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I've wanted to make this episode since Sexplanations started. I've known that it's an important topic and one where there's a lot of confusion. One of the reasons it's taken me five years to cover is the debate about whether or not artificial lube inhibits the production of natural lubrication. What I've decided to discuss, as we continue to learn, is what we currently know and the resources for decisions people are making now. People use lube. People use bad lube and they need to know what will make it better. Some people don't produce lube (I'm thinking about assholes too) and others need more than their bodies produce. This episode is meant to help all of you sort through the many many many options out there and encourage you to stay curious.

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Look at all this lube Adam and Eve sent me!?!?!

This is Sexplanations, I’m Dr. Lindsey Doe, and today with a generous sponsorship from Adam & Eve dot com we’re going to talk about artificial lubrication typically used to make sex and masturbation more pleasurable. [WHIP CRACKING, COUGH].

The earliest record of lube’s use is 350 BCE ancient Greece -- olive oil was used to lubricate leather dildos. Since then, a surgical lube became popular for vaginal sex; the shortening for baked goods caught on as a go-to for anal (it’s cheap, accessible, and the white color quickly shows if there’s bleeding). And in the 1930s the demand for petroleum jelly or what you may know of as Vaseline increased to ease masturbation for a generation of circumcised penises.

NOW lube is still used for pleasure, reducing friction, etc. but it’s also used for glossing your hair, speeding up your Rubix cube, de-squeaking door hinges, removing makeup, getting gauges in, and rings off, moisturizing your lips and skin. Maybe you own one of these bottles and you love it! Maybe you’re curious and shopping around.

This episode is a checklist for things you might consider when choosing a lube that's best for your body and activities. Most likely your first consideration will be appearance. I personally think: What’s going to look good on my nightstand?

Does it have a name that speaks to my sexual expression? Like am I more sliquid or wicked? It’s okay to let size, shape, colors, font etc influence your decision, but probably shouldn’t be the deal-breaker.

Consideration #2: compatibility. One of the most important considerations for lube is its compatibility with your body and sexual activities. Some are better for anal; some vaginal; there are lubes for toys; and lube for hand-jobs.

Find one for what you do. There are flavored lubes for oral play that taste and smell like food but aren’t great for vaginas. Numbing lubes can make penetration more comfortable but inhibit your ability to know when you’re body is being hurt!

Some lubes work with all types of condoms; others don’t. Find one for what you want to do. Water-based -- which usually has water as the primary ingredient or is marketed water-based, is compatible with all types of condoms and toy materials, and won’t stain the bed sheets.

But it tends not to last as long as silicone lube, which often isn’t compatible with other silicone products and tends to grease the sheets. Oil-based lube -- like massage oil, olive oil, and coconut oil is a third option, but this one deteriorates most condoms so paying attention to compatibility is important . Consideration #3: accessibility.

Can you obtain the lube? From the grocery store, an adult boutique, ordered online and delivered to your house? How accessible is it to acquire and how accessible is to use?

Can you get it open? Is it easy to hold? What if you’re already lubey?

Can you put it into a lube shooter and access it that way? If I’m over here doing one of these, and need more of this, I can stop and reapply, but I want it to be quick and easy. Just sayin’.

Consideration #4: quality. Quality of personal lubricants refers to how well they lubricate. Preferences are different person to person but a popular request is for lube that is slippery and smooth, not too watery, not too viscous or thick, has no grit, and doesn’t get sticky or tacky whole time you’re playing with it.

Consideration #5: price. For some of you price might be a big factor in which bottle you buy. Just because you like a lube doesn’t mean you can afford it, so this is where I start reading reviews.

Of the lube that’s in my price range, what’s the most liked? What are people saying about it? Can I get free shipping?

Or a discount? Some clinics give out free samples and you can usually buy small quantities I call pillows at stores to try a lube out before committing to a more expensive quantity. Or you can make your own lube!

Saliva is a lube that lots of people use, it’s easily accessible, cheap, and compatible with a lot of sexual behaviors. That being said it is also a way to pass pathogens and spicy flavors, so be cautious. More complicated DIY lube instructions are in the description.

They often include ingredients like coconut oil and flaxseed oil -- which can also be lube by themselves.

Note: some lubes are affected by temperatures and UV light. So read up on proper storage and follow recommendations. And lastly, please don’t substitute lube for preparation. Even if you choose to use lube, the body goes through physiological changes to get ready for sex and it’s valuable to wait for those changes before slathering up and plunging in.

At least most of the time. Stay curious. All these lubes and many more are available at adamandeve.com.

I recommend putting some samplers in your cart, getting 50% off an eligible item with the promo code DOE, then playing with them, deciding which one you love, and going back to adam and eve dot to use the promo code Doe again for a full bottle. With the discount code DOE you’ll get 50% off an eligible item when you checkout and free shipping in the US and Canada.