Lubrication's Role in Intimacy
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Explore "Enhancing Foreplay and Physical Intimacy" in another podcast episode.
The Natural Moisture of Vaginal Tissue
Vaginal tissue naturally stays moist, thanks to fluids from the cervix and secretions from the Bartholin's glands, located near the vaginal opening. These fluids increase during ovulation and sexual arousal, preparing the vagina for penetration, reducing friction, and preventing discomfort. Insufficient lubrication often leads to painful intercourse.
Dispelling the Lubrication Myths
A common misconception is that extra lubrication is only necessary when problems arise. Additionally, some wrongly assume that younger women don't require lubrication. However, many young brides, eager grooms on their wedding night, can attest to the importance of additional lubrication.
Even in healthy young women, the vagina may not produce enough lubrication for various reasons:
1. Medications such as contraceptives, antidepressants, and allergy drugs.
2. Hormonal changes due to contraception, pregnancy, breastfeeding, menstruation, or childbirth.
5. Stress, anxiety, and relationship issues.
6. Chemical products like harsh soaps, douches, or perfumed toilet paper.
7. Lack of foreplay.
The Need for Lubrication
A study involving 2,451 women aged 18-68 revealed that women generally view lubricants positively. They find sex more comfortable, pleasurable, and enjoyable when using lubrication. Proper lubrication can also enhance men's sexual experience by providing comfort and prolonging intercourse.
One crucial reason for using lubrication is to prevent damage or irritation to sensitive vaginal, penile, and anal tissues. These tissues, lined with mucous membranes like the mouth and nose, are highly susceptible to tears without adequate lubrication. These micro-tears can lead to pain, irritation, and increased vulnerability to infections.
Choosing the Right Lubricant
When selecting a lubricant, it's essential to make an informed choice rather than opting for convenience. Many well-known lubricant brands contain toxic chemicals unsuitable for intimate use. These ingredients have not been adequately tested for their impact on genital health.
Pay attention to ingredients in lubricants, as some can be potentially harmful:
1. Glycerin(e): Linked to yeast overgrowth and tissue dehydration.
2. Propylene Glycol: A sensitizer derived from petroleum, increasing the risk of allergic reactions.
3. Nonoxynol 9 & Chlorhexidine Gluconate: While designed to kill microbes, they can also harm healthy bacteria and cell integrity.
4. Petroleum Oils: Breeding grounds for bacteria and slow to clear from the body.
5. Polyquaternium-15: Enhances viral activity, making it risky for STI contraction.
6. Benzocaine: Numbing agent and skin irritant.
7. Sugars: Can feed yeast and create friction.
8. Menthol: Commonly found in "warming sensation" lubes, akin to applying icy-hot on genitals.
Types of Lubricants
There are four main types of lubricants:
1. Water-based: Offers various options, is condom-compatible, and resembles natural lubrication but dries quickly.
2. Oil-based: Provides lasting moisture but is not compatible with most condoms and may not be suitable for internal use.
3. Silicone-based: Hypoallergenic, long-lasting, and compatible with safer sex methods; not suitable for silicone sex toys.
4. Hybrid (Silicone & Water): Less likely to cause irritation but not hypoallergenic, longer-lasting than water-based lubes.
Select a lubricant that suits your specific needs, and be aware of your body's sensitivities when reviewing ingredient lists.