This article discusses a mature topic. Our 17-year old and younger readers are encouraged to read this with an adult.

Winter in Los Angeles isn’t really much of a winter. And, as I’m sure you’ve all heard, we get a little crazy when it rains. We complain, refuse to go outside, and, when forced to leave the house, absolutely cannot drive. It’s just so wet and slippery, we can’t handle it.

But when it comes to sexual health, slippery and wet is a good thing. (Also when it comes to Bon Jovi albums.) Though some body parts already produce their own lubrication, adding additional lube can make things a little more slippery and can have lots of great benefits. Lube can make condoms less likely to break, reduce skin irritation and help make sex feel better. So, in honor of LA’s “rainy season,” this month’s Ask Elizabeth column will focus on one of our favorite products: lube.

Do you have a question that you’d like to see answered in this column? Send them to me at

Q: What’s the best kind of lube?

Just like people have their favorite brand of lotion, every person is different when it comes to their lube preferences. There are lots of different kinds of lube, including water-based and silicone-based, and hundreds of different brands. There are also flavored lubes for oral sex and lubes with different sensations. Trying out different kinds can help you figure out which one you like best. If you’re planning on using lube with a partner, talk to your partner to see what kind they like, or try out new ones together. Fortunately, many adult or novelty stores and health centers offer sample sizes so you can try out different kinds. Just remember that you can only use water-based or silicone-based lube with latex condoms, so keep that in mind when trying out new lubes. (For a primer on different types of lube, check out this article from our friend Jenna over at Scarleteen.)

Q: Is it safe to use lotion as lube?

If you are planning on using lube with a condom or latex barrier (dental dam), lotion isn’t an option. Lotion is usually oil-based, and the oil will damage the latex, causing it to break. A water-based lubricant will still make things slippery without doing any damage to the latex. If you’re using lube for masturbation, lotion is usually safe, as long as there aren’t any ingredients that you may be allergic to.

Q: Is it normal to need extra lube during vaginal sex?

Bodies produce lubrication in different amounts, and this varies each day, in each relationship and in each situation. Needing or wanting to use some extra lube is completely normal and doesn’t mean that anything is wrong. Many people use lube as part of their regular sexual activities, not only if they need it, but also because they enjoy it and it helps keep condoms from breaking. In addition to lube, it always helps when both partners communicate about what they like, don’t like, and what will make them comfortable.

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