Sex Toys for Men, Women and Couples

Slippery Sex

by Tamar Love

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.

Lubricants

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 or nut oils, 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 ... 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!

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