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Dr. Barbara Frank on the Importance of Lube

Barbara Frank

The what, why, how, and where of smoother sex. 

Lubricant, aka “lube”, is not just the stuff you catch your teenage boy hiding under his bed. 

We ALL need it! Young, old, beginner, or more advanced.

The ‘What’

Lubricant shouldn’t make you turn red in the face when saying the word. Let’s disarm the stigma and call it like it is -- it’s a substance used to minimize friction. That’s all! 

The ‘Why’

The main reasons sex, masturbation, or penetration can be painful is because there is too much friction from contact between two surfaces. Natural lubrication, made by one’s body, is wonderful and is meant to reduce such painful friction, but not everyone makes enough. 

… Maybe you just had a baby and you are nursing. There are a lot of hormones that go into making breast milk which leads to your vagina being neglected, hormonally-speaking. 

… Certain types of birth control, antihistamine medications, antidepressants, and dehydration can also cause a decrease in natural lubrication.

… Atrophic vaginitis is the fancy word for not enough estrogen or elasticity (partly due to lack of collagen). This happens as you age past menopause and also what happens during the postpartum period. 

… Other reasons could be medications you are on for a history of breast cancer, which can put your poor vagina in menopause early.

… Or, it may be as simple as your body’s natural lubricant running out before you or your partner are done. 

Regardless of “why”, know that you can easily keep sex going smoothly with the help of some lube.

The 'How'

So how does one go about finding the right partner lubricant? :)

The 3 most important things are that it will be non irritating, that it will last a while, and that it won’t break the bank - because you want to use it regularly. Also, while most lubricants are safe with latex condoms, it’s important to double check the fine print.

Honestly, my favorite lubricant these days is a tie between coconut oil and Liquid Silk (brand name). The household name “KY Jelly” is great if it works for you - however, it is water based and if you are really dry it tends to soak right into the vaginal tissue like osmosis, leaving you back at square one pretty quickly. 

If you are keen to spice it up and want to try warming types or flavors be cautious because they can turn to sugar in the vagina which can make a great home for yeast to proliferate.

Be warned, that using lube can be a bit messy - just put down a towel so you don’t ruin your sheets. Also, some may need to be washed off after or you will be sleeping with a sticky feeling!

If sex starts to hurt you are doing damage to the vaginal tissue. You should stop and add more lubrication. 

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again! Don’t be discouraged. You don’t have to commit to one type of lubricant and it may take time to find your favorite. You may have one you like with your partner and one you like with your favorite vibrator!

The 'Where'

Where does one buy lubricant? You don’t have to go to your local sex toy shop - although they will have a lot of options and good customer service. You can look online or even at Whole Foods.

- Dr. Barbara Frank, OBGYN and passionate advocate for smoother sex


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