Lifetime Lubricant Use among a Nationally Representative Sample of Lesbian- and Bisexual-Identified Women in the United States

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations


Introduction: The diversity in self-identified lesbian and bisexual women's sexual interactions necessitates better understanding of how and when they integrate personal lubricant into different experiences. However, little is known about lesbian and bisexual women's lifetime lubricant use, particularly at the population level. Aims: The aim of this study was to examine the prevalence and characteristics of lubricant use among adult lesbian and bisexual women in the United States. Methods: Data were drawn from a subset of lesbian and bisexual participants who participated in the 2012 National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior, an online questionnaire administered to a nationally representative probability sample of U.S. adults ages 18 and older. Main Outcome Measures: We examined socio-demographic characteristics, recent and lifetime lubricant use, lubricant use in associated with specific sexual behaviors and condom use, frequency of use, motivations for use, as well as perception of lubricant when used. Results: A majority of lesbian- (60.1%) and bisexual-identified (77.1%) women reported ever using lubricant; 25.7% of lesbian women and 32.7% of bisexual women used it in the last 30 days. Across most age groups, lubricant was commonly used during partnered sexual play, partnered sexual intercourse, or when a vibrator/dildo was used. Lesbian and bisexual women reported using lubricants to increase arousal/sexual pleasure/desire, to make sex more fun, or to increase physical comfort during sex. Conclusions: Lubricant use is identified as a part of lesbian and bisexual women's sexual experience across the life span, as a part of both solo and partnered experiences. As part of evolving sexual health assessments, clinicians and health educators may find value in integrating lubricant-focused conversation with their lesbian and bisexual patients and clients, particularly.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1257-1266
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Sexual Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2015


  • Bisexual Women
  • Lesbian Women
  • Lubricant
  • Nationally Representative Sample
  • Sexual Behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Reproductive Medicine

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