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I tried all the bad lubes so you wouldn't have to

Sara Dobie Bauer is a writer, model and mental health advocate with a creative writing degree from Ohio University. Her short story "Don't Ball the Boss" (inspired by her shameless crush on Benedict Cumberbatch) was nominated for the Pus...

Trial and error helped me find the best sexual lubricant out there

I didn't think personal lubricant would be such an important part of my life until I went on antidepressants. In your early 30s, you feel like you should be in your sexual prime, but I was having trouble downstairs and it was all due to medication.

However, then, I went off antidepressants, and I was having the same issue with dryness. What the heck? I talked to other women my age and discovered I wasn't alone. Stress is a huge catalyst for vaginal dryness, and unfortunately, most women would consider themselves stressed. Pregnancy changes things, too, as does, of course, menopause.

More: How sex toys really helped me navigate my sexuality after coming out

It was time to go shopping. I didn't put much thought into my purchase at first. I figured a lube is a lube is a lube… So I started with something that sounded like a fabulous idea: warming gel! I bought K-Y Warming Liquid Personal Lubricant to try with my husband.

We tried. We, yeah, stopped. Something about the whole "warming" thing felt an awful lot like burning to me, and I'm pretty sure your vagina is not supposed to be on fire. Ever. There went that idea.

We decided to try something without any bells or whistles. We went with Astroglide, and although nothing burned (thank goodness), there was nothing magical about the product. I guess it got the job done, but I still wasn't feeling — excuse the pun — all lubed up.

While sex toy shopping, I had a chat with one of the female employees, and because I'm strangely comfortable talking about, oh, anything, I asked her about the best lube for a stressed-out hooha. She, bless her, told me about coconut oil.

I'd heard of the magic of mystical coconut oil before. I mean, I had some at my house for cooking. I guess I never really seriously considered putting it inside me, but hey, the sex shop girl said it was a miraculous experience. I like miracles! My husband and I gave it a try.

A tip for using coconut oil: Warm it up first. Rub the stuff between your hands until it starts to actually look like lube, because it can feel like wax when cold. I liked how the coconut oil made our bedroom smell like summer. It tastes good. It even works pretty dang well, although you sometimes need to add more mid-coitus.

Imagine my surprise when my miracle started giving me yeast infections. Turns out, coconut oil has antibacterial properties. You'd think that would be good, right? Wrong. The vagina is a precarious place, OK? There are good and bad bacteria in there, keeping you healthy, and coconut oil can kill all the bacteria and leave you with an infection.

This might not be true for everyone, but apparently, I have a delicate balance between my legs. Use coconut oil with caution.

More: Everyone is a little sexually fluid, even you

Just when I was ready to give up hope, I learned about silicone-based lubricants. So far, I'd only tried water-based. Silicone-based lubes (although sometimes messy) last longer. They're also waterproof. Shower sex, anyone?

After plenty of research, I found a simple, affordable product called Swiss Navy, and folks, I have not gone back. True, you can't use silicone-based lubricant on silicone sex toys. Small price to pay, all right? The stuff goes on strong and lasts long. I had an orgasm the other day that was so powerful, I went into hysterical giggles. I was overwhelmed with sex joy.

I've been down the long road of good and bad lubes. I've tried water-based and even the natural solution. I say silicone-based is the way to go. Whether you're menopausal, post-pregnancy or just dry downstairs, do yourself a favor and invest in a good silicone-based lube. Your lady parts — and your partner — will appreciate it.

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