How To Use Personal Lubricant:
The Right Way To Use Lube

Written by: Angela Watson | Updated: April 23rd, 2019

They say that wetter is better. Who's they, you might ask? Well, just about everyone who's ever used lube in their sexual escapades, that's who.

Adding lubricant reduces friction and increases sexual satisfaction like you'd never believe. As great a job as the vagina does at self-lubrication, there's always some room to optimize your sexual encounters to go from good to mind-numbingly fantastic. Lube doesn't have to be used exclusively for partnered sex, either. Lubricant can make masturbation for both men and women much more pleasurable and reduces the risk of friction burns and other less than ideal outcomes. Anyone can benefit from the addition of lube, it isn't just the realm of shut-ins with an industrial sized bottle of Vaseline next to their computer monitors or older women who need a bit of help.

For some activities like anal sex or using sex toys that don't particularly glide well, lube is something you just can't go without. Lube comes in a vast array of textures, slickness, and even flavors.​

Here's why you should embrace lubricant in your sex life and how to use lube to the best of your ability. Once you get the hang of it, you'll wonder why you ever went without in the first place.

The Benefits Of Lube

One of the biggest and most noteworthy benefits of adding lubricant is that during penetrative sex with a condom its much less likely that the condom will break during use. This not only keeps sex flowing nicely without any awkward pauses it ensures to keep the risk of unwanted pregnancy & STI transmission as low as possible.

Besides that, lube helps men in masturbation stave of the effects of death grip. Men who are prolific masturbators tend to eventually overdo it, holding their penises too tightly and always keeping their hand on the same spot. Over time, this results in a desensitization of the penis and even friction burns that manifest as darkened spots on the male genitals. Nobody wants the aesthetic appeal of the genitals at anything but optimal, so lube is a great choice.

That's just some of the more obvious options. 

Here's some other reasons why you should always have at least a travel sized portion of lube on hand:

  • Lubricant makes anal sex much more comfortable for both parties involved and reduces the chance of anal tearing
  • Sometimes the vagina won't adequately lubricate itself during foreplay, so adding lube will break down that wall and allow for much more sexual pleasure during those times where the vagina just isn't cooperating how you'd like.
  • The right lubricant can function as a moisturizer as well, keeping the tissues involved young & supple for years to come
  • Can make a quickie all the more comfortable when foreplay is skipped

Picking The Right Lube

I'll give a quick summary of the different types of lubes and why you'd want to choose them, but if you want a more comprehensive guide we've created a list of the best personal lubricants that we've tried over the years. It's a great resource if you really want to do your homework when it comes to lube.

There are three main sub-types of lubricant available on the market today. These are water-based lubricants, oil-based lubricants, and silicone-based lubricants.

A water based lube has the least amount of staying power and typically aren't the slickest, but they are compatible with all types of sex toys and won't degrade condoms. Water based lubes are also the best choice when it comes to flavored lubricants as they are very easy to make body safe with natural & safe to ingest ingredients. Standard vaginal sex with condoms is where water based lubes shine, as well as when used with sex toys. You might have to reapply is the only pitfall here.

Oil-based lubes are much more slick and long-lasting than water based lubricants, but they will degrade condoms making them more susceptible to breaking or not functioning as they should. Oil based lubes work great if condoms aren't an issue and are compatible with all types of sex toys, much like water based lubes. Sometimes oil based lubes can be a little on the staining side, but its nothing a quick wash can't ever fix.

Finally, silicone based lubes are the slickest of all lube sub-types and last ludicrously long. In fact, most silicone-based lubes need to be washed off with soap and water to truly remove them. They'd be the lube I suggest people use 100% of the time for all types of sex, whether it be solo or partnered, but the fact that they can degrade silicone based toys doesn't do them any favors, as most high end sex toys are made from body safe silicone. The structural integrity of silicone based toys becomes compromised if a silicone lube is used, which will end up warping your toy. However, these silicone lubes are the best lubricants for anal sex because of their slickness and staying power.

If you're new to anal, then I'd definitely recommend you use a lube with some numbing/desensitizing properties. I've created an article that goes over all of the top desensitizing anal lubes I've tried.

So depending on what you're shooting for and what kind of sexual activity you plan on engaging in, you'll have to pick the right lube for the job.

How To Use Lubricant (Step By Step)

Once you've picked the right lube for you, here's how to get down & dirty and have some fun:

Prep Your Lube (Optional)​​​​

Some people don't like applying  room temperature lube since it can be a bit of a shock, so some people choose to warm the lube up beforehand by rubbing it between their hands/fingers to get it a little warmer to the touch. You'll end up using more lube this way, since some will be lost on the hands, but there's nothing wrong with going a little overboard.

This step doesn't matter to everybody, but its worth mentioning.

When Using A Condom

If you're going to use a lube for sex with a condom, first achieve an erection, put on the condom and then apply the lube to the outside of the condom.

I don't recommend applying any lube to the inside of the condom, as the risk of the condom slipping off becomes far too great. If you want to avoid impregnating your sexual partner, I'd avoid applying lube inside the condom.

Apply Lube Directly To The Anus, Vagina, Or Penis

There's no need to mess about here, you can get right to it and apply some lubricant directly to your sexual organs. Don't be afraid to apply liberally. While you can technically apply too much lube and have the feelings a bit too dulled, experiment with your particular brand of lube to see how much works best for you.

For masturbation, applying lube to your fingers as well as your penis/vagina is the way to go. This way you'll be lubed from end to end and won't have to worry about anything except how good of a time you're having.

Anal sex requires a bit more careful application. Whatever is being inserted inside the anus, whether it be a sex toy or a penis, needs to be sufficiently lubricated. What many people don't think of however is applying a bit of lube to the entrance of the anus to help things along. This reduces discomfort immensely and if you apply it correctly there will even be a bit of extra lube that goes inside the anus along with the toy to keep things as painless as possible.

Reapply As Necessary

Don't be afraid to bust out more lube as needed. Water based lubes will essentially always need to be reapplied as they don't have much in the way of staying power. If you have to, just add another dollop to lube where you need it to keep things flowing as smoothly as they were at the beginning of the sex session.

Wash Up After Use

I recommend buying a lubricant that doesn't have ingredients chock full of sugars or other things that can become food for bacteria, but it is sometimes unavoidable. Because of this, you should take a shower after sex to get all of your lube out of your system. Certain types of lube can make a woman much more prone to a yeast infection than others, but this can be effectively prevented with a bit of after sex showering. If you have a detachable showerhead, it can be a pleasurable experience in and of itself.

Other Lube Considerations

  • Unless it is specifically marked as a spermicidal lube, lubricant is not a contraceptive and will not prevent unwanted pregnancy
  • The use of lubrication does not reduce or mitigate the chances of catching an STI.
  • Always use the right lube for the occasion, meaning to make sure that you pick a long lasting lube if you don't want to reapply and not to use any lube that isn't compatible with condoms or certain sex toy materials if they are going to be used
  • Carefully read the ingredient list before purchasing to make sure you aren't going to end up with a bottle of lube you're allergic to
  • There is some evidence that certain silicone or oil based lubes can reduce sperm motility, so they might not be the best choice if you're trying to conceive
  • Try to use a pH neutral lube if you're a woman so you don't upset the delicate balance of your lady parts
  • Apply liberally, you'd rather have too much than too little. In the same vein, a little bit of lube can go a long way if you're using silicone based lube, so experimentation is key.

Parting Words

Don't fear lubricant, in fact, I recommend that everyone should try to embrace the beauty that is sexual lubricant. Everybody's body is different and for some people lube can fill in some gaps that their body can't fill in naturally.

Certain medications or factors like age & health can reduce the body's ability to self-lubricate, so choosing to not use lubricant might be holding you back from the sex life you've always wanted. With most lubes costing less than ten dollars a bottle, there's nothing to lose and a whole lot to gain.

About Angela Watson

I'm a sex therapist by day and a sex blogger by night. I love to crush the taboos surrounding sex toys and help people become more sexually liberated. There's no topic too risqué for me to cover and I hope to educate and inform my readers on all things sex. All things that concern the female anatomy or require a more clinical approach than my husband Don can provide is covered by me.

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