What Is Lube Shaming?

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Too Many Guys Have a Negative Opinion on Lube — Here’s Why That Can Have Serious Consequences

What Is Lube Shaming?

Too Many Guys Have a Negative Opinion on Lube — Here’s Why That Can Have Serious Consequences

Things are getting hot and heavy. Then she pauses — and asks you to use some lube.

Does your ego feel a bit bruised? Or do you happily oblige and resume intimacy without thinking much of it?

If the idea of using lube makes you uncomfortable or disappointed, you can blame the stigma around lubricant. It’s more prevalent among straight people, and it has a name: lube shaming.

Lube shaming, according to Dr. Karyn Eilber, urologist, sexual health expert and co-author of A Woman’s Guide to Her Pelvic Floor: What the F*@# is Going On Down There, stems from “the misconception that lubricant is needed for sexual activity (penetration) because the female partner isn’t turned on and can’t lubricate herself.”

“It is extremely important to challenge the stigma because without lube, women can experience severe pain during sex, which isn’t great for either partner,” Dr. Eilber notes. “Additionally, lube can prevent micro-tearing in the vagina that can predispose to infections.”

Here’s what you need to know about lube shaming — and how to get over any hang-ups you may have around breaking out the slippery stuff.

Why Lube Shaming Is Problematic

“There is a stigma that if a person needs to use lube they must be ‘frigid,’ or have some other issue,” says Dr. Rachel Gelman, pelvic floor specialist and certified sexuality counselor. “If a man’s partner isn’t getting wet, he may feel like he’s doing something wrong or isn’t attractive enough to turn his partner on,” adds certified sex therapist Heather Shannon.

Whether you’re a man who feels like your sexual prowess is questioned when a woman needs lube or a woman who feels awful about needing a little help getting wet, lube shaming doesn’t serve anyone — and it certainly doesn’t serve your sex life.

“I heard someone making fun of lube and saying no one uses it and it’s only for old people. Am I weird for using it? Are cashiers judging me for buying it? Do I need to see an OBgyn?” wrote an anonymous woman on Reddit. Another Reddit thread tells the story of a man who was laughed at by the grocery store staff when buying lube. This is lube shaming in action.

The thing with shame is that it breeds silence. If your partner is in pain but too embarrassed to ask for lube, she won’t have a good time but will be too afraid to voice her needs. Discomfort during sex is incredibly common, by the way: Almost 3 out of 4 women have pain during intercourse at some time during their lives, according to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

On the flipside, if you feel your own insecurities come up around the topic, you may start inadvertently making her feel like there’s something wrong with her and that she should be more wet. Again, shame around sex isn’t conducive to transparent communication — and it’s easier to blame her than admit you feel insecure.

Either way, your sex life suffers. Not to mention that there are several reasons for using lubricant during sex, several of which have nothing to do with someone’s level of desire or arousal.

Debunking Common Myths About Lube

Lube shaming isn’t based on facts, it’s based on myths — and debunking them will help you view things differently.

First, know that your partner can be super attracted to you and turned-on yet still require lubricant. The opposite is also true.

This phenomenon is called sexual non-concordance, according to Shannon.

“It means that the mind and body aren’t always on the same page when it comes to getting wet,” she explains. “There might be sexual stimuli someone doesn’t want to act on, but they get wet anyway. Or on the flip side, someone is super turned-on and their vagina doesn’t get all that wet.”

Also, from hydration to hormones, there are many reasons a woman may need to use lube, says Gelman: “Certain life events, such as childbirth and menopause, lead to hormonal changes that can contribute to vaginal dryness. Certain medications, including the birth control pill, can have the same effect.”

Finally, it’s also time to give lubricant a bit of a rebrand. Lube can be used for fun — you don’t need a reason to reach for it.

“Studies show that people who use lube have increased sexual pleasure,” adds Gelman. Shannon agrees: “Less pressure on natural lubrication means more relaxed sexual experiences — and more relaxation often leads to more orgasms.”

There are other benefits to using lube, such as decreased risk of bacterial or urinary tract infections and less chances of condoms breaking.

Picking the Right Lubricant Can Make a Difference

If you hate the smell and texture of lube, keep in mind that the sexual wellness market has come a long way in the past few years. There are different options to suit you and your partner’s preferences, needs and sexual situations.

Avoid fragrances. Look for a water-based lubricant, which is one of the safest options in terms of preventing irritation. Silicone-based can work as well, but you should stay away from oil-based products, says Shannon, who recommends choosing a lube with a pH of around 4 or 4.5 to match vaginal pH levels (this is safer for preventing infections).

While lube shaming is commonly perpetuated in our culture, it’s not helpful and can rob you of the opportunity to experience more pleasure and closeness.

Now that you know a bit more about it, you can hopefully overcome any negative emotions associated with it and start embracing it in the bedroom. You may never look back.

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Source: AskMen


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