Don't read this if you hate having an incredible time in bed.
Sex is wonderful. So are slip and slides. Shout-out to whichever genius first realized lube could combine the two in the most incredible way.
“Lubricant is such a fun subject,” Alyssa Dweck, M.D., assistant clinical professor of obstetrics at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and co-author of V is For Vagina, tells SELF. “I’m glad the taboo of talking about it isn’t as strong as it once was.”
The taboo she’s referring to is due to the stigma that sometimes comes along with using lube, like you’re not physically or emotionally interested in what’s about to go down. The truth is that even if you’re insanely turned on and would please like to have sex with this person forever and ever amen, lube can still make the experience more enjoyable. Instead of meaning you’re “less of a woman” for dipping a toe vagina into that pool, it means you’re empowered enough to have the best time in bed possible.
Here, 10 reasons why you should feel free to use lube whenever you want during sex.
1. Sometimes your body takes its sweet time catching up to your turned-on mind.
“A woman’s natural lubrication is often a sign of arousal, the same way erections are for men,” says Dweck. The way your body makes it happen is pretty cool. “During sexual stimulation, your blood vessels dilate so more blood flow goes to the genital area,” says Dweck. That blood rush prompts various vaginal glands and mucous cells to secrete fluids that make sex easier and more enjoyable for both people involved.
The thing is that even when you’re turned on, sometimes it takes awhile for your body to get on the same page as your mind. That’s completely normal, so it doesn’t mean a single bad thing about you, how sexy you are, or your attraction to whoever you’re having sex with.
“It’s not like a light switch you turn on and off,” says Dweck. “The physiological nature of arousal means it can take some time to become naturally lubricated.”
That’s why foreplay is often such an important part of sex—it gives you time to warm up the engine, so to speak.
2. Lube can introduce delightful new feelings during sex.
Sometimes you’re wet enough to have a great time, but you feel like switching it up.
“Some women use a store-bought lubricant because they have issues with vaginal dryness, but many other women use lubrication simply for a new sensation during sex,” Sari Locker, Ph.D., sexuality educator at Columbia University and author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Amazing Sex, tells SELF.
3. It can help offset some issues that affect your natural lubrication.
There are various reasons why you might feel like your vagina isn’t lubricating itself enough. “Plenty of women have high desire, but they don’t lubricate as much as they’d like because of their menstrual cycle, menopause, or medication,” says Locker.
The Pill can diminish lubrication because it alters your estrogen levels to suppress ovulation. “When you don’t ovulate, you secrete less cervical mucous,” says Dweck, which is why menopause and your cycle can affect lubrication as well. She also notes that many allergy medications work by constricting the blood vessels, so there’s less of that necessary genital blood flow that factors into how wet you get.
Luckily, using lube makes that way less of an issue.
4. Lube can free up your mind to focus on the sex at hand.
Worrying about your vagina being too dry to have good sex is pretty much guaranteed to backfire. “Using a store-bought lubricant can help relieve anxiety you have about that,” says Locker. “With the added lubricant, you can enjoy the pleasure of penetration, and your mind will be at ease, too.”
Plus, she adds, your partner will be less nervous about hurting you, which is always good.
5. It can decrease painful friction that gets in the way of all those good feelings.
Even a little bit of lube can be enough to get you going. You’ll likely find that as you continue, you get more turned on, and your body handles the rest. “Thrusting will be more comfortable and pleasurable as a result,” says Dweck.
6. Using it can turn into amazing foreplay.
When you embrace the fact that lube can boost your sex life, applying it is like hanging a “we are about to have a seriously good time” sign above your bodies. “Some women find putting lubrication on their partner or their partner putting it on them can enhance their sexual play,” says Dweck.
It can be a good way to make foreplay more inventive, which can also make that part of the action last longer. Win-win.
7. Lube can help you figure out what you like while masturbating.
No need to only use it with another person! Lube can be great for solo sex.
“You may crave variation during masturbation, particularly if it’s your only sexual outlet,” says Locker. “Some women try warming or tingling lubricant, or even use it with sex toys for masturbatory variety,” she says.
Make like a sexual scientist and experiment to your heart’s content.
8. It can make anal sex more pleasurable than painful.
Whether you’re considering trying anal sex or already have but want to give it another go, lube is an invaluable part of making it successful instead of scary. “The anus does not self-lubricate the way the vagina does. For any anal play or anal sex, lubrication is recommended for pleasure and safety,” says Locker.
Just be sure you’re using the right kind of lube for whichever condoms you’re using. “Any of the oil-based products can break down a condom, making it less effective for prevention of pregnancy and transmission of STIs,” says Dweck.
When using condoms, opt for water-based lubes. Silicone varieties can also do the trick, although counterintuitively, you shouldn’t use those with silicone sex toys as they can potentially damage them.
9. There are lubes you can use even if you have a sensitive vagina.
Some lubricants contain ingredients that may cause allergic reactions or sensitivities in some people. No matter! Of course, the organic moment extends to lube.
“I’m not saying these additives are unsafe or bad for everybody, but women who are sensitive may want to try something more hypoallergenic,” says Dweck. She recommends checking out a brand like Good Clean Love or even using coconut oil (as long as you’re not also using condoms with that last one).
10. Your vagina won’t become “addicted” to it, promise.
You might worry that you could somehow become “addicted” to an aide like lubricant and have a harder time getting sufficiently turned on or having great sex without it. Much like with vibrators, that’s not true!
“You can’t get habituated to lubricant, so if you like that feeling more than using nothing, you can feel comfortable using it regularly,” says Dweck.
Permission to have a mind-blowing time in bed: granted.
This article was originally published at Self.com. Reprinted with permission from the author.