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  • Writer's pictureKiki Maree

L is for Lube

The production of vaginal lubrication is a dynamic process involving the activation of various glands and cells within the vulva and vaginal walls. When sexually aroused, the blood flow to the genital area increases, leading to engorgement and the release of vaginal secretions.

However, the rate of production and release of lubrication can vary among individuals and can be influenced by factors such as hormonal fluctuations, hydration levels, and overall health.

In some cases, the rate of lubrication production may not match the intensity or duration of sexual activity. This can result in a gradual reduction in natural lubrication, leading to discomfort or dryness during intercourse.

Using additional lubricants, such as water-based, oil-based or silicone-based lubricants, can help supplement the body's natural lubrication and maintain comfort during sexual activities. Lubricants can provide the necessary slipperiness and reduce friction, enhancing pleasure and reducing discomfort.

It is important to note that "wetness" is not always a sign of arousal or readiness for penetration, as some people are often if not always really wet. It is only when the clit, vulva and vagina is fully engorged that we can be sure that it is going to feel the most pleasure with penetration, which is the ideal approach to penetrative sex for most vulva-havers.

However, not everyone wants to wait until they are fully aroused to be penetrated, as the act of being penetrated itself can be what increases the arousal and desire for sex for some people, which is generally when lubrication is really needed to be used.

With all of that being said, lubrication is just great to use in general regardless of whetrher someone is naturally super wet, tends to dry up during penetration or isn't super wet before penetration as it takes off sooo much of the performative pressure that vulva-havers can feel around their wetness. So if you haven't already, go treat yourself to a unch of yummy lube to place around your bedroom/house.

It's important to debunk the misconception that the need for lube implies inadequacy or lack of arousal. The truth is, regardless of age, gender, or level of sexual excitement, lubrication can greatly enhance the overall sexual encounter.

Our bodies go through natural variations in lubrication levels, and factors such as stress, medication, hydration or hormonal changes can affect this process. Using lube is not a reflection of any deficiency but rather a tool to optimize pleasure and comfort.

When it comes to choosing the right lubricant, there are various options available. Water-based lubes are popular due to their compatibility with different types of sex toys and condoms. They are easy to clean and generally hypoallergenic. Silicone-based lubes offer longer-lasting lubrication and are ideal for activities involving water, such as shower or pool sex. However, they may not be suitable for use with silicone-based sex toys. Oil-based lubes, while effective, should be used with caution as they can degrade latex condoms and increase the risk of infections.

We will dive deeper into our recommendations at the end of this article, however let's first explore the science behind natural lubrication.

Biological process of natural lubrication:

Vaginal lubrication is a natural physiological response that occurs in response to sexual arousal. The process involves several biological mechanisms working together to provide moisture and reduce friction during sexual activities. Here's an overview of the biological process of vaginal lubrication:

  1. Sexual Arousal: Sexual arousal can be triggered by physical stimulation, psychological arousal, or a combination of both. It initiates a cascade of physiological responses throughout the body, including the genital area.

  2. Increased Blood Flow: Sexual arousal leads to increased blood flow to the genital region, including the vaginal walls. This increased blood flow causes engorgement of the blood vessels in the vaginal tissues.

  3. Activation of greater vestibule glands and lesser vestibule glands: The Bartholin's glands, located on either side of the vaginal opening, and the Skene's glands, also known as the paraurethral glands, located near the urethra, play a crucial role in vaginal lubrication. These glands secrete fluids that contribute to vaginal moisture.

  4. Production of Transudate: Transudate refers to a clear, odorless fluid that seeps through the vaginal walls. It is believed to originate from the blood vessels and is thought to provide initial lubrication.

  5. Increase in Vaginal Fluid: The vaginal walls also contain numerous small glands that secrete mucus-like fluid. During sexual arousal, these glands become more active, leading to an increase in vaginal fluid production. This fluid helps further lubricate the vaginal canal, reducing friction during sexual activities.

  6. Changes in Vaginal pH: Sexual arousal is accompanied by a shift in the vaginal pH. The pH becomes more alkaline, which creates a less hostile environment for sperm. Therefore adequate arousal is not only beneficial for a female bodied person's pleasure, but also for fertility if this is of importance to them.

Some of the benefits of using additional lubricants:

Enhancing Sensation

Lubrication is not just for those who experience difficulty with natural lubrication; it can be a game-changer for anyone seeking to elevate their sexual experiences. Adding lube into the mix can intensify the sensations by reducing friction during penetration, whether with a partner or during solo play. The slippery texture of lube allows for smoother, more pleasurable movements, making every touch, stroke, and thrust feel incredibly enjoyable.

Increasing Comfort and Reducing Discomfort

Sexual encounters should be pleasurable and comfortable for all involved. However, sometimes the body needs a little extra help to ensure a smooth experience. Insufficient natural lubrication can lead to discomfort, irritation, and even pain during intercourse. By introducing lube, whether water-based, silicone-based, or oil-based, individuals can alleviate discomfort and create a more pleasurable environment. It reduces the chances of chafing, tearing, or any other form of friction-related discomfort, thereby promoting a more satisfying sexual experience.

Exploration and Experimentation

Sexual exploration is an integral part of a healthy and fulfilling sex life. Whether you are flying solo or with a partner, using lubrication can facilitate the exploration of new erogenous zones and various forms of sexual play. The added slipperiness allows for gentle touch, massage, and experimentation with different angles and positions. It opens up a world of possibilities and encourages individuals to push the boundaries of their pleasure, leading to a more fulfilling and exciting sexual journey.

Solving Intimacy Issues

Intimacy issues can arise for a multitude of reasons, including stress, certain medications, hormonal changes, or medical conditions. These issues can impact an individual's ability to naturally lubricate during arousal, hindering sexual satisfaction. Using lube can bridge the gap between desire and physiological response, allowing individuals to enjoy intimacy without the added stress or frustration. It helps to normalize and destigmatize the use of lubrication as a tool for intimacy, making sex more enjoyable and accessible for everyone involved.

Promoting Safer Sex

When it comes to safer sex practices, lube plays a vital role. Inadequate lubrication can increase the risk of condom breakage or tearing, potentially exposing individuals to sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or unintended pregnancies. By applying lube to both the penis and the condom, the risk of friction-related accidents decreases significantly. Additionally, lube can also be used with dental dams, gloves, and other barrier methods to enhance their effectiveness and ensure a safer sexual experience.

Overcoming Barriers and Enhancing Accessibility

Lube can also be a valuable tool for individuals with certain medical conditions or disabilities. Conditions such as vaginal dryness, erectile dysfunction, or mobility issues may require additional lubrication to ensure a pleasurable sexual experience. By embracing lube, we create a more inclusive and accessible sexual environment that accommodates diverse needs and promotes sexual well-being for all.

Recommendations of good quality lubricants

Homemade Lubes

Coconut oil has over the years become a common go-to for lube, as it is easy to access, affordable and smells yummy (until it doesn't once it goes rancid in bedding etc). However there are some problems with using coconut oil, or any other kitchen oil during penetrative sex.

  1. it can oxidise which can cause irritation and inflammation

  2. it can generate heat through penetration which can irritate sensitive genital tissue

  3. it can't be used with condoms (steer clear of all oil based lubricants with condom usage as it can lead to breakage

  4. introduce bacteria, or interfere with pH if used too frequently (vaginal pH is acidic when unaroused and alkaline when aroused, so it is used to changes in pH. However extended use of an alkaline product such as coconut oil would interfer with the vagina's process of naturally becoming more acidic).

I personally feel ok to use coconut oil for anal sex if I don't have any other lubes around, as well as for more intimate and slow touch with my genitals, such as with a self yoni massage or yoni massage with a lover. If my partner were to use it here and there on my pussy when massaging my body with it, I also wouldn't mind and have done so with no issue, however everyone is different so always check in with your body.

Store-bought lubes

Water based lubes are great for every situation (while oil-based and silicon are not), so having plenty on hand is a great addition to your sexy time toolkit.

Water-based reccomendations:

  • Honey Birdette's Edible Flavoured Lubricant (my fave is the salted caramel)

  • Oh La La Love Lube by Frenchie

  • Budget: Lifestyles Ultra Natural (Woolworths)

Silicon Based Lube

Silicone-based lubricants are often a popular choice for anal play due to their unique properties and benefits. Here's why silicone-based lubricants are generally considered good for anal use:

  1. Long-lasting and Slippery: Silicone-based lubricants have a high viscosity, which means they are thicker and longer-lasting compared to water-based lubricants. This makes them particularly well-suited for anal play, where a longer-lasting lubrication is often desired.

  2. Reduced Friction: The anus does not naturally produce lubrication like the vagina does, so using a lubricant is crucial to reduce friction and enhance comfort during anal play. Silicone-based lubricants provide a smooth and slippery texture that can help reduce friction, allowing for easier penetration and more pleasurable experiences.

  3. Waterproof: Silicone-based lubricants are waterproof, which means they do not easily wash away with water alone. This is advantageous for anal play, as it can provide lubrication that stays in place even during activities involving water, such as shower or bath play.

  4. Less Reapplication: Due to their long-lasting nature, silicone-based lubricants typically require less frequent reapplication compared to water-based lubricants. This can be especially convenient during longer or more intense anal sessions, as it reduces interruptions for reapplying lubrication.

However, it's important to keep in mind a few considerations when using silicone-based lubricants for anal play:

  1. Incompatibility with Silicone Toys: As mentioned earlier, silicone-based lubricants are generally not recommended for use with silicone sex toys unless explicitly stated as safe by the manufacturer. The lubricant can potentially interact with the silicone material of the toy and cause damage or degradation. If using a silicone toy for anal play, it's advisable to opt for a water-based lubricant instead.

  2. Cleanup: Silicone-based lubricants can be a bit more challenging to clean up compared to water-based lubricants. They require soap and water for thorough removal from the body and any surfaces. Keep this in mind when planning for post-play cleanup.

  3. Allergies and Sensitivities: As with any lubricant, it's essential to be aware of any allergies or sensitivities you may have to the ingredients in silicone-based lubricants. If you have a known allergy or sensitivity, it's recommended to test a small amount on a patch of skin before using it for anal play.

I recommend to shop around for something that you feel comfortable using on your body

Oil Based Lube

Oil-based lubricants can also be used for anal play as well as pussy play, but there are a few important considerations to keep in mind:

  1. Long-lasting lubrication: Oil-based lubricants tend to provide long-lasting lubrication. They have a thicker consistency and can create a slippery barrier that reduces friction during anal play.

  2. Compatibility with latex barriers: Oil-based lubricants are not compatible with latex condoms or other latex-based barriers. The oil can cause latex to weaken, degrade, or even break, increasing the risk of STIs and unintended pregnancies. If you're using latex barriers, it's crucial to choose a different type of lubricant, such as water-based or silicone-based.

  3. Potential staining and cleanup: Oil-based lubricants can leave stains on fabric, bedding, or other surfaces. They can be more difficult to clean up compared to water-based or silicone-based lubricants. Consider using towels or sheets that are easy to clean or lay down a protective barrier to minimize staining.

  4. Skin sensitivities and allergies: Some individuals may have skin sensitivities or allergies to certain oils used as lubricants. It's important to test a small amount of the lubricant on a patch of skin before applying it to the anal area to ensure there are no adverse reactions.

  5. Reapplication: Due to the natural absorption of oil-based lubricants by the body, they may also require more frequent reapplication as with water based lube compared to silicon based lubricants. Keep this in mind during anal play and have additional lubricant readily available.

Overall, while oil-based lubricants can provide long-lasting lubrication for anal play, it's important to consider their compatibility with latex barriers, potential staining, and individual sensitivities. As with any lubricant, choosing a high-quality product specifically designed for intimate use is recommended.

Oil based lube recommendations:

  • Lovers Lube

  • Yoni Elixir

  • Cbd lube from Soma Medicinals

  • Welcome Home Body

  • Uber Lube

  • Olive & Bee

It's important to communicate openly with your partner about any concerns or discomfort related to lubrication during intercourse. Exploring different lubricant options together and adjusting sexual activities to accommodate individual needs can contribute to a more satisfying and enjoyable sexual experience.

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