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A Sexologist Suggests A Better Lubricant That’s Not Saliva

by BUST Magazine


We’re bringing you this Q&A from the Sex Files in our July/August 2019 print issue, featuring advice from sexologist Dr. Carol Queen.

Q: As someone who’s too cheap to use a vibrator, I use my hand to masturbate. I lubricate using saliva, but what’s the best lube for solo use? –Horny in Brooklyn

Dr. Carol Queen: Let no one denigrate the sexual allure and competence of the human hand! It’s a great design for self- or partner stimulation; like many excellent vibrators, it has a variety of features to maximize enjoyment. It doesn’t vibrate (unless you strap a vibrator to it), but so far, no automatic sex toy creator has figured out how to add a design feature that compares to five flexible fingers powered by the neurology of your brain. Regardless of the contents of your wallet, masturbating with your hand is a time-honored choice.
Using saliva as lube has a long history, too, but it often dries up before you’re done. There are also those times when your mouth is dry, whether that has to do with dehydration, pot use, antihistamines or other meds, or a health condition. Having some lubricant on hand can allow you to go longer, faster, or harder, and it minimizes friction and irritation.
Lubricants come in four basic types, five if you include enhanced styles like flavored lubes. I don’t recommend flavored lubes for solo play at all, and some of the other enhanced types (heating/cooling and other sorts that alter sensation) are not for everyone. Start by finding your preferred base first. Water-based lubricants come in liquid and gel consistencies. Silicone lube is thin and very slick, and a little goes a long way. If you save up for silicone sex toys, silicone lube might not be compatible with them, so watch out. Cream lubricant is primarily water-based but has a bit of silicone as well; of the lot, it may be best for exploring the line between friction and slipperiness, if you do enjoy a little friction. It will eventually absorb into the skin like a lotion. Since you’re in Brooklyn, I’d suggest a field trip to Babeland, where you can get a sampler pack. Talk to the well-informed staff there about your choices. Then go home and do a little research! 

As far as handy household substitutes go, skip mineral oil and all its relatives like makeup remover and Vaseline. These are petroleum products, and they’re drying. Don’t use anything with added chemicals, including scents or alcohol—that means most hand lotions and hair conditioners are off-limits. The safest household agents of slipperiness can be found in your kitchen. Some people enjoy using olive, coconut, almond, or similar oils. These oils are incompatible with latex, so if you have safer sex with a human, remember not to use those. Another reason to have lube around!


Got a sex or relationship question you need answered? Submit it here!

drcqueen dcc30Illustration by Marcellus Hall

Carol Queen’s latest book (written with Shar Rednour) is The Sex & Pleasure Book: Good Vibrations Guide to Great Sex for Everyone.

This article originally appeared in the July/August 2019 print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today!  


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