Lube: Grasping a Slippery Topic

Southern California may be hot and dry, but you don’t have to be. 

Lube is a great way to reduce irritation and tears in the skin after sex. It can be used in virtually every sexual encounter to add slickness and increase both comfort and safety. Still not convinced? What if I told you that it could make your romp more fun and long-lasting?

The use of sexual lubricants traces back several millennia, when the ancient Greeks used olive oil to enhance their lovemaking. While the Greeks’ tanned and toned Olympic bodies ooze sex appeal, I won’t discuss such oil-based lubricants much, as they quickly degrade latex and can result in
a broken condom or barrier. I wouldn’t recommend them for internal use, either, because
they are harder for the body to flush out. 

The most common kinds of lube on
the market are either water- or silicone-based. I would definitely endorse these for almost any sexual act; a bottle of lube comes in handy for everything from your basic hand-job to the erotic massage. 

Both silicone- and water-based lubes are formulated to work with latex or polyurethane barriers as silicone doesn’t absorb
into the skin or get tacky like water-based lube. While you don’t need to use as much of them, silicone-based products are more expensive, more difficult to wash off and have a tendency to stain
sheets. Protect your Egyptian cotton with moisture-locking
dog pads—yes, the kind for potty-training a puppy. Special
sheets or towels created with the sole purpose of collecting more lube stains are also available for purchase. 

If you’re planning on
getting down in the shower, silicone is definitely the way to go because it doesn’t wash off with water alone. Watch out if you’re combining shower fun with sex toy pleasure, though—silicone is hailed as the cannibal of the sex world and will eat away at silicone sex
toys. Dildos need protection, too!

If you decide to go the water route, be mindful of your product’s ingredients. Many water-based
lubes contain glycerin, a chemical believed to perpetuate yeast growth in
those prone to yeast infections. Because most drugstore lubricants contain the additive and a number of other harmful parabens, it’s best to do your shopping at a sex toy store or online. Unfortunately lubricant is not FDA-regulated, so we need to take matters into our own hands and make sure we know the potential side effects of anything entering our bodies. 

If you’re engaging in anal play, do your homework and remember that the anus and rectum do not naturally lubricate themselves. The application of some good old KY is crucial in these situations to protect the very sensitive and
easily torn skin inside the bum.

Though it may seem intriguing, don’t choose a lube
with numbing or desensitizing properties. This could be dangerous as we should
be aware of any pain. Sex should never be painful, and any discomfort is typically a good indication of the tearing or irritation that leads to infection. Changing your
angle or position, spending more time on foreplay and/or adding more lube or
saliva can alleviate most pain.

Though a fun way to literally spice up oral sex, flavored lube shouldn’t be introduced into the body because its sugars promote yeast infections. Other
novel lubes to try out are warming and cooling lubes, which usually achieve
their sensations through the use of capsaicin and menthol, respectively.

It
is possible to be allergic to some ingredients in certain lubes. If you’re prone to reactions, dabbing a little on the inside of your elbow is a good way to
test how a lubricant will interact with your body. While the skin
here is much different than any mucous membrane with which the lube will be in
contact, it can give you a sense of whether that brand is something to
consider trying out or staying away from. 

I personally
recommend the water-based lube from a brand called Pink (glycerin and paraben free—yay!) for vaginal playtime and either Gun Oil or Pjur, which
are both silicone-based, for anal fun. Everyone enjoys different
sensations, so I encourage you to read about and sample a bunch of different
types of lube before deciding which brand is right for you.

Wetter is better,

Connie Lingus

“Connie Lingus” PZ ’16 is a psychology and sociology major. Her sexual orientation? Queer, kinky and polyamorous. 

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