A recent study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine suggests that women in the United States generally have positive perceptions of lubricants and prefer penile-vaginal intercourse to feel wet rather than dry.
Many women reach orgasm more easily when sex is wetter and believe their partners prefer wetter sex as well.
Researchers from the University of Arkansas and Indiana University asked 2,451 women to complete an online survey about their perceptions of lubricant use. The women ranged in age from 18 to 68; their mean age was 32.69.
About three-quarters of the women said they had purchased a lubricant in the past four weeks. These purchases largely occurred in drug stores, large discount stores, or an adult bookstore, such as an adult sex shop.
Most of the women had positive views of lubricants. For example, about 96% of respondents either agreed or strongly agreed that lubricants made sex feel more comfortable. Almost 94% of the women either agreed or strongly agreed that lubricants make sex feel more pleasurable.
Regardless of age, most of the women said they preferred sex to feel wet and that wetter sex felt better to their partner. Using lubricant also helped women reach orgasm more easily.
Women who did not prefer lubricants reported that lubricants made sex feel too wet or sticky.
These findings may help healthcare providers and sexual health educators better undesrstand women’s feelings about lubricants and help them guide patients about lubricant use.
The data may help health professionals respond to misperceptions on lubricant use as well. Some women believe that lubricants are only for older women or that there is something wrong with a women whose vagina doesn’t lubricate sufficiently on its own. Letting these women know that lubricants are popular and well-received may help them feel less self-conscious about using lubricants.
The authors also pointed out societal views on sex in the United States, with many Americans believing that sex should last a long time. Women may not be able to produce enough lubrication on their own for this time period, so additional lubrication can be helpful. “Alternatively,” the authors wrote, “women and their partners could also be counseled about the limitations of natural lubrication and other non-penetrative means of sexual pleasure and expression.”
The study was published online in December in The Journal of Sexual Medicine.
The Journal of Sexual Medicine
Jozkowski, Kristen N., PhD, et al.
“Women's Perceptions about Lubricant Use and Vaginal Wetness During Sexual Activities”
(Full-text. Published online: December 4, 2012)