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Lubricants for Sex: The Science Supports It

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Just when you thought everything worth studying had already been studied, out comes ground-breaking research on... drum roll please... lube. The entity thought only to belong in the nightstands of teenage boys and post-menopausal women with vaginal dryness, turns out to be an essential for healthy sex in all age groups, a new study finds.
Researchers at Indiana University this week announced the results of a study looking at over 2,400 women and how personal lubricants affected their sexual experiences. The study, it turns out, is the first of its kind, despite the widespread use of lubricants among sexually active adults. To underscore this point, K-Y, the market’s number one lubricant company, has been in existence since 1917. This means almost 100 years have passed with no solid science to support the sexual enhancer, until now.

The study, which appears in the November issue of The Journal of Sexual Medicine, looked at water-based and silicon-based lubricants and found that users of water-based brands were less likely to report genital symptoms like pain. Over 70 percent of people reported using lubricants to increase sexual pleasure (K-Y’s website quotes this figure as upwards of 92 percent), and a good number of women also listed reduced risk of tearing as a reason to initiate use.
The women studied ranged in age from 18 to 68. Their responses were recorded in a double blinded fashion through an online survey system that allowed them to give feedback on one of six randomized personal lubricants to which they were assigned. Across the board, women had much higher levels of sexual pleasure and satisfaction with both water and silicon-based lubricants than without any lubricant at all.
While it may seem like a no-brainer that decreased friction might lead to decreased pain and thus increased sexual enjoyment, there still exists a sort of stigma when it comes to personal lubricants, especially among reproductive age women in their 20s and 30s who stereotypically should be able to produce enough lubricant on their own. With studies like this proving that women of all ages do, in fact, benefit from lubricants we are perhaps one step closer to breaking down this stigma and creating a more accepting idea of what is “normal,” healthy sexual enjoyment.
To find out more about personal lubricants, please visit the “How Can I Use Lubricant for Safer Sex?” tab at:
or talk to your health care provider directly.
Remember, a discussion about safe and healthy sexual intercourse is part of any complete physical exam and most health care providers will be comfortable discussing this and other sexual health concerns.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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