Which personal lubricants to use for sex

Which personal lubricants to use for sex
Whatever your age, natural lube levels can dip when estrogen is low (regardless of how turned on you might be). Personal lubricants can relieve vaginal dryness and help to smooth out your sex life by making intercourse much more comfortable. Wondering which one is right for you? Here is a guide to which personal lubricants to use for sex
Women and their partners tend to think of vaginal dryness as a sexual defect. But how lubricated we naturally become during intercourse doesn't always indicate whether or not we are sexually aroused.

The science

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When aroused, the vagina becomes engorged with blood, triggering glands to release a clear, translucent fluid that blood vessels carry through the vaginal walls, coating them with lubrication. This process is linked with estrogen; lower levels result in less fluid production and thinning of the vaginal walls, making a woman more likely to experience discomfort or pain during intercourse.
"When a woman doesn’t have as much estrogen, the sexual arousal–lubrication process tends to happen to a lesser degree regardless of actual arousal,” says Debbie Herbenick, research scientist and associate director at the Center for Sexual Health Promotion (CSHP) at Indiana University. This means that women may be susceptible to vaginal dryness any time estrogen levels are low. Things like smoking, changes in your medication, menopause, breast feeding, and even smoking can cause vaginal dryness.
"'When women use a personal lubricant, they do report enhanced sexual pleasure'"
Research at CSHP has shown that 63 per cent of women between 18 and 60 have used a personal lubricant. "When women use one, they do report enhanced sexual pleasure," says Herbernick. 

When to use lubrication

Credit: Irina Shatilova
Times for lubricants may include sex after a bath, quickie sex (lack of sufficient foreplay) or sex with a "well-endowed" partner. Women are also buying lubricants for use with sex toys, masturbation and anal sex and more than 60 per cent of women use a personal lubricant.
"Really, any time sex is uncomfortable, women should be using (a personal lubricant)," says Ottawa sex therapist Sue McGarvie. 
"'Really, any time sex is uncomfortable, women should be using (a personal lubricant),'"
If you are experiencing chronic dryness—not just during sex—an over-the-counter or prescription vaginal moisturiser may be called for; ask your doctor for more information. 

You might need some lube love when estrogen levels are lowest: 

Bacteria like yeast also feeds on glucose and, just like consuming sugar in your diet might lead to yeast infection, some flavoured lubes contain fermented sugars which have been tentatively linked to an increased risk of yeast infection. If you are prone, it might be wise to avoid the flavoured kind. 
Fortunately, when it comes to lube, sharing is caring; "His" and "hers" options aren't necessary; you can easily apply the same lube to your vagina and his penis with as much fun, and less expense. 

Silicone-based lubricants 

Credit: Varvara Kalashnikova
Key Ingredients: Dimethicone, dimethiconol and cyclomethicone—silicone-based polymers that provide the slippery texture.
Common brands: Boots, Durex, Astroglide, SKYN, Lovehoney, HANX, Überlube
Merits: Silicone lubricants are hypoallergenic, as they are not absorbed by the body. They stay slippery longer, so are ideal for "marathon sex" or sex in water. Most are safe for use with condoms; just make sure it says so on the package. 
Downsides: These lubricants can't be used with silicone toys, as silicone binds to silicone, which can damage the toy. They may require a soap that's more astringent to wash them off. Although not hazardous if ingested, they are not recommended for oral sex as they may leave an unpleasant film in the mouth. Check the label to see if a product will stain sheets. 

Water-based lubricants

Credit: Oksana Restenko
Key Ingredients: In addition to water, may include glycerine or propylene glycol. 
Common brands: With glycerine: Astroglide, Embrace, Hathor, K-Y, Liquid Silk, Maximus, Probe, Shunga Toko. Without glycerine: Better Sex Essentials, Slippery Stuff. 
Merits: These are the most common, widely available lubricants. They're safe for use with condoms and sex toys, and wash off the body easily. Water-based lubes come in a variety of consistencies ranging from silky liquid to a cushion of gel, and they can be used with all types of toys. 
Downside: They can dry out during use so you may ned to reapply them. Some users complain lubes with glycerine can be sticky. Water-based lubricants are readily absorbed by the body, and glycerine compounds may cause skin irritation or yeast infection in those prone to this. Finally, some women and experts worry about being exposed to parabens in these types of lubes. 

Natural-product lubricants

Credit: ValentynVolkov
Key Ingredients: May include aloe vera (a gel from the leaf of the aloe plant); flaxseed oil (which contains fatty acids and lends a slippery texture); vegetable-based propylene glycol as well as canola and safflower oils. 
Common brands: Alow Cadabra, Blossom Organics, Good Clean Love, Hathor, Yes
Merits: Most of these products are free of preservatives such as parabens and are organic. A few brands come in sperm-friendly formulation, such as Yes Baby
Downsides: These are typically available only in specialty sex stores and health food stores, and may be pricey. Just because it's organic doesn't mean it won't cause irritation. 

Lubricants from the kitchen 

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Household products: Egg whites, flaxseed oil, vegetable oil, olive oil, petroleum jelly, shea butter. 
Merits: A natural, organic cooking oil like olive oil or a nut oil is a suitable option for women who experience irritation with other lubricants or who are trying to get pregnant. 
"A natural organic cooking oil is a suitable option for women who are trying to get pregnant "
Downsides: Never use an oil-based lube with latex condoms—it will degrade and weaken the quality of latex. Oil-based lubes and petroleum jelly can also weaken diaphragms. Also, these oils will stain sheets. 
Banner credit: Anastasiia Burlakova
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