Vaginal lubrication often occurs naturally during sexual excitement and arousal. Women vary in how much lubrication they produce and the amount of lubrication desired for pleasurable sexual activity, and this variation is totally normal.
Reduced lubrication is very common and can be the result of hormonal changes in a woman’s body during breastfeeding or perimenopause/postmenopause or caused by medications such as antihistamines, hormonal forms of birth control, chemotherapy, and medications for ADHD and depression.
Also, you may have decreased lubrication if you are dehydrated, or if you’re not fully aroused. Whether you’re having vaginal sex with a partner or masturbating on your own, you may want to add lubrication to:
- Decrease painful friction in the vagina and/or anus;
- Enhance sexual arousal by stimulating the flow of blood to the vulva, which encourages your body to create some of its own lube;
- Lubricate the clitoris; this can create more sexual pleasure and an easier route to orgasm;
- Change taste during oral sex;
- Keep vaginal skin soft and help maintain elasticity of vaginal walls.
When it comes to choosing a lubricant, consider two things – your comfort and your safety.
Comfort refers to your pleasure – the amount and staying power of the lubricant can make a difference in how good the sexual activity feels, and whether the lubricant irritates your genitals.
Safety refers to your health – oil-based lubricants cannot be used with latex condoms, as they can destroy the latex and cause condom failure.
Water-Based Lubricants with Glycerin: The most commonly sold lubricants are water-based with synthetic glycerin, which produces a slightly sweet taste. Most flavored lubricants and warming lubricants contain glycerin. When water-based lubes start to dry, it is best to add water or saliva rather than just adding more lube, as the water makes it slippery again.
Water-Based Lubricants, No Glycerin: If you have recurrent yeast infections, these are the lubricants to use. They can contain vegetable-derived glycerin, which does not trigger yeast infections like the lubes listed above.
These last the longest of all lubricants and are especially recommended for women with chronic vaginal dryness or genital pain. Silicone lubricant is different from the silicone used in breast implants and is not considered dangerous; it cannot penetrate through the skin’s pores. Most silicone lubricants are hypoallergenic.
The following oil-based lubricants can destroy latex condoms. They are safe to use with condoms made from nitrile, polyisoprene or polyurethane.
Natural Oil-Based Lubricants: These lubricants often can be found in your kitchen. The general rule is that if it’s safe for you to eat, it’s safe to put on your vulva and inside your vagina. The body can clear out natural oils more easily than petroleum-based lubricants. Certain oils, such as grapeseed and apricot, tend to be thin and therefore better for vaginal intercourse than some of the others.
Synthetic Oil-Based Lubricants: These take longer to clear out of your body than natural oils and include mineral oil, Vaseline, body lotions and creams.
When choosing a lubricant, be sure to keep both pleasure AND safety in mind! If you have questions about which lubricant is best for you and your partner, please don’t hesitate to ask one of our knowledgeable salespeople.