One thing you should always have by your bedside - is a good lubricant! Lubricants can make sex and masturbation much more enjoyable. Just like car oil can enhance performance of the motor – good lubricant can ensure a smooth ride.
Women, and young women in general, often tend to neglect the use of lubricants. This is partly due to a belief that a vagina will ALWAYS self-lubricate. If only it was that easy! Let’s take a look at the natural lubrication.
Vaginal lubrication is a normally occurring wetness inside of the vagina. This process begins when a woman is born and continuous until she is menopausal. Just like saliva lubricates the inside of the mouth – vaginal mucus produced bathes the vagina and inner labia with continual film of lubrication.
While it is true that a vagina will self-lubricate – it is also true that many factors may contribute to vaginal dryness. Consider some of the following causes that may lead to vaginal dryness:
GOT A COLD?
- Trying to find a relief for your sinuses? If you take antihistamine medications that try to dry up your sinuses – they can also dry up other parts of the body!
DEALING WITH DEPRESSION?
- Taking some antidepressants or other psychopharmacologic medications can lead to – yup, vaginal dryness!
THINK ALCOHOL AND VAGINA HAVE NOTHING IN COMMON?
- Read my previous post – “Does Your Vagina Get Drunk When You Drink?”
HAVING HOT FLASHES?
- The normal process of perimenopause and menopause can cause vaginal dryness.
Need I say more? Let me re-state – adequate lubrication is an important part of positive sexual interaction. Just like my post “How To Choose A Vibrator” – with so many lubricants out there, choosing a right one for you can be challenging. Here are some guidelines to consider.
TYPES OF LUBRICANTS
Water Based – often known as ‘all-purpose’ lube.
- Pros: can be used with all condoms and all sex toys! Easy to clean.
- Cons: can dry out quickly.
Silicon Based - slippery stuff!
- Pros: lasts longer than water based due to the slippery nature. OK for all condoms.
- Cons: can be harder to clean and are more expensive. NOT to be used with silicon sex toys – believe it or not – it may melt them!
- Pros: can’t think of any!
- Cons: way too many to list – but OK – here we go. Can break down latex and polylsoprene condoms (that's how baby accidents happen). Can leave coating in the vagina or rectum that traps bacteria – yicks – and may lead to infections! Also hard to clean.
IF YOU ARE PRONE TO YEAST INFECTIONS
- Some lubes have glycerin and some are ‘glycerin free.’ While the research in this area is lacking, glycerin has been shown to increase the production of yeast and irritation in the vagina for some women. Glycerin is often found in most water-based lubes. If you are prone to yeast infections – consider other options.
IF YOU ARE TRYING TO CONCEIVE
- Most lubricants impair sperm’s mobility. So if you want to give those swimmers a running start – choose ‘pre-seed’ lubricants You can thank me later!
- Good sex starts with healthy sex! Therefore pay attention to the pH balance of the lubricant. The normal vaginal pH is 3.8 – 4.5 – which is important for vaginal health. When choosing a lubricant, check to see whether the pH is too low or too high.
WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT EXPIRATION DATE
- Wonder if that tube of lube that has been lying around since your undergrad years is still good to go? Some lubricants do not have a posted expiration date – however, they are definitely worth your attention. Remember pH balance noted above? Most lubricants contain preservatives – citric acid, propylene glycol, phenopip and phenoxyethonal are some of the common ingredients. These components become less effective over time. This causes the pH to drop – and we don’t want that!
- While some lubricants contain antimicrobial agents that tend to work for years at a time, it is suggested to throw away a lube after about a year. Avoid buying excessively large bottles and disregard if you notice change in the color or texture of the lube!
Now that you know more about lubricants – dare to bare what’s your favorite brand and type of lube and why?
Foley, Sallie. Psychotherapist, Author, Educator. Information from http://www.salliefoley.com/