Between the sheets: For the love of lube: some sexy, slippery tips

This week I’m giving due credit to the unsung hero of sex--lube! 

The concept of lube is pretty simple—put it on something you want to slide in and out of something else, and have at it. 

But, there are a few caveats that are helpful to know before diving into the wonderful world of lube. 

This slippery stuff has oodles of benefits that can make sex safer, easier and hella pleasurable.

Unfortunately, many people believe lube is only for old ladies or people who aren’t “wet enough” on their own. To use the words of everybody’s favorite human carrot—WRONG! Here’s why...

While it’s true that vaginas are super cool sex tubes that produce their own lubrication, it’s also true that, sadly, there is no magic button someone can press to make their vagina all slippery on command (although, if there were such a button it would probably be called “clitoris”). 

Even when bodies do naturally lubricate, that natural lubrication can only do its job for so long before it’s not there anymore—this is where non-natural lube comes in. 

I mentioned that lube makes sex safer, which is true for a couple of different reasons.

First, newsflash! Not everyone who has sex has a vagina. Unlike vaginas, anuses are not self-lubricating, which means there is a possibility of micro-tears. Thank goodness lube is super readily available! 

Second, all condoms besides un-lubricated condoms have lube on them, but they only have so much. Once that lube runs out, there can be friction that is both uncomfortable and unsafe because it can lead to condom breakage. 

Now for that pleasure piece. For those of us who are visual learners: Trying to have sex without lube is like trying to go down a waterslide without any water on it (also, you’re naked in this scenario—ouch.) 

Using lube does not say anything about someone’s body, how hot they are, how hot their partner is, how turned on their partner makes them or anything else. If someone is offended when lube gets involved, kindly remind them that lube is a pleasure and safety tool, not an insult. 

So lube is important, but what kind should folks use? There are three main types of lube: oil based, silicone based and water based. Which is best for you?

Oil based lube:

Pros: It’s great for people with penises who want to use it to masturbate! 

Cons: It’s terrible for pretty much all other purposes. Oil-based lube—as the name suggests—has oil in it, which means it’s unsafe to put inside any orifices (think vaginas, anuses, etc.) because it can upset the natural balance of these areas and cause yeast infections.  

Silicon based lube:

Pros: Silicone-based lube has fantastic staying power. This means wherever we put it it’s going to stay and work wonders. It’s great for rub-a-dub-dubbing around with sex friends in watery places like a shower or hot tub that would otherwise wash away a body’s natural lubrication. 

Cons:It can stain things like clothes, sheets, etc.—so proceed with caution. Laying down an old towel is an easy fix. 

It’s hard to get off. Being a slippery mess between the sheets is a grand ol’ time, but once the fun is over it can be frustrating. Plan accordingly. 

It degrades silicone toys. For folks with toys made of other materials like hard plastic, glass or metal, silicone lube can be a great tool. But, silicone lube and silicone toys don’t play nice and could lead to the tragic demise of a favorite sex toy. 

Water based lube:

Pros: Water-based lube is super fun and safe to use in pretty much any sexy situation one might find oneself in. 

It doesn’t degrade toys, so dunk your sexy assistant in and have at it! 

It won’t stain! Yay! 

It’s great for people with allergies to lube. For folks who may have found that the lube on the condoms they’ve used or other lube they’ve used has given them bad reactions, there are tons of uber-organic water-based lubes available. If someone knows they have a pretty severe sensitivity they can try finding a gentle organic lube and buying non-lubricated condoms to use it with. 

Cons: It doesn’t stick around as well as silicone-based. Because water-based lube is similar to the lubricant produced naturally by bodies it tends to dry out a bit quicker. Solution: just splash some more on. 

It will wash away during water play—wah wah. If people are trying to get freaky in watery settings silicone based lube is the right choice.  

Where can I get it? Multiple varieties of silicone and water-based lube are available for UW students FOR FREE at Sex Out Loud’s office, 3143 in the Student Activity Center at 333 East Campus Mall. Can’t make it to Sex Out Loud between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m Monday through Friday? That’s okay! There is always a bowl of silicone and water-based lube outside the office door, even when it’s locked!  

There are tons of places to buy lube on campus. Pretty much any grocery or convenience store has lube, although variety may be limited. 

A great way to know what kind of lube works best for someone is to try out a sample size (again, provided for free at Sex Out Loud) and then commit to buying a bottle once a winner has been found. 

A Woman’s Touch located at 302 S. Livingston St. is a lovely, sex-positive sex store that has a fantastic selection of safer sex supplies, including many types of silicone and water-based lubes. Find a friend with a car, order an Uber or hop on a bus to be delighted with all they have to  offer.  

How do I, uh, use it? As I suggested in the beginning, lube is super easy to use. For pals with penises who wear condoms, just squeeze a couple of drops onto the inside and outside of the condom and penetrate away. For folks with any other type of equipment between their thighs, just put a couple of drops wherever the most friction is happening and voilà! Slippery fun for everyone! 

As a side note, people who want lube-ier sex, but who don’t like reaching for a bottle every time they need more wetness, might try ultra-lubricated condoms as an alternative. Additionally, some people might find they would rather reach for a new condom than try to revive a dried-out one with more lube—that’s a totally valid thing to do.

Review: Using lube doesn’t mean anything bad about anybody’s body or ability to turn on their partner. On the contrary, it means folks are actively choosing to have safer, more pleasurable sex. There are a few types of lube and they each have a few caveats—when in doubt, reach for water-based. Whether you choose to buy lube or pick it up cost-free at Sex Out Loud, all you gotta do to use it is drip a couple drops where the friction is going to happen and then frick away!  

Need to know more about lube, love or life? Anna would be most helpful with the first topic, but ask her about whatever you like at

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