Lube is nothing to be ashamed of, especially if it improves your sex life.
People use lubricants during sex for lots of different reasons, and lube is always a fun addition to foreplay. But for me, lube is essential in my sex life, because I live with a chronic illness that affects my sensation. Basically, I never have sex without lube, and I wouldn’t want to.
I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2013 after waking up with numbness and severe tingling down both legs, from the waist down. To the touch, I couldn’t feel very much of anything, and underneath my skin, my body felt taut. Walking was suddenly way more difficult. Although I never became incontinent, I couldn’t feel myself peeing, and I became really concerned about my sensation coming back. An MRI scan showed that a lesion had formed on my spine, damaging the nerve pathways that send signals down my legs. This was my first step towards getting an MS diagnosis, and it was terrifying to find out that my body had been attacking itself, and that some of the damage might be irreparable.
My healing was gradual and one of the things that changed as a result was my orgasm. For several months, although I could excite my body through masturbation and bring myself to climax, my orgasms were dull, and sometimes I didn’t feel anything at all. Pleasure didn’t shoot to my brain, and I felt as though I was dead inside, as a result of my chronic illness. It was beyond terrifying to lose bodily pleasure that had once seemed so natural and easy, and I wondered if I would ever get my orgasm back.
Losing my orgasm is one of the reasons I tried using more lube, during masturbation and intercourse. While lube didn’t magically bring my sensation back, it did help me to feel more than I could without it. Plus, when having sex with my partner, lube became essential while touching myself, as I needed clitoral stimulation alongside penetration to make me come. Without both, it can still be difficult to reach orgasm. But working as a team, my partner has helped me to understand my body’s new limitations, and what stimulation I need to enjoy myself during sex. As a result, we’ve tried a lot of different brands of lube, and have narrowed our stock down to our favorites.
In fact, decreased lubrication is a common symptom of multiple sclerosis, and chronic illnesses that affect sensation. While I don’t have a problem getting wet for sex with my partner right now, I find that lube only helps the situation. As I need additional stimulation throughout sex, it makes sense that using a synthetic lubrication encourages my body to feel, and heightens the sensations I do have, which can be variable day to day.
As Health Central writes on multiple sclerosis and sex, “Vaginal lubrication is controlled by multiple pathways in the brain and spinal cord, similar to the erectile response in men. Decreased vaginal lubrication can be addressed by using generous amounts of water-soluble lubricants.” So when it comes to disabled women and sex, a lack of natural lubrication is inextricably linked to chronic illness, especially when the brain and spinal cord are responsible. Instead of berating yourself though, and wishing that you get wetter than you do, lube is the perfect solution, even when enjoying yourself solo.
Lube is nothing to be ashamed of, especially if it improves your sex life, and your own connection to your body. As Shana Pezaro, a writer with multiple sclerosis, told the MS Society, it’s best to be upfront about how your body experiences pleasure when you live with a disability. As she says, “I hand over the lube, explaining that I don’t get wet, no matter how turned on I am. I explain that I rarely orgasm through penetration, and point out the bag of sex toys and vibrators.”
It can often feel as though a chronic illness or disability has taken from you, and changed how your body works altogether. Which is why it’s so important to be open to using new tools, and having new experiences. For me, exploring which lubes work best for my body, and help me to feel more, both vaginally and clitorally, has been life changing. And I recommend you try the same.