Pro tip: Put lube inside of a condom. Seriously, try it.
The amount of people who don’t use lube during sex is honestly a gdam travesty. That’s because, hello, every sexual encounter can be improved with lube, regardless on if you’re going full-on penetration or not.
It not only makes things just feel a lil better, but it also enhances the experience for both partners depending on what kind of lube you opt for. Call it multi-functional if you will.
If you’re not sure really how to start and what to incorporate into your sex routine, let’s breakdown the major lube categories first: There’s water, oil, petroleum, silicone, and hybrid lubes (which are normally a combo of silicone and water-based lubes), says sexuality educator Tanya Bass.
Generally, you should use water-based lube with latex condoms (since oil-based lubes can actually break down the latex), and silicone lube is great for the shower, pool, and/or anal play since it stays stickier for longer and won’t wash away. (More details on when to use every kind of lube right this way).
Once you decide on the lube best for you and your sexuationship, here are 14 ways to incorporate the gooey goodness in your bedtime play for ultimate pleasure and arousal.
Lube is pretty much a necessity when attempting any sort of anal penetration for obvious reasons, but it should also be used for anal play in-general (think: fingering, rimming, massaging the anus, etc.), recommends Krysta Monet, sexpert and founder of The Feminine Truth. “Adding a little lube onto your favorite butt plug for yourself or partner makes the glide-in a lot easier,” she says.
Plus, if your partner has a prostate, this is like a ~bonus~ pleasure for them.
Real talk: if the idea of rubbing your dry palms on your partner’s penis—or alternatively, spitting into your hands every few minutes—seems meh, have I got news for you! A generous helping of lube will make even the most awkward hand job giver look like a bona fide handy expert. Lubing up your partner’s penis and your hand will ensure that any movement feels heavenly, and gives you more room to experiment with new techniques.
Same with fingering. Is there anything worse than a clammy finger exploring underneath your underwear when you’re not wet? Nope. Make things easier for both the fingerer and the fingeree by applying some lube to both the receiver’s vulva and clitoris and the giver’s fingertips for maximum sensation sans uncomfy friction.
Look, dry mouth happens to the best of us. Whether you’re on certain medications that give you cotton-mouth or you’re just, like, straight up dehydrated, giving and receiving head with a sandpaper tongue is an uncomfortable experience for everyone involved. Add a bit of unflavored (flavored lubes could cause irritation) lube to the receiver’s vulva before diving in, and everyone will be a little bit happier.
Oh, and btw: “This can definitely be beneficial when a barrier such as a dental dam is used to enhance the pleasure for the receiver,” confirms Bass.
Using lube during an act called dry humping might seem counterintuitive: but bear with me. If you can excuse yourself and sneak off into your bathroom for a second before things get hot and heavy, try applying a little bit of lube to your vulva and clitoris before any dry humping commences. (Pro Tip: If you feel uncomfy about applying lube during sex in front of your partner, perhaps your partner can apply the lube prior to dry humping if the comfort level is reasonable, suggests Bass).
The vagina responds more to pressure rather than friction, sex therapist Cyndi Darnell previously explained to Cosmopolitan. This is but one reason dry humping is considered better than sex to some. By lubing yourself up, you have more room to amp up the pleasure-inducing pressure without the potential of an underwear rug-burn.
Lube has this reputation as being something you pull in off the bench during penetrative sex when a partner is having a harder time maintaining their own lubrication, and this is total BS. Help break this taboo by bringing your new slick friend out during foreplay. Have a partner place some in their palm and grind your vulva and labia against it for a new twist on a hand job for women.
The first rule of using warming lube (it heats up with any body-to-body contact or friction) is to never use it without telling your partner first (unless you want them thinking you’ve just put Icy Hot in their private parts). Definitely do a skin test first, too Other than that, there really are no rules–go forth and heat things up! One suggestion? Use a few dollops on your partner’s (or your own) nipples for nipple stimulation that’s literally hotter than ever.
During sex with a male partner, dab a few little droplets of lube onto his perineum—aka the extra-sensitive spot between his scrotum and anus. Just before he orgasms, lightly tap your finger on the lubed-up spot to change the whole damn game and send him over the edge. “Additionally, lube can add a pleasurable if feeling if the testicles are being stimulated or stroked,” says Bass.
Yes, even sex with yourself can be improved with lube. If you have dry hands, no need to use a moisturizing lotion that could contain unwanted chemicals, especially because you don’t want those ingredients inside you. Just apply a few drops of a lube of your choice to your finger before touching yourself for a smoother feel, recommends Bass.
Imagine the electrifying pulse of your favorite vibrator hitting all the right spots. Now imagine using that same toy to gently glide over your clitoris with the same power, but a totally different, more fluid sensation. A dab of lube on a vibrator is a total game-changer. Just be careful: If your sex toy is made of silicone, you’ll definitely want to use a water-based lube, since silicone lubes can deteriorate soft rubber.
There’s no wrong way to use lube during intercourse. You can apply it directly to your body, their body, a toy, or condom itself. My personal rule of thumb is to start with a dime-size dollop and work up from there. Sure, you may encounter a point at which it’s too much (they’re slipping everywhere, it’s dripping excessively on the sheets, etc.), but that’s easily remedied with a paper towel. You don’t want to reduce all the friction, but that threshold is personal for everyone and you’ll know it when you feel it.
If your partner is looking for more ways to increase feeling while using protection, Eric Garrison, sexologist and author of Mastering Multiple-Position Sex, has a suggestion. “Many guys complain that a condom diminishes the sensation,” Garrison previously told Cosmopolitan.com. “Adding a little lube ups the sensitivity he feels inside the latex.” If you put a drop or two inside the rubber before you unroll it, that might unlock a world of feeling.
While you might hit a limit of “yeah, too much” during vaginal intercourse, that threshold will be much lower with anal sex, because unlike your vagina, your booty does not create its own lubricant to make things slidey and glidey. SO LOAD IT ON THERE! When it comes to any butt stuff, too much lube and precaution are never enough.
This might sound counterintuitive, but it’s true! Sex therapist Gina Ogden, PhD, author of The Return of Desire, previously explained: “Women often use spit, but it can be hard to muster up enough. A flavored lube provides enough wetness that your jaw won’t get as tired.” But if having a bunch of liquid (or whatever kind) in your mouth doesn’t sound… well, appetizing, just use the lube strictly for the hand job, mmk?
Why not try a body-safe lube during nonsexual foreplay? A few squirts can turn a back massage from relaxing to “holy hell, your touch is electrifying, can we please have sex right now?”
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