Written in collaboration with Dr Sarah Welsh, gynaecologist and co-founder of HANX.
For all kinds of sex, lube can take your pleasure to the next level - including when you’re going solo.
However, navigating the lube market can be confusing, and there is still some residual stigma and misunderstanding attached to its use, including that using lube means you’re not aroused or interested in sex.
In reality, even if you’re totally feeling it, natural lubrication can take time, and using lube can make sex more comfortable and enjoyable for all involved.
We interviewed gynaecologist Dr Sarah Welsh, co-founder of sustainable sexual wellness brand, HANX, to find out the benefits of using lube, which types are best, and why using lube regularly is not only normal but incredibly empowering!
Myth busting: If i’m not wet does this mean i’m not aroused?
There is a term, “arousal non-concordance” which is where your subjective arousal and your physical arousal aren’t aligned. Desire can lead to sexual arousal which can lead to involuntary bodily changes, but desire does not always lead to sexual arousal and or bodily changes.
As a rule of thumb, we tend to associate erections and vaginal wetness with being turned on. We assume that we know how turned on someone is by the way their body responds to stimuli like a partner’s touch, or porn. That’s not really the case, because there’s a difference between subjective arousal and physical arousal.
There can also be other medical reasons for people not being as ‘wet’ when aroused. Lubricant is your best friend, integrate it into your sexual repertoire. Water-based lubricant will enhance the sensations you feel by making the experience smoother and more comfortable. Dryness is not a necessary element of anyone’s sex life.
What are the benefits of using lube?
The main benefits of using lubricant in the bedroom are to reduce friction and enhance pleasure.
Without lube, sex can be painful and even cause tiny tears in the skin due to friction. If you’re practicing safe sex and using a condom, the best kind of lubricant to use is water-based lubricant, as this does not break down the latex and ensures you stay protected. Lube also makes it less likely that a condom will break or fall off and therefore increases your protection against STIs and unplanned pregnancy.
Lube doesn’t need to be a last resort if you’re feeling dry, but rather something to use to enhance sexual pleasure. This includes foreplay, vaginal sex, anal sex, sex with toys and masturbation.
Is using lube normal?
Absolutely. Unfortunately, there can be some taboo around lubricant use, but this is something we are trying to remove!
Our HANX lubricant survey that surveyed over 5,000 people, showed that 75% of respondents said that they used lube to enhance their sexual experience. We think this is something that should be normalised.
Lube can and should be used by everyone, regardless of gender, age, or sexuality.
Some people who experience dryness during sex, such as post-menopause, will benefit from lubricant use, but this is not exclusively the cohort of people that do benefit.
Equally, arousal state can affect natural vaginal lubrication, but this is one of a whole range of reasons than affect natural lubrication. For example, the time of the menstrual cycle, stress, sexual position, pregnancy, and hormonal contraception all affect vaginal lubrication and therefore the need for lube! Despite all this, if lube helps with sexual pleasure, it seems a no brainer whether to use it!
Should I use lube with sex toys? If so, how?
Firstly, it’s advisable to use lube with your sex toys to enhance pleasure and reduce any risk of injury.
Both water-based and oil-based lubricants can be used with sex toys, though it’s considerably tricky to wash oil-based products off your sex toys and personal gadgets. Oil traps bacteria, so you need to be very careful and ensure you’re washing your toys thoroughly, otherwise they’ll become a breeding ground for bacteria. Water-based lubricants are very easy to wash off, and they don’t encourage the growth of bacteria.
What lube ingredients should I avoid?
There are lots of lube products on the market with ingredients that can cause genital irritation.
When choosing a lubricant always go for one that is free from nasty chemicals, such as parabens, petroleum, and glycerin or other sugars. Glycerin feeds yeast, encourages candida to grow and can lead to yeast infections. Avoid any lubricants which contain petrochemicals as these can cause burning or stinging sensations.
The HANX lube has only 7 ingredients, and is 97% organic, so very close to the natural vaginal lubricant.
What are the different / best types of lube?
As well as avoiding the chemicals and sugars mentioned above, you need to avoid using oil-based substances that are not designed to be used as lubricants, for example, baby oil, vaseline and coconut oil. Vaseline is a petroleum by-product and isn’t safe for vaginal use. Coconut oil can disrupt a woman’s natural balance pH, which can lead to infections.
If you’re looking for a water-based lubricant, find one that is gentle, pH balanced and long-lasting. The HANX water-based lubricant is just for you!