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Hump Day: Should I Use Lube?

Welcome to Hump Day, TrèsSugar's sex advice column. If you have questions about sex, send them to TrèsSugar, and our friend Dr. Charlie Glickman from Good Vibrations will offer his sound advice!

Today's question:

"Sometimes sex is not comfortable. My friend told me I should use lube, but I'm curious about which kind is the best. I'm also a little worried about how to bring it up with my boyfriend without hurting his feelings. Any advice would be great!"

To see Dr. Glickman's answer, read more.

There are a lot of reasons why sex might not be comfortable, so I’m hesitant to say that lube will definitely fix it. But it can help a lot of people and it’s not hard to try.

It’s unfortunate that a lot of people buy into the myth that a woman who’s turned on shouldn’t need a lubricant. Anything that causes a change in hormone levels, such as medications, birth control pills, pregnancy, or menopause can affect how much vaginal lubrication your body makes. Some women even find that their body’s lubrication changes at different points in their menstrual cycle.

There are three basic types of lubricants that I suggest. They’re all safe to use with condoms — be sure to never use an oil with condoms because they’ll make them break in less than a minute. Glycerin-based lubricants tend to last a long time, but they eventually get sticky. If you find that once you get started, your vaginal lubrication kicks in, you may find that these work better. If things do get sticky, a drop or two of water refreshes everything nicely. One warning: glycerin can make yeast infections worse (although it doesn’t cause them), so if you’re prone to yeast infections or if you have sensitivities to products, avoid these ones.

Non-glycerin lubricants may not last quite as long, but they don’t get sticky. They tend to soak in, kind of like hand creams. Creamy ones, such as Liquid Silk and Please Cream last longer, but they have a somewhat bitter taste so if that’ll be an issue, go with the clear formulas such as Please Liquid or Pleasureglide. All of these are also water-based, so clean-up is a snap.

Silicone lubricants last forever, so you only need a few drops. They have no taste or scent and they’re hypoallergenic, so they’re a great choice if you’re sensitive to products. They’re also waterproof, so you can use them in the shower, but you also need soap and water to clean them up.

Thinner lubricants tend to work better for vaginal sex and thicker ones are usually better for anal sex. And a pump bottle makes it easier to add a little more when you need it.

As far as talking to your boyfriend goes, if he’s internalized the belief that an aroused woman doesn’t need lubricants, he might have a negative reaction to the idea. You can let him know that vaginal lubrication doesn’t necessarily connect to how turned on you are. You can also present it as a way to make sex more fun. Think of the difference between having someone rub your shoulders with dry hands versus with massage oil. It’s much the same thing. It may also be easier if you tell him that you think that this is something that will make sex feel more pleasurable to you both.

You may have to experiment a bit to find the right lubricant. Some manufacturers make single-use packets so you can try them out without getting stuck with a bottle that you won’t use. And some people find that their favorite lube stops working so well after a few years, kind of like shampoo or skin lotion. If you find that it’s no longer doing the trick, it may be because your body has changed, so try a new brand and see if that fixes it.

Have fun!

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