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Use a Vaginal Lubricant

Reviewed by Dr. Barb DePree, MD

Sexual lubricants for women are made to reduce friction during sex, making sex more enjoyable. You may need to experiment to find the right vaginal lubricant for you, but you'll be pleasantly surprised once you've found your favorite.

Comfortable vaginal intercourse requires vaginal lubrication. In menopause, and even  before menopause, many of us can’t count on producing enough lubrication when we need it, so vaginal dryness is a very common complaint. Even when we are able to produce enough vaginal wetness, lubricants can make vaginal penetration... well, better.

Choose the lubricant that's right for you. We created a list of the 7 Water Based Lubricants if you decide to go the non silicone route. 

There are many formulations of lubricants, designed for different types of sex. Finding the right one for your body and sexual preferences may take some experimentation. You will want one especially designed for a woman’s body, of course. For the vagina, a water-based lube is always a healthy choice. Petroleum-derived oils and oil-based lubes should never be used as a vaginal lubricant. They will change the pH of the vagina, encouraging bacterial growth. Oils will also break down latex condoms.

Many water-based lubes contain glycerin, and most of us have no problem using glycerin lubes. But if you’re prone to yeast infections, a glycerin-free lube will likely be a better choice for you.

Silicone-based lubes are long-lasting and work well under water, but should never be used with silicone toys. Silicone lube on a silicone toy will ruin the toy’s surface. Because silicone toys are usually the pricier ones, you’ll want to remember this rule if you own a nice vibrator. Remember that silicone lubes never dry out. You will need access to warm water and soap to remove them from your skin. It can take some time for your vagina to eliminate silicone.

If you have sensitive skin, consider a lubricant rated Top Free by SkinSAFE, such as Uberlube silicone lubricant, or Velvet Rose water-based lubricant.

How To Use a Personal Lubricant

Using a lube is easy and allows for some sexy playfulness, once you get the hang of it.

  1. Lubrication choice is an individual matter. If you’re trying lubes for the first time, buy small amounts and try them for a while. Take your time to find a lube that works for both you and your partner. 
  2. Keep your lube near your bed, where you can find and reach it easily. Carry sachets in your purse or car to be ready for spontaneous romance.
  3. With most lubes, a quarter-sized dollop is about the average amount needed for nice, slippery penetration, but check the instructions that come with the lube you choose. Some go further than others.
  4. To avoid a cold shock, squirt the lube onto your hands first. Rub them together, and then apply to your body or your partner’s, or to your toy. You can warm your lube in a mug of hot water (not in the microwave--too easy to burn yourself).
  5. A drop of lubricant in the tip of a condom will help a man feel more sensation during sex with condoms. But just a drop, or the condom may not stay in place.
  6. Take a moment to note whether the lubricant worked for you and your partner--or not. And if it didn't, try more, less, or a different product. Lubricants are the easiest way to overcome discomfort--and add some playfulness to intimacy.