This week, Chiamaka discusses the use of lubricants during sex, the importance and the different types.
Lubricants have a bad reputation generally. The reason being that people mostly associate it with vaginal dryness. Since there are rigid expectations of women especially surrounding sexual intimacy, it is not surprising that lubricants get pushed to the side or overlooked in several conversations about sex. While I may not be personally opposed to women bragging about their sexual prowess, I mean talk a big game by all means, but internalized expectations from society often make people with vaginas feel abnormal if they are not dripping within two seconds of being touched down there. Coupled with the fact that many men are simply clueless about the clitoris, or how to pleasure women in general, the assumption becomes even more outrageous. Vaginas may be dry for various reasons other than not being pleasured well enough. Age, diet or special medication and certain medical conditions like PCOS or vaginismus are some of the common causes of vaginal dryness.
Lubricants have many uses aside from easing penetration during penis to vaginal contact, but it is very fine to use lubricants for this purpose. Asides from the aforementioned, another major use of lubrication is anal sex. The anus does not secrete any moisture, so as a result lubricants are prioritized in this kind of sexual interaction. Spit is not a lubricant and neither is baby oil. To maximize pleasure for both partners during this type of intercourse, it is advisable to use store-bought lubricants and apply to one’s satisfaction.
Pain during sex is not a normal occurrence, unfortunately, it has been normalized in society as proof of a tight vagina or other misbeliefs. Lubricants can also be used on fingers during heavy petting or personal play, to make exploration of the vaginal canal or anus more enjoyable and easier for both partners or oneself. They can also be used with toys. When a person feels less pressure to be immediately wet, they are able to be more relaxed with their partner and experience orgasm in their own time, rather than feeling rushed to perform.
Lubricants generally come in different types and they serve various purposes. They come in oil-based, water-based, silicone-based and hybrid solutions. With the advancement of technology, there are also lubricants that come infused with THC or CBD. Since marijuana is not legal in Nigeria, we will stick to discussing the top four forms of lubricants. Oil-based lubricants are specially formulated to be long-lasting. They have a thick consistency, denser than coconut oil for example. While people often use coconut oil as an alternative to this type of lubricant, it does not last as long and requires frequent application. Unfortunately, oil-based lubes are prone to stain sheets and cannot be used with latex condoms or toys as they break down the material.
Water-based lubricants are the gift that keeps on giving. They have a fluid-like, thick consistency. While not as dense as oil-based and require some reapplication, they are best for general use since they work well for latex condoms and silicone toys. Water-based lubricants do not break down any form of these materials which make them safe as condom use is encouraged. They also wash off very easily and are skin sensitive.
Silicone-based lubes are the most long-lasting, especially as they do not wash off quite as easy as water-based lubes. This makes the lubricant suitable for shower sex or any other environment that’s surrounded by water. Silicone lube also feels extremely good on the skin and has a high density. The downside of silicone lubes is that they are not suitable for use with silicone toys as they break down the material. They also do not do well with latex condoms as there are chances of the condom easily wearing out. Hybrid lubricants are a combination of two kinds of lubricants. While this may increase the longevity of the lube, they are also not so skin sensitive and have a longer clean-up time.
Lubricants should be encouraged for either personal use or otherwise. Especially for people who are interested in penetrative sex, they should be just as important as condoms. Painful sex does not signal ‘virginity’ and knowledge of how to use lubricants or other sexual add-ons like condoms does not indicate promiscuity.