Lubricants are liquids or gels used during sex to reduce dryness and friction. They can be applied to the penis as well as to the female genitals or anus. Sex as well as masturbation or similar sexual acts usually become more pleasant and pleasurable with lubricant. To put it bluntly, it simply feels hornier when it slides properly — and that can greatly increase pleasure. Because lubricants reduce dryness and friction during sexual intercourse, they are a popular choice for both partners, especially for anal sex. The reduced friction makes it less likely that a condom will rip.

Lubricants are mainly used by women when vaginal dryness makes sex difficult, uncomfortable, or even painful. There can be many reasons for vaginal dryness. Too little or no stimulation as well as lack of arousal can equally lead to the vagina not producing its natural lubricant. During menopause and breastfeeding, fluctuations in hormone levels can lead to persistent vaginal dryness. But vaginal dryness can also be caused by an underlying condition like diabetes. Whatever the reason, the result is that she always remains dry, which can make penetration uncomfortable or even painful. Therefore, if vaginal dryness persists, a gynaecological examination should definitely take place. If the vaginal dryness is due to changes in hormone levels, vaginal creams containing oestrogens can help as part of hormone replacement therapy. These and other special creams that sustainably moisten the vagina for up to three days are only available in pharmacies, i.e., they require a prescription. Lubricant is also recommended for erection problems because a penis that is not fully erect can be inserted into the vagina more easily with lubricant. There are a variety of lubricant brands that are available without a prescription in drugstores, supermarkets or online. The different lubricants are usually based on oil, water, or silicone.

Oil-based lubricants are effective for a long time, do not stick, and even work during sex in water. However, they have the significant disadvantage that they can attack latex condoms and cause them to tear. They can also leave unsightly stains on textiles and are difficult to rinse off. If you use latex condoms or femidoms for safe sex and/or contraception, you should never use oils as a lubricant. Although polyurethane condoms are an exception, it is always better to simply use a different lubricant specifically for condoms. Massage oil, baby oil and Vaseline should only be used during sex when a contraceptive method besides a condom is used or when you are deliberately not using contraception. But even then, such oils can irritate the sensitive vaginal mucosa. For this reason alone, lubricants are more suitable for intimate massages (yoni massages) than pure oil.

Water-based lubricants are usually quite inexpensive. They do not stain bed linen or clothing, are available everywhere, and wash off easily after sex. Of particular note is that water-based lubricants can be used with all condoms without affecting their durability.

Silicone lubricants are also non-sticky, last just as long as oil-based products, and can also be used underwater. In addition, they can be used with all types of condoms without any problems. Compared to other lubricants, however, silicone gels are relatively expensive. Other disadvantages are the bitter taste and the marks they can leave on fabric.

If you have sensitive skin, you should choose a lubricant with as few ingredients as possible and a skin-neutral pH value. Especially in the anal area as well as on the genitals, the skin is particularly sensitive and can react more strongly to some chemical ingredients than in other places. Preservatives, parabens, and dyes can therefore cause allergic reactions or irritation in sensitive skin. In addition to all conventional lubricants, there are also lubricants with special effects. One example is the heat effect. The heat is supposed to make the feeling of stimulation even more intense.

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