Lesbian- and bisexually-identified women's use of lubricant during their most recent sexual event with a female partner: Findings from a nationally representative study in the United States

Vanessa R. Schick, Devon Hensel, Debby Herbenick, Brian Dodge, Michael Reece, Stephanie Sanders, J. Fortenberry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


Purpose: While previous research suggests that lubricant use may be common among lesbian- and bisexually-identified women, it remains unclear from this research whether lubricant was being used with a male or female partner. The present study explores the behavioral, emotional, situational, and relational aspects of lesbian- and bisexually-identified women's lubricant use during their most recent female-partnered sexual event. Methods: Nationally representative data was collected as part of the 2012 National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior (NSSHB). The 2012 NSSHB had an oversample of lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) individuals. Participants were included in the present study if they identified as a lesbian or bisexual women and indicated that their most recent sexual partner was a female. Participants were asked a variety of questions about the context and experience of lubricant use during this event. Results: Nearly a quarter (21.9%, n=32) of the participants reported that they used a lubricant during their most recent female-partnered sexual event. The likelihood of lubricant use significantly differed based upon age, race/ethnicity and sexual identity. The most commonly reported reason for lubricant use was to "make sex more comfortable," with half reporting use for clitoral stimulation (50.6%, n=16). Overall, participants indicated that lubricant use enhanced their sexual experience. Conclusion: Lubricant use may improve comfort and increase pleasure during certain sexual acts between women. The use of lubrication should be considered as a means of reducing pain and enhancing sexual pleasure during sexual behavior between women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)169-175
Number of pages7
JournalLGBT Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015



  • bisexual women
  • lesbian women
  • lubricant
  • probability sample
  • sexual behavior
  • women who have sex with women (WSW)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Urology

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