During sexual arousal, a woman’s vagina typically becomes lubricated, making it wetter and ready for intercourse. This lubrication makes intercourse more comfortable or enjoyable because it reduces friction and irritation. However, some women do not produce enough natural lubrication, leading to pain or discomfort. This is when a liquid or gel-based lubricant or lube can be used by both partners during sexual activities to make the vulva, vagina, or penis wetter than usual.
Let’s look at how lubrication works:
The vagina is naturally a moist tissue due to the secretions from the cervix i.e. the mouth of the uterus, and from the pea-sized bartholin glands and skene glands which are present at the entrance of vagina. Due to these secretions vagina becomes naturally moist but during the sexual arousal, these secretions increase in amount, and hence provide natural lubrication for sexual activity.
Lubrication is needed to reduce the friction during sexual activity which in turn increases the sense of arousal, helps in attaining an orgasm, and reduces soreness, pain, and even fear of sex by making it a more pleasurable experience. To make a woman’s life more pleasurable, lubrication is God-sent!
Artificial lubricants come with 4 types of bases:
1) Water-based: These lubrication gels include two different kinds, glycerine-based and glycerine-free.
2) Silicon-based: These stay for a long period of time but can stain your clothes and sheets. It is a type of lubrication option that not to be used with sex toys.
3) Oil-based: They are readily available but can increase the moisture content of the vagina and hence precipitate other vaginal infections.
4) Hybrid: This formula is a combination of any two of the previously mentioned lubrication bases.
Water-based glycerine-free lube is the best as it maintains the vaginal pH, avoids allergic skin reactions and also can be easily used with latex and non-latex condoms, making it the ideal lubrication option.
You can buy a lubricant from a chemist shop as recommended by your gynaecologist. Never buy over-the-counter lubrication gels available in grocery shops as they are not very sure of its contents.
Lube should be applied generously on the genitals at the time of masturbation, inside the vagina and on the penis at the time of intercourse, on the surface of the sex toys after cleaning them before their use, on the penis at the time of anal sex, and on the surface of a contraceptive device such as a condom, diaphram, or dental dams.
- Avoid glycerine-based formulas as they are rich in sugar and might precipitate yeast infections.
- Oil-based lube should not be used when using condoms as it may tear them.
- Never use a lubrication gel while performing oral sex.
- Don’t sleep with a lubricant on the genitals. Always clean them after their use is over.
- Never get attracted to flavoured and scented lubes as they may irritate the vaginal mucosa.
- If you are planning to conceive, avoid lubrication formulas that contain spermicidal ingredients.
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