemma. Applying lube made sex more enjoyable and relaxing.”
Bilqis, 32, Visual Designer.