Lube: way fucking better than I used to think it was

Image by the brilliant Stuart F Taylor

Confession: I used to hate lube. Not all the time, I could see it had its merits. When you’re bumming, for instance, there is no natural lubricant up your arse, so a fuckload of the sticky stuff is as essential as a safety rope if you’re climbing a mountain.

For hand jobs, I could get on board with lube as a means of making the whole thing more special – just the right kind of tingling lube at the perfect moment, or a good dollop to enable better use of a masturbation sheath. Fine.

But for sex? I wasn’t sure. I feel like a total nob for admitting this but lube used to seem like a sign of personal failure.

I haven’t talked about this much before, and to wrench a nugget of total honesty out of my cringing heart, I hadn’t really discussed it with my partners either. Occasionally, if I was horny but a bit too drunk to slick my knickers, I’d pop to the bathroom on the way to the bedroom. Pull down my pants, spit on my hand, and rub it in the right places: fake what I couldn’t make.

Sometimes, after this cheat, a guy would tell me I was ‘so wet’, and grin that wolfish, horny grin that I loved so much, and in that moment the juice would start to flow. Other times it wouldn’t, and I’d sigh with relief that I’d thought to do the spit thing beforehand. Avoiding an awkward conversation in which I had to tell him I wasn’t wet, or get involved in some fumbling foreplay that I’d have preferred to skip in favour of the train-in-tunnel stuff. And of course the problem with foreplay is that if I know it’s happening just to get me wet, then my brain won’t shut up about this fact. We’re wriggling and frotting together, feeling my body start to get into it, when my tedious mind pipes up with:

“Is it working? Is it working? Is it working?” Like a crappy backseat driver asking when we’ll reach our destination, thus ruining the fun of the road trip.

So yeah. Lube.

You’d think I’d have embraced it. You’d think I’d have said ‘oh hey, you know what has literally been invented for these very moments?’ before pulling a bottle out of my bedside drawer, like a sexual conjuror, magically making everything sexy again.

But I didn’t.

And it’s hard to explain why I didn’t. Part of it was presumably a misplaced sense of shame and failure – that if my body doesn’t do this one thing as easily as it always did when I was fifteen, then my body is broken and wrong. Or probably closer to the truth: that if I can’t get wet like I did yesterday, whichever guy I’m with will worry that he’s not as hot as he was yesterday. That some of his magic has rubbed off and we’ll never get that feeling back again.

Obviously that’s crap. It’s as crap as believing that because I never got a hangover after a vodka-binge during college, I’d be hangover-free for the rest of my life. As ridiculous as the notion that things will always be the same.

So this blog’s an ode to lube, and a celebration of it. A massive and relieved sigh of pleasure as the first cold drops touch my cunt. To the joy of watching a guy slick up his hand and rub it slowly and determinedly over his entire erection, until the whole thing is glistening and ready to fuck me.

It’s my admission that, frequently, I am spectacularly wrong.

I love lube. I’m sorry I ever doubted it.

Want to buy some lube? My sponsors never ask me to write about anything in particular, but I figured a post like this is as good an excuse as any to get you to buy stuff from them, so here are a couple of links in case you want to buy some:


    • Girl on the net says:

      Was this the only thing you took away from that blog post? That I spell ‘nob’ without a ‘k’? That this difference between us is so insurmountable that you would like to train me to spell the word in the same way as you do? I’m sad about that, and I do hope you find someone with whom to talk about it.

  • Naga says:

    I was a virgin before meeting my first wife, and had no clue about lube except “that stuff gay guys use,” and I wasn’t even real clear on how that went. Nor did she (who was experienced) ever mention it. So we never used it, and sometimes the friction was unpleasant.

    In sum, sex ed in our country is the pits. I’ve done my best with my now-grown son.

    I will mention that I lovelovelove a sloppy lubed handjob.

  • Northern Boy says:

    To slip and slide,
    To glide inside,
    Over, under or around,
    Reach for the water based tube at hand,
    Sachets for only a pound!

  • Gussie says:

    Absolutely right: lube is for winners.

  • Eleanor says:

    I used to feel the same way, that if I needed lube I’d failed. Thankfully I’ve (mostly?) moved post that. Now failure or not who cares I’m having some delicious, slippery sex!

  • Jo says:

    Women are taught that if we don’t start gushing the moment that a bloke looks at us the right way, then we’re broken (same with guys and erections)… which is SO FUCKED-UP, especially considering the fact that there’s only a ten percent overlap in women between actual arousal and genital response (See Emily Nagoski’s Come As You Are). I get wet when I’m not aroused; sometimes I’m horny as fuck and just don’t self-lubricate. It’s important to start having public conversations about the fact that what our genitals are doing doesn’t always relate to how we’re feeling, so thanks for writing on this topic.

  • sarapallas says:

    I felt exactly the same, and thankfully I also came around (literally*). Although the orange Durex one is so sticky, omg the sheets the sheets.

    *I’m sorrynotsorry

  • paul says:

    My wife of 27 years has recently gone / going through the change this can cause some problems with dryness and just a lack of the juicy stuff that we both love. We have tried many lubes but have been underwhelmed by most if not all of them as they tend to not last very long go sticky and even cause some discomfort for both.
    If you could recommend a lube that is of a near replica to the female juices would be a God send.
    Paul & Diane

    • Holly says:

      I know you didn’t ask me, but I’d recommend Sliquid lube! I’ve had some pretty underwhelming experiences with lube in my life, but this stuff is pretty great.

  • Desire on wheels says:

    Yeah, I’ve had this hanging over me in the past, which resulted in some spectacularly painful sex when I was young and too shy to talk to people about this or read up on it (and the internet was in its infancy anyway). I’ve had problems with vulvodynia (pain in the vulva and vagina) on and off throughout my adult life, and my thingummy glands are not particularly good at this lubrication business, so lube is an essential for me. By now I have a lube I like and automatically reach for it early on, and we just get on with it without worry. It is so, so nice to be past the stage of fretting about that. It’s like a switch being flipped.

    Incidentally, silicone lube often does not get enough love, so here I am to cheer it on. Silicone lube! It’s great! It’s inert so it doesn’t seep into your mucus membranes! It doesn’t contain weird ingredients that will cause burning pain! It stays put once it’s on and you are beautifully lubricated all night! Despite the rumours, it is fine with good quality silicone toys (test a bit if you’re cautious)! And for some reason the NHS, specifically their sexual health helpline, are going around telling people that it is incompatible with condoms, which is total bullshit. We should find out who to write to about that, because the NHS should not be steering people away from an excellent form of lube which is great at reducing friction and thus reducing the chance of condom tears, not to mention helping with pain issues.

  • Woodyyy85 says:

    The most intriguing thing about this for me (as a man) is the comparison between this and ED. From what you’ve stated, the mental roundabout that women go through over their ‘wetness’ is the same emotional merrygoround that men can go through with the hardness of their cock. Yet I must confess I was ignorant to this female issue, as I know many women are about ED and it’s causes/implications.

    Your solution is lube, for many men it can be Viagra.

    Ultimately the biggest solution to both is being communicative to your partner, knowing what each other enjoys and being honest about how you feel in that moment.

  • I had trouble after the pause, but went onto HRT and that resolved it. My doctor suggested I come off it about five years ago, but the lubes we bought were awful. None of them felt like the real thing to him or me and we tended to use saliva. In the end I went back on HRT and Peter checks my breasts around twice a week for lumps etc. as that seems to be the biggest danger with HRT.

    Peter also battles ED, but losing weight has helped reduce the need for sildenafil which is good as he worries about the flushed feeling the drug gives him.

    Never tried silicon based lube. If ever I need any again I’ll give that a try.

    I’m talking about MF sex here. I have occasionally used lube for toys without a problem.

    Good article. Thanks.

  • amanwhodoes says:

    We learned this rhyme in primary school playground :
    “Rich girl uses Vaseline,
    Poor girl uses lard;
    but Dinah uses axle-grease,
    it keeps them nice and hard !”

  • Pandora says:

    It was queer safer sex that taught me lube was a gift to be embraced, celebrated, and used as often as fucking possible. Once I’d got into the rhythm of using clingfilm, gloves, toys and condoms on toys, lube really wasn’t any extra faff. I’ve never been successfully fisted without lube, not to mention its uses for anal sex, and there’s something deliciously filthy about slowly lubing up your strap-on in preparation for plunging it into someone.

    Oh, and my clit is hella sensitive so I use lube when I wank, too. There are a few occasions when sex is hotter without lube (rape play, romping in the great outdoors, submitting to barely-ready selfish quickies, those times when someone can turn me on so much with their words or their touch or by doing terrible things to me that I’m literally gooing down my thighs), but not many.

  • Pandora says:

    (Obviously the toys/lube/condom combo has to be done responsibly. I tend to use silicon toys, so the condoms are usually latex and the lube is water-based. But silicon lubes are looooovely and last much longer if you aren’t using toys/condoms, or if they’re made of something else.)

    • Girl on the net says:

      Yes – 100% agree. for just hand jobs/shagging and that kind of stuff, silicon lube is my fave. Also loving the phrase ‘gooing down my thighs’ =)

  • Ripley says:

    Coconut oil.

    You will never look back.

  • Flirty at Forty says:

    Have only just discovered the joys of lube. I think there’s definitely a stigma, which you highlight. For me: Am I broken? For him: Am I doing something wrong? I always wondered if I’d ever orgasm, as I’d get sore and irritated before getting to the really good bit. I’m mourning 20 odd years of lost sex life, but making up for it now. I just wish I’d known back then.

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