I have been sexually active since I was 16 and I didn’t use lube regularly until this past year. That's more than half a decade of avoiding a very beneficial (and sometimes necessary) component of sex.
The reason? I thought using lube indicated that something was physically wrong with my body’s ability to perform.
I have always been told by partners that I get very wet. Anytime I was hooking up with a man or woman and their fingers would trace my thighs to bypass my underwear, I was always met with a pleasant reaction and exclamation of “damn, you’re so wet.”
After getting over the teenage embarrassment factor, this has always been a point of pride for me. Being able to get wet easily is universally hailed as attractive and convenient.
But just because usually I can get wet with just a little bit of foreplay (or sometimes simply sexy thoughts), doesn’t mean I am always ready to go.
There have been plenty of times where I’ve been dry, even if I was horny. And plenty of times where I wasn’t super horny and not very wet but didn’t mind having sex.
For the longest time, if I wasn’t wet when it came time to have sex I would just bare through the uncomfortableness. Lube didn’t even cross my mind. If my body didn’t want to get wet, I would just work with the minimal wetness that I had. If it hurt, so be it.
When my ex-boyfriend first bought lube and asked to use it during sex, I was devastated. Him asking to use lube meant that I was failing as a sexual partner. It felt like a punch to the gut.
I reluctantly agreed to use the lube but inside I was having an identity crisis. What did his request mean about my womanhood?
I hated using lube for the remainder of that relationship. Anytime he pulled it out, I felt personally attacked. Often I would tell him no and he would slowly put it back in the nightstand. I hated the way it felt on my skin, I hated the way it made me feel emotionally.
In my mind, using lube signaled that my body was incompetent. Some of the times we used lube, I was so stuck in my own head that it was impossible for me to enjoy sex.
I felt like less of a woman.
After we finished, I would rush to the bathroom eager to wash the excess lube off of my body and forget about the whole experience. It was my post-lube ritual. It, of course, didn’t help that my partner at the time was buying cheap and sticky water-based lube.
I now know that not all lube is created equal.
But for the remainder of that relationship and several one-night stands afterward, I continued to despise using lube. Honestly, I preferred being slightly uncomfortable with a dryer experience than using a product that made me feel inferior.
Flash forward to today — I love using lube. I still prefer having sex without lube, if possible, but I don’t hesitate to introduce lube into the bedroom. Most of the time, I am actually the one who grabs the lube from the nightstand.
I no longer cower at the idea. I no longer feel like less of a woman for using lube. I have confidently strutted into many Whole Foods to buy my preferred lube (after many trials and errors).
I use lube with my partner when I am not wet enough. I use lube when I am wet enough but want something more. I use lube when I’m having sex with myself. I love me some (good) lube!
So what changed?
One of the women I was hooking up with introduced me to coconut oil. She was rubbing my clit one afternoon and asked if it would be okay if she used some coconut oil.
I must have looked somewhat confused because she explained how she uses it all the time for herself. She said the extra moisture is heavenly, eager to give me the same experience.
I didn’t feel pressured at all and when she explained why she used it, those previous feelings of incompetence faded away.
It was about pleasure, not performance. And I needed to hear that from a woman.
She wanted to introduce lube because she wanted us both to have the best experience possible. My wetness or dryness did not matter to her because there was something to assist us. It definitely helped that the coconut oil was less irritating than the sticky lube I had used previously.
In my brain, I slowly started to destigmatise lube.
These days, lube is a healthy part of my sex life. I’ve shied away from coconut oil as I’ve found better alternatives of lube I like but I am far removed from the insecure girl who hated lube.
After my first positive experience with lubricant, I finally educated myself on the topic of vaginal self-lubrication. I learned that you can be super horny and not wet, you can be not horny at all and not wet, or somewhere in the middle.
Some women naturally have a harder time self-lubricating and other women don’t. Medication, hormonal changes, and aging are all factors that impact dryness.
And the best part: all of this is completely normal.
There is absolutely no need to feel shame for needing or wanting to use lube!
In some cases, lube is actually necessary to prevent vaginal tearing or irritation. Our vaginas are precious, we shouldn’t feel shame for protecting them (and for increasing our ability to feel pleasure).
My positive experiences and well-needed education transformed my sexual relationship with lube. And I am so grateful that I feel differently today.
I wish I could go back and tell my 16-year-old self about all the wonders of lube (and maybe give her a gift of my favourite kind). But since I can’t, declaring my love of lube to the world is a good alternative. Stay sexy!