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What If, Lube?

Here’s the thing, when a person with a vagina reaches a certain age (or if there are any number of any other variables present), one might experience arousal but without a body’s DIY lubrication. (Some people hate the word “moist,” but friend, I hate the word “dry” so we shan’t be saying that again.) Let me tell you however what a person who’s 30+ may do about this — it’s simple, adds like one step, and offers maximum rewards.

Lube. Just lube. Lube for regular sex, with or without toys. Lube anytime, for anything. It’s lube!

Practically, I like to have a water-based (so safe for silicon), fragrance free lube on hand. The most recently purchased one is this one from Babeland. (Did you know A+ members get a discount to Babeland? Yep! It’s true!) But honestly, I’m pretty brand agnostic. Good Clean Love is also good! And I think even KY’s natural feeling lube is decent in a pinch.

So, how do you bring up the need for lube with partners / with yourself?

When it comes to yourself, obviously, conveniently, you can just say yes to yourself! If it’s that easy, then enjoy, my friend. But it might not be, right? Like, so maybe you’re getting older, and you’ve never needed lube before, even if masturbating with a toy. Maybe your body just always “took care of it” the same way your body used to be able to pull all-nighters (lol I can barely do this anymore) or subsist on junk food and feel relatively okay or bounce back after sleeping on a less-than-ideal surface. And now, because your body is getting older, it’s not doing what it used to do in the same ways. I am here to say this is okay! Just like it’s okay to go to bed a little earlier or to go get a cancer screening or to give in and wear some shoes with a some more arch support, it is also okay to slather your favorite electric-colored “marital aid” with some lube because you know that it will make things easier and more fun. Look, what’s the point in getting older if we don’t also get wiser and give less of a fuck? (Except for where giving a fuck matters and is about self-care and fucking, um better.) If you think or know something could make your life better, why not do it? Lube’s not hugely expensive and hey, a little goes a long way.

However, you might want to have some kind of version of The Talk (The Lube Talk™, specifically) before bringing it into the bedroom (or kitchen or camping tent or whatever) with your partner. There can be a lot of weird feelings wrapped up in like, not getting as wet as you used to and whether that means something like how attracted you are to any individual sexual partner, but I am here to tell you that it’s okay and to throw your shame out the window along with any scented lube you might have purchased or been gifted because simply — absolutely no. Why do they even make that stuff? I recommend making sure to be clear with your partner(s) that you think they’re hot, that you’re very down for sex, and that you just need some assistive technology. That technology is lube. Honestly, the mental barrier here is probably the biggest one because lube is very simply, facilitation in its purest, most liquid form.

And having The Lube Talk™ will be so worth it! I think a good way to start this might be with broaching the conversational topic guaranteed to perk the ears of any sex-enjoying partner, which is “how can we make the sex we have even better? A key is to frame this as an enhancement. Your body is not a problem to be solved! And sex is something you can take seriously and talk about openly and put effort toward enjoying even more. I think that coming at something like this from the standpoint of all being people with a mutual goal, trying to reach that goal (good and comfortable sex) is helpful. You’re not against each other, you’re here for each other, and just like introducing a vibrator or a dildo into the bedroom isn’t an indictment of anyone’s sexual capabilities, neither is introducing ‘the lube’. Because when you’ve told each other in great detail just how hot you think each other is, and your hands and face and thighs and nethers are slick with lube, well, you know what comes next!

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Nico Hall is Autostraddle's and For Them's Membership Editorial and Ops Dude, and has been working in membership and the arts for over a decade. They write nonfiction both creative and the more straightforward variety, too, as well as fiction. They are currently at work on a secret project. Nico is also haunted. You can find them on Twitter and Instagram. Here's their website, too.

Nico has written 226 articles for us.


  1. This is almost eerie. I just had the lube talk with my spouse last week. He was totally down for it. I’m the one who feels weird about needing it.

    Getting really wet always kind of felt like my sexual super power and I’ve been in denial about losing it.

  2. Any recommendations for favourite lube? I’ve tried a few and disliked all of them, and my last experience was unfortunately just a one-night stand kind of slapping a bunch of cold lube directly onto my bits after I’d said I didn’t need it. (I get that there’s a certain amount of bravado or status attached to not “needing” lube that there shouldn’t be, but I still think a polite declining should have merited a chat rather than a spidey shot.)

    • UM WELL GEEZE I am so sorry about that experience. I didn’t think it needed to be said, but lube should be consensual!!! Okay, also, I do like to warm it up in my hands first, on cold nights, before applying because…? Like anything else you might put on your body, that just makes sense. In terms of lubes, I recommended a couple up top that I like, but would love to know what other folks recommend!

    • Also, to the cold lube issue, some quick googling tells me that if you put the bottle of lube in a hot water bath, that can help warm it up! Neat! I imagine you could also use other warming devices (and naturally like $100-$200 lube warming contraptions exist but I shan’t be considering them).

    • Maria re: recommendations, I’m a Sliquid fan- the H2O one has been my go-to but they made a variety and used to and I assume still do sell sampler packs so you don’t have to go all-in on something you’re not sure about.

    • Yes, hihello! Sliquid organics or naturals. No fragrance or other icky ingredients. Doesn’t upset my pH, washes off easily. It does dry faster, being water-based, but adding water from a squirt bottle, or saliva, perks it right back up if you don’t want to add more lube.

    • Another for Sliquid! “Sassy” h20 based in particular. I’ve tried a lot of brands, and have issues in one form or another. I’m super sensitive so when this sliquid worked without any concerning side effects (other than needing to add water or more lube) I’m 100% on board.

  3. something that’s very stupid and very expensive, and yet i am still tempted by, are those automated hands-free dispensers, where you just hover your hand underneath it and it automatically puts already-warm lube in your hand? so ridiculous! also, so much something I secretly, guiltily, intensely want

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