While hearing the words “personal lubricant” may make some people feel uncomfortable, being comfortable daily and during sexual activity is important to quality of life. Unfortunately, embarrassment leaves many people unsure about which products might be right for them. Our guide will help you confidently, and discreetly, select the right personal lubricant to meet your needs. Keep the following in mind as you consider personal lubricant products:
Common causes of vaginal dryness include peri-menopause and menopause, childbirth and breast-feeding, douching, and certain medications that treat allergies, colds, depression, uterine fibroids, and endometriosis.
Sudden vaginal dryness may signal a more serious health issue such as Sjogren’s syndrome, an autoimmune condition in which the immune system attacks moisture-producing cells in the body, so talk to your doctor if you are experiencing vaginal dryness for the first time.
If itching or burning is your only symptom, your issue may not be dryness; you may have a treatable condition such as a yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis.
You may need more than one personal lubricant. A daily vaginal moisturizer can relieve burning and itching due to general vaginal dryness, while a thicker personal lubricant may be necessary to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable sex life.
Do not use oil-based lubricants with condoms, as this type of lubricant can cause condoms to break.
If a personal lubricant causes discomfort, itching, or burning, discontinue use immediately. You may be allergic to an ingredient in the product. If these symptoms do not resolve within a day, call your doctor.
What they are: Vaginal moisturizers are designed to mimic natural vaginal lubrication and to relieve generalized vaginal dryness.
Why to buy: If your vaginal dryness is due to ongoing or permanent hormonal changes, such as those caused by menopause or breast-feeding, using a vaginal moisturizer daily can greatly increase your comfort and relieve itching.
Things to consider: Vaginal moisturizers alone may not be enough to allow for comfortable and pain-free sexual activity. You may need an additional product to address this issue.
What they are: Personal lubricants are designed to help women with or without vaginal dryness have a pain-free and more enjoyable sex life. These products are silicone-, oil- or water-based, and come as jellies or gels, often in a tube or squeezable container.
Why to buy: Inadequate lubrication before sexual activity can lead to painful intercourse. A personal lubricant can address this problem, making sex better for both partners.
Things to consider: Many people find that water-based lubricants feel more natural; however, they may not last as long or provide enough lubrication for longer or multiple sessions of sexual intercourse. Silicone-based lubricants often feel thicker and tend to last longer. Do not use oil lubricants with condoms, as they can cause condoms to fail.
What they are: Arousal lubricant products are designed to provide additional pleasurable sensations during sexual activity. For example, they may include a gel for each partner, which heat up upon contact with one another.
Why to buy: If you have difficulty maintaining arousal during sexual activity, or if you’re open to experimenting with new ways to spice up your sex life, you may enjoy an arousal lubricant product.
Things to consider: These products contain more ingredients than basic lubricants. More ingredients may mean a higher likelihood of an allergic or other unpleasant reaction; you may want to try out a product privately to make sure it works for you, before introducing it during sexual activity with your partner.