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Lube 101: actual truths and false myths

More than an afterthought, lube is the kind of staple product we should always keep at hand to make sure fun times are also safe times.

By Aurelie | 21 September 2021
Illustration of a woman in a tub

Water-based lube is the most versatile of all: TRUE.

Water, silicone, oil, or a combination of two or more: with so many options on the market, choosing the right lube is no easy task. 

All come with pros, although a few have pretty big cons. While they do provide fantastic glide (and might even verge on the too slippery), oil and silicone present a set of challenges: while oil-based formulas can be used with most silicone vibrators, they aren’t suitable for condom use as they might cause breakage. On the contrary, silicone-based formulas do not threaten the integrity of condoms but should never be used with sex toys.

The perfect alternative? A water-based lube, a safe and mess-free option that suits all kinds of scenarios: masturbation and intercourse, sex with condoms and vibrators. 

This is precisely why we chose to make Flow a water-based formula, with aloe vera as a natural superstar core ingredient. 

You don’t need lube for masturbation: FALSE.

While most of us might reach for the lube for a penetration-heavy self-pleasure session, we might overlook just how important it is for other kinds of masturbation. 

Those with vulvas might feel clitoral stimulation requires no additional lubrication, and yet that couldn’t be more wrong: dry rubbing could lead to dry, tight and chafed skin, which will result in the kind of irritation that will leave vulvas feeling irritated and itchy; it could even lead to pain or swelling.

Similarly, penises can suffer as a result of the dryness and friction caused by unlubricated masturbation. Two words: lube up!

Lube is only really good for people who experience vaginal dryness: FALSE.

We recently discussed vaginal dryness and debunked some of the inaccurate beliefs that surround it. 

However, there are many reasons why one may not reach optimal lubrication levels, regardless of their current vaginal condition. Lack of arousal might be the first and most obvious reason to explore, and while lubricant could certainly take care of the physical aspects, let us remind ourselves we should never feel pressured into having sex or force anything upon ourselves just to be “nice”. 

Even those who lubricate experience variations in moisture level throughout the arc of intercourse. What may have started as a seamless and slippery experience might turn out to be a chaffing fest, with all the discomfort that might occur as a result. 

Another fundamental consideration: not all intercourse is vaginal intercourse. And no one would disagree on how no anal penetration should ever be enjoyed without plenty of lube. 

Saliva is a free and safe alternative to lubricant: FALSE.

If you were perhaps tempted to use saliva as an endless supply of free lubricant, one word of advice: don’t.

a) It’s just not very good, it dries up and just isn’t the right texture.

b) Saliva carries all sorts of enzymes and bacteria, most of which are highly different from vaginal bacteria. Used in lieu of lube, it might very easily disrupt vaginal microbiome and result in yeast infection or vaginosis. 

c) Any oral STI would very easily transfer from mouth or throat to genitals, whether it is herpes, gonorrhoea, chlamydia, HPV, syphilis or trichomoniasis. 

The use of lubricant can create a sense of shame: SAD BUT TRUE.

Because we often confuse lack of lubrication with vaginal dryness, and because vaginal dryness is often associated with menopause and taps into our collective fear of ageing (who can blame us), it is quite easy to figure out why suggesting lubricant use to a partner might feel somewhat daunting. 

And while no one likes uneasy conversations and potential awkwardness, the pros very much outweigh the cons as lubricant use opens up a world of pleasurable, seamless, risk-free experiences while actively promoting sexual health. Healthy vaginas are happy vaginas! 

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