Sex talk
Speaking of Lubing Up

Simon Sheppard, QSyndicate.com

Whether your pleasure is frisky fucking or a leisurely wank, good lubrication can go a long way to greasing the sex skids. Since the days of cavemen caressing their bones, spit has been the old reliable, and when masturbation's on the menu, saliva's still a top choice. As one happy self-abuser points out, "It's always handy, and the price is right."

Spit's never been the greatest for comfy anal sex, though. In pre-HIV days, every guy into buttsex kept a jar of petroleum jelly near his bed; you could tell who was getting laid by the Vaseline stains on his sheets. But for those of us now consigned to using condoms, anything containing oil is taboo – grease weakens latex. "Lubricated" rubbers aren't slippery enough for anal penetration – they require more lubing to slide easily inside. It's vital to use a water-based (not merely "water-soluble") lube – and lots of it. It's not just a matter of slickening the shaft: lube-covered fingers can massage a tight hole into a relaxed state of receptive bliss. And many a top has found that a dab of goo inside his rubber makes fucking feel finer.

Water-based lubes are made chiefly of two ingredients: glycerine and H20. Depending on their ratio, a brand of lube can be runny and silky smooth or of near-jelly-like consistency. One man who knows what he likes – and doesn't – says, "The light stuff is so runny that it gets everywhere but where it's supposed to, which is on my meat."

Unfortunately, water-based lubes tend to dry out just when the sex is getting good. The conscientious top keeps a sizable supply of the stuff handy, slathers it on, and replenishes it often, thereby enhancing both the comfort of the bottomboy's booty and the survivability of the rubber. But should the supply run out, drying-out lube can be replenished with a few drops of water – or even a dribble of spit.

Some animalistic men swear by a veterinary lube that comes in powder form – just add water. And there's the Rolls-Royce of slippery stuff, silicone-based sex lubricant. Longer lasting than water-based lubes, it has a softly slick feeling all its own, and is safe to use with rubbers. It's pricey, though, and can cause a chemical reaction that destroys silicone toys.

(One thing that's definitely a no-no for nookie is nonoxynol-9. Used in het-oriented lubes as a spermicide, it kills HIV in the test tube, and so was once recommended for safer anal sex. But nonoxynol-9 irritates the anal lining, thereby making it more prone to infection. Steer clear.)

When it comes to dildo play or jacking, there's a much bigger range of usable lubes, from Mom's cold cream to olive oil. (Unless, of course, there'll be condomized fucking afterwards.) Kitchen shortening, although really messy, is superlatively slick and long-lasting...and you can always use the leftover Crisco to make biscuits. Still, many masturbating guys prefer the usual water-based stuff for its consistency and easy clean-up. One wanker rhapsodizes, "Using the right lube makes beating off feel twice as nice."

Whatever you use, be wary of cross-contamination. A bunch of guys digging into the same tub of Albolene can leave some unwelcome bacterial bugs behind. Many commercial sex lubes come in pumps or squeeze bottles – more sanitary for multiple users.

There are also handy single-use lube packets, portable and simple to dispose of. Though some of them are hell to open, putting a crimp in the otherwise-sublime tango of anal penetration, they do make it easy to be prepared. One horny dude says, "I always keep an envelope of lube in my jacket pocket, right next to a rubber."

Because, after all, few things say "I want you" better than breaking out the lube and getting your dick slick, Slick.

Simon Sheppard is the author of Kinkorama: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Perversion

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