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Thursday, July 29,2010

Slippery when wet

By Dr. Jenni Skyler

Your bottle of lube should be your best friend. Whether 16 years old or 61, single or attached, straight or gay, keeping lube by your bedside is essential. It’s like having a water bottle on a three-hour hike. Sure, you may make it to the top of Bear Mountain sans water, but at a significant cost to your comfort … and potentially your health.

We often view our natural lubrication as indicative of our arousal. But women convey being turned on in different ways. When aroused, some women will gush like Niagara Falls, and some will merely trickle. The glands in her canal lubricate as if her vagina is sweating. However, if you watch women in an aerobics class, some will glisten, some will glow, and some drip in so much sweat they look as if they have been swimming.

For women post-menopause, a trickle is more common because lower estrogen levels reduce lubrication. But even young college girls often need lubricated assistance. And in the case that you are only partially aroused, or working towards higher levels of arousal, you might as well have lube on hand to help.

For those of you in your fertile years, lube not only makes sex more succulent, but if you buy a bottle with spermicide included, you get that extra leg of protection against pregnancy. This is not to imply that you should forgo condoms, but spermicide can help inhibit sperm from reaching the egg. Lube can also help prevent your condom from tearing, and it helps prevent micro tears that can transmit blood- and fluid-borne diseases.

Now that you are persuaded to use lube no matter your gender, age or relationship status (yes, you singles, lube is great for solo sex play, too), the question becomes which one to choose.

I ventured to Fascinations, and the friendly resident managers were happy to provide me with nine different bottles of lube, and an explanation of the pros and cons of each. I followed this illuminating conversation with my own notso-scientific study. Akin to Boulder Weekly’s Best of Boulder, I solicited some friends to try out each product in a battle for best lube. (I threw in a few of my old favorites just to mix things up.)

For male masturbation: Stroke 29 by Gun Oil. Starts out as a thick cream. After 29 strokes, friction and body heat transform the cream into a moist and slippery texture — that is, if you can make it to 29 strokes. (Remember, don’t use this for intercourse or with condoms.)

For female masturbation with a silicone sex toy: Water-Based Original Gel by Wet. Water-based lubes are typically sticky and dry out after awhile, but this product keeps on going. If you have a non-silicone toy, like a glass dildo, then ingredients are less of an issue. However, silicone will melt silicone, so use waterbased lubes with silicone toys.

For female masturbation without a toy: Those of you with dexterous fingers may want to try an organic coconut oil. It’s great for skin and hair, and feels silky when applied to the vulva. That said, not all oils are good for intercourse (i.e. cooking or massage oil). Because oil is thick, it sheds from the vagina slower than other lubes. Coconut oil is an exception, and many couples rave about the sleek, natural feel. (Not for use with condoms, as oil breaks down latex.)

For anal intercourse (with or without a condom): Analyse Me Relaxing Anal Glide by Pjur. Unlike some anal lubes that have numbing benzocaine, Pjur’s anal product uses jojoba to relax the rear region while still maintaining sensation. And unlike the typical thin and slippery silicone lubes, this silicone product is more thick and viscous — and goes the distance.

For vaginal intercourse (with or without a condom): Our runner-up in this category goes to Unity by Pink. This product is a hybrid of water-based and silicone lubes, and a favorite among many women. It’s the best of both worlds because it washes off easily like a water-based lube, while the silicone prevents stickiness.

Our first-place prize for vaginal intercourse goes to Original Bodyglide by Pjur. Though a tad more pricey, this super-concentrated, decadent delight allows for the most long-lasting pleasure possible, without the stickiness or stains. Its slippery feel is so akin to the natural juices of a woman that you don’t know where one begins and the other ends.

Whatever lube you choose is up to you. Perhaps do your own scientific experiment to see which one feels best. But be safe as you play — things can get slippery when wet!

Jenni Skyler, PhD, is a sex therapist and board-certified sexologist. She runs The Intimacy Institute in Boulder, www.theintimacyinstitute.org Respond: letters@boulderweekly.com

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