Science

Sex Science Facts 101: Do We Always Need To Use Lube?

Not necessarily. According to data from our 2009 National Survey of Sexual Health and behaviour, about 30 per cent of women ages 18 to 59 experienced difficulty with vaginal lubrication during the most recent time they had sex.

Women may feel on the dry side for a variety of reasons. They may actually be producing little vaginal lubrication as a result of menopause (even the years leading up to menopause can be linked with less lubrication). Due to lower levels of oestrogen while breastfeeding, new mums and their partners often benefit from using lubricant more regularly too.

There are also reasons people reach for lube including marathon sex sessions, and tight genital fit (you may be on the large side for your partner’s vagina or anus). Plus, some couples leap into sex rather than take time to build arousal through foreplay — and it’s arousal/sexual excitement that’s linked to lubricant production. So if you’re squeezing sex in before work, before the kids wake up from their nap, or before your teenagers duck in just before curfew (or before one or both of you falls asleep from a gruelling work day), it’s no surprise that you might want to use a little lubricant.

Problems aside, some people just because they like the feel of wet, more slippery sex. Lubing up a partner’s penis, vagina or sex toy can be fun. Some people feel using lube makes it easier to experience orgasm. And it can make sex with condoms feel better too, so why not?

Famous sexologist and Gizmodo friend Dr Debby Herbenick will answer your sex questions this month. Every day, Dr Herbenick will give you a solid, scientific answer to commonly asked questions.


Dr Debby Herbenick, author of Sex Made Easy and Because It Feels Good: A Woman’s Guide to Sexual Pleasure and Satisfaction, is the Co-Director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion in the School of Public Health-Bloomington at Indiana University (IU) where she is a Research Scientist. She is also a sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction where she writes (and hosts audio podcasts of) the Kinsey Confidential column and coordinates educational programming. She has a PhD in Health Behavior from IU, a Master’s degree in Public Health Education (also from IU) and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Maryland, College Park. In addition, she is certified as a Sexuality Educator from the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists.


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