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Please see Get Slick; Let’s Talk Lube, Part 1 before digging in
When you’re struggling in the lube department of your sex life, it can be pretty frustrating. Your partner may think you just aren’t into them, causing relationship issues. Reduced frequency of sex can cause some pretty marked stress, both personally, and for your loved one. In fact, the ability to participate in pleasurable sex is considered a quality of life marker, like being able to walk or effectively communicate. You should be able to use your vagina! Now, it’s not life threatening for your vagina to go without sex. Paralysis isn’t life threatening either, but it sure does suck. So, what do you do when lubrication seems to be the main issue with your lack of bedroom play?
Natural Lube Strategies
Tackle the easy stuff first
First, we need to remedy any issues outside of the relationship. When there’s an obvious cause of the low lubrication, work to resolve it. If you’re popping Benadryl like candy for your seasonal allergies, consider changing your sneeze strategy. Talk to your doctor about modifying your antidepressants or anxiety meds to something less bothersome for the bedroom. Stay away from douches and feminine washes. Avoid getting soap inside or around the edge of your vagina. And consider seeing your GYN. They can fix pH issues if you have itching or funny smelling vaginal discharge, and treat many of the skin problems that lead to reduced lubrication.
Work on the relationship
Repairing relationship issues may seem simple from the outside. But when you are the ones involved, it can be quite tricky. If you aren’t finding yourself sexually attracted to your current partner, there’s definitely something going on. It’s rare that the lack of sex is the only issue. Until you figure out how to get back in the groove, you’ll continue to lack vaginal luster. I highly recommend couples counseling with a licensed professional. Getting professional help is really important. If the problem perhaps lies in physical issues with a male partner, such as difficulty maintaining an erection, encourage your partner to seek medical help for this too. Erectile dysfunction meds are much less stigmatized than they used to be.
Deal with stress
Stress is a fact of life in most parts of the world. It has become a part of everyone’s every day. Big projects due at work, homework piled up higher and higher, and that argument you had with your mom can really drag you down. If your lack of lube is related to stress, consider going to yoga or a guided meditation with your significant other. Both are great for stress relief. And having an active date night can really help with the foreplay. Get a babysitter to take your kids to the park once a month. Then you don’t have to worry about Timmy barging in during the middle of your “play time”. The money to pay the sitter is well worth it; trust me!
Spice things up
Sometimes the doldrums are due to a lack of imagination in the bedroom. Men, as it has been said, are like microwaves. I think of them more like instant pots. It takes a few minutes for them to get the pressure up, then they “cook” really fast. Women are more like crockpots. It takes some time to get the temperature up. But the results are worth it! Try playing games in the bedroom. There are a lot of sexual games that can be very fun and easy. For instance, try strip pool. Every time your partner gets a ball in the pocket, pun intended, you have to take off another piece of clothing. You can also buy games like this online and have them shipped directly to your house in nondescript packaging. Consider dressing up, or getting new lingerie. Anything different may be just the trick.
Adding Synthetic Lubrication
People who know me professionally are aware of my love of synthetic lubricants. I pass them out regularly to my patients. Packaged lubricant isn’t a bad thing. I know a lot of women worry that their partner might not like the lubricant. I can guarantee, if you’re the one applying it to their genitals, your partner will be happy to oblige.
Lubes to avoid
I recommend avoiding any synthetic lubricant that tastes good, smells good, or warms. These lubricants sound really fun, but they can backfire in the long run. Most of them contain chemicals that alter the pH of your vagina, which can cause overgrowth of some of the normal bacteria. You don’t want overgrowth. It can lead to weird smelling discharge, itching, and the need for antibiotics, which in turn causes pH changes. It’s a nasty cycle. There are a few particular chemicals it’s best to avoid if possible. Parabens are one, as well as glycerin, propylene glycol, and petroleum. They tend to cause more harm than help.
Lubes to try
People like different kinds of soda. I’m a root beer kinda gal. My husband drinks Dr. Pepper (yuck!). Lubes are kind of like that. When it comes to synthetic lubricants, you may find you need to shop around, and that the lube your bestie uses isn’t great for you. There are oodles of lubricants on the market. The easiest way to categorize them is by their base.
Water based lubes are the most common on the market. These are versatile and can be used for foreplay, and during sex. They’re also ok for use with silicone toys and condoms, both latex and non-latex. Water based lubricants typically last for a while, but eventually start absorbing into the vaginal walls and skin, and you may find yourself having to reapply. Depending on the brand, most of these are fairly slick. In my personal experience, the ones with the least ingredients listed, or the organic variety, seem to be the least irritating afterwards.
Oil based lubricants are REALLY slick. That’s the best part about them. There are a lot of drawbacks, however. Oil based lubes can stain the sheets, are a little messier because they hang around forever, and are more likely to cause pH changes. Some science says they increase the likelihood of condom accidents as well, and that’s no fun. These aren’t my favorites, but are perhaps worth a try if the others aren’t doing it for you. They’re also nice for other activities, like a post-sex massage.
Silicone based lubes are often quite slick, just like the oils. They stay put, and don’t wash away with water play. They’re the best for shower sex. Silicone lube is also safe with condoms, both kinds. Most of the silicone lubricants have a fair amount of chemicals in them. There is at least one brand that is straight up silicone, and it works quite nicely. The downside is that you cannot use silicone lube with silicone toys. It can damage the toy surface, creating microscopic cracks that could harbor bacteria. This is especially an issue if you share toys. In my experience, this is my favorite for bedroom activities.
Recently, a new trend has popped up, using “natural lubricants”. The reason that is in quotes is because no one has really defined what “natural lubricants” means. Most people would agree that olive oil and coconut oil would be considered natural. These both technically fall under the oil category. I will say, these are probably better left to a salad, and not for sex. These oils can provide some lubrication, but just because they’re natural, doesn’t mean it’s ok to put them in your vagina. Jalapeňo juice is natural too, and I doubt anyone would willingly put that in their vagina. These types of oil are not the same pH as your vagina, and can cause overgrowth of natural flora. Again, that’s not something you want.
All in all, fixing lubrication issues can be difficult, but not always. If you know what’s causing the problem in the first place, work on it first. If you don’t know what is wrong, going to the doctor is always a good idea. Gynecologists are used to hearing all sorts of things. I guarantee you can’t embarrass a Gyno by bringing up your lube problem. They’ve heard it before, and they’ll hear it again. Dipping into the world of synthetic lubricants might just be your ticket, though. I never go without it! Not because I can’t go without, but because I like it. You might like it too! You’ll never know until you try.
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