Navigating the Slippery Slope of Lubricants
A personal lubricant is a sexual aid, usually in the form of a liquid or a gel, that can be used during sexual acts like intercourse and masturbation to reduce friction and ease penetration.
Usually, sexual arousal results in a person’s vagina becoming self-lubricated. The wetness and slip make sexual intercourse more comfortable and enjoyable. However, there are times when the vagina doesn’t lubricate enough, for various reasons, or the parties just prefer more lubrication. This is when a sexual lubricant can come in to save the day (or night!).
A lubricant can be applied to the penis, the vagina, the anus and even to sex toys like dildos and butt plugs, to make the insertion easier and make the act more pleasurable. It is important to do some research when choosing the right kind of lubricant to suit your needs, your wants and your bodies.
By Composition, the main types of lubricants are Water-Based, Oil-Based and Silicone-Based.
Water-based lubricants are the most commonly used personal lubricants, as they’re widely available and inexpensive. They’re water-soluble, resulting in them being easily absorbed by the skin and drying out, which leads to the necessity of reapplication. This also means that they’re unfit for sexual acts occurring in water, like bathtubs and pools. These lubricants don’t weaken condoms, so they’re encouraged for safe-sex.
Silicone-Based lubricants are another option, and they’re available easily, with different qualities and characteristics to offer. They don’t contain any water, so they can last longer than Water-Based lubricants. They don’t wash off easily, which is why it’s necessary to rinse them immediately after use, to prevent irritation.
Oil-Based lubricants should be used carefully. They can weaken the latex in latex condoms, increasing the chances of breakage and slippage. People in relationships that don’t require condoms can use these if they want to avoid the additives and preservatives found in other lubricants.
It is essential to note that some Water and Silicone-based lubricants containing glycerin, and Oil-based lubricants, made from petroleum, can cause irritation and inflammation.
Some specific lubricants are made based on their usage, like Vaginal and Anal lubricants. Vaginal Lubricants are used to reduce dryness and discomfort during intercourse. Some lubricants can be detrimental to sperm function, so they shouldn’t be used by couples trying to conceive. Anal Lubricants are thicker lubricants, usually containing numbing agents, designed to relieve discomfort during anal sex. However, it can lead to injuries due to the lack of complete sensation.
Some Special Lubricants, designed to cause warming, cooling or tingling sensations contain specific ingredients to create that effect. Flavored lubricants contain flavors to enhance oral contact and Edible lubricants may contain ingredients that are safe for human consumption.
Exploring and Experimenting with what works for you and your partners is the right way to slide!