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Dr. H explores the benefits of lube and the importance of STI testing

Dr. H, Column Writer

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Do you need to use lube if something is wrong?

Dear student,

Many people use lube during sex and it’s not necessarily a case where something is wrong with the people involved or the sex they are having. Lube can heighten the sensation of coupled sex and masturbation.

It can also make sex safer by reducing the risk for micro-tears of the vaginal or anal lining and condom breakage. Some condoms come prelubed, so there’s really no need for more—unless the people want it.

But other condoms don’t, and lube can just make the sex feel better. You can put lube on the outside and inside of the condom, as well as inside of the partner.

It’s important that a water or silicone-based lube is used with condoms, as oil-based lubes can damage the condom and just aren’t healthy for putting inside of a vagina.

If you do choose to put lube inside of a condom, just a few drops will do, as too much may result in the condom slipping right off.

Vaginas have a natural lubrication system, but some women still want to use lube to prolong the enjoyment of sex and/or just make it feel better. It doesn’t mean the natural system isn’t working; it’s really just a matter of personal preference. Anuses don’t have a natural lubrication system, so lube is a must for anal sex (more on this next week).

Lube comes in all forms water and silicone-based lubes are a good go-to for sex with and without condoms, as they are hypoallergenic and cannot be absorbed into the skin.

Lubes with flavors may sound like a good idea, but the ingredients can irritate skin. Spend the extra money and stick to personal lubricants that
are named as such and never use household items (olive oil or Vaseline) as lubricants.

I have been dating the same person since high school and we’ve both only had sex with each other. Is there any reason we should get checked regularly?

Dear student,

I’m so happy to hear you’re concerned about STIs and screening! The question you raise is a valid one.

We promote STI testing for any and all sexually active people, and rarely do we differentiate between “low” and “high” risk populations.

If your current partner is the only partner you have had—and you have both test negative for STIs—I would say you’re in that low risk category for STI acquisition and regular screening is not necessary.

If you’re not using condoms because you’re in a mutually monogamous relationship, you should still be using another form of contraception to prevent unintended pregnancy.

I emphasize the mutual aspect of mutually monogamous because while our partner may be our one and only, we may not be our partner’s one and only.

People who have unprotected sex outside of their relationship are at risk for bringing an STI to their other partner. I’m making no assumptions about your relationship, but I just wanted to raise the issue because I think it’s important we’re realistic about how STIs are sometimes spread—we can get them from partners we assumed to be monogamous. When it comes to safe(r) sex and STI prevention, communication is key.

If by chance, you and your partner go your separate ways and you begin a sexual relationship with someone new, be open about your STI status and inquire of your new partner’s status – preferably prior to having any kind of sex (vaginal, oral or anal).

If your new partner has never been tested before but swears they are STI negative, remind them they can get screened at the Student Medical and Counseling Clinic on campus or at the downtown location of Planned Parenthood.

In fact the SMaCC and the Wellness Center are teaming up for Get Yourself Tested, a STI screening opportunity for students! It will be conducted at SMaCC on April 19 and 20 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Wellness Center will be available to answer any questions you may have about STIs and sexual health.

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