Warming Oils and Lubricants: Hot Topicals

As we age, along with everything else we lose (our keys, our glasses, our hearing), it’s common to lose sensation in our genitals. Less sensation makes it harder to achieve arousal, which can lead to becoming less interested in sex. Blame it on lower hormone levels. One easy, inexpensive, and often fun way to stimulate the genital area is with warming oils or lubricants. There’s a reason why when we become aroused, we feel “hot.” Blood flows to the genital area, creating a flush of warmth. Warming oils or lubricants are products that cause a chemical reaction when applied to the skin. They create a sensation of warmth that simulates the heat of arousal. It’s intended to feel good and to give us a little “leg up” to actual arousal. Warming oils and lubricants may contain minty or peppery ingredients, or they may contain natural herbs, spices, or even vitamins that cause that a warming chemical reaction. Some may have added flavors or colors. Use these warming products on healthy, intact tissue; don’t use them if you have any irritation or abrasion in your genital area. It’s also important to test a small area to make sure you like the feeling and don’t have an allergic reaction. Warming lubricants that are water-based can be applied as you would any lubricant—a generous tablespoonful to your own or your partner’s genitals. Warming oils are intended to be used only externally. Inside, they’re not conducive to good vaginal health, and they can also degrade the latex in a condom. You can spread warming oils on the labia, over the clitoral hood, and around the vaginal area. Some women like to include their nipples. Men like it, too, but avoid using oils on the penis if there’s a chance of vaginal penetration. In addition to their practical function, warming lubricants or oils can add an element of shared pleasure to your sex life. And that can be arousing, too.

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