“Sex is painful”, “It’s not as enjoyable as people say it is”, “Every time I have sex with my husband, I feel very sore”, “On my wedding night, anyone who heard the noise from my room would think I was being raped”.
These and many more are comments we must have at one point or the other heard or read from women who are sexually active. Sex in itself is an enjoyable activity and what makes it more enjoyable is when each individual has a proper understanding of how their body works.
Now, statements like the ones above come as a result of pain during sex which is largely caused by inadequate lubrication. Vaginal dryness is a common condition affecting 50–70% of women after menopause. A lack of lubrication is the most common cause of painful intercourse.
There are three major causes of Vaginal dryness. These are;
- Ageing: as women age, they may start to see changes in their natural lubrication as they produce less estrogen with age.
- Lower estrogen: This can be caused by menopause (when a woman’s monthly menstrual period stops). Menopause can happen naturally with age or can be caused by some types of surgery, such as surgery to remove the ovaries.
- Some types of Cancer treatment: Cancer treatments that can cause vaginal dryness
A lack of vaginal moisture may have a significant impact on a woman’s sex life. Sex does not have to hurt. Fortunately, there are many available options to provide the vagina with moisture and make sex pleasurable. Adequate Lubrication is necessary for sexual intercourse because it prepares the vagina for penetration and makes it easy for the penis to enter while reducing any accompanying pain or irritation.
What are Vaginal Lubricants
Vaginal Lubricants are liquid substances that help to reduce friction and pain during sex. They will help make the vagina less dry and more comfortable. They also help increase pleasure during sex. Although the Vagina is self-lubricating, some women are much more lubricated than others. There are also cases of women who regardless of having enough lubricants prefer using lubricants as they feel the sex is better when they are more lubricated.
Why are women encouraged to use vaginal lubricants?
- Protection against sexual pain: A research carried out by Canadian researchers showed that when women were aroused or partially aroused (immediately after sexual activity or after a 15-minute rest period), their genital pain sensitivity was higher than it was when the women were not aroused. In other words, the study subjects reported more pain when they were aroused. This finding led the researchers to think more about lubrication as a way to protect against sexual pain by decreasing pressure on the genitals.
- Enhance arousal: Vaginal Lubricants aid arousal for sex. It helps women who usually are not easily aroused become aroused faster and easily. Other reasons why Vaginal Lubricants are important include boosting sexual pleasure, keeping the vaginal skin soft and reducing friction during penetration.
Types of Lubricants;
- Water-based lubricants: These are the most common types of lubricants. They come in two varieties: with glycerin, which has a slightly sweet taste, or without glycerin. Water-based lubricants are cost-effective, easy to find, and safe to use with condoms. They typically don’t stain sheets, either. Glycerin-free products are less likely to cause vaginal irritation. They also have a longer shelf-life.
- Silicon-based lubricants: Silicone-based lubricants are odourless and tasteless, slippery and smooth. They last the longest out of any lubricant and do not need to be reapplied as often as water-based lubricants. They’re safe to use with latex condoms.
- Oil-based lubricants: There are two types of oil-based lubricants, natural and synthetic. Oil-based lubricants are safe to use, inexpensive, and easily accessible. However, oils can irritate your skin and stain fabric. Natural-based oil lubricants like avocado, coconut, vegetable, and olive oils are great for genital massages. Oil-based lubricants should not be used with latex condoms. Instead, make use of oil-based condoms.
Things to Consider when choosing a Right Lubricant
Not all Lubricants will be perfect for you, so here are some things to note when looking for the right lubricant for you;
- If you’re dealing with dryness, long-lasting silicone lubricants are your best bet.
- If you’re prone to yeast infections. Stay away from lubricants with glycerin as they can trigger an infection.
- If you’re trying to conceive. Look for a lubricant that says it’s “sperm-friendly” or “fertility-friendly” on its packaging.
- If you’re going to use a condom. Avoid oil-based lubricants at all costs. Nothing destroys a latex condom quicker than oil-based lubricant.
- If you’re going to play in the shower. Opt for a silicone-based lubricant. Water-based products will rinse off as soon as you’re under the showerhead.
How to use lubricant effectively
While there is no right or wrong way to use lubricating, here are a few tips;
- Lay on a towel before applying to prevent staining.
- Rub the lubricants on your palms before applying.
- Include lubricant as a part of foreplay to boost arousal.
- Apply lubricant right before penetration.
- Be liberal when applying so that your vulva and vagina are sufficiently wet. Apply lubricant to the penis.
- Reassess how much lubricant is still on as you go, and reapply as needed.
Are there any side effects of Lubricants?
Most lubricants are free of side effects. However, it’s possible to have an allergic reaction to something in the lubricant. However, if you develop any of the following, please see your doctor;
- Difficulty breathing
- Any swelling, especially of the tongue, throat, or face
Also, see your doctor if you develop more frequent yeast infections when lubricant is a part of your regular routine.