Maybe instead of asking why use a lubricant, a better question to ask is why not use a lubricant?
There are many examples of things that can work without lubrication, but lubrication can enhance performance. A sliding door can work without lubrication, but if you do add lubrication that door just about glides open by itself. Why wouldn't you want to enhance your own performance by using a personal lubricant for dryness?
Why use a lubricant?
Old school thinking is that lubricants are just for menopausal women with vaginal dryness, but lubricants can improve sexual function regardless of gender or age. How common is vaginal dryness? The Study of Women Across the Nation (SWAN) that included more than 2,400 women revealed that 19.4% of women between the ages of 43-53 reported vaginal dryness. The most common cause of vaginal dryness is the drop in estrogen that occurs with menopause. The decreased estrogen results in decreased blood flow to the vagina (which is why GLISSANT lubricants contain ingredients that can increase blood flow) and ultimately vaginal dryness. Symptoms related to vaginal dryness include burning, itching, and pain with sexual activity sometimes due to tearing. Lubricants have been recommended to decrease the risk of vaginal tearing, which itself is a risk factor for sexually transmitted infections, but preventing tears is not the only benefit of using a lubricant. A study performed at Indiana University found that 65.5% of women aged 18 to 68 years indicated that lubricants made sex very pleasurable and more comfortable. (Indiana University) One very effective option to treat vaginal dryness is with hormone replacement, but many women are uncomfortable and/or cannot take hormones for a variety of reasons, or dryness is only an issue with sexual activity. In this case, lubricants are a great alternative to address dryness with sexual activity.
What kind of personal lubricants are there?
The choice of a lubricant depends on many factors. Water-based lubricants are the most versatile as generally they are safe to use with latex and non-latex condoms. It's also compatibile with most toys. Water-based lubricants also wash off easily, but for the same reason they easily wash off they need to be reapplied more often then other types of lubricants. Oil-based lubricants are the gift that keeps on giving as they last longer than water-based lubricants so usually don't need reapplication. Oil-based lubricants can also double duty as a massage oil. The main downsides are they are not consider condom compatible and don't wash off yourself or your sheets as easily. Silicone-based lubricants also don't wash off as easily, but can break down the surface of silicone toys and bacteria can grow in these crevices. Of course using a combination of different types of lubricants is also an alternative. Certain ingredients such as glycerin, propylene glycol, and parabens should be avoided as these are associated with certain infections and irritation (did I mention GLISSANT lubricants don't contain these?).
So whether you are dry and/or you want to boost your sexual pleasure, apply as much lubricant as you want, wherever you want.
Dr. Karyn Eilber MD is a physician in Beverly Hills with over 20 years of experience in female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery.