Lubrication and Vaginal Sex: Lubricant Use and Preferences in General Population Women and Women at Risk of HIV

Abstract

Personal or additional lubricants are used by individuals to enhance sexual experience. Lubrication norms during sex are linked to factors including sociocultural norms, gender dynamics, age, and education. This article provides an overview of literature, exploring thematic areas of interest and relevance to the topic. In some regions/countries, lubricated sex is preferable, and in others, a dry/tight vagina is preferred. Women may use a variety of products to achieve these states. There is little research on lubrication preferences during sex; however, microbicide gel acceptability and adherence studies have provided some insight into these preferences. There is a need for more information on lubrication preferences, including volumes, frequency of use, and site of application. In addition, condom use with lubricants needs further exploration. Context, gender, and individual preferences have implications for acceptability and use of personal additional lubricants and should be taken into account during marketing and dissemination of these products.

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Acknowledgements

This paper was developed following recommendations from the Global Consultation on Personal Lubricants held in Bangkok, Thailand, November 8–10, 2016, hosted by the United Nations Population Fund, World Health Organization (WHO), the United States Agency for International Development and the International Planned Parenthood Federation. The write-up was supported by the UNFPA under UNFPA/USA/PSC/. We are grateful to Richard Cone, Johns Hopkins University, for the review of this paper and would also like to acknowledge Lavanya Pillay for assisting with the literature review.

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The write-up was supported by the UNFPA under UNFPA/USA/PSC/.

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Correspondence to Cecilia Milford.

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Milford, C., Beksinska, M., Smit, J. et al. Lubrication and Vaginal Sex: Lubricant Use and Preferences in General Population Women and Women at Risk of HIV. Arch Sex Behav 49, 2103–2116 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-020-01673-3

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Keywords

  • Lubrication
  • Personal lubricant use
  • Dry sex
  • Microbicide studies
  • Sexual practices
  • Vaginal sex