The no.1 thing Glamour Sex Editor Gemma Askham tells EVERYONE...
Sex tips. Some make your vulva do a victory dance, like peeing after sex. Some make your vulva want to sprout spikes and sound the thrush alarm - like, say, a clitoris piercing.
But sometimes a brilliant sex thing gets lumped with the bad. If an act's out of favour in porn, expect it to get binned along with your full bush. While some things are simply slow adopters. Take health: a few years ago we thought matcha was a dating site.
There's no worse case of mistaken identity than lube. Yes, lube! The tube that makes you blush in Boots will multiply your great-sex feels and ban the chafe. (Because walking like a penguin from Planet Earth 2 isn't cute when your groin's to blame). Plus, transform a parched hand-job into something he can't get himself. Yep, there's a LOT more to lube than its bum-sex rep.
Lube doesn't mean you're bone(r) dry
Lube is like Crème de la Mer for your crotch - expect an instant, 'wow, this feels goooooood.' Because sometimes getting P into V is like changing a toilet roll holder: the end's in… then it pops out… then you push… Wetness varies per person, throughout your menstrual cycle, and with diet, stress, birth control and medication. Resistance doesn't mean your bits aren't playing ball - it means that 'dripping wet' should only ever have been a term for plumbers.
There's more to lube than a strawberry-flavoured crotch
Lube comes in a sweetshop of flavours (or none), but follow your eye before your mouth. First, look for 'pH balanced'. Without this you risk disrupting the natural bacteria in your vagina, which is like WhatsApping thrush and asking it to join. Then, pick your blend. "Lubricant is typically categorised by the key ingredient in its formula," explains sexual health expert Samantha Evans, a former nurse and co-owner of . There are three choices from your lube barista:
Water-based - most like your natural wetness
Good for? "Being mild, and safe to use with all sex toys and contraceptives."
Bad for? Drying out mid-use due to air exposure or the water in it being absorbed (safely) by your body. Reapply or reactivate with water.
Oil-based - the least messy
Good for? Stamina. "Thicker than water-based, it lasts longer, so you enjoy sex for longer."
Bad for? oms. "Oil-based is NOT compatible with latex condoms." Avoid oil-based substances like Vaseline and baby oil (not vadge-friendly).
Silicone-based - the slipperiest (and waterproof)
Good for? "Use in water and lasting ages." A little goes a long way.
Bad for? Your shower floor during sex, which turns you into Bambi on ice. May also stain bed sheets, and can damage silicone sex toys, leaving them feeling tacky.
There's a super-simple lube/condom code
Latex condoms can't handle oil-based lubricants.
Non-latex condoms (i.e. Durex Latex Free) are suitable with all types of lubricant.
Lube can free your bits from a cystitis curse
Mainlining cranberry juice? "Lubricants can reduce the incidence of cystitis and UTIs," confirms Evans. "Having frequent or vigorous sex can cause the bladder to become inflamed, promoting infection. Lack of vaginal lubrication can irritate the vagina, vulva and urethra, leading to 'honeymoon cystitis'." Minimise irritation by slipping onto something more comfortable.
Lube can help with thrush (but read the ingredients first)
On one hand, lube is great for giving the dreaded bird the boot. "The friction during quickies or rough sex encourages heat and small grazes to the walls of the vagina. These encourage bacterial growth, leading to thrush," explains Evans. Cut friction and you stop micro-tears, leaving a happier V-zone.
However, artificial ingredients in some lubes were not built with crotch sanity in mind. "Your vagina and clitoris are highly absorbent," says Evans. "Parabens, petroleum-based ingredients (found in petroleum jelly), glycerin and glucose can promote yeast infections and leave your vagina feeling itchy, sore and uncomfortable." If you're prone to sensitivity, give dyes a wide berth too, and look for natural flavourings, not artificial ones (often full of thrush-spawning sugars like glycerine or glycol).
Will tingling lubes set my crotch on fire?
"Some people love them, others hate them, but we never recommend them," says Evans. Why? Because they can include substances never designed for genitals, like - brace yourself - menthol and chilli. GAH. "Always try a small amount first. If you experience burning, stinging or itching, wash it off immediately."
5 of the best super-sex lubes
, from £5.99. Award-winning plant-based range, in water and oil formulas, that's pH balanced to avoid reactions and sensitivity.
, from £7.99. Its silicone-based Bodyglide is a staple in porn. Sensitive? Try Pjur Nude - a water-based version.
, from £9.99. A wide product range, free from thrush-triggering sugar derivatives, glycerine and parabens.
, £12.99. Silicone lube designed specifically for black skins, which can have a different pH.
Licx lube sachets, £4.99 for 5 x 5ml. Sachet-size lube-ettes, ideal for travelling or trialling.
Have a sex question or topic you'd like to know more about? Gemma would love to hear from you. Email her at [email protected]