I’ve had a few sexual health related questions in my mailbox recently, and we thought we’d look at a few of them all at once. As ever, if there’s anything you’d like to know more about we’re only an email away - you can ask me anything by dropping a line askabi@fuck.com, and we’re very likely to print your question in a future edition of the column.

 

Dear Abi,

I’m getting super confused about lubes. There seem to be so many different types - jelly, cream, flavoured, tingling...which is the best? Is there any reason to own more than one?


Kind of. You’ve got three main types, basically: water-based, silicone-based and oil-based. Everything else - all the stuff about sensations and flavours and whathaveyou - is kind of a cosmetic choice; pick whatever you fancy trying out or keep it simple. All you need to know about is the pros and cons of those three basic kinds.

Oil-based lubricants - things like Vaseline - have traditionally been popular because they’re cheap, widely available and way more explicable for anyone with privacy concerns than a bottle saying SEXY SEX LUBE FOR SEXY TIMES on it. They’re a nightmare to clean up, though, and I cannot recommend them myself mostly because they break down latex - meaning that most condoms and other barrier contraceptives are rendered useless by them. They’re also not really the best tool for the job; they’ll help, but there are better options out there.

Silicone-based lubricants were once heralded as the best; they last for ages and they don’t feel sticky. Trouble is, though, they cannot be used with silicone sex toys (seriously - your toys will melt and it will be a big nasty mess) and they too are a pain to clear up. Some of them react badly with condoms, too, and a lot of people are sensitive to silicone when used internally.

The way around those problems is water-based lubricants. They’re safe to use with everything, they’re sold everywhere, they’re really easy to clean up after and nobody is allergic to water. The one major complaint people often have is that they don’t last as long and you have to keep topping up with more - but that, thankfully, is less of an issue than it used to be. There are a few brands now that pretty much have all the pros of silicone lubes while still being water-based; my own favourite is Liquid Silk, and that’s the only kind I habitually have on hand.


**********


Dear Abi,

My partner and I are interested in trying some anal play, but we’re not feeling too flush at the moment. Is there really any particular reason to spend all that money on anal plugs and dildos and beads and all the rest of it, when we’ve already got a whole drawer full of vibes and bullets? Do they really feel that much better?

They probably do feel better - ergonomics is important and all that - but that isn’t why you should use them. Quick lesson in biology: as I’m sure you know, if you push something far enough into a vagina it stops when it gets to the cervix, and getting anything further than that is very difficult indeed. It can be done, of course (hell, I have it on good authority that you can get an entire baby out of that thing if you try hard enough) but it’s very unlikely to happen by accident.

Go to the top of an anus, on the other hand, and what you’ve got there is an intestine. Followed by another intestine. Followed by...well, you know, the entire rest of your body. Nothing’s likely to get up quite that far, but it’s also all a great deal less stretchy (after all, nobody ever needs to get anything particularly large through it, unlike a vagina) and - what I’m saying here is that stuff gets stuck, and lost, and remarkably uncomfortable.

Have you ever met a nurse who doesn’t have stories about people who “fell over in the bathroom and landed on the toilet brush”, or “accidentally drove a remote control car up there”? Because I haven’t. The remote control car thing is literally true; it’s a story a nurse friend of mine told me once. People put things that shouldn’t be there up there all the time, and then when they can’t get them out again end up in hospital telling ludicrously elaborate lies about how it happened.

If you don’t want to be those people, can I please recommend buying toys that are explicitly marked as being safe for anal play? Your local A&E department will thank you.


**********


Dear Abi,
Does anyone ever actually use dental dams? I’m a lesbian and I’ve slept with a decent number of women, but I never have - and neither have any of my friends. Do you? Why do you think it’s so uncommon? Should we start?

Alright folks, time for the Dear Abi Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. Nor am I a nurse, sexual health specialist, or medical professional of any kind. I once jokingly called myself a ‘sexologist’, but it turns out that’s a real thing and I’m not one of those either. Which is probably why I’ve never used any kind of protection when having sex with other women.

Truth be told, PIV is the only thing for which I ever do use barrier contraception. I’m not necessarily condoning this as a lifestyle choice, but you’re right that it’s an extremely common one; nobody’s ever asked me to (I would if they did, obvs), and I’m pretty sure I don’t have any friends who habitually do.

It’s not true that cisgendered women can’t give each other STIs. It is true that it’s less likely than it is with many other forms of sexual activity.

Use your common sense. Keep your sex toys clean, wash your hands, give serious thought to your own boundaries about bodily fluids. Get yourself tested at least annually. Trying to insist that we all start using dental dams is probably a losing battle - but it’s worth bearing in mind that it would technically be better if we did.

 

Ask Abi is a bimonthly sex advice column written by Abi Brown. Email your questions to askabi@fuck.com. Abi is a freelance writer and general pen-for-hire devoted to genre fiction, social justice and M.A.C lipstick. Follow her on her website or @see_abi_write.


YOU MAY ALSO LIKE

0 comments

Your content will need to be approved by a moderator

Guest
You are commenting as a guest. If you have an account, please sign in.
Add a comment...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.



There are no comments to display.

Similar articles