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WAP 101 - A Guide to Lubrication

September 24 2020 | Written by Miranda Vanhaarlem, Graphics by Sissi Chen

“Bring a bucket and a mop for this wet-a** p***y”

Cardi B’s “WAP” featuring Megan Thee Stallion is taking the world by storm. “WAP” is an incredibly profound statement of women’s empowerment but it also brings light to the use of lubrication to achieve a “WAP”. The use of artificial lubricants is usually stigmatized in the media and conclusions are often made that if an artificial lubricant is used, an individual is “dry” or “not aroused”. This association with lube and dryness is outdated and extremely uneducated. Yes, vaginas naturally produce many fluids that can act as lubrication during intercourse, but vaginal wetness varies by person and is affected by multiple factors. This is where lubrication can help in reducing the friction that comes when moving objects together, and in this case, the objects just happen to be body parts. There should be no shame in using lubricants to increase pleasure!

Why should I use lube?

A study conducted at Indiana University concluded that the use of water and silicone-based lubricants were associated with significantly higher reports of sexual pleasure and satisfaction. I think we should instead ask ourselves “why should I not use lube?”.

Lube is a fabulous tool for individuals who experience a decrease in vaginal wetness, but it is truly beneficial for all. Multiple factors can affect an individual’s wetness and most of them are out of your control. These include, but are not limited to:

  • The use of hormonal birth control 

  • Certain autoimmune disorders

  • Smoking cigarettes 

  • Whether you are breastfeeding or not 

  • Perimenopause/Menopause 

  • Stress 

  • The menstrual cycle 

But the use of a lubricant is not restricted to these individuals, it is true for anyone who wants to try it. Certain lubricants are even made to enhance sexual function and arousal!

What about the fluids that are already produced in the body?

Multiple fluids are already produced in the body that can act as lubricants for sex; 

  • Menstrual blood: if you are up for it, menstrual blood can act as an excellent lubricant for masturbation or sex

  • Cervical fluid: particularly around the time of ovulation, cervical fluid can be used as an added lubrication. Around ovulation, cervical fluid tends to be wet and slippery which is perfect for lubrication, compared to the dry and sticky fluid that is made around menstruation. 

  • Vaginal/Arousal fluid: this fluid is produced by the glands in and around the vagina in response to sexual stimulation. It is usually wet and slippery and acts as an amazing lubricant.

How do I pick a lubricant? 

There are usually three different types of lubricants to choose from: water-based lubricants, silicone-based lubricants, and oil-based lubricants. It is extremely important to read the labels of lubricants and choose the one that is best for you! This may take some trial and error but trust me, you will eventually find one that is non-irritating. 

Water-Based Lubricants

If you are new to the lube world, this is your best option to start with. Water-based lubes can be used with condoms and dental dams, are usually easy to find, and are on the cheaper side. If you have sensitive skin or are prone to vaginal irritation, water-based lubricants are most likely the best for you. They can also be used for all types of sexual intercourse and won’t leave any stains on your beddings! 

The downside to water-based lubricants is that they tend to not last as long as other types of lubricants simply because water dries quicker. Water-based lubricants can be made with glycerin, which may cause yeast infections in some. Therefore, if you are prone to the occasional yeast infection, I would suggest looking for a water-based lubricant that is glycerin-free. 

Silicone-Based Lubricants 

Silicone-based lubricants tend to be long-lasting, odourless and slippery. What more could you want? They can be used with all condoms and can also be used in the shower as they are water-proof. 

While being long-lasting is an amazing quality of silicone-based lubes, it can also be a downside. A shower may be required if you don’t enjoy being sticky. It is also suggested that silicone-based lubes are not used with silicone-based sex toys as the lube can make the sex toy break down faster. So be careful with your prize possessions. Additionally, silicone-based lubricants tend to be more expensive and are harder to find. 

Oil-Based Lubricants

Also very slippery and long-lasting, oil-based lubricants can be used for all types of sex. There are two types of oil-based lubricants: natural (similar to coconut oil) and synthetic (similar to vaseline). Natural oil lubricants are generally safe for the vagina while lubricants are usually only okay for external play. 

Oil-based lubricants should not be used with condoms as they can break down the latex. Oil is also a pain in the a** to get out of fabrics so if you love your sheets like I do, I would be careful! Lastly, oil can help feed bacteria and fungi which can increase the risk of infection or further an existing one. 

Are there any ingredients I should avoid in a lubricant?

Everybody reacts differently to different ingredients, that is why trial and error is so important when it comes to finding the right lube for you. In general, you should try to avoid lubes with the following ingredients; 

  • Glycerin: can cause infections and feed existing ones. 

  • Spermicidal additives: they may irritate the vagina. 

  • Citric acid: a big no-no, can be extremely irritating to vaginal tissue. 

  • Chlorhexidine: can be irritating, causing sensations of itching and burning. 

  • Petroleum and petroleum derivatives: leave a coating on the skin which can trap bacteria. 

  • Glycerols: these are sometimes used to provide the “warming” sensations present in some lubes, but they can cause damage and dehydration to vaginal and anal tissues. 

Painful Sex ≠ Using a Lubricant 

I want to make it clear that using a lubricant is not a solution to painful sex. Sex should not be painful and if you or your partner are experiencing pain with sexual activity, it is important to reach out to your health care provider for further information. Lubrication should be used to reduce the friction that comes along with some sexual activities, not to fix pain during sex.

All in all, lube is a fabulous resource for those seeking a WAP or those simply interested in adding something new into their sex lives. I want to personally thank Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion for not only providing us with a song promoting sexual empowerment but bringing us an open discussion involving lubrication, artificial and natural.