Looking for the best water-based lube? Great idea – because, yep, water-based lubes are a great way to have better, wetter, and safer sex.
A quick breakdown of the best lubes available: there are water-based, oil-based and silicone-based, and sometimes hybrids of two or more. Water-based lubricants can be used for vaginal and anal play (read our roundup of the best lube for anal here), but they aren’t just great for sex, either.
Throw on your bathing suits, folks, because we’re going down the slip-n-slide to find the best anal lube for you. Going into anal sex without a lubricant is like going through your day without coffee: painful and almost always unsuccessful. On a more serious note, “using lube for anal play is crucial,” Jenn Mason, founder, and owner of WinkWink, a Washington-based, women-owned sex shop, tells SELF. We spoke with experts to understand what to look for when shopping for anal lubes and why it’s beneficial for anal sex.
The anus has thin walls, doesn’t self-lubricate, and is surrounded by sphincter muscles that naturally tighten closed when touched. So for anal sex, experts suggest that you apply lots (and lots) of lube, get relaxed before penetration, start gradually with gentle stimulation (and work your way up), and communicate with your partner.
If Lizzo is right and we really are our own soulmates, it’s time to seriously re-evaluate the way we’re getting ourselves off. With Valentine’s Day around the corner, there’s really no better time to make a date night with yourself and do some, ahem, field research.
“Your sexual pleasure is a journey, not a destination,” says Toronto-based sexual health and consent educator Samantha Bitty. “What got you off in 2010 might not get you off in 2020.” Translation: try new things.
There is nothing wrong with looking for a bit of inspiration when it comes to sex. Traditionally, men have turned to porn to get inspired; however there are other solutions. For instance, literary erotica allows readers to find inspiration by inserting themselves into the stories. There are so many options when it comes to literary erotica, stories that run the gamut from cowboys to vampires to everything in between. No matter what revs your engine, you can always find it on the written page. For something really classic, check out Anne Rice’s “Sleeping Beauty Trilogy” or Anais Nin’s “Delta of Venus” or “Little Birds.” For something new that offers a little bit of everything, try an anthology series like “Best Women’s Erotica of the Year” or “The Big Book of Orgasms.”
Still not convinced the written word can do as much for your sex drive as the moving picture?
1. Erotica trumps porn because the brain is queen.
“The brain is the most complex organ in the human body, so it makes sense that erotica engages the mind differently than watching traditional pornography. A lot of porn is a hard-carnal sell, skewed more toward overt sexuality and racing to the almighty ‘money shot,’ rather than teasing nuanced sensuality,” explains Pfeuffer. Filling your head with positive inspiration is key.
2. Erotica trumps porn because porn can be all about the boys.
Pfeuffer explains, “Given that 2017 data from PornHub revealed its audience is 75 percent men and 25 percent women, it’s probably safe to assume that most porn is written with the male gaze in mind. There are filmmakers who defy these stereotypes: Erika Lust, Bree Mills, and Lucie Blush are all badass feminists, who produce porn with thoughtful plots and storylines.” If you want to play in the porn playground, be as picky as you please about what you watch.
3. Erotica trumps porn because most women don’t look like that.
“Erotica appeals to a different aesthetic, one where the imagination can run wild without a concrete visual or cadence. Most women don’t look like porn stars, so it’s hard for us to relate, and a lot of women end up making unrealistic comparisons,” says Pfeuffer. It can be hard to feel sexy when comparing yourself to appearance and behaviors that simply don’t exist in your world. To feel even sexier, try adding a clit simulating gel to your sex play.
4. Erotica trumps porn because some porn can be unrealistic.
Porn sex is not real sex. Period. “Real sex doesn’t always look like what we see on the screen. Not all women squirt, like anal without lube, or cum without foreplay,” explains Pfeuffer. “Porn would have you believe otherwise. I’m guessing for most of us, our mental imagery of what pleasure looks like is very different than what men imagine. Erotica allows us to mold that mental imagery.”
5. Erotica trumps porn because erotica is perfect solo or in pairs.
“Readers can read out loud to a lover or get lost in a story on their own,” Bussel says, which makes erotica as fun to share as it is to use alone. Make erotica part of your foreplay and you can be sure that your play will be better than ever. While you’re at it, why not add something to spice things up like a little massage oil…
6. Erotica trumps porn because you can make erotica your own.
Erotica gives readers the chance to fill in the blanks. “Reading erotica lets people use their imagination, inserting themselves into a story and getting lost in the plot and the sexual acts in different ways than watching porn. Even with detailed descriptions, there’s still room to make the story your own in your mind and to embellish the visual in your mind, and perhaps be a more active participant than when viewing video porn, although I don’t think the two are at odds,” Bussel says.
7. Erotica trumps porn because it offers something new.
Erotica can be very inspiring. As Bussel explains, “For many, reading erotica can give them new ideas of things they might want to try or simply let their sexual fantasies have free reign in their mind, which isn’t always easy in a world that polices sexuality, especially women’s sexuality.”And in the name of trying new things, if you don’t use lubricant as part of your regular play, why not give it a whirl? And, if you do, why not try a new kind to up your lube ante?
8. Erotica trumps porn because erotica has staying power.
Porn imagery bombards the brain. But, “Written erotica can also stay in the reader’s mind long after they’ve finished it; I still recall some of the first erotica I read over 20 years ago,” Bussel says. Staying power means you can play the scenes over and over in your head whenever you choose. No technology required. Another way to up your staying power is to try incorporating a performance product into the bedroom, such as a delay spray, to make the fun last longer.
Porn definitely has its place. It’s been around a long time and it’s certainly not going anywhere, however, it does have its limits. For instance, porn must be watched on some type of electronic device. The amazing thing about erotica is that you don’t need anything but the words and your imagination to immerse yourself in pleasure. As mentioned before, nearly all of it is filmed from the male perspective, and 99% of it is painfully fake in its depiction on intimacy. With erotica, there is a story for every taste, in every genre, from mild to wild. So, why not give it a try? A whole new literary world of sexy awaits you!
We are not sure when masturbation got such a bad rap but we do know it’s a shame. Masturbation is so incredibly good for us – body, mind, and spirit. It’s great for our sex lives, our relationships, our health, even our work! It’s time that we come to see masturbation as a vital component of self-care. Masturbating alone is paramount, however it can also increase intimacy between you and your sexual partner.
Here are ten reasons why solo and/or coupled masturbation is essential.
It teaches us how our bodies work.
Everyone should know how their body works. There should not be a single part of our bodies that are outside of our understanding. The only way to truly understand something is to engage with it as often as possible. And adding a lube like Sliquid Spark that enhances orgasm can make it possible to keep the fun pleasure coming. Masturbation allows us to learn how our bodies do and do not work.
It connects us to our bodies.
So much in life disconnects us from the very bodies we live in. We cover them up and keep them under wraps, we can go days, weeks, months without even seeing them, let alone touching them. We live in these bodies so we need to live in them. There is virtually no way not to connect when we masturbate, and starting the fun with a hot bath or other relaxing activity can add to the pleasure. Masturbating together then connects us to our partner’s body as we see how they relate to, love, and care for themselves masturbation is essential whether you’re coupled or single.
It is vital in the realm of self-care.
Taking care of ourselves means giving our bodies what they want and need. Our bodies want and need touch. Our own touch. If we are going to take care of other people, we have to first take care of ourselves. When we masturbate, we minister to our bodies and minds, allowing us to be our best. Part of being our best is always being open to learning, including reading books like “The Ultimate Guide To Solo Sex” about the whys and how tos of self-love.
It’s great for our health.
Masturbation is healthy. Don’t let anyone tell you
otherwise. It’s good for our brains, our hearts, our skin, and our circulation.
For too long we were sold a false bill of goods. Religion and other groups have
wanted to keep people separated from their bodies and sexual pleasure by
telling us that masturbation is wrong, sinful, or dangerous. It’s simply not
true. The real truth is that masturbation
is essential whether you’re coupled or single.
It allows us to be the best possible sexual partners
really tough to know what will work for us in bed if we don’t know what truly
gives us pleasure. Masturbation allows us to figure out, on our own time, what
feels good to us and what we could do without. And when we masturbate together,
we can literally show one another what works best when it comes to making us
It allows us to be our best selves
Think about it, after you masturbate, you feel great! Climaxing can ignite feelings of happiness. Your skin is glowing. You’re focused, calm, and feel like you can take on the world. When we take time for ourselves to “get in the zone”, we can then be our best at work, at home, and at play.
It reminds us of our power
We can do anything, conquer anything, and be anything. We have the power to bring ourselves pleasure, to share pleasure with others, and to stand up for pleasure. When we masturbate, we feel the most powerful, and there is no reason to not be as much in our power as possible. Masturbating as a couple can have that effect as well, allowing us to see just how incredible we are together.
It reminds us of how amazing we are
Our bodies enjoy erotic pleasure, we are capable of giving ourselves that pleasure all on our own. We are so lucky to have these bodies that can do so much for us. Masturbation helps us to see that again and again. You can even celebrate that amazingness by gifting yourselves with some pleasure giving goodies, such as O-Gel, an organic vasodilator that helps stimulate the clitoris. It’s vital that we never forget how lucky we are to have these bodies and that masturbation is essential whether you’re coupled or single.
It reminds us not to be ashamed of our bodies
There is nothing wrong with the human body. Nothing. There is nothing to be ashamed of when it comes to the human body. Sex and orgasm are functions of our bodies. When we masturbate and it feels good and lightening doesn’t strike us – which it won’t, I promise – it helps us to remember to shun the shame. Keep in mind that there’s also no shame in adding toys, such as The Womanizer to solo or coupled play.
It allows us to remember that our sexuality is our right and our privilege
able to enjoy pleasure is both a human privilege and a right. It is up to us to
honor that. We are so lucky to have bodies that can do what they do and no one
has a right to take that away from us. We can honor that right by exercising it
There are plenty of things in the world that people disagree on. But when it comes to masturbation, the facts are clear. Masturbation is essential whether you’re coupled or single. Take the time to take care of yourself, your partner, and learn together by masturbating together. There are no better investments you can make then investing in yourself and in your connection to the person you love. Shut out the noise and listen to your body. It will tell you. It needs pleasure and it needs to connect. Masturbation is the key to both.