It’s 2011, I am at a sex shop buying lube for the first time with my first love, and I have no idea what I am even looking at. “Can I help you find anything?” asks the sweetheart of a sales associate. My boyfriend and I both jump at her approach; we’re nervous to even be inside a sex shop, let alone actually buy something. (Yes, kiddos, I am unabashedly sexual today, but in 2011, not so much.)
“Umm, we’re looking for a lube that’ll feel natural and won’t give me an infection,” I manage to squeak, through layers of debilitating shyness.
The shopkeep reaches for a bottle of Blossom Organics and hands it to me, rattling off a shpiel about its natural ingredients and vagina-friendly formulation. Then she leaves me and my boyf to peruse.
We test a little of this mysterious new substance on our hands, and exchange silent, confused glances. At last, my darling murmurs, “I like this one. It feels like your actual vag juices.” I blush, but this time it’s with glee; this soft-hearted moment between us is the most comfortable and least distressed I’ve felt since setting foot in the shop. Because I know that regardless of how much shame I might be feeling, none of it is coming from my boyfriend, and that is what really matters.
We walk up to the cash counter, bottle of lube in hand. “We’ll take this one,” I say, not quite proudly but getting there.
For years, I think of lube as a product for my comfort and pleasure alone, and therefore something I have to specifically request if I want it used. Boyfriends and hookups slide fingers, toys, and cocks into me at my behest, and lube must be applied at my behest too. One partner learns what my “Ouch, I need a little more lube” face looks like, and begins to take it upon himself – but aside from that one perceptive outlier, everyone I bang requires me to be assertive about my own lubrication needs.
I continue thinking of lube this way until, in the winter of 2016, my fave fuckbuddy becomes my fave fuckbuddy, and flips my whole concept of lube on its head with a single comment.
“I want your fingers inside me,” I purr contentedly as he strokes my clit, mid-makeouts, in my big cozy bed.
“You got it,” he replies. “Think you need any lube?”
“Nah, I’m good,” I say. It’s sometimes difficult for me to determine my juiciness level without physically checking, but based on the situation I’m in and the person I’m in it with, it seems likely that I’m soaked.
He kneels between my legs for leverage and pushes two thick fingers into me, finding my A-spot quickly and with ease. I’ve already floated halfway to the heavens when he pauses and says, “Actually, can we use some lube? I want a little more room to move around in here.”
I laugh, having never encountered this request before, and hand him a bottle of Slippery Stuff. The seconds stretch out languidly as I watch him squeeze it onto his fingers and spread it around, coating their full surface. It’s the first time I’ve ever thought of lube as sexy.
He slips his fingers back into me, and I immediately understand what he was talking about. It does feel like he has more room to move around. The slicker environment gives him more freedom for fine movements, fingers building speed in minuscule motions over the exact right spot. He is a manual maestro, a vaginal virtuoso. The sensation reminds me of how much more sensual your own skin feels in a hot bath: the damp granularity of arm hairs, the shiny squeak of wet legs tangling underwater.
I come so hard, I soak his fingers, rendering the lube superfluous. But it was the tool that got us there. The lube he asked for, and the fact that he asked for it.
I regard teaching straight men about lube as a public service I perform. It imbues my sluttiness with noble purpose. Sometimes I daydream that I school all the men of earth on the evils of glycerin and parabens, and in doing so, eradicate a broad percentage of vaginal infections worldwide.
I’ll never forget the crush who, upon getting me naked in his king-size hotel bed, pulled a bottle of lube from his suitcase and said, “It’s no Squillid, but…” Naturally, his mispronunciation of “Sliquid” made me laugh so hard I nearly fell off the bed. The lube he then handed me was chock full of glycerin and propylene glycol, so I passed it back to him and said, “I’m not putting this in my vagina, but I appreciate the gesture.” We spent longer on warm-up before delving into penetration, and it was fine. Perhaps he’s upgraded his lube of choice by now.
I’ll also never forget the night last summer when I told Bex my new boyfriend didn’t own any lube. “WHAT?!” Bex shouted. “We should bring him some! Like, right now!!” They were high, and were therefore perhaps more emphatic about this subject than they would be while sober, but not by much. I brought the boyf a bottle of Sliquid Sassy the next time I saw him, and he put it to good use immediately.
Another day, another night shift at the sex shop. I’m new to the retail scene and trying to soak up as much knowledge from my coworkers as possible. I know a lot about vibrators, dildos, butt plugs, floggers… but about selling these things? Not so much.
Keeping a wide berth so as not to freak out the customer, I listen in on my babely coworker giving a lube pitch. “These lubes are the best ones on the market,” he announces with the utmost confidence, and gestures sweepingly at the Sliquid section. “They’re hypoallergenic, organic, tasteless, and fragrance-free. This one is my favorite.” I watch with scarcely-concealed glee as he picks up the Organics Gel, my all-time fave, my right-hand man, my nightstand essential.
If I could go back in time and tell my 18-year-old self that one day she’d swoon over a dude because of his taste in lube, she’d probably laugh in my face. But it makes perfect sense. Caring about lube is caring about partners’ comfort, health, and pleasure. What could possibly be sexier than that?
This post was sponsored by the good folks at Lubezilla, and as always, all writing and opinions are my own!