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SEXUAL HEALTH

Why Everyone Deserves Lube

by DR. LAURA MCGUIRE
Published: FEBRUARY 13, 2020 | Updated: JUNE 9, 2021
Presented by KINKLY SHOP
Bringing lube to any sexual activity should be as common and normal as packing barrier protection.

Almost every form of sex involves friction - from penetration to oral stimulation to solo play. It is the rubbing, tugging and stroking of the body and genitals that often gives us the greatest pleasure.

But with friction of any kind comes the need to add a smooth and comfortable layer of protection that makes, what could be uncomfortable, feel delicious and delightful. This protective layer is most often some form of lubrication - whether made by the body or added from an external source.

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Many people feel some level of stigma or embarrassment attached to purchasing lube. They might think that it sends the message that they aren’t turned on enough, that their body doesn’t work the way it should, or that their needs for sexual comfort are too high.

The reality is that adding additional lubrication to almost any sex act can be beneficial for everyone.

Why You Deserve Lube

Wanting or needing more lubrication than the body can produce on its own is not only normal, it is wise.

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Studies have shown that using lube for solo and partnered sex results in significantly higher levels of sexual pleasure and satisfaction. In addition, lubrication helps reduce the risk of micro-fissures (tiny tears), which increase the risk of STI transmission. By not using additional lubrication we are often giving ourselves less enjoyable sexual experiences, as well as putting ourselves and our partners at a higher risk for infections.

Lube is often depicted only in partner penetration scenarios, but can be enjoyed in many more ways. Masturbation, with a hand or toy, for all genders, can be made more comfortable and pleasurable with a great lube. Manual sex (when a partner uses their hands) also benefits from a lubricated touch.

Whether partnered or solo, penetrative or external, added lubrication is only going to amplify the experience.

The Kinds of Lube

There are three main forms of lubrication - each with its own pros and cons:

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Water-Based

The most common is water-based lube. Water-based is light and absorbs easily into the skin. It is the best kind if you are looking for a silkier feel and want something that adds to the body’s natural lubrication.

The downside is that it often has to be reapplied because of its absorbency.

Silicone-Based

The second most widely used is silicone-based lube. Silicone does not absorb into the body so it will last for a long time and is ideal during penetrative sex where the body does not offer its own lubrication, such as with anal sex.

Oil-Based

Lastly, some people choose an oil-based lube. The downsides are that if you are using an edible or natural oil (like coconut or olive oil) they can easily grow bacteria or spoil, they eat away at latex so you can’t use them with barrier protection, and they are the most likely to cause irritation.

No matter what kind of lubrication you decide on make sure to avoid additives that can be toxic to the body. Read the label of each bottle you are considering purchasing and make sure it does not include: Chlorhexidine gluconate, Parabens, Cyclomethicone, or fragrances.

Bring the Lube

Whatever kind of lubrication you prefer, remember that there is no shame in needing and enjoying lubrication during any sexual activity.

The benefits of using lube are immense.

Bringing lube to any sexual activity should be as common and normal as packing barrier protection. Safer and more pleasurable sex is nothing to be ashamed of and something we all deserve.

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PRESENTED BY

Photo for Dr. Laura McGuire
Dr. Laura McGuire

Dr. Laura McGuire (they/them or she/her) is a nationally recognized sexuality educator, trauma-informed specialist, and inclusion consultant at The National Center for Equity and Agency.

Dr. McGuire earned their bachelor's degree in social sciences from Thomas Edison State University and graduate degrees in Educational Leadership for Change from Fielding Graduate University.

Their experience includes both public and private sectors, middle schools, high schools, and university settings. In 2015, she served as the first Sexual Violence Prevention and Education Program Manager at the University of Houston, and in 2017, she became the first Victim Advocate/Prevention Educator at the US Merchant Marine Academy.

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