We’d like to submit lube as one of the Wonders of the World. That may sound dramatic, but we really can’t overstate how much of a dramatic difference lube can make in your sex and love life.
You can’t use lube “wrong,” but learning how to use lube the “right” way can make a world of difference. We've got your primer if you haven’t yet experienced this sexual game-changer.
What Is Lube?
Lube is essential for having a comfortable time in the bedroom, regardless of the type of sex that you’re having. The basic idea of “artificial” lube comes from mimicking how the vagina naturally responds to sexual arousal.
When turned on, the epithelial cells inside the vagina start to pump out fluid. This fluid reduces friction and keeps the body safe during penetration and intercourse. Although sex feels good, it can be pretty traumatic to the body if you’re not probably lubed up!
Did you have siblings that gave you “burns” on your forearm by grabbing it and twisting their hands on your skin? Same vibe, only in an even more uncomfortable spot.
Personal lubricant isn’t new, and one of the most well-known lubes started way back in the early 1900s. There have even been studies on how much the right lube can increase sexual health and well-being.
Today, lube falls into three main categories — water-based lubes, oil-based lubes (like our Intimacy Sex Oil with CBD), and silicone-based lubes. Each of the different types of lubes has a list of pros and cons, but their main goal is to protect you from friction and irritation during sexual activity (pro tip: lube is great for far more than just penis-in-vagina penetrative sex!).
Lube is crucial whether you identify as a woman, a man, or anyone in between (or outside) the binary.
When Should You Use Lube?
As we said, lube is good for anything you want to (consensually) do in the bedroom. However, a few scenarios should make you immediately reach for it as a non-negotiable.
For the First Time
We’ve all been there, stripping our clothes off in preparation for messing around with a new partner for the first time. As exciting as first times are, they can also be awkward and make you feel nervous and self-aware.
For some people, that nervous energy can lead to trouble in the physical arousal department. Don’t feel shy about introducing lube, even if it’s the first time you’re having sex with someone.
Lube isn’t a judgment of the other person’s sexual prowess; it only makes things even hotter. The result is a memorable, sexy good time without worrying about your body not keeping up.
With that said, like with all sex, using lube should be done consensually. We recommend discussing it with your partner before pulling it out. This helps promote good sexual communication (which is crucial) and sets an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect.
When Doing Anal
If there’s one situation on this list where lube is fully non-negotiable, it’s anal sex. While vaginas can be hit or miss by making sufficient lubrication, the anus will never self-lubricate. Full stop.
When anal play is on the table (either by yourself or with a partner), you absolutely have to have lube. Not using lube during anal can make a pleasurable activity into something uncomfortable and likely something you’ll not be excited to repeat.
Plus, attempting to have anal sex without proper lubrication can also lead to anal tearing. Obviously, this can be a painful situation and can increase your risk of getting an infection or contracting an STI (p.s. never have anal sex with a new partner without discussing your status and using a condom!).
Before Your Period
If you’re still getting a period (regular or not), your body goes through hormonal ups and downs. Specifically, during certain times of your cycle, your estrogen and progesterone levels will change significantly.
For instance, after you ovulate, your body enters the “luteal” phase, which lasts until you start your period. During the luteal phase, your progesterone increases (to support a potential pregnancy), but your estrogen drops.
If you’re not aware, estrogen is the main hormone behind the sex drive and natural lubrication potential for people with vulvas. What that means for sexy time is that no matter how turned on you may be, it may be tricky to make enough natural lube to make sex feel comfortable before your period.
That’s why vaginal dryness is such an issue during the luteal period (as well as during menopause). Lube can help counteract that lack of estrogen by acting as a stand-in for what your body does just fine in other parts of the month.
When Giving (or Receiving) a Hand-Job
Listen, spit can be hot. But if you want to extend your hand-job play (or self-love) for longer and not have to keep coming up with enough saliva to keep it comfortable, lube up. Lube is great for other types of foreplay, too!
Try it with manual vaginal or anal stimulation for a longer-lasting, more slippery good time. When you’re able to please your partner without running out of spit or creating so much friction it feels like you’re trying to start a fire, you’ll never mess around without it.
Whenever You Need It
Lube is helpful for keeping your sex sessions comfortable and non-negotiable in terms of anal sex, but you can use it anytime you need it! For example, don’t have much time but want to bang one out with your partner?
Break out our Quickie Kit, which comes with lube, our Awaken Arousal Oil with CBD, and two Intimacy Melts. While we’re always going to advocate for taking the time for foreplay, that’s not always possible. Lube (especially when used alongside other pleasure-amplifying sexual aides) is the perfect way to have an enjoyable, hot, orgasmic experience in just a few minutes.
Lube is also awesome for not having to worry about running out of your own lube if you want to enjoy each other's bodies all night. As great as it would be to have sex for hours at a time without getting dry, that’s just not the case for the vast majority of people.
Eventually, your body will stop keeping up, but why should you let that dictate how long you can have sex? Apply some more lube and get right back to getting down. You can thank us later.
How Should You Apply Lube?
No primer on how to use lube would be complete without talking about how to apply it. But you just slather it on during penis-in-vagina or anal sex, right?
Well, yes, obviously, you can just squirt and go. We recommend applying your lube generously because what’s the benefit of being stingy with it? The wetter, the better, and when in doubt, reapply!
But there are a few other ways you can apply your lube. Try applying a few drops of lube to your partner’s perineum (the area between his penis and anus) before massaging it. Perineal massage can be a way to stimulate the prostate without anal penetration, especially if you haven’t done this kind of exploration before.
You can (and should) also use lube with your sex toys! Masturbation can sometimes become functional instead of fun, but lube helps change that. There’s something psychological about pulling out the lube and making it a luxurious event instead of a goal-driven one.
However, there are two caveats to using lube — you’ve got to use the right lube for the types of condoms and sex toys you’re using. Not sure what we mean?
A good example is that you shouldn’t use silicone-based lubricants with silicone sex toys (like vibrators or dildos) because it can cause them to break down more quickly. The same goes for matching your condoms and your lube.
The wrong kind of lube can increase the risk of condom breakage. For instance, never use latex condoms with oil-based lubricants or petroleum jelly – water-based lubricant is better for latex.
Meanwhile, even the best lubes might cause redness and irritation if you have sensitive skin. In this case, you may want to try something a little more natural, like coconut oil. And while you may have heard that vaseline makes for good lube, it’s hard to clean up and can lead to yeast infections.
One last tip for how to use lube effectively — warm it up first, if possible! Unless you keep the heat cranked up in your house, your body will be a lot warmer than that bottle of lube sitting in your bedside table drawer.
Warming your lube up in your hands before applying it can make it an even more pleasurable experience. Plus, we’re willing to bet that once you’ve tried to use cold lube, you’ll never make that mistake again.
The Bottom Line
Learning how to use lube can be a serious game-changer in the bedroom. Instead of having to worry about not making enough natural lubrication for vaginal sex or suffering through uncomfortable anal sex, lube lets you focus on sexual pleasure.
Trust us; once you add lube to your sexual activities, you’ll never want to go back.
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