Lubrication is an essential part of intercourse--not just if the well runs dry from time to time. Because the world of off-the-shelf personal lubricants can seem limitless and rather intimidating, many people choose to either ignore this sexual aid altogether or find some slippery household substance to try. Trust me, the former isn't very fun, and the latter isn't very safe. Using products like Vaseline or petroleum jelly is never a good idea. They can live inside the body for days, causing irritation and an increased risk of infection. Also, unless a product specifically states it's compatible with condoms, assume it isn't and choose another option. But don't worry; your local sex shop boasts a plethora of safe choices when it comes to lubricants.
In order to simplify the options, I'll start with a run down of the differences between water- or silicon-based varieties. Water-based personal lubricants are completely water soluble, and most people find they are the least irritating to body surfaces. They are completely safe to use with condoms. Another plus about water-based lubes is that they also come in a wide variety of flavours. Some taste terrible, but some are actually quite good. In fact, a co-worker of mine loved the O'My natural flavored lubricant in pina colada so much she would eat it on vanilla ice cream. Alright, I never said sex shop employees weren't at least a little weird.
Water-based lubricants also come in thicker formulas. Thicker lubricants are recommended for anal penetration, as they provide a thicker--and safer-- coat of the anal cavity.
Another popular option is silicon. Technically, most silicon-based lubricants are oils, as they are chemically hydrophobic (meaning that they're not water-soluble). They tend to retain lubrication longer than their water-based counterparts and most are safe to use with latex condoms. It is always important to check the instructions on every lubricant before use. Silicon-based lubricants are a good choice if you will be in or around water, as they do not wash away as easily as water-based lubes. Usually only a small amount is necessary and they will not evaporate with body heat as water-based lubricants inevitably will.
It is important to mention that silicon-based lubricants are usually significantly more expensive then their water-based cousins, but they will last longer. If you want to try silicon but don't want to shell out the extra cash, you can usually find a small bottle for around $10.
Silicon-based lubes should also never be used for anal penetration. It will coat the lining of the rectum, causing loose bowel movements and providing a haven for infection. They shouldn't be used with silicon toys, either, as they will dissolve the surface and make them sticky.
Finding the lubricant that works for you requires patience and much experimentation. You can't just inconspicuously amble down to the nearest drug store and expect to find a treasure trove of options, make a selection and be on your way in under five minutes. Remember great sex requires great effort. Start by visiting a few specialty stores and when you find one you feel comfortable in, approach the staff and be honest about what you're looking for. It is necessary to try many varieties of lubrication and stores specializing in this area will have samples of the brands they carry. Now with your discrete brown bag in hand you're ready for some serious analysis. Have Fun!
Fiona's Top Five:
1. O'My: A popular new product from Vancouver. In true Vancouver style, it's all-natural and includes hemp extract to condition the skin.
2. O'My Flavours: Same product as above, but comes in tasty varieties like pina colada and blueberry.
3. ID Pleasure: You know that lip-plumping lip-gloss that tingles? This stuff is like that. It draws more blood flow to the areas it's applied to, generating faster, better orgasms. That's a guarantee.
4. ID Juicy Lube: Tastes just like candy! The cream of the crop if you wanna hit up flavour country.
5. Pjur Venus: Nice light silicon-based lube. A dab'll do you for a long night (or day) of passionate communion. Just keep it away from the ol' shitbox.
Got a burning question for our Sexpert? Email firstname.lastname@example.org. She'll solve your sexual dilemmas in her column bi-weekly. But if anything else burns, see your doctor...