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Does your sex life lack a little spice? Or maybe you just aren’t feeling it? Fret not, for we have an oh-so-handy guide to lubes in India! Read on for a great sexual experience!
Aparajita and her friend Leena were meeting for lunch. Leena appeared to be in the mood for a long heart-to-heart chat. After the usual updates on the family and kids, common friends, some movie, Leena veered the conversation to why she actually wanted to meet.
She leaned in and forlornly said, “Listen, Ravi and I have been having too many fights in the bedroom and I don’t know what to do! I just don’t want to do it but he wants to make love to me everyday.”
Thoughtfully, Aparajita asked, “Have you tried to find out why you don’t like intimacy anymore? You are only 40 and in the prime of your life.”
“Well, there is a kind of dryness and it makes me dread sex. It increases the discomfort even further,” was her answer.
Now there is a myriad of reasons why women may not enjoy sex. Right from feeling tired to feeling pain and discomfort to lack of arousal and dryness that leads to decreasing pleasurable sex. All or any of these reasons leads to women wanting to avoid it.
All you need to know about vaginal dryness
The vagina makes its own fluid that keeps it elastic and soft. Sexual arousal increases the production of this fluid and that in turn, (turns you on) and adds to the pleasure of inserting anything in the vagina. As a corollary, vaginal dryness occurs when this fluid is not produced.
One of the most important reasons for vaginal dryness is the lack of estrogen- the female hormone. This can occur due to a number of conditions like peri-menopause or menopause, surgical removal of ovaries, or chemotherapy. It may also occur after childbirth and breastfeeding. A few rare immune disorders and medications like anti-allergen and cold tablets and even douching can cause dryness.
Add stress, anxiety and relationship issues the mix and the dryness is right there. And do we dare forget the elephant in the room- lack of foreplay and stimulation! Now you see why a number of women might face this problem?
While it predominantly affects older women, it is definitely a myth that younger women are not affected by it. Quite often women of all ages suffer from dryness but are too embarrassed or shy to find out the reason it happens. Or even if they should take any medical advice for it.
Dear younger woman, you may be expected to, but you definitely cannot be wet all the time, can you?
Well, vaginal dryness can lead to pain during sex (dyspareunia), burning, itching and minor abrasions due to the friction. And these abrasions can lead to increase in the pain during an intercourse.
The dryness might also cause the male partner to use more force. And that sets in motion the entire cycle of events to be repeated and the woman being caught in it- escape seeming almost impossible. Sex now is a nightmare, rather than a celebration of love and intimacy. This in turn, jeopardises an otherwise stable and healthy relationship.
What can we do to prevent or treat this very real but often neglected problem? In such situations, where the lack of estrogen appears to be the problem, one is encouraged to take estrogen under medical supervision. It can be taken orally in the form of tablets, as a dermal patch or as a ring that can be placed in the vagina.
The mainstay of amelioration of this rather distressing condition is use of vaginal lubricants and moisturisers. Which is exactly what we will be talking about today!
Both moisturisers and lubricants can help women prevent and treat dryness and as an added bonus, enhance the pleasure during sex. Though the second reason holds good for both partners, it is also just as well for women who want to fly solo.
Using a lube can add spice to your sex life. Experiment with different flavours and sensations till you find the one that suits you best. No matter how sexy you feel, every once a while, your body may not produce as much moisture as you need. So add a little lube and make things more sensual!
Vaginal moisturisers last practically all day and keep the vagina moist and supple all day long. They are not to be used only before sex but can also be used as everyday therapy to keep your vagina moist and happy!
These moisturisers can be used two or three times a week- irrespective whether you’re having sex or not. They help keep your vagina soft, supple and comfortable. These come in various forms from creams like Replens and Zestica Moisture to gels- similar to creams in terms of applications. They are also available as suppositories that can be slid into the vagina.
Other natural oils like Coconut oil, liquid vitamin E capsules or natural almond oil have been tested as a product for dryness, with limited success.
Lubricants on the other hand add to the vagina’s natural moisture. They are usually used during sex to ease the insertion of any object into the vagina. And increase comfort and pleasure during sex. Lubricants can be water-based, oil based or silicone based.
They are the most commonly used and the most easily available. (Psst, also they do not stain sheets or clothes! Win-win, eh?)
Water-based lubes are best used with condoms or diaphragms and other barrier contraceptives. They are liquid, gel and lotion based and can be used with tampons, dilators or even vibrators.
While they may seem like a good option, they dry up faster as they gets absorbed in the skin and might need to be replenished after sex. They may even get sticky but water or saliva can make them slippery again.
Examples of these lubricants are Astroglide KY Brand and Liquid Silk
Available online at KY Jelly Astroglide.
Unlike the water-based lubes, these don’t get as easily absorbed in the skin and last longer. They are also thicker and creamier than water. Oil-based lubes make for great intimate massages and can be used very safely over breasts and for both the partners. They are also useful for self-please and enhance the situation for both- men and women.
However, they cannot be used with latex condoms as they may damage the condom due to the oil. This may lead one vulnerable to pregnancy and infections. Besides they cannot be used with vibrators and sex toys as they are likely to get damaged by them. Using them inside your vagina can also make it more difficult to wash off and flush it out the body.
Examples of oil-based lubes include Vitamin E liquid capsules, natural coconut oil and natural almond oil.
Like everything else silicone, this too is the newest kid on the block and has more pros than the older ones!
These last longer since they don’t air dry and are not absorbed by in the skin. They tend to stay longer on the surface and maintain the slippery lubrication desired for a longer time.
What’s more, you can use them for sex as well as for massages! They are hypoallergenic and very useful for women with sensitive skin. Since they do not change the pH of the vagina, you are less vulnerable to infections and of UTIs too. And they are safe to use with barrier contraceptives like condoms or diaphragms.
Since they are made out of silicone, they cannot be used with other silicone products. Both the products will be damaged and become gummy and sticky inside the body. They are definitely not recommended for use with sex toys or vibrators.
Since they are new, they aren’t as easily available in regular stores and may only be available in stores that specifically sell sex related products. Some examples are Pjur Pink and Wet platinum. Both are available on Amazon.
Now that we are aware of the products available and their advantages and disadvantages, let’s take a quick look at how they should or can be used.
They are to be used the same way that you would use a body lotion or a massage oil. Start by pouring a small amount into your hand. This also warms up the lubricant (especially in winters or cold areas of the globe, when you’re trying to heat things up) As for water-based lubes, you would need larger amounts in comparison to the oil or silicone based ones/
It should preferably be applied to the penis or finger or sex toy, the inner and outer lips of your vagina and clitoris as well. This will heighten the arousal and increase pleasure during all sexual activities. The lubes themselves come with applicators. These will help you apply lubricant exactly where you want to.
One would be surprised at the varied substances used as lubricants- right from butter and margarine to Petroleum jelly. These are best avoided especially Petroleum jelly as they are difficult to wash off, can damage condoms and other latex products.
One should also avoid dyed preparations as they are known to cause allergic reactions. And trust me, there can be nothing worse than a burning vagina when it’s time to enjoy intimacy.
At any time, should you get hives, feel itchy or notice rashes, wash off the lubricant immediately, preferably with soap and water and see a doctor. No one can predict what product one may be allergic to.
Summing it up, a lubricant is a useful and helpful adjunct to be kept handy on your bedside table. It will only heighten and enhance your pleasure even when dryness is absolutely no issue. And as per several websites, it is one of THE most commonly used aids to spice up the intimate encounter- even more than sex toys!
So, go ahead and lube it up, ladies!
Picture credits: Still from Bollywood movie Salaam Namaste.
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A Gynecologist by profession n blogger by passion, I love words!
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