In your recent columns you’ve mentioned the need for sex partners to have a supply of artificial lubrication at the ready. With regard to female sex partners, artificial lubrication isn’t always needed. My first girlfriend was a gushing fountain of natural juiciness the moment we puckered up. My present girlfriend, well, we could do foreplay for a month of Sundays — not that I mind — and she would remain bone dry. So, it depends on the person.
My question is, how can I convince my girlfriend to use an artificial lubricant? She remains adamantly opposed whenever I bring up the subject.
It’s true: I constantly preach that “wetter is better.” I recommend lube for everything: vaginal sex, definitely anal sex, to use with toys (no silicone lube with silicone toys), partnered sex, solo sex — hell, even on a squeaky door hinge. Maybe someone doesn’t need lube if, (as you describe so, erm, vividly) she’s a “gushing fountain of natural juiciness.” But you also don’t need ketchup with fries, frosting with cupcakes, or chocolate syrup on your ice cream sundae. But why wouldn’t you want it?
Well, unlike frosting, women’s vaginas — and how they do or do not naturally self-lubricate — comes with a lot of baggage, and so the “need” for lube is viewed as a weakness. And because of this social self-buttering ideal, many women feel “holier than thou” for not slathering the ol’ Land-o-Lakes on their English muffins. Like they’ve achieved something grand by eating dry toast for breakfast every morning even though the jam is right there. Sound like your girlfriend?
She’s not alone. Lube-avoiders have endless excuses: I’m too young to be dry. It’ll make the condom slip off. It’s not natural. But I’m totally attracted to my partner.
Both women and men make these poor justifications for the normalization of ignorance surrounding female sexual pleasure. Men take their female partner’s self-lubrication as some sort of gooey grading system for how well they’re doing in bed while women often deny, deny, deny that they need lube. Often, this denial is really just a product of social conditioning that trains most women to deny that they may want lube. Or, that they may want to use a vibrator, get spanked, watch porn, or want any number of “unladylike” sexual add-ons that may enhance their pleasure.
As a considerate, lube-conscious partner, LD, there are some things you can do to work against this powerful cycle.
∎ Drop the word “dry.” One’s vagina is not a boring alcohol-free party. It isn’t located in the Sahara. It doesn’t need a drink of water. Self-lubrication fluctuates depending on diets, medications, hydration, menstrual cycle, and, sure, level of sexual stimulation and attraction to our partners. Fluctuation in self-lubrication is normal so stop blaming the ’gina for it.
∎ Also don’t call lube “artificial.” Lube isn’t tapped from trees, but neither are dildos, bikini waxes, or ball gags, yet they all play a big role in many happy sex lives. Organic lubes like Good Clean Love might as well be sold at farmers markets, they’re so damn natural.
∎ Assure your partner that vaginal wetness is not a love-o-meter. No one’s going to come pop her hood, insert a dipstick and then tell her if she’s attracted to you or not.
∎ Make it about you! Using lube feels good for the “giver,” too! Putting a drop inside a condom, or gloves, or on a dental dam transmits body heat and increases sensation for the wearer.
∎ Make it about her! Stop talking about what she “needs” and open conversation about what she wants. Stock up on a bunch of samples and treat lube like a pleasure exploration.
Ultimately, LD, your partner may actually not want or need lube; and that’s up to her. Either way, keep communication about your sex life flowing and the lube will follow, whether it comes from a bottle or from her.•