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Despite being a common part of all things sex, the topic of personal lubricant can be an overwhelming one – with everything from oil-based, water-based, flavoured, and sensation-inducing bottles of liquid fun on the market to choose from.
But where the heck do we start when it comes to all things lube? And how can we make the experience of using it even more fun?
Fortunately, sex educator and Durex spokesperson, Alix Fox is on hand to give us the ultimate lowdown on lube.
So, who needs to use lube?
According to Alix, we can all benefit from adding lube to our sexual encounters.
Alix explains: ‘The obvious issue lubricant assists with is vaginal dryness, which is far more common than you might assume, and doesn’t just affect older women.
‘In fact, nearly a fifth of women did not know that vaginal dryness is a natural part of a woman’s monthly cycle.’
Yup – it’s time to get rid of the idea that vaginal dryness is only for the menopausal.
As Alix reassures us, everything from hormone levels to medications and stress can have an impact on how wet we get in the moment.
More importantly, it’s key to remember that there could be a more straight to the point answer – you’re just not turned on.
‘Dryness can sometimes be a sign that we’re not turned on: our vaginal juice may not be flowing like a river because whatever’s happening sexually isn’t floating our boat,’ says Alix.
‘We might simply not be in the mood to get lewd, full stop; there might be something about a situation or style of touch that feels uncomfortable, mentally and/or physically, and needs to change; or we might need more foreplay before things move forward.
‘In those cases, it’s A-OK to pipe up and insist that things slow down, switch up, or stop.’
What if I’m raring to go, but things aren’t flowing?
Guess what, this is also completely normal.
Alix explains: ‘Our minds may be very much in the mood for sex, and we can be genuinely, enthusiastically enjoying what’s going down, but our bodies may not always be able to quite keep up.
‘For example, maybe we’re desperate to sneak in a hot quickie while the kids are engrossed in a movie, or in a precious snippet of alone time while our flatmates are out and about, but find that our bits aren’t always able to make moisture at the speed we need. Lube can be perfect for these moments when you may want to grease the wheels, not pump the brakes.’
If it’s taking a while to reach orgasm and things aren’t quite wet enough, Alix says that using lube can prevent friction – and pain – while in pursuit of an orgasm. Or, as Alix puts it, ‘you can go as long and as strong as you need to hit that “Big O” while avoiding any “big ow” afterwards.’
And while we’re at it, lube is for everyone, not just for women, we can all benefit from a little bit of extra lubrication.
According to Alix: ‘Whether you’re enjoying partnered sex or solo fun, I’d recommend slipping lube into the situation, as it can feel fabulous for all.’
Okay I’m ready to give it a bash – so what’s the best lube to use?
Before shopping for your new bottle of personal lubricant, it’s worth thinking about the type of sex play you’re going to be engaging in, says Alix, as certain lubes are better for different situations.
According to the sex expert, anal play requires generous amounts of lube ‘as unlike the vagina, the anus cannot produce its own natural moisture.’
When it comes to back passage play, Alix advises opting for ‘a specially-formulated, thicker gel to help provide a plush, longer-lasting glide.’
If you’re engaging in some solo fun, some lubes don’t mix well with certain toys – so it’s worth looking at the formula of the type you’re buying.
‘While silicone lubes are super slippery and just a little can last a long time, it’s worth knowing that some of them don’t react well with certain “real skin effect”, silicone, “jelly style” or soft-finish toys,’ explains Alix.
‘They can cause them to turn sticky, peel or rot – and even if you can’t see or feel that the material has been broken down at first, tiny holes can be created that may harbour bacteria and can make toys dangerous to use.
‘Yet again, I would advise keeping it plain with a water-based lube if you’re opening the toy box. And whatever lubricant you use, clean and dry everything thoroughly afterwards.’
Well, we certainly don’t want our favourite sex toy to rot anytime soon.
If you’re looking for an all-rounder to keep in your sex kit, Alix recommends a water-based, pH-friendly, fragrance-and-colour free lubricant.
Got it – now, how do I incorporate lube into my sex life?
Congrats, you’ve bought the bottle of lube that’s right for you – but how we go about using it effectively?
Alix has shared her top ways to use the slippy stuff to keep things fun and sensual.
Before rolling on a condom, place the ‘gift’ of a small drop or two of water-based lube inside the end.
Alix says this can help the protection to feel extra smooth and sensual as it wraps the head of the penis, which is rich in nerve endings.
‘You shall go to the ball’
Alix stresses that fluid movements can feel so much better than dry skin catching and rubbing: ‘Coating your fingers and palms in lube is an instant way to seriously level up a hand job, making every stroke feel deliciously silky.’
Also, she suggests making a show of amping up the anticipation by gazing sexily into your partner’s eyes while you smooth it slowly over your hands; this also helps warm it up, so it isn’t a chilly shock against their hot spots.
She says: ‘Lubed-up fingers can also be a great idea if you want to explore gently cupping and massaging your partner’s balls as part of a hand job, or to majorly intensify oral sex.
‘It’s an area that turns a lot of people on, but definitely requires delicate handling – so lubricant can be your friend if you don’t want to (ahem) accidentally bust a nut.’
Lovehoney Enjoy Water-Based Lubricant
Available for £12.99, try this squeezy water-based forumula.
Durex Play Water Based Pleasure Gel Lube
For £7.99, this non-greasy forumla could be one for you.
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