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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Ask SHIC: Special lube love edition

We love lube here at the Sexual Health Information Center (located on the first floor of Main), and so we are dedicating our entire column this week to it. Lube makes every sex act better (disclaimer: we didn’t want to spend our time thinking of every single sex act, so feel free to let us know about the ones we missed). Using lube decreases health risks and increases pleasure.

First: the health aspect. Without sufficient lubrication, you can tear the tissue in both the anus and the vagina, which is a) painful and b) increases the risk of STI transmission, since the disease-causing organisms get easy access to you. Because the anus is not self-lubricating (which you probably have realized by now), lube is crucial for anal sex. On the off chance that it’s not completely impossible to fit things into your anus without lube, doing so is extremely risky. Even vaginal intercourse can benefit from artificial lubricant, however. While the vagina is self-lubricating, the natural lubricant is not always enough, particularly during extended vaginal intercourse. Moral of the story is, even if your vagina is doing work already, it can still use help sometimes.

Lube can also increase your pleasure, so oral sex and masturbation benefit from lube as well. If there is too much friction, sex can become painful and unpleasant—regardless of your genitalia. The SHIC asserts that for most people this experience is not fun. Even just a little bit of lube can make a sexual encounter more enjoyable. You can get flavored lubes for oral sex (or other sex acts, presumably), but should avoid using them near vaginas because they contain glycerin, which can cause yeast infections (fun fact: the same is true of flavored dental dams). If you put some extra lube inside your condom (you might notice that there is already some lube inside of most condoms) you can increase sensation for the penis (f**k the patriarchy). You should use as much lube as is enjoyable for all partners. Mess around (pun intended, obviously) and figure out how much lube feels good. It will probably be different depending on the act, your mood and your partners.

Now that we all agree about how awesome lube is, here is some more information about it: There are two primary types of lube in the world: water- and silicone-based. Both types are easy to clean up with soap and water, and neither degrades latex condoms. Silicone-based lubes last longer than water-based lubes (because they are absorbed more slowly by the body), which makes them ideal for anal sex or extended sexual activities. They tend to be slightly more expensive than water-based lubes, however, and will also melt silicone sex toys. Don’t use them with silicone sex toys. They are also more likely to stain fabrics than water-based lubes, so keep that in mind.

There is a tendency to use oil-based substances (body lotion, chocolate syrup) instead of water- or silicone-based lubes. We know that it is convenient to grab some hand lotion from your desk, but there are several reasons to avoid doing so. 1. Oil degrades latex (latex condoms are made of latex), which increases the chance that your condom will break. 2. Many such products include glycerin, which can cause yeast infections. Our bottle of St. Ives Intensive Healing body lotion definitely does, and so does our bottle of Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion. 3. They are not as effective at lubricating. Have you ever noticed how moisturizer is absorbed into your skin when you rub it on your face? The same thing happens when you rub it on other parts of your body, and as a result it stops lubricating effectively.

The SHIC sells pillows of both water and silicone-based lube in regular and warming varieties (25¢), and bottles of lube ($3). We also sell condoms (25¢), and pregnancy tests ($1). If you don’t like to support student groups on campus, you can buy lube at drug or grocery stores. If you want more kinds of lube (flavored, extra long-lasting), you can find all of them and more online. One good site is (we wish we got paid to plug that website).

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