Lubricant still (wrongly) seems to be thought of as something only two types of people use: horny teen boys who've found their dad's magazines or older women who have lost their natural lubrication later in life. This couldn't be further from the truth.
Lube is not only butt loads of fun to use and play with (so many textures, sensations, and flavors to try!), but it's also important for safe sex. Lube reduces the risk of tearing and injury if you're having anal or super rough penetrative sex. Also... it feels insanely good.
Lubricant experts Soft Paris explain how to use the sticky stuff, and how it can enhance your sexual experiences.
What exactly is lube?
Not to be confused with lubricants used by your local garage, the lubes we're obsessed with are the ones used for sexual pleasure and comfort. They add moisture or glide, making the sensations smoother and more natural… in other words they add oil to the wheels of love.
Why use lube?
Not to sound obvious, but to increase lubrication!
A woman's natural lubrication depends on hormonal levels, which vary within our cycle, during menopause, pregnancy, but also with stress, breastfeeding and some medicines (contraception for example). Plus, more than 30 percent of women suffer from natural dryness, even when they feel aroused. And this can happen at any age.
When else should you use it?
With condoms: Condoms are usually lubricated, but with intense and/or long-lasting sex, the lubrication will dry out. And a dry condom breaks very easily…so a condom is only as effective as the extra lube you'll add to it.
For anal sex: the anus doesn’t naturally lubricate. That’s why it's extremely important to use lube when engaging in anal pleasure. Even if it didn’t feel necessary, not using it during anal sex may lead to anal fissure and these may only be felt a few hours after the intercourse.
How do you use it?
Whichever type of lube you decide to use, bear in mind that it best to apply it on your fingertips and then on the desired areas whether that's a vulva, vagina, anus, penis, sex toy, condom or any other part of the body (some lubes feel reallllly good on the nipples).
Getting the quantity right
There's no general rule concerning how much lube you should use. It just depends on a woman's natural level of lubrication, if you are using a condom or not, the kind of sexual activity you're engaging in (foreplay, massages, anal sex, vaginal sex) and the specific product you've chosen.
Start with a few drops (two to three) and see what happens: if you’re satisfied, stop there, if not, add more.
Always remember that unfortunately not all lubricants are eternal. After a while your intimate areas will get dry again, so you'll need to add a little more lurrrrve juice.
What you need to know before using lube
Always use it with your sex toys, it will protect both you and them.
Make sure your lube it's compatible with your toy. Silicone-based lubricants can damage the silicone of your toy, so opt for water-based to be safe.
Make sure your lube is compatible with the condom you're using. Just like vaseline and other oils (hazelnut oil), oil-based lubes are not compatible with condoms because they make them porous, which will make them less safe. They also alter the pH and bacteria levels of your intimate parts which can lead to infections.
Check if you're allergic to any component of your lube before using it. A patch test is the easiest way of finding out.
Lubricants are not contraceptive. Most of them don't contain spermicide, so they don't prevent pregnancies or STD transmission.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com/uk. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.