"Chaffing" is the least sexy word in the English language.

A few weeks ago, sexologist Toronto Jessica O’Reilly invited the crew from Planned Parenthood to attend her workshop on cunnilingus and other forms of female pleasure.  I have to confess that I went into that session with mixed feelings that were equal parts smugness and skepticism.  As often as not information pertaining to women and their clitorises* come couched in a fluffy pink cloud of Cosmo-itis..

Also? Five years of learning and teaching about giving lady-head have turned me into an insufferable know-it-all.

As it turns out, Jessica is a fantastic facilitator who banished all of my snarky cynicism with her inclusivity, candor and humour.  She completely won me over when she told us, that she only had one prerequisite for all of the techniques she was about discuss. “Use lube.”

Lube is the often overlooked wunderkind of sex play, yet it’s often overlooked or outright rebuffed thanks to The Myth of the Flooded Vagina.

I read many a trashy romance novel last week as a girl.  The plots culminated with the same predictable, yet always titilating consummation of lust. The protagonist and her object of desire would mash their bodies together, clothes would melt and immediately she’d be “wet” down to her thighs.  These descriptions, in conjunction with a cursory mention in health class about vaginal lubrication being an early sign of female arousal.

Because Harlequin and health class were my primary sources of regarding the lube situation**, I believed in whole heartedly The Myth of the Flooded Vagina.  As a result, I spend a lot of my adolescence thinking my vagina was misfiring and my early adulthood, having less than comfortable partner-sex.

I encounter people on a regular basis who believe in The Myth.  They are embarassed, affronted, even ashamed at the thought of buying lube.  They believe, as I did that vaginal lubrication is a precise barometer of arousal and therefore, using something in a bottle is sign of dysfunction.  It’s not.

The truth is that natural lubrication is a variety show.  It can happen at any time, for any number reasons.  It changes with age, with hormone fluctuations, with lifestyle changes…sometimes even with the weather.  And yes, the vagina usually will get wetter when its owner is turned on, but the quantity of fluid also varies wildly from person to person and time to time.  Vagina’s do their own thing and whether it’s dry, flowing or something in between, it’s all pretty normal.

Vaginas, while awesome, are not automatic lube dispensers.  Meanwhile, commercial lubricant, on the other hand pretty much is. Not only does it feel amazing (and I mean a-MAZ-ing) as part of sex play, it’s a safer sex aid that prevents pesky tears in your latex and a must have for anal penetration.

That why I was thrilled when Jessica told us to “use lube” as an integral part of pleasure play.

Smooth operator!

Here are some practical tips when it comes to choosing lube:

1. Lube comes in three basic varieties: water-based, silicone-based and oil-based. Water based lube is latex-safe and compatible most sex-toy materials. Silicone-based lube is also latex safe and has long-lasting stamina!  It’s not awesome with solid silicone, so be careful with your silicone toys. Oil-based lube is NOT latex safe and our insides may not like it.  It is lovely  for a long, slippery hand-job, though.

2. Some lubricants contain sugar or glycerin, particularly the more widely available commercial brands. That’s not necessarily a problem, but for those prone to yeast infections, try to avoid that list these ingredients as they are yeast food.

3.  If you prefer products that are vegan, all-natural or organic, Venus Envy, Come As You Are and The Sensual Vegan (U.S. only) carry a variety of lubes and other environmentally sexy products.


* Note to self:  Not all women have clitorises.  Not all clitorises belong to women.

** My mom did try to fill me in by giving me a copy of ‘Our Bodies, Ourselves’. Unfortunately I all but ignored the text and focused instead on the great naked pictures!


  1. Lisa says:

    Lube is a must! Especially when in about 6-7 weeks time one has intercourse after a LONG 9 month absence 😛

  2. allison says:

    I’m going to make myself keep coming back here until I can get through a whole post without blushing and giggling. The Myth of the Flooded Vagina – snort. So true.

  3. Nat says:

    I’ve decided that on your blog, I’m going to be the queen of TMI…

    You know what messes with my natural lubrication, allergy meds. Apparently it affects more than just the mucus membranes in your head. Just saying.

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE lube… great great post.

    • nadinethornhill says:

      ‘Round these parts Too Much Information is just enough!

      Makes sense that allergy meds interfere with vaginal lubrication. A mucous membrane is a mucous membrane.

  4. jessicaruano says:

    Maybe I missed something… but this is a picture of what exactly? a skinned knee?

    Admittedly, I’m a little terrified of lubricant. Whenever someone brings it over / tries to use it, the first thing that comes to mind is: ‘What are you saying? Are you saying I NEED that stuff? How dare you!’ I’ve always thought of it as the equivalent to a guy not being able to get it up.

    And I know that’s not the case. And I know my fears are unfounded. And I know I’m just weirdly neurotic. But I guess this is just my way of saying, thanks for this post… and I’ll try to get over it.

    • nadinethornhill says:

      That picture illustrates the effects of chafing. Though I have to be honest – I couldn’t identify the body part either. :-)

      I don’t think you are weirdly neurotic. I think a LOT of people feel exactly the way you do about natural lubrication, because that’s what we’re taught. We’re also taught that “good” sex means lots of vaginal penetration with wet cunts and hard cocks. Even though it’s totally normal to experience vaginal dryness or to not get it up in a sexual situation it can feel like failure…but it’s not.

      It took me a long time to get past a lot of those generalizations around sex. Sometimes they still mess me up. I think “good” sex is whatever feels good. if that feeling comes from a bottle, I’m all for it!

      You’re awesome!


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