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By Anna Winterling.

Sex is great. You know what makes it even better? Lube.

For someone like me, who wasn’t used to introducing anything into the bedroom (and it was only bedrooms in the beginning), just the thought of grabbing for a little bottle when things started to get going seemed embarrassing. Like a lot of people, I felt insecure about “needing” lube, so I went without it.

If you don’t already use it, why aren’t you?! After all, you could be like me, and your first purchase of one of those darling little bottles could be your gateway to kinkier adventures.  

Looking back at all of the bad sex I had — I’m looking at you: first time trying anal — that would have been so much better with just a little squirt of the good stuff, I want to smack my old self with a silicon paddle…maybe it would have sped up my sexual awakening. 

I had finally worked up the courage to jump into the pool of sexual exploration and couldn’t wait to see what else I could discover. 

I’m not gonna lie, walking into your first sex shop can be intimidating. If your only experience with one of these spaces is giggling your way through the door with a group of friends in high school, it can seem strange as an adult. This was me. My first time at my now beloved shop was…fine. It wasn’t earth-shattering. I didn’t have any revelations about my repressed sexuality. What I did have was a really helpful employee who guided me on my first sex shopping experience. When she asked if I needed help I was tempted to be coy and pretend to be browsing, but I decided to say fuck it and just ask for what I was looking for. This sex angel pointed me in the direction of a beautiful glass bottle of Uberlube. I had finally worked up the courage to jump into the pool of sexual exploration and couldn’t wait to see what else I could discover.

The next time I visited this shop, I really began to look around. There were bondage ropes hanging from a display bench in the middle of the store, a beautiful shelf of dildos in every size and color you could want, masks, whips, restraints, cock rings, and so many products my vanilla brain couldn’t process. I noticed a chalkboard with a few classes listed; the first one on the list was an oral sex workshop. It seemed a little “bachelorette party activity in a movie” to me, but I found myself signing up anyway. Even though I didn’t pick up too many tips I didn’t already know, it was great just to be in a room talking about sex and being shown all the different toys I could have instead of the shitty battery-operated vibrator I had hiding in my closet.  

Before you start buying cuffs and nipple clamps (baby steps!), there are three main types of lube you can get: oil, silicon, or water-based. Now that I buy lube regularly, I have at least three different bottles on hand at any time for different needs, plus a little travel vial in case I find myself out-and-about and horny. 

Lube is great any time, but there are three times when it’s an absolute necessity. The first is obviously for anal sex. Unlike the mouth or pussy, your ass is not self-lubricating. If you get off by getting anything up the ass, you need lube — it’s non-negotiable. I thought I didn’t like anal until I slathered up my partners cock with some silicon-based lube — then I came around on it, and just came in general. My second lube must-have moment is in the shower. You know what a shower has a lot of? Water. And water washes away anything your body might be making to help things run a little smoother. I keep a bottle of silicon-based lube in the shower, so anytime I want to invite someone in with me or just enjoy grabbing my sudsed-upped tits and have some solo play time, I don’t have to go searching through drawers for it. The third time lube is absolutely necessary is when using any type of barrier. Unless you’re fluid-bonded with your partner(s), you should be using some type of protection. Sure, condoms come with some lube in the package, but it’s never enough. You should be covering the condom in the slippery stuff; you can even put a little on the inside of the tip so there can be zero complaints about any loss of sensation — which science has proven to be a myth BTW.

Convincing myself to go into that sex shop for lube was the tip of my kink iceberg.

In addition to the three times it’s a must, lube is also great for oral sex, using with toys, or basically any time you want to get off. If you’re lucky enough to have a sex shop nearby, please go — ask questions, explore, go to a class, and use buying lube as the reason to walk through the door. If you live somewhere a little more removed, the internet has so many sites and stores that can get you started. My go-to brand for lube is Sliquid, but Uberlube will always have a place on my shelf. To some extent, as long as it makes things slippery, it’s good enough, but the super cheap stuff doesn’t last as long and gets tacky, so feel free to treat yourself. 

Convincing myself to go into that sex shop for lube was the tip of my kink iceberg. Attending that first class led to going to more classes, being more open talking about sex, and figuring out what I really wanted. So if you haven’t already, it’s time to take off the sex training wheels. Kink isn’t for everyone, so it might stop there, but at least you’ll have better sex!

Anna Winterling* is a Philadelphia-based writer and nurse-in-training. When not studying, she is probably crossing places off her food bucket list and trying to decide if she prefers food or sex. The verdict is still out. 

*Please note Anna Winterling is a pseudonym the author has chose to use in order to protect their privacy.