Do you know how difficult it is to find good sources for personal lubricants? The amount of junk articles I had to sift through was intimidating, to say the least.
There are three different categories of lubricant: water-based, silicone-based, and oil-based. Each has its pros and cons.
The lube you are most likely to find is water-based. Be careful with the ingredients, though, as some of these include glycerin, which can cause yeast infections. Water-based is arguably the best, as it doesn’t dissolve silicone toys, and it doesn’t make latex condoms permeable. However, it is the most likely to evaporate, causing you to need to add more in the middle of things.
Silicone-based is the most expensive. It is very slippery and won’t dissolve, but if you’re using it with silicone toys, it will cause them to start to break down, making them unsafe to use. You can get around this by putting a condom on the toy, though! It is also more difficult to clean up after use (soap and water works).
Oil-based cannot be used at the same time as latex condoms (I specify latex, because other types are fine). The oil makes the latex membrane become permeable, and will cause breaking of the condom.
Okay…now you know about the different types of lube. Why should you use it at all?
A lot of misinformation goes into this question. People think that lube is only needed if the vagina doesn’t lubricate itself enough, and using lube is a last-ditch effort.
This couldn’t be further from the truth. And it only takes PiV intercourse into account.
The human body’s vaginal lubricant is not enough for intercourse. Period. Full stop. It reduces friction, increases pleasure, and decreases the risk of tearing and pain. You should always use some sort of lubricant, even if it’s only saliva (which is the only natural lubricant that my research has agreed is a good one). And if you are participating in anal intercourse, don’t even attempt it unless you’ve got a lot of lube on hand. Tears/rips in the anus are dangerous, because of the excess of bacteria in the fecal matter that could enter the bloodstream. Please note: saliva is not enough lube for anal intercourse.
If there’s something more that you’d like to know about lubricants, or we didn’t cover, please contact us through our Anonymous Question box!
Nagoski, Emily, PhD. Come as you are: The surprising new science that will transform your sex life. Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, 2015.