Monday, October 17, 2011

Q & A: Houston, We Have a Lube Problem

Sometimes I get a phone call from a friend telling me they've given my phone number or email address to someone--a stranger, to me--in urgent need of advice. It's a nice reminder that most people don't live in a world saturated by Dan Savage, Tristan Taormino, and the rest of the worth-their-salt sex advice gang, and that people still have problems and questions that need help and, somehow, Dr. Drew's 'Oh, you like anal sex? You were probably molested as a child weren't you?' bullshit isn't working.

Dear Julie,
I am in a long-distance relationship of a year now. My boyfriend goes to U of H, so we see each other about once a month. We both like to have rough sex, but it really tears me up and causes me to be in pain afterwards. This usually isn't a problem because we're only together for a weekend or so, but I didn't heal up normally after this past weekend and got worried.

He became really upset when I first suggested that we not always have rough sex and try other things, saying that style is what he liked most and he didn't want to change anything. I told him that I don't want to change anything either, but I will not continue having sex through the pain because, well, I don't like the association of sex with pain. It may be one of those situations where he thinks since the sex is good, why change anything?, but I come away from it all with rips and tears for days at a time.


I emailed Emily back to find out what 'rough sex' meant for her and she said that it meant just kind of pounding away, not anything that was intended to cause injury. Also, I wanted to make sure Emily didn't just have a case of the Red Raider Rash. She said they'd both been tested (yay!) and were clean.

Dear Emily,

My guess is that the 'fit' between you and your boyfriend is too tight, and that your lube gets pushed to the base of his penis during sex and doesn't reduce the bad friction between his skin and yours. You also might be allergic to an ingredient in the lube you're using, which could cause irritation in the (very sensitive, easily abraded) skin of your vagina which makes having sex insult to injury.

Water-based lubes can be a challenge because the water they contain is absorbed by the body over time, leaving behind the base the water is suspended in--often, glycerine. Many people are allergic to glycerin and other people may not be allergic to it but are irritated by it when it becomes sticky.

I recommend using a silicone-based lube, like Sliquid Organics Silk, which doesn't contain glycerin and since it's silicone-based, it doesn't get absorbed by the body and get sticky. If the problem is the 'fit' between you, a thick silicone- or oil-based lube designed for anal sex, like Boy Butter, might stay in place better (but don't use it with latex condoms). Paul Joannides, author of The Guide to Getting it On, suggests olive oil, which is used often in Europe.

When you 'apply' lube, make sure you put it all over both his penis and your vulva and inside your vagina, especially at the bottom of the vaginal opening--that little area gets a lot of pressure during sex.

All of the lube in the world, however, won't make your boyfriend any less of an asshole. I'm confident that any sex with you is better than no sex at all and the fact that he, at 21, only likes the 'rough sex style' is ridiculous. Most people that are not sadists do not want sex to be painful for their partners and good sex comes in a variety of flavors. If, the next time you're having sex, your boyfriend slips back into pounding mode, stop, get up off his dick, and walk away. He'll come around.


*not her real name

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