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Personal Lubrication

MaryAnn De Pietro has written extensively about all things medical, as well as health, fitness, and pregnancy for various websites, magazines, and newspapers. MaryAnn has a B.S. in rehabilitation from Penn State University and a degree in respiratory therapy. She is a former EMT and certified personal trainer. In addition to writing, she works as a respiratory therapist at a trauma center in California.

Personal Lubrication

When a person becomes sexually aroused, their vagina produces extra lubrication. This lubrication reduces friction in the vagina, increasing comfort during sex and minimizing any feelings of soreness or irritation. However, vaginal dryness is a very common sexual issue.

It is common, even among healthy people, for the vagina to produce insufficient lubrication. Artificial lubricant replaces the natural vaginal secretions, making the vagina feel more moist and reducing any discomfort resulting from vaginal dryness.

Personal lube can be a great enhancement to your intimate life, but the number of options can be overwhelming. The goal of lube for most is to decrease friction and increase comfort and pleasure, so finding what works for you is a highly personal decision.

The purpose of personal lubricant is to reduce friction and irritation during sexual activity. You can use it during sex with a partner or during masturbation. There are many safe options on the market, depending on what you are looking for.

Personal lubricants (colloquially termed lube) are specialized lubricants used during sexual acts, such as intercourse and masturbation, to reduce friction to or between the penis and vagina, anus or other body parts or applied to sex toys to reduce friction or to ease penetration. Surgical or medical lubricants or gels, which are similar to personal lubricants but not usually referred to or labelled as "personal" lubricants, may be used for medical purposes such as speculum insertion or introduction of a catheter. The primary difference between personal and surgical lubricants is that surgical lubricants are thicker, sterile gels, typically containing a bacteriostatic agent.[1][2] As of 2015 the personal lubricant market was estimated to be worth at least $400 million.[3]

Water-based personal lubricants are water-soluble and are the most widely used personal lubricants. The earliest water-based lubricants were cellulose ether or glycerin solutions. Products available today may have various agents added for even dispersal, moisture retention, and resistance to contamination. The viscosity of these products can be altered by adjusting their water content and concentration of cellulose or other gel-forming hydrophilic ingredient. Because water-based personal lubricants absorb into the skin and evaporate, most water-based lubricants have a tendency to dry out during use, but reapplication of the lubricant or application of water or saliva is usually sufficient to reactivate them. When the lubricant eventually dries out, it may leave behind a residue derived from the other ingredients in the formulation. This may require reapplication during sex, and/or removal of the residue with water. Scientists are testing whether anti-retroviral lubricants or gels can be applied to aid in the prevention of transmission of HIV.[4]

Silicone-based lubricants do not contain any water. They offer a different feel from water-based personal lubricants. Silicone-based lubricants are not absorbed by skin or mucous membranes and consequently last longer than water-based lubricants. Many different silicone lubricants are commercially available, with varying quality and performance. Not all silicone-based lubricants are certified latex-safe, but silicone-based lubricants have not been shown to increase the risk of HIV transmission during anal intercourse, as some water-based lubes have.[8][9]

In the United States, the first certified organic personal lubricant labeled with the USDA organic seal was Nude Personal Lubricant,[27] which was created in 2004 by Applied Organics. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates lubricant as a medical device rather than as a cosmetic. Because of strict FDA guidelines for medical devices, organic personal lubricants were no longer allowed to carry a USDA seal, and they should be very careful about using the term organic anywhere on the label. Many of these types of lubricants also market themselves as "natural" and do not contain paraben, glycerin, diethanolamine (DEA) or animal-based ingredients. Some contain botanicals such as aloe vera or plant extracts.

Other products that have been used as personal lubricants include vegetable shortening, which is durable and inexpensive but damaging to latex.[29] In a controversial scene in the movie Last Tango in Paris, the character Paul, played by Marlon Brando, uses butter during anal sex with the character Jeanne, played by Maria Schneider.

A personal lubricant can be used to increase pleasure and reduce pain during sexual intercourse or other activities and may be used for lubricating the penis, vagina, anus, stroker or dildo or other sex toys before or during activity. Lubricant may be applied to any body part desired, to the inside and/or outside of condoms, or to the hands or fingers. Personal lubricants are particularly useful for intercourse when a partner experiences dryness or excessive contraction (tightness) of the vagina or anus. Anal sex generally requires more generous application of lubricant since the anus does not have natural lubrication sufficient for most sexual activity.[30]

While most males and females produce varying amounts of their own lubrication, extra lubrication is sometimes sought when needed. There are specific lubricants which may be used in male masturbation, often called "masturbation creams," but are not suitable for vaginal or anal use or for use with condoms.[31] Many men in Japan use lubricant created specifically for onaholes such as the Tenga Egg.[32] Lubricant that is safe for sexual intercourse is also safe for masturbation.

Introducing our all-new Love! An organic personal lubricant formulated for sensitive tissue. Love is made with healing botanicals and hyaluronic acid and has been developed to be gentle for even the most tender tissues.

From the #1 Doctor recommended personal lubricant brand, K-Y Brand Jelly personal lubricant has a water-based, fragrance-free, non-greasy formula that quickly prepares you for sexual intimacy and eases the discomfort of vaginal dryness during sex. Recommended by gynecologists. This product is compatible with latex condoms ONLY. Do not use if quality seal on the opening of the tube is broken or missing.

YES WB is a water-based personal lubricant which feels natural, intensely hydrating, and gentle. Certified organic and pH matched, YES WB provides safe lubrication for intimacy alone or with a partner.

The causes of decreased vaginal lubrication are numerous and include advancing age, hormonal changes, menopause, breastfeeding, stress, conditions such as diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, chronic heart failure and multiple sclerosis10, and iatrogenic causes such as radiation and chemotherapy treatment9 and antidepressant use11.

There is an association between vaginal dryness and painful intercourse12, which is estimated to affect around half of all women at some point in their lives13, and inadequate lubrication is a common cause of dyspareunia (i.e. recurrent or persistent pain with sexual activity that causes marked distress)14.

The female sexual response cycle is initiated by neurotransmitter-mediated vascular and non-vascular smooth muscle relaxation, resulting in increased pelvic blood flow, vaginal lubrication, and clitoral and labial engorgement. These mechanisms are mediated by a combination of neuromuscular and vasocongestive events. Physiological impairments that interfere with the normal female sexual response can cause diminished sexual arousal, libido, vaginal lubrication, genital sensation, and the ability to achieve orgasm15. During the reproductive years, estrogen plays a key role in maintaining the normal vaginal environment. As estrogen levels fall during menopause, vaginal atrophy and thinning and inflammation of the vaginal walls and vulval tissues occur, which can result in decreased vaginal lubrication.

VVA is a widespread condition, with symptoms affecting around half of all peri- and postmenopausal women16. These symptoms can have a substantial negative impact on interpersonal relationships, quality of life, daily activities, and sexual function17. The REal Women's VIews of Treatment Options for Menopausal Vaginal ChangEs (REVIVE) survey in 3046 postmenopausal women with VVA symptoms in the US found the most common symptoms to be dryness (55% of participants), dyspareunia (44%), and irritation (37%), and these symptoms affected enjoyment of sex in over half (59%) of participants17. Symptomatic vaginal atrophy can also occur in younger women due to hypothalamic amenorrhea, hyperprolactinemia, lactation, and use of antiestrogen medications18. Atrophic symptoms affecting the vagina and lower urinary tract are often progressive and frequently require treatment19.

The symptoms of VVA may be successfully managed by a variety of prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) treatments, with choice of therapy dependent on symptom severity, the effectiveness and safety of the therapy for the individual patient, and patient preference. Available treatments include personal lubricants and moisturizers, topical vaginal estrogen, hormone therapy, and the selective estrogen receptor modulator, ospemifene (indicated for dyspareunia)20. Some women are reluctant to use vaginal estrogen, due to safety concerns21. For these women, personal moisturizers and lubricants are often recommended. Lubricants may relieve vaginal dryness and discomfort during sexual activity, providing short-term relief from vaginal dryness and dyspareunia22,23. Vaginal moisturizers are intended to be used primarily for the relief of vaginal dryness on a day-to-day basis, to provide comfort and offer long-term benefits. Vaginal moisturizers are classified as Class IIa Medical Devices by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, based on the intended duration of their use (vaginal moisturizers are intended to be present in the body for longer than 60 min, but a single application should not last longer than 30 days). Lubricants may or may not be classified as medical devices, depending on their individual claims. 041b061a72


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