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Can I use lubricant to make sex safer?

This is a great idea! Many people don’t realize that lube can make sex safer AND increase comfort and pleasure at the same time.

The friction that happens when you rub your genitals together during sex can irritate your skin, or even cause small tears in your sensitive genital skin that make it easier for STDs to get into your body. Friction also makes condoms break more easily. Lube keeps sex nice and slippery, cutting down on the friction and leading to safer and more comfortable sex. 

Using lube doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you or your partner. Things like medicine, hormonal changes, stress, and age can change the way your vagina lubricates (gets wet) during sex. Lots of people use an extra lubricant just because they like the way it feels. 

It’s especially important to use lube if you have anal sex. Unlike a vagina, your anus can’t lubricate itself at all. Without lube, anal sex can be super painful and even dangerous. Dry anal sex leads to irritation and tears in your anus and rectum, putting you at a higher risk for STDs like HIV.

Most condoms come pre-lubricated, but adding more lube helps condoms feel extra good and keeps them from breaking. Put a few drops on the head of your penis or inside the tip of your condom before you roll it on, and/or spread lube on the outside of the condom once you’re wearing it.

Always make sure your lube is safe to use with condoms. This means only using water-based or silicone lube with latex condoms — lube with oil in it can break down latex and cause condoms to tear. It’s also a bad idea to use lotions, baby oil, or Vaseline as sexual lubricants, because they can irritate your genitals and break condoms. Sexual lubricants that you get in the condom aisle at the drugstore are usually safe to use with condoms. You can always read the package or directions, just to be sure.

Spermicide can make your chances of getting an STD a little higher, especially if you’re using it many times a day, so it’s better to use lube that doesn’t have spermicide in it. Spermicide usually has an ingredient called nonoxynyl-9 that can irritate the skin in your anus or vagina, which can make it easier for you to get an infection like an STD.

Using extra lube is another way to make sex feel great and help you stay safe — you can put a few drops of lube inside the condom and/or rub it on each other’s genitals. Flavored condoms and lube can make using protection during oral sex a tasty treat. And many people like the feeling of getting oral sex through a dental dam.

Nothing ruins a fun, sexy time like stress. Safer sex is better sex because it lets you focus on pleasure and your partner without worrying about STDs. Knowing you’re protecting yourself and your partner from STDs/pregnancy can make you feel proud and responsible. And talking to your partner about STDs, protection, and getting tested together is a great way to strengthen your relationship, improve communication, and increase intimacy and trust.