Reproductive Health

Lubricant (Lube)

2 min read

What is lubricant? 

Personal lubricant or “lube” is a clear liquid/gel used to make sexual activity more enjoyable. A vagina produces its own natural form of lubrication, but sometimes it may not be enough for someone to feel comfortable. People of all ages use lube and for many people it’s a personal choice, not always a necessity in order to have sex. 

How do I use lube? 

Lube can be used during masturbation, oral sex, anal sex, penetrative sex (a penis entering a vagina), and it can also be used with sex toys. You can always start with a small amount and add more as needed. 

If you’re using lube with an external condom, it should be applied to the outside of the condom and may help prevent breakage. If you’re using lube with an internal condom, you can apply it both inside and outside the condom if desired. It’s highly recommended to use lube during anal sex to reduce friction because the anus does not naturally produce lubricant like the vagina does. 

How do I choose a type of lube?

The three types of lube are water-based, oil-based, and silicone-based. If you have sensitive skin, look for a water-based lube. Oil-based lube shouldn’t be used with condoms or sex toys and is mostly for skin-to-skin contact. Silicone-based lube is okay to use with condoms, but not silicone sex toys or diaphragms. Some lube comes with certain tastes or scents, but it’s generally recommended to avoid these so they don’t cause yeast infections or bacterial vaginosis. You can buy lube at a pharmacy or grocery store and no prescription is required. If you’re trying to conceive, make sure you use fertility-friendly lube (such as Pre-Seed) because regular lube can be toxic to sperm.

Are there any side effects of lube?

Lube is very safe to use. It’s possible some people with sensitive skin may have a reaction or irritation from certain ingredients in lube, so it can be helpful to read the label carefully and try a small amount to begin with. 

Does lube protect me against sexually transmitted infections?

No, lube does not protect against sexually transmitted infections and does not protect against pregnancy. Water-based lubes are often used in combination with condoms, which do protect against STIs and pregnancy. 


Looking for more personalized info? Message a doctor through Twentyeight to get medical advice based on your needs and lifestyle. 

With the participation of
Dr. Jacquelyn Stone

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