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What is lube? Why is it used to masturbate?

Masturbation for males involves stroking the penis up and down repeatedly until ejaculation and orgasm occur. Happily, the penis has some of the thinnest skin on the body. Since masturbating often means making two strokes in each direction per second, the possibilities are good that a male will cause a burn on his penis at some point. Also, for most males, the head (glans) of the penis is too sensitive to be touched. Applying a lubricant to the penis solves both of these problems. With lube, the penis can stand to be stroked for a longer period of time without getting burned or chafed, and with lube, the head of the penis can be touched.

What different kinds of lube are there to masturbate with?

There are three basic kinds of lube, and males can use all three. (Females usually can only use water-based lube.)

  • Water-based lube

    Water-based lubes are the cheapest and the easiest to find in stores. They have the advantage of being easily removed from the skin without using soap, so cleanup afterward is no problem. The two leading national brands are Astroglide and K-Y. Both of these come in both jelly/gel and liquid form. The liquid form is the most popular. Water-based lubes are available at any of the national drug store chains (CVS, etc.) and discount store chains (Target, Walmart, etc.). Some of the chains have their own cheaper-priced store brand alongside the name brands. A small bottle (2 1/2 oz.) costs about $6. A larger bottle (5 oz.) costs about $8.

    Some other brands of water-based lube (less likely to be found in national chain stores) are System JO, ID, Wet, Swiss Navy, Gun Oil, and Sliquid.

    Those who want to try a water-based lube but don't want to spend $6 or more for a bottle might want to try a discount brand. Warm Touch brand lube is available at Dollar Tree for $1 per tube. Dr. Sheffield's Lubri-Gel is available at Walmart for less than $1 per tube. Males who find a jelly lube too goopy are advised to mix it with water (and essentially create a liquid lube.)

  • Oil-based lube

    Many males start with oil-based lubes when they start masturbating. Often what they use is not manufactured especially for sexual purposes. For examples, many males find that baby oil, Vaseline petroleum jelly, hand lotion, and similar products, are readily available at home and not likely to be missed. These are all oil-based products. Some commercial brands of oil-based lube (made especially for masturbating) are Boy Butter, Snake Oil, and Yes! Swiss Navy makes an oil-based lube which is boldly called Masturbation Cream.

  • Silicone lube

    Silicone lubes are the most expensive and are often the hardest to find. They have the advantage of lasting longer than water-based lubes. A water-based lube is apt to need refreshing after about 5 minutes of masturbation, while silicone lube can last for half an hour without evaporating or being absorbed. Many manufacturers of water-based lube also make silicone-based varieties with the same brand name. K-Y, System JO, Gun Oil, Wet, ID, and Swiss Navy come in silicone versions. A brand which might be found in drug and discount stores is K-Y Intense Arousal.

How do I use lube?

Most guys apply a few drops of lube to the palm of the hand they use to masturbate just before they begin. If it's colder inside, they let the lube warm in their hand for a few seconds before applying it to the penis. If the lube starts to feel like it's wearing out, apply more.

How can I buy lube without being embarrassed about it?

The lube is found on the open shelf (probably next to condoms) so you don't have to ask anyone for it. Most of the larger stores now have self-service checkout so no cashier has to ring up your purchase. If the store doesn't have self-service, in most places, the cashier doesn't know you and doesn't remember purchases from one minute to the next anyway.

Why is some lube flavored?

It's made for oral sex, but some people just like the smell of it on their hands.

Credit for self-checkout photo: User Schuminweb from Wikimedia Commons.

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