You gotta love sex researchers. The ones who make it their mission in the lab to figure out what turns us on and turns up the heat. They've proven again and again that a sense of emotional well-being, being comfortable with masturbation, healthy communication and a positive body image all weigh into having a better sex life. But for the first time, science has proven that one more simple thing can bolster your bedroom romp: lubricant.
Believe it or not, until now, little research has been done on how lube can help enhance the female sexual experience. But leading sex researcher, Debby Herbenick, Ph.D. and her colleagues at Indiana University have concluded that women who use lube during sex have significantly more sexual pleasure and satisfaction than those who don't.
Herbenick and colleagues surveyed 2,453 women for five weeks. They were assigned to use one of six water- or silicone-based lubricants during intercourse and/or masturbation, then report back their experiences in a daily diary.
All different types of sex—particularly penile-vaginal, solo sex and with toys, oh my!—were enhanced by either water- or silicone-based lubricant. However, the study found that water-based lube performed better when it came to anal sex, as it greatly reduced the "risk of tearing" (yeah, ouch). A Girl's Guide To Anal Sex
"I have a theory, it's called The Gloppy Factor," says Herbenick. "Water-based lubes are a little bit thicker, gloppier, which seems to work better for a part of the body that isn’t producing its own lubricant."
When it comes to the best of the best for any type of sex, the study didn't find that there was one lubricant that was really superior to others. "You can figure out through trial and error which works best for you," recommends Herbenick. But for women who find that some brands can be irritating, she likes water-based lubes Just Like Me (by Pure Romance) and organic products by Good Clean Love.
"There are many reasons that women either need or want to use a lubricant," says Herbenick. "It can be particularly helpful after a bath or shower, when the vagina can be drier thanks to warm water; if you want a quickie (no one's body warms up that quickly!); or if you're on low-dose birth control, which can hinder the body's hormonally-triggered production of lubricant." Sex Writer Puts Lubricant To The Test
But, interestingly, the study found that more than one-third of the time that lubricant was used for any type of sex, women used it because it was fun. "Some women and men find that putting it on each other can be a fun part of foreplay," explains Herbenick.
In the end, Herbenick hopes the study will encourage people to just keep a bottle handy—in the nightstand or in the bathroom—to make sex even better. She says, "Don’t think about it in terms of 'need'—think in terms of 'want,' and if it's not for you, that’s okay, too!"