Behind Closed Doors: To Lube Or Not To Lube?

Apparently over 70% of ladies find sex more enjoyable when using additional lubricant. I always think of lube going hand in hand with something kinky – mine’s tucked away with my ‘extra mile’ lingerie rather than in my bed side table. But when I started thinking about it one particular situation sprung to mind, when I wish I’d known which lubricants to use and for what.

I met Kevin, a shaggy looking trainee architect with a goatee, on a night out. He was relocating to Birmingham in four days time so the pressure was on to work fast. Luckily he messaged me first which cloaked my eagerness and we made not-at-all-innocent plans to watch films at his and drink wine. With his TV mounted over the bed we were already horizontal when we pressed play and it didn’t take long for hands to start wandering.

It was great sex but from nowhere a bottle of baby oil appeared to lubricate the situation. I didn’t stop Kevin to mention that a bit more foreplay would have done a similar job or that I had no experience of using baby oil as a lube. We were in the moment; this sex was all about the penetration. The baby oil was applied liberally and we were slipping and sliding all over the place. We had fun. However, this is the only time I’ve experienced a condom splitting during sex. At the time this was simply a coincidence but as I started to read up on lubricants it appears that we had it coming to us – baby oil causes condoms to deteriorate.

Although I trusted Kevin, I shouldn’t have. In reality it’s up to you to know and ask the right questions. If you don’t know what’s what then you can’t ask the right questions and you put yourself at risk, like I did. So here’s my lube summary to get you up to speed fast:

Saliva (Water Based)

  • The world’s most readily available lube.
  • Although, spitting directly on genitals isn’t sexy.
  • Saliva can be lovingly applied direct from the tongue or from mouth-to-hand-to-genitals. Let’s keep it classy folks!

Water Based

  • Safe with condoms, diaphragms and cervical caps.
  • Don’t stain bed sheets or underwear.
  • Safe to ingest small amounts.
  • Easy to clean up.
  • Can dry out quite quickly and may need to be reapplied which means they aren’t great for massage.
  • Some also come with glycerine, an ingredient used to make them taste sweeter; this can encourage bacterial growth although (unless you’re prone to infection) this shouldn’t be an issue if you keep yourself clean.

Silicone Based

  • Safe with condoms, diaphragms and cervical caps.
  • Generally more expensive than water based lube, but they don’t need to be reapplied as often.
  • They have a silky feel.
  • Don’t stain bed sheets or underwear.
  • Safe to ingest small amounts.
  • Easy to clean up with soap and water.
  • Perfect for sex in baths, hot tubs or showers – just be careful not to spill any because it will get very slippery!
  • An excellent substitute for massage oil.
  • Not to be used with silicone sex toys, but they’re ideal for glass or plastic toys.

Vegetable and Nut oils (e.g. butter, avocado oil, coconut oil, peanut oil and olive oil)

  • Not to be confused with mineral oils such as baby oil (see below)!
  • Deteriorate condoms, diaphragms and cervical caps.
  • Safe to ingest.
  • Safe for use on genitals and within the vagina.
  • May stain bed sheets and underwear.
  • Cleaned up with soap and water.
  • Great for giving massages.
  • Oils can go rancid, so make sure the oil you use is fresh before smearing it all over your lover’s body.

Petroleum Based (e.g. Vaseline and baby oil)

  • Deteriorate condoms, diaphragms and cervical caps.
  • Cleaned up with soap and water.
  • Should not be ingested.
  • May stain bed sheets and underwear.
  • Can cause irritation to female genitals.
  • Not safe for vaginal use.
  • These sounds like a last resort to me – a case of being desperate and having no other option in the house.

Interesting fact

Anal lubes are generally much thicker to help protect the sensitive anus area, so it’s worth checking out anal specific lubes if prepping for plenty of anal play.

Three easy ways to integrate lube into your day-to-day sex

  1. Add a little water or silicone based lube to the inside of your condom and rub a little on the outside before penetration.
  2. Warm a small amount up in the palm of your hand and massage in up and down the length of you partner’s penis or around their clitoris and the entrance to their vagina. Remember to only use water or silicone based lubes if using barrier contraception.
  3. Massage is one of my favourite ways to get to know my lovers body and silicone lube is fantastic for this. Warm up a small amount in your hands before exploring his or her body and don’t forget silicone lube is safe to use on genitals so feel free to be adventurous.

 Lube risks

  • The biggest risk to using lube is it deteriorating the contraception you’re using. To be safe, when using any type of barrier contraception use only water-based or silicone based lube.
  • Increased risk of infections. During sex bodily fluids are transferred here, there and everywhere so it’s easy to understand how bacteria can get moved around and cause infection/discomfort in intimate areas – as people who easily develop cystitis after sex will relate to. Lubricants can increase this risk, in particular when oils enter areas of the body which are difficult to clean, such as the vagina. So it’s important to stay clean and remember that non-water based lubes require soap as well as water to wash off.
  • Adding another substance into the mix could bring up an allergy you didn’t know you have, particularly with more unconventional lubes. Rub a little of your chosen lube on the inside of yours and your lover’s wrists at least 24hrs before use. If any redness or itching occurs avoid using that lube choice – there are plenty of other options out there!

Be safe and have fun!


2 thoughts on “Behind Closed Doors: To Lube Or Not To Lube?

  1. I knew Vaseline was petroleum based never knew baby oil was as well, used it with sextoys but never with a condom, just shows you can learn something every day!


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