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Solutions for Libido Loss: Lubricants

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When asked for sex hints for breast cancer survivors, Sue — a breast cancer survivor herself and a nurse who helps women deal with sexual issues — said, "Astroglide, and more Astroglide. The directions say to put it on the penis, but don't forget to smear it in the vagina, too, LOTS OF IT."

"Being slippery is a good thing," says Dr. Margaret Deansley, a physician, breast cancer survivor, and public speaker. You've got to learn to use the "goop," whether it's Neutrogena Sesame Oil, Astroglide, Today Personal, Surgilube, Ortho Gyne-Moistrin, Moist Again, Replens, Probe, K-Y Jelly (a standard surgical lubricant), or Bag Balm.

Many women prefer Astroglide, Moist Again, and Probe over other products, because they spread more easily and last longer. If your partner is using a condom, be sure to use a WATER-based lubricant. Petroleum-based lubricants damage condoms.

Replens is an over-the-counter moisturizer that helps the vaginal wall hold on to water, resulting in thickened tissue that is better able to handle the friction of intercourse. Apply it to the vagina three times a week at bedtime, over a period of several weeks. Replens can make intercourse tolerable, comfortable, pleasurable. In one study, 80% of women noted a significant improvement in their symptoms with Replens. It may, however, take months to make a difference, and you'll have to keep using it to maintain its special benefits. It's also expensive.

Learn to use the goop without fuss or ceremony, as a matter of course. Here's how:

  • Begin using it during foreplay, spreading it liberally over the labia and clitoris and into the vagina, as well as on your partner's parts that will enter your vagina. You may need to add more later during intercourse.
  • If you're bothered by using your hand (or your partner's) to spread the lubricant inside your vagina, and surgical gloves don't help, choose the product that comes with an applicator.
  • You may also make your choice based on consistency, odor, or taste. Keep a tube in the bedroom, the bathroom, anywhere you're likely to need it.
  • Try using vaginal lubricants the same way you use moisturizing hand cream: frequently and regularly.

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