Q&A with J: A Guide to Using Personal Lubricant

Today’s question from a reader is straightforward and something I should have covered long ago. It’s come up before, but I hadn’t given this topic an entire post. Here’s the question:

I would love to read a post about lubricant! I hear so much about it, but I really don’t know how to use it. Do I put it on him, on me, in me? Seriously, I feel stupid not knowing. It would be wonderful to read a frank guide on how to use it. Thanks!

Don’t feel stupid. Plenty of us didn’t have a clue. And then we learned.

Q&A with J: A Guide to Using Personal Lubricant

What personal lubricant does. Personal lubricant mimics your body’s natural lubricant by providing a slick substance that softens the area and reduces friction. This is incredibly important, because any wife who has had intercourse without enough lubrication can tell you it does not feel good that way. Even having him stroke your genitalia without any lubrication doesn’t feel nearly as good as the wet version.

The vaginal walls naturally produce lubrication when a woman feels aroused, but if that’s not happening, a personal lubricant is an excellent substitute.

Why you might need personal lubricant. Some wives and husbands think that if she doesn’t have sufficient lubrication happening during arousal, either she is defective in some way or he isn’t getting the job done. Let me assure you that’s not the case. Two major things affect whether you get lubricated enough during sexual encounters: (1) Are you really turned on? and (2) Is your body cooperating?

To get turned on, your mind has to be focused on what’s happening and you have to be enjoying that experience. But even if you are, sometimes your body just isn’t getting the signals to get wet down there. It could be a particular time of the month, especially around your period, when lubrication isn’t happening. It could be a deficiency of estrogen in your body. It could be perimenopause or menopause. It could be something else.

Sometimes you just need a little boost from personal lubricant to get things slick where they should be slick. And thankfully, you have plenty of options for adding a bit of moisture.

Types of lubricant. Basically, there are three types of lubricant: water-based, silicone-based, and oil-based.

  • Water-based lubricants are very common. They are easy to use, feel less sticky on your body, and allow for easy clean-up. One drawback is water-based lubricant doesn’t last as long on your skin, so you may need to reapply if sexual activity continues for a while.
  • Silicone-based lubricants offer their own advantages. They last longer on your skin, feel even more slick to the touch, and can be used in water environments (like sex in the shower). However, this lubricant clings to your skin more, making clean-up a little more difficult, and some may not like the feel of it.
  • Oil-based lubricants include petroleum jelly and coconut oil. Petroleum jelly used to be a common choice for lubricant, but it isn’t a good choice overall due to health concerns. However, coconut oil has become a favorite for many married couples, including quite a few of my readers. It’s a natural choice and easy to find on shelves. The one concern is that may compromise latex condoms, if you use those.

Honestly, what you use is a personal choice. They all work and have advantages and disadvantages. I suggest trying different options and evaluating them as a couple.

I’ll give my own story here. Regardless of how many times couples swear by coconut oil, I won’t be using it in my bedroom. Why? Because my husband has an aversion to all things coconut — be it coconut in foods, coconut scents in lotions or candles, or coconut oil. I get it, because I hate peanuts, and even if there was a colorless, odorless peanut oil touted as the perfect lube, I wouldn’t want it in my bedroom. Out of respect for the hubs, we will find another option. It’s just a personal choice.

Choosing a brand. Beyond those types (water-, silicone-, and water-based), there are all those brands. Not only are there ones you might recognize, like Astroglide, K-Y, and Wet, but many good alternatives have cropped up over the last few years. In particular, there are some great health-conscious choices, such as Good Clean Love and Sliquid Naturals.

Even among a particular type, like water-based products, brands vary in how they feel on your skin and how long they last. You’d have to try different ones to see what you think.

On top of that, some lubes meet a niche. For instance, there are flavored lubricants for oral sex play, lubes made specifically with the guy in mind like Ride Lube by Sliquid, and warming lubes to heighten sensitivity. You might enjoy one of these options. (Although I will warn you that while some wives love the warming lubes, others feel a stinging sensation with their use.)

I know exactly zero about coconut oil brands, but I assume my readers will comment below with some great advice. *hint hint*

How to use lubricant. Now let’s get to the nitty-gritty. Let’s say you and the hubs are meeting up for some oh-so-sensual lovemaking. When do you pull out the lubricant? Where do you apply it? How much do you use? There are no hard and fast rules, of course. But here are some tips.

You can introduce lubricant whenever you want, depending on your goal. If you two only have time for a quickie, yank out the lube immediately to get things going as rapidly as possible. If you already know you’re in a dry spell, you might pull out the lubricant and ask him to apply it to your body to help your lady parts get moving in the right direction. Or you might want to wait and see how your own natural lubrication is working this time around. You can add lubricant to what you already have to make things even more slick if that makes penetration more comfortable. If you’re doing a hand job for him, you’ll probably want to bring out the lube.

You can apply it to your genitalia and/or his. For foreplay, you can focus on whoever needs it at the moment. For penetration, you might want to just slap on the both of you. That way, if one side gets a little dry, the other side is still lubed up and ready to go. Start with a small amount, maybe a teaspoon or less, and spread it around your vulva and clitoris or his penis. Then add more if needed until it feels sufficiently slippery. You can also put lubricant on your hands, specifically fingers, then let your fingers lubricate body parts as they stimulate your mate. You can use as much lube as you want, so slather on whatever fits your fancy.

You don’t need to specifically put lubricant inside you, since it will migrate as you interact. For example, if it’s on your genitals, then when he penetrates it get on his penis, then his penis spreads it into your vagina. But usually the additional lubricant will get your own juices flowing as well.

Cleaning up afterward. Sex can be messy. There are fluids involved, and when you add more, it can be even messier. But it’s a beautiful mess. Just be prepared that all that lubrication may leave a spot or a puddle where you’ve been. If that’s an issue for you, keep a towel nearby, or spread a towel on your bed before you begin.

If you use an oil-based or silicone-based lubricant, you might want to wash your body afterward. Some couples shower off together, to maintain that closeness and afterglow. But any residue left on your body isn’t a problem. It’s perfectly safe.

One quick note: Jennifer Smith of Unveiled Wife has written about her prior sexual difficulties due to the presence of parabens in products. From what I’ve read, some personal lubricants may contain parabens. If you believe this is an issue for you, make sure you get a paraben-free product.

Hopefully, this guide demystifies the use of personal lubricant in your marriage bed. If you’re looking for specific product reviews, check out Slippery When Wet: Lubricant Review from Intimacy in Marriage.

What other questions do readers have about personal lubricants? What advice do you have about using lubricants for sexual intimacy in marriage?

34 thoughts on “Q&A with J: A Guide to Using Personal Lubricant

  1. Shaye

    My husband and I use virgin coconut oil which is less processed. We have tried water based lubes but I reacted so badly to them. I would burn during and after and it made things very unpleasant. It might take a few tries before you find something that works for both of you. Be patient.

    Reply
  2. Prov5:18-19

    We used coconut oil for years. It was a real godsend, because my wife’s skin is sensitive to many chemicals and the natural nature of coconut oil worked great.

    You do not have to spend a lot ion coconut oil. We alway bought the big blue and white jar of LouAna All Natural Pure Coconut Oil in the baking section at Walmart. When the kids asked about why we were taking it into the bedroom, we just told them it was for thier mother’s skin. 😎

    Now that she postmenopausal, we are using silicon based products at the suggestion of her gynecologist. Sliquid and Liquid Silk have both been helpful and no negative effects.

    Reply
  3. Anna-Kate

    We love Astroglide’s Silicone “Diamond” lube the most thus far, but generally use the old fashioned Astroglide the most. We found out quickly that silicone lube stains big time! Perhaps it was just the particular brand, but we found that we need to be much more careful on our sheets and on/around pillows and our comforter! We quickly realized towels are a must!

    However, silicone definitely lasts longer than water based and has a much smoother feel versus slippery, which we enjoyed.

    Thanks for the post, J! My husband and I love reading your blog. We’re six months into marriage and having a blast, and your blog has helped us have even better communication about sex and marriage. Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Kay

      Did I just get a bad batch of that diamond silicone lube then? I find it extremely sticky! And sticky is not good at all! Although I just tried another brand and it felt the same way… So do I just not like the feel of silicone?

      Reply
      1. J Post author

        You may not like the feel. It may feel a bit sticky, but it should last longer than water-based. It’s especially good in water environments. But picking the right lube can be a very personal decision depending on what you like and what works for you two.

        Reply
  4. Anonymous please

    We used lube on our honeymoon and I didn’t find it helpful at all, plus I hated the mess. Haven’t used it since. Just last night I was thinking of how to tell my husband to pick up some of my natural moisture before feeling around down there, because I rarely enjoy him doing that the way he does it. (I know, I know, I should just tell him.)

    Reply
  5. Jane

    As I read your message on lubricant techne I think back to our early days. I sure wish we were better informed it might of prevented a lot of heart ache for both of us. Sex has become fun with some helpful wisdom and knowledge.

    Reply
  6. Anonymous

    My wife doesn’t have a lot of natural lubrication, so we have tried all of the different lubes over the years. Coconut oil is now our favorite. If you have an active sex life with your spouse, buying lube can get really expensive. Coconut oil is cheap and it feels great. Also, it doesn’t leave a slimey residue that needs to be washed off.

    However, you will never be able to eat an Almond Joy the same again. Everything coconut flavored reminds us of sex, which is a fun inside joke between the two of us.

    Reply
  7. JAMES

    We use cocnut oil for lube and we also use the product slquid…. I will say be very careful what the ingredients are… For instance if the lube has glycerin in it it will cause problem with feeding a yeast problem in the vagina. Wifr had problems with yeast and we did research on it and that is what we found

    Reply
    1. JAMES

      @ lisa Coconut oil will stain the sheets…..We always put a bath towel under us incase any coconut oil get down that far to get on the sheets… so use a towel…..

      @ Kaitlin stress and child bearing can cause wetness to disappear …. wife and I have pretty much always used lube ever since we were married…

      Reply
    2. Ol' Will

      You don’t have to use so much that it runs off. Try a few drops on a handkerchief, put it in the hot wash cycle and see if it comes out. I believe that it will. At any rate, you will know for sure what to expect.
      We keep our coconut oil in one of those 2-3 oz plastic travel bottles you can buy at WalMart for less than a dollar. Depending on the temp, the oil will probably be solid whenever you need to use it. In that case you just tuck the bottle under your armpit for a few minutes while you do other things. Your body heat will melt it. Have fun!
      One advantage coconut oil has over other lubes is that it wipes off easily with a cloth. When you are finished with it you can wipe your hands on a clean washrag or face towel and you can go to sleep knowing you’re not going to spread lube everywhere. The other types (brands that we have tried, anyway) are “goopy” and stick to you and are hard to wash off, requiring a trip to the sink for cleanup. So you’re up scrubbing your hands while you’d rather be cuddling.

      Reply
  8. Kaitlin

    Hi J,
    I have a quick question. Before I got married I thought I’d never have to use lube, that I’d be plenty wet. But know my husband and I use it all the time. I have to say that having sex would be a lot more difficult without it. What makes a woman so dry anyways? Aren’t we supposed to be naturally wet?
    Thanks!!
    Kaitlin

    Reply
    1. a. nony

      From a biology POV: The amount of moisture apart from arousal is about like the inside of your cheek, and the amount of fluid your body produces varies widely in both quality and quantity from day to day throughout your cycle, increasing in slickness, stretchiness, sperm-carrying ability, and amount (while becoming less acidic) as ovulation approaches, and then rapidly diminishing after ovulation has occurred. If you’re taking hormonal birth control, it can seriously change all that — basically your body thinks you’re pregnant all the time and produces cervical/vaginal fluid accordingly. Antihistamines, antidepressants, some herbal medicines, general dehydration, and a whole slew of other factors can reduce the amount of wetness.

      From a psychology POV: look up “arousal nonconcordance!” It happens to lots of women. Yes, on average, women when they are aroused produce slick, clear, wet fluid to help lubricate. But sometimes it just doesn’t happen, because people are not machines! 🙂

      Reply
  9. A non-o-mouse

    One thing I’ve read to keep in mind about not being “self-sufficient” in the moisture department is medication. If you’re taking an decongestant, it will affect your whole body.

    Reply
  10. Ashley

    I need to use lube almost all the time. What works best for us so far is a water-based lube that’s liquid. We didn’t like the jelly kind at all.

    Reply
  11. Ed

    I am age 51 and my wife is 11 years older than I and will turn 63 next month. I’d like to suggest a product that singlehandedly resurrected PIV intercourse between my wife and I. It’s called Shikai Borage Therapy Dry Skin Lotion.

    This product was suggested to us by a Naturopathic doctor friend of ours who uses it for PIV intercourse with his wife (also a Naturopathic doctor) as they were dealing with her post-menopausal loss of vaginal lubrication issues as she is in her early 60’s. They swore up and down about the success of this product in their love life.

    Facing the very same issues, initially my wife and I were skeptical because we have used practically every type of natural and non-natural lubricant under the sun including Coconut Oil, Glycerin Oil and Sliquid — but all of them caused burning inside of her vagina (probably due to micro vaginal tearing). But we were pleasantly surprised that this stuff works with no constant burning reaction for her internally.

    Here’s how we use it:

    I slather the lotion all over my penis (especially the head) and then enter her vagina and I’ll hold still with no thrusting for a few minutes as the borage lotion distributes itself internally. After this first insertion, she will initially feel a little burning but the healing power of the borage oil begins to go to work. Then I’ll pull my penis out and slather it again with lotion and re-enter her and will hold still again. Usually after the second or third application, she will no longer feel any burning and will tell me that things feel good enough for me to start thrusting. At this stage, she still prefers me to climax as quickly as possible so as to not cause too much friction from thrusting even with the lotion (due to vaginal atrophy issues). She has not been able to climax herself from PIV intercourse yet but still enjoys the emotional closeness after we had experienced a two year drought of abstinence. I’ll usually bring her to orgasm through oral sex or a hand job before or after PIV intercourse (I also use the Shikai lotion for hand jobs).

    As with all sex, the more often that we have it, the better it is for her as it stokes her desire and arousal. Having more frequent sex also provides more opportunities for the consistent application of the borage oil to heal her internally. We’ve found that the more often that we do it, the less lotion that we need to apply.

    This product saved our PIV intercourse from extinction and we are happy campers!

    Reply
  12. Anonymous

    We usually use a water-based lube called Sylk. It’s made with kiwi-vine extract, I believe. My wife has pretty sensitive skin, but has never had a reaction to this one. From the reviews, people seem to either love it or hate it. Worth a try if you are looking for a natural lube, though.

    We have also found that if we don’t have lube available for some reason, a slow, teasing sort of oral on her can help in a similar way. 😉

    Reply
  13. Alan

    I hate all things coconut – smell or taste. But refined coconut oil has zero smell or taste. We love it. Feels so natural and also is moisturizing. We buy the organic stuff from the grocery store – much cheaper than the fake stuff we used to use like KY or Astroglide.

    When we are ready for penetration she rubs some onto me and then a little onto her vulva. Fun last minute foreplay before the main event.

    Reply
  14. Txkris

    Ol Will got it all correct! We use the cheap LouAna stuff too, no smell or coconut taste. and yes it does stain. Usually no need to reapply either, love the stuff! We keep it in a 3 oz bottle by the bed and refill when necessary. We also run it under hot water to liquify as we’re getting ready for bed. 🙂

    Reply
  15. Carolyn Noyer

    I’m so glad to see this post even though it may be an old one. I may very well be getting married in the near future and I haven’t had sex in years and am past menopause. So I was afraid of being dry and painful for both of us. I plan to hold onto this post.
    Thank you so much for it and I really like some of the other responses with many choices to use.

    Reply
  16. Pingback: Which Personal Lubricants Should You Try? | Hot, Holy & Humorous

  17. Eric

    After years of my wife fighting UTI’s with antibiotics, we quit using Vaseline and switched to Astroglide in a squeeze bottle. Still an occasional problem, but not as much. I don’t think it was the Vaseline itself that caused the problem, but that it came in a wide-mouth jar, into which you dip your fingers to use. Fingers carry germs.

    My suggestion: any lube should come in a tube or squeeze bottle, with much less chance of contamination. Occasionally I’ll notice a 12 or 16-ounce jar of coconut oil on a store shelf and consider buying it, since I’ve heard how great it is for a sexual lube. But I always pass it up, since it’s in a short, wide jar, like Vaseline, and therefore easy to contaminate. Does anyone know–can coconut oil be purchased in a tube or squeeze bottle? Or poured into such a bottle?
    Eric

    Reply
    1. Jim Christian

      Cool! That’s like my Mustard-squirt bottle! Right down to the lid! Good find! That too can be set in a pan of hot water!

      Reply
  18. Jim Christian

    I’m 58, my wife 51, so we use the stuff to get started with massages and touching because I have rough hands. And then, her natural lubrication takes over after an orgasm or two. But never, ever the chemical, silicone or glycerol/glycol-based lubes, ever. I don’t want it on me and I don’t want it in my wife, ever. We’re talking internal tissue, sensitive mucous membrane leading to the womb via the cervix, ladies and gents. I don’t trust anything of a non-vegetable solution for this problem (it’s a GOOD problem!:). We use Carrington Farms Coconut oil for massage. It’s extra-virgin, unrefined, cold pressed. It’s in the stores in a square tub, perhaps a 6 or 8 ounce container. We put it in a tall mustard-squirter that has one of those little caps attached to a long skinny nozzle. This brand, anyway, is solid at around 70 or 75 degrees, so I heat it to liquid, then pour it it into the squirt bottle. About the time I hear my gal in the shower (night time showers on a winter night are the clue), I break out the bottle and put it in a pan of water on the stove to warm it up while I take MY shower. A couple of minutes, it’s warm and ready to go. We love the stuff, and you always start off with nice warm oil. Our sheets are flannel, maroon and hunter green, if there are stains, they come out in the wash or don’t show.

    For those who can’t tolerate the coconut oil, Trader Joe’s organic Grapeseed oil is really, REALLY good too. It’s our go-to for quickies. Mostly, you need to test on a sensitive patch of skin, say close to the arm pit maybe, to make sure you aren’t allergic. Anywho, my two-cents, more like $1.98! When it comes to making my woman feel good, there’s no end to my quest! Enjoy! It’s why we’re here! Ladies, we men love when you love us!

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.