VUSH’s sexpert Steph has created a lube guide to answer all your burning questions, including what is lube and how to use lube.
What is lube?
Lube is a liquid, gel-like formulation that is designed to combat dryness, reduce friction, and increase pleasure during sex. It isn’t always common knowledge to use lube during sex, but we couldn’t recommend it more and can’t imagine a world without it. VUSH’s Intimate Gel is a water based lube that is great for solo or partnered play, along with sex toy use (but more on the benefits of water based lube later).
The benefits of using lube solo or with a partner
Let’s be honest, friction is a big part of sex. A lot of sex involves rubbing, stroking, and grinding motions, often combined with pelvis or genital contact. Using lube can reduce any discomfort or pain associated with these types of sex.
While the vagina does naturally lubricate, this doesn’t always happen perfectly. Maybe you feel lubricated at some points during sex but not others? It’s always okay to add lube to combat dryness and atrophy. Keep in mind, other areas of the body, such as the anus do not lubricate naturally, so lube is essential in those cases.
On top of reducing friction and alleviating dryness, lube can actually make things more pleasurable. The right amount of a good quality lubricant can increase sensation and make the sex feel even better! Even just the act of applying lube can be a sensual, pleasurable experience.
Believe it or not, sex can cause injury! Whether it’s pain from dryness or skin tears due to friction, lube can help prevent it. Don’t settle for feeling sore during or after sex. Lube can make a bigger difference than you think.
What are the different types of lube?
Did you know there are three main types of lube? Each one is formulated with a different key ingredient — water, oil, or silicone.
Water based lube
Water based lube is one of the best lube options. If you’re after a natural, non-sticky sensation, the watery consistency of water based lube feels the most similar to vaginal lubrication. Water based lube is very versatile and can be used in most cases, whether it be protected sex with a partner or solo play with a sex toy. It is often a cost effective option.
The main downside to water based lube is that you may have to reapply it more often as it gets absorbed more quickly. This means it isn’t great for anal play when a lot of lubrication is required.
Oil based lube
Oil based lube feels similar to coconut oil (or any other household item that you may or may not have used as lube in the past), but is a more body-safe alternative. Due to its thick texture, oil based lube is a great option for sensual massage!
One disadvantage of oil based lube is that it can’t be used with condoms or dental dams because this can deteriorate the material. Additionally, as you can imagine with oil, this type of lube may stain sheets and leave an oily residue on your clothes.
Silicone based lube
Like oil based lube, silicone based lube won’t absorb too quickly into the skin so will last longer than water-based lube. Because of this, and its condom friendliness, silicone based lube is the perfect choice for anal play. Silicone based lube is also a great choice for shower sex as it won’t wash away as easily as water based lube, and let's face it, oil and water are not compatible.
On the cons list for silicone based lube is the inability to use it with silicone sex toys such as vibrators. Similarly to oil and condoms, silicone lube can deteriorate the material of a silicone sex toy. Silicone can also feel a bit harder to clean off the body or toys.
What are the features of a good lube?
Natural ingredients, no nasties
Understanding product ingredients can be difficult. If you can, opt for something free of fragrance, parabens, and petrochemicals like petroleum. Keep an eye out for lubes made with natural ingredients instead. For a hypoallergenic and sensitive skin friendly lube, a silicone based formula may be your best bet.
If you don’t mind, we’re gonna get a bit sciencey here for a second. When it comes to water based lube, it’s important to consider how high the osmolality level is. Aim to find a lube with an osmolality level under 1200 and ideally as close to 275 as possible, since this is the average level of vaginal mucus. A high osmolality level can draw water out of vaginal walls to dilute the lubricant, thereby increasing the risk of tears and infections.
It may sound weird at first, but it might be worth tasting your lube. This is especially relevant if you’re using lube with a partner before or during oral sex. We recommend putting a little bit of lube on the back of your hand to have a taste.
How to use lube
The best way to use lube is to apply liberally. When it comes to water based lube, there’s no such thing as too much. You may need less when using oil based lube or silicone based lube because they are thicker consistencies.
Lube can be used solo or with a partner, during outercourse and intercourse. No matter the sex act, if it involves genitals and friction, lube can make the process more comfortable.
Where do I apply lube?
Always test a new lube on the back of your hand first before applying it to a more sensitive area. It can also be nice to warm a few drops of lube up between your fingertips before applying it to other body parts so it doesn’t feel too cool on the body (unless you’re into that!).
Lube can be used with all types of sex toys, as long as the material of the sex toy and the formulation of the lubricant are compatible (e.g. water based lube and silicone vibrators). We recommend placing a little bit of lube on the tip of an external vibrator, and a generous amount of lube on the entire tip of an internal vibrator.
We recommend putting a drop or two or lube on the inside of a condom before applying it to the penis as this will increase sensation for the penis owner. It can also make putting the condom on feel smoother, as long as you don’t use too much lube as this may in fact make things more difficult. Just remember, water based lube or silicone based lube only with condoms!
The genitals seem like the most obvious spot to use lube, and for good reason! This is the spot where a lot of the action happens. While the vagina does naturally lubricate with arousal, there is no harm in getting a bit of extra help from some lube. External intimate areas such as the clitoris and the penis love a bit of lube too, especially where rubbing, stroking, grinding, and toys are involved. The anus does not naturally lubricate, so it is essential to use lube for any form of anal play.
Read more on Stimulation:
Now you know how and which lube to use, you may need to read up on how to masturbate, learn the benefits of masturbation or read up on the best masturbation positions and poses. On our VUSH Stimulation blog, we have plenty of guides for pleasure and sex toy use, including how to use a dual tip vibrator and how to use a G spot vibrator.
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