Practicer of safe sex here! But we have a question to slip into your column.

Up until intercourse, there’s plenty of slippy slide-y excited wetness. I usually orgasm first through oral, so saliva helps, but a good portion of that is just me.

That’s when we suit up. While I definitely prefer my partner’s penis unclad, we need to use condoms. But within even a minute, it seems like all that helpful wet is gone. Lube helps, but it seems to disappear quickly, too, requiring reapplication. We aren’t doing tantric 8 hour bouts or anything, so what gives (or rather, what taketh away?)

Slippery When UnWrapped

Dear Slippery,

Good on you for routinely practicing safer sex, and working through the issues instead of giving up! You and your partner are doing a lot of things we’d recommend to increase slipperiness during sexiness. Getting turned on, having an orgasm without penetration, and using lube are all great ideas.

First, it’s not uncommon to have this response to condoms. Our bodies just seem to react differently to a synthetic sheath than to direct skin contact. It’s unfortunate that you’re having this issue, but I have a couple of thoughts for you.

I don’t know if you’ve experimented with different types of condoms. If not, that would be on the top of my list of suggestions. Specifically, I’d try something without latex. You may actually be having a latex sensitivity, which can cause dryness and inflammation during sex, and leaving you with chafing, and possibly feeling pretty torn up afterwards. You can definitely try a traditional condom in a non-latex material, which might really help you.

Another latex free option is the internal condom, also known as the female condom. Internal condoms are great because you can lubricate both sides, making for an extra slippery experience. (Internal condoms are great for other reasons, too. They accommodate penises and sex toys of every size, and provide more external protection against STIs like herpes, HPV, and others that are transferred by skin to skin contact).

I’d also suggest trying different brands of lube. Every body will respond differently to the composition of each brand. Something that works great for one couple could be all wrong for another. Pick up several sample size packets of different brands and try them out. This can be a really affordable and super fun way to find something that works better for you.

The type of lube can also really affect your experience. Water based lubes are safe for every kind of sex, are condom safe, and are safe for use with sex toys. However, they tend to dry out after a little while. As you play, the water in the lube begins to evaporate and to be absorbed by your body; the residue left behind can get a little sticky. You can re-apply your lube throughout sex to keep your parts moving along smoothly. Additionally, adding a few drops of water can refresh the lube, and extend its life. Some people worry this could break the flow, but it might totally save the sex.

If that doesn’t make enough difference, try a hybrid lube. Hybrid lubes are water based, but with a little silicone added (often between 10 and 15 percent). The addition of the silicone makes the lube last longer. Pure silicone lubes are super slippery, and last the longest. (Remember, silicone lube is safe for condoms, but can cause damage to silicone and elastomer sex toys.)

Things like this can be a real drag. But if you’re willing to experiment, you’ll probably find a solution that keeps you slip-sliding away.

Curious about cunnilingus? Anxious about anal? Do you have questions about queefs or problems with your prostate? Lucky Tomaszek is the education coordinator at The Tool Shed: An Erotic Boutique, Milwaukee’s only mission-driven, education-focused sex toy store. Send her an email at [email protected] and she’ll get back to you with an answer.

About The Author

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Lucky Tomaszek, LM, CPM, is the education coordinator at The Tool Shed: An Erotic Boutique, Milwaukee's only mission-driven, education-focused sex toy store. Most mornings you can find her balancing her cat and her keyboard in her lap, working to make the world a smarter, safer place for people of all genders and orientations.