Let's Talk About: Lube
You may be thinking why are we choosing something so trivial to discuss in the mighty world that is sex and relationships, but lube is something that should certainly not be overlooked yet often is, and we’re going to let you know why.
Lube can make a world of difference to a person's ability to enjoy sexual activities, whether it’s solo or with a partner. However it frequently goes undiscussed during sex and relationships education, and many people go years without experimenting with lubricants, and discovering just how much of a difference they can make. A common misconception about lube is that it’s only needed if there is something wrong with a person’s natural lubricant, such as people who are going through menopause or experience vaginal dryness. There has been a stigma surrounding lube for a long time that if a person requires lube during sexual activities, it’s because there is something wrong with them - but this is absolutely not the case! Many young people experience vaginal dryness for a multitude of reasons; the vaginas natural lubricants vary throughout the menstrual cycle, meaning that sometimes people will experience vaginal dryness on occasions, which is completely normal at any age! This can however make sexual activities uncomfortable, meaning additional lube is needed for comfort. Yet many young people worry that needing lube is unnatural, so shy away from using it. *Rebecca, a student in Edinburgh, said,
“I didn’t realise for a couple of years how beneficial using lube was, and how much more comfortable it made me. The stigma around lube put me off from trying it, but I wish it hadn’t as I could have been having so much more comfortable, better sex if I’d known it was normal for everyone to use it.”
To try and reduce the stigma surrounding lube, Durex has released a new line of personal lubricants Durex Naturals under a new marketing campaign #LadiesLetsLube in order to try and normalise the use of lube, and reduce the stigma that has prevented so many young people from improving their comfort during sexual activity. Whilst we encourage and help young people to learn how to have safe sex during sex and relationships education, it’s also worth considering that we should be also be teaching them how to have comfortable sex, as comfort is greatly important to a persons feeling of safety. A simple way to do so would be to normalise the use of lubricants when we teach young people SRE, and inform them of the benefits, as there are so many great benefits in using lube, so we thought we’d take the chance to share some with you.
It helps reduce friction, which can increase the effectiveness of condoms
If condoms are used during sex, they experience friction whilst in use which can cause them to tear and split faster, making them ineffective both as a contraceptive and an STI barrier. Most condoms come with pre-applied lube, however adding extra lube before and during sex can help to reduce the friction they are subject to, reducing the likelihood that they will tear and thus, making them more effective.
It improves comfort and pleasure, and can increase sensations
Plenty of people have experienced uncomfortable sexual activities in their lifetime, and many of them were unaware that it could be improved with the use of lube. Not only does lube make sexual activity more comfortable, it also makes it more pleasurable - so it’s a win win situation! There are even different types of lube that provide extra sensations to increase pleasure, such as warming, cooling and tingling sensations, and lubes made from different bases such as silicone, which are longer lasting and have a silkier feel, great for people who experience increased dryness, or if you simply don’t want to keep re-applying lube.
It can be used for both sex and masturbation
Lube isn’t just for partnered sex, it can also be used during masturbation for all the same reasons as you would use it during sex. If you sometimes find masturbation uncomfortable due to dryness, then lube is the answer! And even if you don’t require it to reduce discomfort, it can still be used to help increase pleasure and sensation, just as it would be during sex. It should be noted that certain lubricants aren’t compatible with certain types of sex toys; if your toys are made of silicone, then stick to water based lube rather than silicone based, as silicone based lube can degrade silicone sex toys.
It can help improve some of the sensation that is lost when condoms are worn
For those of you who wear condoms and find that they reduce some of the feeling of sex, or those of you who have been told by a partner or potential partner that they don’t want to wear a condom because it reduces sensation for them, then lube is the perfect solution. Squeezing a drop of lube into a condom before you unroll it and place it on helps to improve sensation for the condom wearer, meaning there’s no excuse not to use them in the future if you’re asked to! You can even experiment with the different sensations by using different kinds of lube such as warming or cooling lubes, just make sure they aren’t oil based as they can break down latex condoms, causing them to split.
*Name changed on request