A few months ago, the internet lit up in a frenzy when UFC fighter Ronda Rousey attempted to give sex advice by suggesting, "You should never need lube in your life. If you need lube, then you're being lazy." Her comment is completely misguided and misinformed.
If you rolled your eyes at Rousey's advice, you're not the only one. Her comments also rubbed me the wrong way. In fact, there was a widespread backlash across the sex-positive community, which (rightfully) accused Rousey of "lube-shaming." As humans we're subjected to enough unwanted shaming when it comes to our bodies and desires. We certainly don't need to add lube to the list.
I shared my concerns with my friend and colleague Mellta Swift, co-owner of Hathor/SUTIL -- the company that makes my all-time favourite lube.
Swift understands the criticism. As she explains, "Chemical-laden lubes of the past have turned people off. However, a lube that mimics your own natural juices -- one you barely notice is there and which contains soothing humectants, is a completely different experience."
Her reaction to Rousey's comments was one of amused disbelief.
"That's just ridiculous!" she exclaims. Hormonal changes due to aging, lactation and menopause -- among other factors -- can increase the need for extra lubrication. "But, most importantly, lube feels great," she says. "Lube can help you have a marathon sex session... and who doesn't want that?"
In fact, there's a general consensus in the sex-education field that lube should be regarded as your friend (the bestie that you keep on speed dial). Dr. Lexx Brown-James is the founder of the Institute for Sexuality and Intimacy in St. Louis, Missouri. As she says, "Ms. Rousey is an excellent fighter. Her guidance regarding sexuality however is shaming, uninformed and sadly, a very popular opinion."
Dr. Jess O'Reilly, sex and relationship expert and author of the new book, The New Sex Bible agrees that "lube-shaming" is highly problematic.
"Lube isn't a substitute for foreplay (Ronday Rousey was way off base on this one), but it's greatest accoutrement. With lube, your options to slip, slide, glide, twist, suck, pulse, kiss and thrust multiply exponentially. Possibilities for techniques and positions are greater and research indicates that lube actually leads to higher levels of arousal, pleasure and satisfaction," she says.
If feeling great during sex isn't enough of a reason to reach for the lube, here are a few more.
1. Your body isn't always in control of its wetness.
As Dr. Jess O'Reilly points out, "Lube-shaming erroneously suggests that if a woman is turned on, she'll get wet. But vaginal lubrication is controlled by the autonomic nervous system and is beyond our conscious control. Sometimes you're all riled up and ready to go and you're dry as a desert, and other times you're just sitting at the table eating a peanut butter sandwich and all of a sudden you're soaked. Just like some men get NRBs (the highly scientific term for no-reason boners) while reading the newspaper, but sometimes don't get an erection when they're turned on, so too are women's identifiable sexual response markers highly unpredictable."
2. Lube makes sex safer and easier.
As Dr. Brown-James points out, "Lubricant is a tool that is used to increase pleasure, reduce the risk of micro-tears which can reduce the possible transmission of STIs and allow people to engage in sexual experimentation with their partners and selves easily." One of her tips: "A drop inside a condom can change the feeling of using a condom, allowing the wearer to feel more sensation." Not only does this feel great, but using lube with condoms ensures less friction and therefore, less risk of tearing or damage.
3. Your body might not produce any lubrication on its own.
"Depending on the type of sexual play, the sexual organ used might not make it's own lubricant (specifically the anus) and it surely is not being lazy, it's just not capable to make enough of it's own lubricant to safely and comfortable provide access for penetration," says Dr. Lexx Brown-James. She adds, "No matter how much stimulant you use, anal play needs lubricant to be safe."
4. Flavoured lube can make oral sex infinitely more interesting.
"Having flavored lubricant while performing oral sex on a person could make the action more enjoyable for the person giving the oral stimulation as well," says Dr. Lexx Brown-James.
One of Dr. Jess O'Reilly's suggestions for heating things up? "Sensually apply lube to your lips and then use your wet lips to spread it all over your partner's hot zones." Um, yes please.
5. Finding the right lube can be a game changer.
Simply put, lubricant is a lot of fun to experiment with. Finding the right one though, can completely change your sex life for the better. "Using the right lube can be life-changing. The right lube can provide hours of pleasure for individuals and partners," says Dr. Lexx Brown-James.
Her last piece of advice? "For readers looking to have a healthy sex life, integrate use of a lubricant. Using lube does not mean that you're lazy or defective."
As Swift puts it, when it comes to lube, "By saying 'I don't need that' you're limiting your pleasure. Simple as that."
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