Men's use and perceptions of commercial lubricants: Prevalence and characteristics in a nationally representative sample of american adults

Michael Reece, Debby Herbenick, Vanessa Schick, Stephanie A. Sanders, J. Dennis Fortenberry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations


Introduction: Most research on men's use of commercial lubricants during sexual activities is in the context of condom use and often specifically among men who have sex with men. Less is known about men's use of lubricants associated with a broader range of sexual experiences. Aims: The aims of this study are to document the prevalence of commercial lubricant use among adult U.S. men (age 18+), to document men's use of lubricants across solo and partnered sexual behaviors, and to assess men's perceptions of the contributions lubricants have to the sexual experience. Methods: Data are from the 2012 National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior, which involved the administration of an online questionnaire to a nationally representative probability sample of U.S. adults ages 18 and older. Main Outcome Measures: Sociodemographic characteristics, recent and lifetime commercial lubricant use, lubricant use during specific sexual behaviors, frequency of lubricant use, and reasons for lubricant use. Results: Most men in the United States (70%, N=1,014) reported having used a commercial lubricant, with men older than 24 and those in a relationship more likely to report lubricant use. About one in four men had used a lubricant in the past 30 days. Intercourse was the most common behavior during which men used lubricant, though solo masturbation and partnered sexual play were also frequently linked to lubricant use. The most common reasons for lubricant use included "to make sex more comfortable," "for fun," "curiosity," and "my partner wanted to." Conclusions: Most American men have used a lubricant; lubricant use is common across all age groups, and some of the most common reasons why men report using lubricants have to do with sexual enhancement, comfort, and pleasure. Clinicians may find these data helpful to their efforts to educate patients about lubricant use, comfort during sex, and sexual enhancement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1125-1135
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Sexual Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2014


  • Lubricant
  • Men's sexual health
  • Sexual pleasure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Reproductive Medicine

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