(RxWiki News) Women who used lubricant during sex reported significantly higher levels of satisfaction and pleasure, according to the largest systematic study of its kind.
Some 2,453 women participated in the study, in which Indiana University researchers found that use of lubricants was associated with higher ratings of sexual pleasure and satisfaction, and low rates of genital symptoms. Women who used a water-based lubricant (as opposed to the silicone-based variety) reported less genital symptoms and fewer instances of genital pain.
"In spite of the widespread availability of lubricants in stores and on the Internet, it is striking how little research addresses basic questions of how personal lubricants contribute to the sexual experience," said Debby Herbenick, associate director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion.
Other findings included:
• More than 70 percent of the time that lubricant was used for vaginal or anal intercourse, study participants indicated that they did so in order to make sex more pleasurable; more than 60 percent of women indicated this was the case during masturbation.
• More than one third of the time that lubricant was used for vaginal sex, anal sex or masturbation, women indicated that they used lubricant because it was fun to do so.
• Sizable proportions of women also indicated that they chose to use lubricant in order to reduce the risk of tearing, particularly for anal intercourse.
"These findings help us to reinforce to sexually active individuals that not only are lubricants important to safer sex but that they also contribute to the overall quality of one's sexual experiences," said Michael Reece, director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion and co-author of the study.
In addition to added sexual please, water-based lubricant has long been recommended as an important safer sex tool, particularly when used with latex condoms. The combination of these tools leads to a markedly increased protection against sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV.