If you’ve been following us for awhile, you’ve probably heard us talk about the statistic that over 70% of women have difficulty orgasming from intercourse alone and need some kind of clitoral stimulation. We can’t tell you how many women have told us they thought there was something wrong with them because their experience didn’t match what they’d been told was “normal.”
Today we want to debunk another sexuality myth that causes a lot of women anxiety – the idea that your body isn't doing what it "should" if you need to use a lubricant. If that's true, then there's something "wrong" with 65.5% of women - the number of women who reported using lube in a 2014 study. Whether sex is currently painful due to lack of lubrication from medication, menopause, breastfeeding, or cancer treatments, or you're just looking to make sex more pleasurable, lube is a great addition. Here are five reasons why lube can help improve sexual experiences:
- Lube can help with a variety of hormonal transitions (not just menopause). Unfortunately there's a misconception that lubricants are only for when you're older. It’s true that many women find using lube particularly helpful during menopause when the vaginal walls tend to be thinner, but that's not the only time when it can be advantageous. Many women experience vaginal dryness postpartum, while breastfeeding, while transitioning on and off hormonal contraception, and while navigating the ten plus years of changes that precede menopause.
- Lube can help mimic the benefits of cervical mucus. While arousal fluid is produced in the Bartholin's Glands at the entry to the vagina, the cervix creates mucus that coats the entire interior of the vagina (intended primarily to help sperm survive but great for decreasing friction too!). Arousal fluid from the Bartholin's Glands is also much more watery in comparison to cervical mucus - it evaporates quickly and will be affected by issues such as heat and dehydration (caffeine, alcohol). Despite the greater interior coverage and longevity of cervical mucus relative to arousal fluid, the down side is it is only created for a few days each cycle leading up to ovulation. Thus, if you are having sex on one of the infertile days devoid of mucus (or if you don't have fertile days due to breastfeeding, hormonal contraception or menopause) then you don't have the benefits of nature's second intrinsic lubricant. All the more reason to add lube to your repertoire during the rest of the month.
- Wetter is better. Even if you're not experiencing vaginal dryness, there's no harm in adding to what you've already got. Lube reduces friction which makes things more comfortable, and the more comfortable you are, the more likely you are to enjoy yourself. In the words of sex educator JoEllen Notte, “sex without lube is like a Slip-n-Slide without water." In a study of 2,451 women ages 18 to 68 (with the average age being 32.69), 94% felt that lubricants made sex more pleasurable. Given the large cross-section of participants and the overwhelmingly positive response, it's clear that lube stands to benefit all women.
- Applying lube can be sexy. Similar to condoms, lube has got a bad rap for "spoiling the mood." But what if instead you treated it as a mood enhancer? Flavoured lubricants can help create a playful atmosphere (just make sure they're sugar-free so you're not opening yourself up to the possibility of a yeast infection). Or why not use the application process as a way to playfully prolong the foreplay? :)
- Medications can inhibit natural lubrication. Vaginal dryness is a side effect of a number of medications including hormonal birth control (another reason to ditch the pill!) and anti-depressants, as well as cancer treatments. Speaking of cancer, given our mother's experience with breast cancer, we're huge advocates for limiting exposure to endocrine-disruptors like parabens - a common ingredient in most mainstream lubricants. Fortunately there are a number of paraben-free options available, including organic brands like YES and Sutil.
Want to give lube a try but not sure which one is right for you? Check out our Red Tent Sisters Guide to Choosing a Lube below.
Have a friend who might benefit from this info? Click the "Share" button at the bottom left of this post to share this article on your favourite social media channel.
Kim & Amy Sedgwick love to discuss sex, periods, and all the other things we’re not supposed to talk about. The co-founders of Red Tent Sisters and ecosex.ca, they’ve been featured in every major Canadian news outlet and have become a trusted resource for women seeking natural (effective!) birth control, a more joyful sex life, and an empowered journey to motherhood.