Although lubricants have been used for centuries to smooth the way for masturbation and anal play, many couples don't realize how great lubricants are when having vaginal intercourse. Many women think that if they aren't "wet," they aren't aroused enough - or there's something wrong with them. Not true! A woman's body naturally becomes lubricated when she's aroused, but often doesn't produce enough moisture to last the duration of her sexual play. However, a shallow handful of lube applied to the penis and vaginal canal will ease penetration and make the whole experience more enjoyable for both partners.

You might also try massage oils or lotions and warming oils: while these types of lubricants aren't good for vaginal or anal lubrication, they do add a nice, slippery dimension to your sexual experiences, creating an inviting atmosphere of warmth, intimacy and sensuality. At the very least, regular use of lubricants and oils will spice up your sex life, banishing the blahs and adding zest to your otherwise-tame passionate encounters.

Intended for internal and external lubrication of the vagina, anus and penis, using lubricants is the easiest way to make intercourse and masturbation more comfortable. While an abundance of lubes are available in different colors, textures and flavors, lubricants come in four basic forms:

Petroleum-based. Made from petroleum jelly, mineral oil or petrolatum, petroleum-based lubes are the most commonly used type of lubrication. Different types include Vaseline products and baby oil. As petroleum-based lubes destroy latex - practically on contact - they should never be used with condoms, diaphragms or cervical caps. Petroleum-based lubes stain fabric and can be difficult to wash out. Also, petroleum-based lubes tend to irritate the vagina, so they're not really the best option for women wanting to enjoy vaginal penetration. Petroleum-based lubes are great, however, for male masturbation and anal play.

Oil-based. Usually made from natural products, such as vegetable oils, nut oils, Crisco and butter, oil-based lubes tend to stain fabrics and can be difficult to wash off, but they are safe for use with the vagina. Oil-based lubes also destroy latex, so, like petroleum-based lubes, they should never be used with condoms, diaphragms or cervical caps. Oil-based lubricants are great for anal sex, vaginal intercourse, and male and female masturbation.

Water-based. Water-based lubricants typically contain deionized water, glycerin, propylene glycol and nontoxic preservatives. Although available in both flavored and unflavored mixtures, most unflavored lubes still taste slightly sweet. Water-based lubes do not stain, are safe for use with latex and all other barrier birth control methods, and rarely cause irritation. While they often dry out during extended sex, water-based lubes are quickly revived with a spritz of water or a dollop of saliva. Because of their versatility and effectiveness, water-based lubes are the form of lube recommended most often by sex therapists and experienced couples.

Silicone-based. Silicone-based lubricants are similar to water-based lubes with one notable difference: because they are silicone based, they are completely waterproof, making them ideal for underwater use. They also retain their lubricating properties better and longer than water-based lubricants, and are highly concentrated ... so a little goes a long way! Silicone will not harm latex as oil-based lubricants will do; however, silicone-based lubricants can harm sex toys made from silicone, so use a different lube when using your more expensive toys.
Whether you decide to try petroleum-, oil-, water- or silicone-based lubricants, remember the various restrictions that go along with each. Try a few different kits with your lover so the two of you can experiment with different flavors, consistencies and textures. If you don't find a lube you like right away, don't panic: there are about a zillion different kinds out there.

Massage Oils
Massage oils and lotions do a variety of useful things: they spice up a boring night, lend a sensual dimension to a boring old back rub, and reduce friction, keeping your body silky, slippery and slick. To use, pour a small amount in the palm of your hand and rub your hands together before gently applying to your lover's body. Never pour the oil directly on your lover's body - it feels cold and weird. Rub the lotion or oil into your lover's body, reapplying as necessary. Feel free to rub oil into your lover's back, arms, legs, buttocks, chest and neck, but keep it away from genitals unless the bottle specifically says the lotion is safe for internal use. Even if it is safe, test a small amount on the skin first, ensuring you and your lover won't have an allergic or "burning" reaction to it. While you can use regular hand lotion for a back rub, it's best to use lotions or oils specifically developed for massage. They leave less of a sticky residue and often have a pleasant aroma and/or taste. If you have oily skin, make sure you shower after your massage: many massage oils can cause breakouts on your back or chest. Also, try to avoid the Ben Gay-scented athletic tonics when combining sex with massage - the mentholated fumes can be a huge sensual turnoff. Massage oils and lotions are not safe to use with latex unless the bottle specifically says otherwise.

Warming Oils
Also known as edible oils, warming oils work about the same way massage oils work: pour a small puddle in one hand, rub both hands together to distribute, then apply in a thin layer to the desired area. Gently rub into the skin, applying more as necessary. As you continue to massage, the warming oil will begin to heat up, causing your partner to feel a pleasantly warm sensation. While not the best option for full-body massages, warming oils are great for genital massage, or for massaging small, concentrated areas, such as breasts, buttocks, thighs and arms. Some warming oils can't be used with latex products - make sure to read the label before using. Warming oils aren't appropriate for internal use - don't use them for vaginal or anal penetration. However, you can apply them to the surface of your genitals. Be warned: some of the warmth-inducing elements may irritate skin; do a skin patch test before using during sex or your genitals may end up hotter than you intended.

Different Uses
Lubricants and oil aren't just for partner sex. Slicking up solo sex is one of the most common uses for lubricants, oils and lotions. Using lube during masturbation is safe, sensual and practical: you want your sex toys to slip and slide as much as possible. Just remember to make sure you're using a type of lube that's compatible with the toy you're using (See more about that here)... you don't want to damage yourself or your toys! And if you do decide to share your toys with your partner, make sure he or she uses a condom along with that lubrication so you don't swap dangerous bacteria or STDs.

Whether or not you feel comfortable using lubricants, massage oils and lotions, or warming oils at every sexual encounter, it's smart to have a few bottles lying around in case you need them. Most keep for a couple of years without damage; open the bottle and sniff them before using. If the bottle smells unpleasant, or if there's any icky-looking residue, toss it. It's better to be safe than sorry. You might also try refrigerating your lube for an icy cool treat. Just remember to warn your partner before applying anything chilly!

by Tamar Love at mypleasure.com

Lubricant -- How Do I Use It with Sex Toys?

Have you ever grabbed your favorite toy, settled in for an erotic good time and thought, "Is it okay to use my lube with this?" Or maybe you're purchasing your first toy and aren't sure why or how to lubricate it. At MyPleasure, we think about this stuff all the time -- because part of our job is to continually provide as much information as possible.

Always Use Lube
The first thing to keep in mind is that every sex toy and sensual aid could use a little lubrication. Whether you're rubbing against it, putting it into you, or putting you into it, you should be using a lubricant.

Lubricants make sex toys not only feel better, but also more safe to use. Think about what happens when you're having sex: the body creates natural lubrication so you and your partner don't hurt each other with too much friction. The same logic applies to using toys, either with a partner or during solo play. Really, there's no such thing as too much lubrication. Even if you lubricate naturally, a dab of extra lubricant on your toy is a highly recommended addition. It's better to be safe and slippery than sorry and sore!

Pick the Right Lube
Lubricants come in three basic formulations: water-based lube, which is the most common and most versatile, silicone-based lube, which is similar to water-based lube but waterproof, and petroleum-based lube, which is great for anal play. If you want to know more about each type of lubricant, please see MyPleasure's article on types of lubricant.

Water-Based Lubricants
Water-based lubes, such as Astroglide and MyPleasure's Personal Lubricant Gel may be used on virtually any vibrator, masturbation sleeve, erection ring or dildo. An exception may be toys for anal play, as you may want a lubricant that also contains a desensitizer -- this is purely preference, of course.

The greatest advantage of water-based lube is the easy cleanup: You simply rinse off the toy with warm water, and voila! The lube is gone! However, this "no muss, no fuss" quotient also has a down side -- if you like to use waterproof toys (during a bath, in a hot tub, what have you), a water-based lubricant will rinse right off -- which really defeats the whole purpose of using lube!

You definitely want to use a water-based lube with anything made of silicone, such as the Blue Silk. A silicone lube used on a silicone toy will destroy the toy. Silicone is essentially made up of tiny glass beads; when these beads rub together, they will merely scratch one another other, wreaking havoc on the silicone toy. So stick with a water-based lube for your premium silicone toys, and use silicone lube for the purpose for which it was intended!

Silicone-Based Lubricants
Silicone lubes are the perfect choice for sensual fun in the water. If you love your waterproof toys (or just love having sex in the water), you and a silicone lubricant, such as Eros Classic Bodyglide, will be lifetime companions! Of course, a silicone-based lube is not as readily available at your corner drugstore as a water-based lube, but fortunately, you can get plenty here at MyPleasure.

Another "pro" for silicone lubricant is that it lasts longer and can be easily revived after a lengthy encounter with your favorite vibrating friend, just by adding a little water or saliva to it. Silicone lubes never really get absorbed or evaporate the way a water-based lube may. On the other hand, this also means that getting your toys (and yourself) clean will take a little more effort, but it certainly doesn't need to be sandblasted off. A good soapy wash should do the trick.

Petroleum-Based Lubricants
Petroleum-based lube should really only be used with non-latex anal toys or for male masturbation. These lubes are great for anal play because they're generally thicker than other types of lubricant, making entry easier. A good one to try is Anal Eze as it's petroleum-based and also contains a desensitizer.

Do not use a petroleum-based lube with anything made of latex -– toys, condoms, or other products -– as the petroleum will destroy the latex on contact. Petroleum also tends to irritate a woman's vagina, so we don't recommended this type of lubricant for intercourse or for use with any sort of vibrator or dildo intended for vaginal penetration.

Using Lube
Now that you've taken a closer look at lube, you're probably wondering about the best way to apply it. Again, this is really personal preference, but here are our tips for the easiest and least-messy way.

Simply pour a small amount -- about the size of a dime -- onto your fingers and then spread it on your toy and yourself.

Rub your fingers over the head and down the shaft if it's a vibrator or dildo. Be sure to lube any other clitoral or anal stimulators on your toy, as well.

Rub the lubricant onto your sex toy so that it's slick, but not dripping. Be careful -- you don't want to rub so much that the lubricant is absorbed in your hand, leaving the toy high and dry!

If you are male and using a masturbation sleeve, you'll want to apply lube to your fingers and then slide them around the entrance and down the inside of the sleeve. Since most sleeves have a small hole in the other end, you probably don't want to just pour the lube into it -- you can always add more if you need to.

If you or your toy become dry during use, simply add more lube.

How Much is Enough?
You also don't want to "over apply" or "over rub" the lubricant, particularly on a toy. The amount of lube you use is a personal preference. The general rule of thumb is that if it doesn't slide in comfortably, you probably need more lubricant! Some people like their toys as lubricated as possible, while others enjoy only enough lubrication to reduce friction to a point of comfort. We recommend that if you're experimenting with a toy or lubricant for the first time, try starting with an amount about the size of a dime and keep adding lube until you're happy. You'll figure out how much you like soon enough!

On the Body
Much like massage oils, if you're lubing yourself or a lover's body part, do not pour the lube directly from the bottle onto bare skin! Pour the lubricant into the palm of your hand and warm it to body temperature before applying it to warm skin. This rule also applies using lubricant on your toys. After all, you wouldn't want to get a chill because you applied a cold lubricant to your favorite dildo!

Sharing Toys
If you're sharing a toy with your partner, such as a vibrating erection ring, just lube everything! Well, actually, be sure to lubricate the penis it will be on, any stimulating pieces on the ring (bullet, animal-shaped head, what have you) and the person receiving the action. Of course, you don't need to lubricate the entire person, just the receiving sexual organ!

Now Go Out There and Lube Up!
Lubes are manufactured in many, many different consistencies, colors, even flavors -- it's best to experiment and find the right one for you. Think about what you want most in a lubricant, if you have any sensitivities (flavored lube can sometimes cause yeast infections), and what you'll mainly be using it for -- solo sex, toy fun, a combination of sex toys and your partner, water shenanigans? If you're intrigued by something, try a sample (if possible) or buy the smallest bottle that's offered, so you can discover your favorite without spending a ton of money.

Now grab your erotic assistant of choice and be secure in the knowledge that you're using the perfect lubricant for you and your toy!

by Trisha Hurlburt at mypleasure.com