Slippery when wet!  To lube or not to lube.

We as physical therapists think this is very subjective.  You don’t technically need to use lubricant but it can help in making sex more comfortable, fun and decreasing any discomfort/pain.

In one recent study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, out of 1000 participants, 65% of women had used lubricant in the past and of those only 20% had used in the past 30 days!

Women’s use and perceptions of commercial lubricants: prevalence and characteristics in a nationally representative sample of American adults.

In another study, women felt positively about lubricant use and preferred sex to feel more “wet” and were able to orgasm more easily using it.  This insight is very helpful for those women who have difficulty orgasming during sexual intercourse!

Women’s perceptions about lubricant use and vaginal wetness during sexual activities

Many women do not produce enough lubrication, especially those taking contraceptives, post menopausal and those that are breastfeeding.  Assuming each partner has taken enough time to get each other aroused, some women may not produce enough lubrication. When a woman is aroused, there is increased blood flow to vaginal walls which stimulates the production of discharge.

Lubricants can be useful during sexual activity for women that aren’t producing enough discharge.  Estrogen levels may be lower and in turn there is a decrease in natural lubrication.  Hence sex can be painful so using lubricant can ease the vaginal dryness.

It is even shown that lubricant prevents membrane tearing in vaginal or anal tissue.  This can help to prevent STD contracture (always use condoms when trying to prevent pregnancy and avoid STDs!).

Does this convince you yet to add lubricant in your sexual activity?!?!

You can buy lubricants that are made of all types of things: petroleum, flavor additives, etc but there are generally three main types- water, oil, and silicone.

We find here at 5 Point that water-based lubricant may be best.  Water based lubricant is less likely to irritate vaginal tissue and is safer to use with condoms.  Water based can come with or without glycerin.  Women who often have vaginal yeast infections may wish to avoid lube with glycerin.  The only problem is, it wears out quickly so you constantly have to reapply.

Oil based lubricants may last longer with less reapplying.  However, the downside is that they can erode condoms and are harder wash off yourself post intercourse. Some oils include baby oil, petroleum, mineral oil, vegetable oil and hand creams

Silicone lubricants are named due to the silicone in the liquid and they give a “wetter” effect.  These last longer than water-based lubricants and may be used safely with condoms. However, many people are allergic to the silicone and it can ruin material of sex toys.

There are lubricants now that are vegan and/or organic with less chemicals!  Some examples are YES and Sliquid. However, there are many options to chose from.

When trying a new type of lubricant it is important to dab it on your forearm before using it to make sure it does not irritate your skin.

Basically, lubrication occurs naturally in an all working system.  However, some women become more lubricated than others.  Lubrication can also be a matter of preference – some women say intercourse is more pleasurable when they are more lubricated.   It is important to speak to your partner and have them understand the role it plays in comfortable intercourse and even foreplay.


Herbenick D1Reece MSchick VSanders SAFortenberry JD.

Jozkowski KN1Herbenick DSchick VReece MSanders SAFortenberry JD.