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The JackinWorld Lube Encyclopedia

A roundup of lubrication to help you slip & slide.

By Mike

[Mike has been JackinWorld's Assistant Editor since 1997. He has two grown children, a daughter and a son.]

JackinWorld already provides information about using lubrication when you masturbate (check the JackinIndex for entries under Lubrication). While that information is still valid, new products have become available since the information was first published. Here is a review of newer products, along with a summary and discussion of various methods and substances you can use for lubrication when you masturbate.

Lubrication of your penis for sexual activity can happen in one of two ways: You can use a fluid that your body produces, or you can apply a slippery substance that you either find in your home or get outside the home.

Both males and females can secrete natural lubricants to facilitate sexual intercourse, although not all do so. When many males are sexually aroused, they produce a pre-ejaculatory fluid secreted by their Cowper's glands and known popularly as "pre-cum." This clear fluid serves two purposes: (1) It neutralizes any acids from urine that may remain in the urethra, paving the way for sperm to pass safely at ejaculation, and (2) it lubricates the end of the penis to prepare for sexual penetration. Uncircumcised males find that the foreskin collects and holds this fluid efficiently until the foreskin is retracted at penetration. However, circumcised males notice that the fluid still serves its purpose as it "drools" in and around the urethral opening of the penis. Females produce a similar wetting fluid that lubricates their vaginas and vulvas. Still, many males do not produce any noticeable "pre-cum," and some females do not produce much fluid when they are aroused.

Adding lubrication when you masturbate can
simulate the enhanced feeling of intercourse.

For years, the standard substances available to use as sexual lubricants have included some form of petroleum jelly (such as Vaseline); a lighter petroleum distillate called mineral oil (such as baby oil); or some form of vegetable oil (such as corn oil; avoid olive oil, as it's more acidic and can mildly burn the skin). Petroleum jelly, mineral oil, and vegetable oils are still widely available, as are a number of newer products that have been developed from glycerin and are sold specifically as "personal lubricants." After we consider the question of why you would want to use a lubricant for masturbation at all, we will review the substances and products that are available and how you can get them.

Talking With Your Parents

At JackinWorld, we think that the best way for families to deal with teens masturbating is for parents to let their kids know that masturbation is normal and healthy for boys and girls to explore their bodies and keep their sexual needs in check. Parents should see that their teenage sons have the necessary privacy for masturbation as well as lubricants and cleanup material. However, we realize that many families don't support a view this liberal. We suspect that many parents prefer not to discuss masturbation, so that as long as a child keeps it private and unspoken, everybody is happy. We also know that some parents oppose masturbation and forbid their children to do it. But we think that unless your parents have directly forbidden you to masturbate, you could safely bring up the subject if they have not spoken about it with you.

If this suggestion makes you nervous, consider that the very reason your parents have not discussed it with you may be that such a talk makes *them* nervous. You could be doing them a big favor by starting the discussion. You might feel awkward and embarrassed, but even so, you can still do it. It's something that we have all been through, one way or another. Only by stumbling and plodding do we eventually learn to walk with grace and precision.

So, which parent would you talk to, and what would you say? You probably want to talk to the parent you feel most comfortable with. Perhaps your father or mother gave you "the talk" about sex at some time, and you'd want to talk with him or her again. Or, maybe you're comfortable talking to both of them. The JackinLibrary article Fathers & Sons: Opening Lines of Communication has suggestions for how you can start a conversation by asking for information. Then you could lead into one of the dialogs suggested below.

If you and your parents have already discussed sex and puberty and asking for information doesn't make sense, then you are ready to respectfully state your needs for lubrication and cleanup materials. Basically, you want to make them understand (1) you have learned about or know about masturbation, (2) you have noticed recent changes in your body — you are maturing, ejaculating, and feeling sexual urges, (3) you want to masturbate to help control the urges, "wet dreams," and unwanted erections, and (4) you need to have something to use for lubrication and cleanup. Here are some suggestions for what you could say:
When I took sex education, they talked about how my body would change during puberty and that I'd begin to feel sexual feelings that I hadn't felt before. Well, my body has begun to change and now I'm feeling those feelings. My friend's dad told him that masturbation could help him control those feelings, and my friend told me about it. I've begun to masturbate and it does help, but I need something to use for lubrication to prevent irritation, and something for cleanup.

My friends were talking the other day about masturbation. They said that it has really helped them to control "wet dreams" and getting erections when they don't want them. They told me how to do it and I tried it. I want to keep doing it. They said it works best if I use a lubricant, and I need to use something for cleanup. So, could you get me some lubricant and let me use a towel or a box of tissues?

Remember when we talked about sex and how you said my body would begin to change? Well, it has begun to change, and I'm feeling some urges I never felt before. My friend said that masturbation would help me deal with those feelings. He said to use lubrication so I wouldn't irritate my penis, and that his parents gave him a special towel for cleanup. Could you do this for me?

I found a library book about growing up and maturing — how my body will change. Well, I'm beginning to change like it said, and recently I've had some "wet dreams" and surprise erections. The book said that many teens masturbate to help avoid these things. Well, I tried masturbating, and I haven't had any "wet dreams" since I started, so I'd like to continue. But I know that lubrication could help prevent irritating my penis, and I need something to clean up with.
We realize some of this may sound corny beyond belief. You need to put it into your own words, and be sure to tell the truth. But remember that the chances are very good that one or both of your parents masturbated when they were teens, and probably still do. So they know what you're talking about. They might be more concerned if you were *not* masturbating. And we think most parents would be grateful for their sons or daughters to make this request if the parents aren't comfortable bringing up the subject.

In a letter to JackinWorld, one father put it this way:
My 12-year-old son approached me last week for detailed information on sex. We have had small chats in the past, but this was different because he asked many technical questions — more so than ever before. I was extremely pleased that he came to me for "the talk." He confided that he has had a few "wet dreams" but they leave him frustrated. I decided to tell him about masturbation. His eyes were wide open as I told him about this. I told him it relieves the sexual tension we all feel when we don't ejaculate regularly. I told him it was normal, not "gay," and that it should be done in the privacy of his room. I told him that his mother and I would provide him with the privacy to do it and in a guilt-free atmosphere. A closed door means he needs to be alone. We will knock and then enter only when he says it is okay to do so. I bought him his first bottle of lube, and I explained the mechanics of self-pleasuring. I had him put a few drops of lube on his fingertips and explained the technique of masturbating in general terms. Well, a week went by, and he approached me with a smile and the news that he is now "a man."

I want my son to have a healthy sexual attitude, and that includes masturbation. I am so proud of him and his openness to me. As he gets older, I'm sure it won't be that way, so it is with some sadness that I see my little boy now moving on into puberty. At any rate, I cherish these father-son moments and will remember this occasion forever.
I only wish every father and son could have an experience like this. This father is so fortunate to have a son who trusted enough to come to him with his questions, and the father showed tremendous respect for his son, who is growing into manhood. We suggest that if your parents have not come to you with information you need, you might trust enough to ask them, as this boy did. And then, respect yourself enough to tell your parents what you need as a growing person. Would you give them a chance by asking as this son did? It takes courage and faith, but we're confident you're up to it.
Why Lubricate?

Most of us started out masturbating "dry" — so why should we want to use some messy lubricant that has to be cleaned up when we finish? Two reasons seem pertinent:

To enhance the sensation when you masturbate. Chances are, you learned to masturbate by rubbing your penis (or clitoris) with a dry hand in such a way that you produced the delightful sexual feelings that lead to orgasm — and for males after starting puberty, ejaculation. For some males, this meant placing their penis in their dominant hand, closing their fingers around it to form a fist, and then rubbing the skin on the shaft back and forth. (Many circumcised males still have enough loose skin on their penis to do this.) However, sliding the skin over the internal tissues of an erect penis is just part of the sensation of sliding a penis in and out of a lubricated vagina. There is also the sliding of penis skin against vaginal walls, which stimulates different nerves in the penis. Adding lubrication to your hand and penis when you masturbate can simulate this enhanced feeling of intercourse.

To protect your genitals. Your penis has among the thinnest, most sensitive skin on your body. So it's not surprising that it readily chafes and becomes otherwise irritated if you masturbate frequently and vigorously. Especially after first discovering the practice, young males are likely to masturbate so often that they irritate their penis skin. Using lubrication cannot totally prevent this irritation, but it can forestall problems, depending upon how often and how vigorously you masturbate.

How to Acquire Lubrication

If you're a teenager, you may be fortunate to have understanding parents who have talked to you about masturbation and provided you with lubricant and tissues or a towel for cleanup. However, if your parents either have not said anything about masturbation or don't approve of it, then you probably feel a need to keep your interests and activities secret. And, you may see getting and keeping a lubricant as either impossible or so difficult that it's not worth the trouble. If this is you, here are a few solutions to the problem:

Use your body's fluids. Saliva makes a good lubricant, but it dries quickly, so you need to keep replenishing it. Cowper's gland secretion also works well (if you produce it — many males don't) — it's the male body's best sexual lubricant, produced specifically for sexual lubrication. But it, too, tends to dry out, often faster than you can produce it. Saliva and pre-ejaculatory fluid mix well and may provide enough lubrication for you to achieve orgasm. If you don't produce enough "pre-cum," don't worry; there are plenty of alternatives available.

Find it around your house. Many families keep hand lotion available in various locations around the home. A few generous squirts of the stuff into your hand could be transported to your room or to the bathroom fairly easily without detection. Hand lotion is often kept in the bathroom, where many kids who face lack of privacy tend to masturbate, anyway. Or, you might develop a need to get some lotion for your bedroom to help you cope with dry and rough skin on your body — feet, elbows, hands, and knees are common trouble spots. Your parents could see this as a reasonable request and provide you with your own bottle of lotion that you could use not only for dry skin, but also for your genitals.

Many JackinWorld readers have reported using hair conditioner successfully to lubricate their stroking. It's usually kept in the shower, and that's where many teens masturbate — at least for "quickies." Others have reported using soap or detergent in the shower. We don't recommend this. Not only does it sting if it gets into the urethra, it can severely dry out the skin for a few days. This has scared the daylights out of many people who have tried masturbating with soap!

Buy it. drugstores and supermarket or discount-store pharmacy departments sell small containers of lotion as samples. For one or two dollars, you can buy one of these containers, and then when you use up the lotion, refill the small container from a larger one in your home. These stores also sell small, empty containers for use in travel or cosmetic kits. Look for them in or near the cosmetics section.

Condoms ("rubbers"), which once were available only by asking a pharmacist or sales clerk, are now often displayed in a "family planning center" that is can be located near the feminine-hygiene products such as tampons and sanitary napkins. The family planning center also often has "personal lubricants" that are sold especially for sexual lubrication (see below).

A Review of Safe, Commonly Available Lubricants

Lubricants are classified according to whether they are water- or oil-based. They may be derived from glycerin, petroleum, vegetable, or animal sources; they may be scented or unscented; and they have varying degrees of viscosity (thickness).

Household lubes. Most households keep a variety of lubricants to use for various jobs around the house. You will find vegetable-based cooking oils in the kitchen. Petroleum jelly and baby oil are most likely kept in the bathroom or bedroom. Avoid using mechanical lubricants such as motor oil or machine oil. These have additives that could irritate your skin.

If your reaction to the idea of using cooking oil as a masturbation lubricant is "Ew, gross!" bear with us and don't close your mind until you give it a try. When you have an opportunity, pour a little cooking oil into your palm, and then go into the bathroom to put it on your penis and see how it feels. We think you'll find that it works quite well — it has no scent, lasts a long time, and cleans up easily with just a tissue or towel. Canola oil and corn oil are lighter than olive oil (which should be avoided anyway due to its acidity), with a lower viscosity. Specialty cooking oils such as walnut oil or sesame oil are even lighter, but we recommend that you avoid using these because they are expensive. Your mom might be unhappy to find half of her small bottle of $10 walnut oil gone, where she wouldn't care so much about a $2 quart of canola oil. In fact, she might not even notice that's gone.

If you decide to put some cooking oil into a small container to keep in your room, keep in mind that if you keep the oil for a long time at high temperatures (say, over a summer or two), it can turn rancid or go sour. You'll be able to tell that the oil has gone bad by smelling it. If this happens to you, just pour the oil into a wadded up newspaper, rag, or paper towel, or into another container that you find in the trash, and then place it all in the trash. Rinse out your oil container and replace the oil.

Petroleum jelly (a common brand is Vaseline) has been around for years. It's a highly viscous lubricant that you might prefer if you like more friction when you masturbate. It is unscented and lasts a long time, but it needs soap and water for complete cleanup. Store labels cost a little less than the brand names. You can find it in the infant or skin-care aisles of drug, grocery, and discount department stores.

Baby oil gel is a relatively new product; it's less viscous than petroleum jelly, yet thicker than baby oil. Store labels are available for a little less than the brand names. Like baby oil, the gel is lightly scented. If petroleum jelly gives too much friction for your tastes, but you still want substantial friction, baby oil gel may be your answer. Look for it in the baby aisle of the drugstore or supermarket. Although complete cleanup requires soap and water, you can get fairly good results by wiping with a tissue or towel.

Baby oil, like petroleum jelly, has been available for many years. It tends to be lightly scented and has low viscosity. Store labels cost a little less than the brand names. Cleanup is easy — just wipe with a tissue or towel. Baby oil works well to combine with more viscous lubricants so you can get exactly the feeling you want. Try starting out by applying a coating of either petroleum jelly or baby oil gel; stroke for a minute or two and then add a few drops of baby oil. Stroke for another minute to see how you like it, and then add a few more drops of baby oil. Keep adding small amounts of baby oil until you get the feeling you want.

Hand and body lotions are widely available in grocery stores, drugstores, and discount department stores. Your parents probably keep this lotion in your home, perhaps even in the bathroom where you masturbate frequently. If you look on the back of the bottle at the ingredients list, you are likely to see that it contains mineral oil, the same stuff that is sold as baby oil, but with the addition of skin softeners and a scent. Many lotions are now featured as "greaseless," meaning that your skin absorbs them rapidly. For lubricating masturbation, this is exactly what you *don't* want. So if you try using a greaseless lotion for lube, be aware that you may need to replenish it frequently.

If you climax within a minute or two, chances are the lotion you start out with will last long enough. If you are in for a longer session, you may want to consider using both the lotion and some baby oil to make it last. In fact, you could even mix some baby oil into a larger amount of lotion to get a lubricant that will last as long as you want to stroke. The easiest way to do this is to take a partially full bottle of lotion (or, fill a separate bottle about two-thirds with lotion), and then add baby oil a little at a time, shaking the bottle vigorously after you add the baby oil. Keep adding baby oil until you get the consistency you want. Shake well before each use.

Chances are good that someone in your family uses hair conditioner and leaves it in the shower. Whether you like to masturbate in the shower regularly or just grab an occasional "quickie" there, try using conditioner as a lube. Its big advantage is that cleanup is a snap — the lube, and your semen, go right down the drain. Finish off with a little soap and water to clean any semen from your pubic hair, and you're good to go!

Occasionally, we hear from a JackinWorld reader who uses baby powder as a dry lubricant. Coat both your hand and penis with generous amounts of baby powder and stroke away. The feeling is different from stroking with a wet lubricant. Baby powder is developed either from talc or from cornstarch. Each type has its own distinctive feel. Try stroking with each type to see whether you like it, and if so, which type of powder you prefer. Both types of powder are available in the baby aisle — in both brand names as well as store labels, which give you more for the money.

Specialty Products

We think that the first liquid "personal lubricant" to become widely available some years ago was Astroglide. Where the household lubricants mentioned above are derived either from petroleum or vegetable oil, liquid personal lubricants are derived from glycerin. Their viscosity is low — that is, they are highly slippery. Johnson & Johnson now has a liquid personal lubricant, K-Y Liquid, to compete with Astroglide, and drugstore and discount-store chains also offer their own private labels for a little less cost. Although liquid personal lubricants last a fairly long time, they do tend to dry out and/or absorb into the skin, so they need to be replenished or restored from time to time. Keep a small dish of water near where you masturbate. When the lube begins to dry out and thicken, dip your fingers in the water and apply to your hand and penis to restore the slippery quality. Personal lubricants are unscented and compatible with latex (if you happen to be masturbating with a condom), but they're relatively expensive — $5 to $8 for a small bottle.

K-Y Jelly is another product that has been around for years. K-Y Jelly is compatible with latex, so it does not tend to break down the material of condoms, where petroleum-based products such as petroleum jelly and baby oil do. (Of course, if you are just masturbating with a condom, you don't care about the degree of protection so much as if you were having sexual intercourse. We need to point out that even if you use K-Y Jelly with a condom for sexual intercourse, the condom *still* is not a 100% guarantee in preventing pregnancy or the spread of STDs, but it's much, much better than nothing.)

Albolene is another product that has been around for a while. Look for it in the skin-care aisle of the drugstore. It is pretty expensive — a 12-ounce jar costs around $13. However, a little goes a long way, so it will last a long time. Albolene is an unscented facial cleanser designed to remove makeup. In the jar it has the consistency of paste, but as soon as you apply it to the skin, it liquefies to become a delightfully slippery, long-lasting (oh yeah, and cleansing) lubricant. What, no makeup to remove? Well then, you'll just have to use it on your penis! Albolene is produced from a petroleum base, so you'll need soap and water to remove it completely.

You may find massage oil for sale in some upscale groceries or drugstores. Perhaps there is even a shop in your neighborhood that sells professional massage supplies. The advertising for massage oils can sound enticing — but these oils are expensive (around $10 for a small bottle) and don't really give you anything more than you would get with one of the more inexpensive lubricants I've already discussed. Many massage oils contain fairly strong aromatic agents that give it a strong scent. This is great if you want to massage your friend and stimulate his or her senses, but it doesn't work any better for masturbation than lower-cost lubricants.

Other Specialty Lubricants

You might see lubricants intended "specifically for sexual lubrication" advertised on the Internet or in sex-toy catalogs. The ads may even claim that advanced technology has created a slippery substance like no other. The cost is high — $10 to $20 for a small bottle. Our advice: Save your money and be happy with a personal lubricant that costs under $10. Perhaps that super-lube is more slippery than your stuff — but how slippery do you need it to be? Could you really tell the difference?

Dealing With Embarrassment When Buying Lube

You may find the thought of going into a pharmacy and buying a bottle of personal lubricant (or even a small bottle of hand lotion) embarrassing — as if you had a flashing sign on your forehead that says, "I'm gonna masturbate with this stuff!" Or, you may think that asking your parents for a bottle of lotion is a sure clue that you're going to use it for personal pleasure. Fears like these prevent many teens from trying to get and use lube.

Perhaps you have decided to go to a store and buy lubricant on your own. Do you quake with fear at the thought of going to a cashier with a bottle of "personal lubricant" for purchase? Here are some suggestions for dealing with this fear of embarrassment:

Does the cashier know you? If not, what's the worry — that someone else would know that you masturbate? Perhaps. But then you *could* be buying this for use with your girlfriend — they don't know. And, so what if they do correctly conclude that you will use the lubricant for masturbation? If the cashier is a female adult, chances are that she is aware that most males masturbate from their early teen years on. If the cashier is a male adult, he knows for sure that most males masturbate. And if the cashier is high school or college age, whether male or female, chances are that they masturbate, too! It's part of life.

If the cashier *does* know you, then what? Would he or she tell your parents? Even if you haven't told them you masturbate, they still probably know. As we said, they probably masturbated when they were kids, too. And you can always go to another cashier who doesn't know you — or, to another store where you are not known.

You don't have to explain why you are buying the product — you don't have to say anything but "thank you" after the sale. Personal lubricant is not a controlled substance. No law prevents you from buying it. Ultimately, it is nobody's business but your own.

Cleaning Up After You Use Lube

Some lubricants are water-based (such as K-Y Jelly) and clean up easily with a damp washcloth or disposable wipe. Other lubricants such as baby oil and Vaseline are made from petroleum products and so need soap and water for thorough cleanup. However, even if you clean off most lubricant and semen with a dry tissue or towel, some will stay on your skin. You may discover that you like the feeling of a more thorough cleaning with a warm washcloth, with or without soap, even though this means getting up and going to the bathroom. Or, you could wet your washcloth and wring it out when you're in the bathroom brushing your teeth before bed. Take it with you when you go to your room, and you'll be all ready for cleanup when you finish masturbating. In the morning when you wake, take the washcloth with you to the bathroom, rinse it, and hang it in its usual place.

One way to have a damp washcloth available in your room all the time is to get a container of hand wipes or baby wipes. drugstores and supermarkets sell baby wipes in the baby aisle; hand wipes are more likely to be in the aisle with cosmetics or soap. And if you look in the paper-products area next to the toilet paper, you will find "personal wipes" that are intended for people to use as they use toilet paper after a bowel movement. All of these products are some form of paper towel that has been moistened with a mild cleansing lotion and may be fortified with aloe and vitamin E. What's good for baby's bottom or adult bottoms is also good for cleaning your genitals after you masturbate. When you're done, you can either flush it or discard it in the trash.

Be careful not to get any wipes that are moistened with a strong, anti-bacterial cleanser and intended to use for cleaning bathrooms. The stronger cleanser could seriously sting and irritate your skin. Likewise, avoid using any of the liquid hand-sanitizing lotions that are sold now. One JackinWorld reader wrote that he made the mistake of trying to use that as a lubricant. It stung terribly for a few minutes and got him entirely out of the mood!

If you leak a lot of "pre-cum" when you masturbate, you may find that keeping a bath or a beach towel in your room is helpful. Put it on your bed before you masturbate so that any leakage will go onto the towel and not onto your sheets. This is also a good idea for females who get very wet when they become aroused.
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