Why lubrication is important for healthy sex
22 March 2016, 14:41
I once went to a lube tasting party. Tasting. Not testing. Although, I recognise that without much more information, neither of those options might seem enviable. But let me elaborate.
A local lube-producing company was doing a revamp of their brand and wanted to update their flavours along with their labels, and we were invited to taste-test the new strawberry, orange and mint options.
At one end of the room, unmarked bottles of water-based lube sat next to tiny slips of paper that required our opinion on taste, consistency, stickiness, aftertaste, scent and so on. At the other end of the room was everything else we’d actually come for: an ‘after party’ of bubbles and canapés as reward for our diligent consideration.
That day, about 30 or 40 of us dutifully went through the process of sniffing, tasting and delicately testing the stickiness or silkiness of the goo between our thumbs and forefingers.
We were lube connoisseurs, aficionados of sexy slick, but most of all we were all believers in the utility of the slippery stuff.
You see, ever since my first lover introduced me to KY (not something I’d necessarily recommend today), I’ve spread the word of smooth riding. Because, let’s face it, sometimes the mind is willing, but the Bartholens glands are weak, right?
To fill you in on the technical stuff, the Bartholens and Skenes glands situated in and around your vagina are thought to be the source of sexual arousal lubrication. But like any glands in your body, they’re affected by your general health and well-being. Hormone levels, vaginal health, stress, medication, infection and surgery – among a host of other issues – can affect how they respond.
So there’s nothing ‘wrong’ with you if you’re feeling horny, but not getting as lubricated as you would like or need to be.
And ‘need’ is the most important factor here. The vagina lubes up to protect itself from micro-abrasions that can occur from the kind of friction that makes sex both painful and dangerous. Not to mention, terrible for condoms. (Basically anyone punting ‘dry sex’ needs to STFU.)
So if your vagina isn’t lubing up naturally or for long enough, you need to lend her a helping blob.
This can come in the form of water-based lubes (cheap, easily available, great for condoms and toys) or silicone-based lubes (expensive, lasts longer, great with condoms, a no-no with silicone toys), in a wild array of flavours and ‘sensations’.
For myself, I prefer my lube as au naturale as possible, sans flavours, massage properties and tingles. Over the years, I’ve used lube not only for partner play, but solo play (heightens sensitivity) and even popping up tampons.
It’s been a few years since that taste-testing party and I’ve been thrilled to see increased awareness around the female body and lubrication on the feeds since then. If you haven’t tried it, I highly recommend that you do. And if you come across a funny flavour let me know. I’m still taking notes.
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