Ice Cubes, Coconut Oil, Syringes: How (and Why) These Gay Men “Pre-Lube”

After douching, lubing up in advance seems like "the most logical thing to do."

Pictured above: Coconut oil, obviously!

“It’s like intentionally feeling like you sharted,” a friend shared after I brought up the prospect of “pre-lubing,” an act I was recently introduced to through a lewd Facebook status.

A close friend and Toronto drag queen posted that his barber likes to lube his ass as a precautionary measure before he goes out intent on getting laid. His preferred method? Inserting a small, cum-filled ice cube into his ass that slowly lubes the rectum throughout the evening. I’d personally never heard of such a thing and pondered it in front of my laptop like a queer Carrie Bradshaw: “In a world of instant sex and competitive bottoms, was I the only one not pre-lubing?”

Fortunately, I have a Facebook group chock full of sex-positive homosexuals where we kiki about our sexual exploits and weekend plans. A coven for queers, if you will. Among this group, the practice of pre-lubing was polarizing—a surprisingly rare occurrence among this crew. Some swore by it as a religious practice, while others had never heard of such a thing.

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“A couple friends of mine will freeze a sort of icicle made of lube or cum and insert it before a party or a scene. That way they’re nice and wet when the fun starts,” one friend stated, admitting he had never committed the act himself. Another in the group swears by the syringe, insisting it’s the safest and easiest method (“One plunge and you’re done!”). Another, who was in New York for World Pride during the discussion, sent an image of the Boneyard Skwer Lube Injector while browsing an adult novelty store, verifying the legitimacy of this lesser-known exercise.

Of the eight of us, six had never pre-lubed. A similar ratio was reflected in a poll I published on Twitter, which showed a little over two in 10 have pre-lubed in anticipation for intercourse.

Jeremy, one of the poll voters, will pre-lube when he’s going to a gay bar or event and is feeling particularly horny. He confesses that pre-lubing influences naughty behavior. “The way I see it, I’m sitting here with a cleaned out and lubricated asshole, am I going to let that go to waste? Hell no! Somebody is gonna get these cookies,” he says with a laugh. “I’ve already gotten myself excited to get my back cracked, so I must find someone to crack my back.”

Jeremy later recounts the first time he ever pre-lubed. “I was going out and had arranged a dick appointment for later in the night,” he explains, adding that his paramour planned to swing by the club that evening for a quick rendezvous in his car. “I hate carrying those little lube packages—I just think they’re tacky. It’s never enough and they’re more messy than anything and I wasn’t about to carry a bottle with me. So I figured: Why not just lube up in advance after I finish cleaning myself out? It seemed the most logical thing to do.”

Of the roughly 10 pre-lubers I spoke with, most perform this ritual on their own accord, not knowing of its pre-existence in the gay community. Pre-lubing isn’t something they do regularly and most will only put in the effort if sex is more or less guaranteed. For example: If they’re going to a hookup’s place, they will pre-lube as a sort of ritual that follows douching; this makes sense, as the act of douching rids the anus of its natural lubricant. “I generally don’t find it too cumbersome,” Barry, a friend and confessed pre-luber, shares. “The only downside is sometimes I don’t get laid, so I did it all for naught.”

If time allows it, pre-lubers will use a butt-plug or prostate massager as a vessel for the lubricant and as a way to train the ass prior to intercourse. “I apply an extra generous amount of lubricant to whatever toy I’m using and leave the lube up there. I find that’s sufficient lubrication for several hours,” Jeremy says. Barry does the same, insisting it pushes the lubricant in deep as “lube on its own can sometimes leak, depending on how much you use.”

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Most agree that silicone and oil-based lubes are great options, as both last longer than water-based lubes. Not to mention, they are both generally preferred for anal sex, courtesy of its thicker, silkier consistency. (However, if using sex toys, stick with silicone-based, as oil can erode toys.) The most popular substance for pre-lubing was coconut oil. Many elect the natural lubricant because it isn’t as thin or runny, and won’t leak. An added bonus: Coconut oil is palatable just in case your sexual partner wants to kick things off with a heavy rimming session. More extreme pre-lubers will use another man’s semen from a prior barebacking session.

In the group chat, those who hadn’t pre-lubed were apprehensive to try because it seemed uncomfortable. “I think the most accurate description of the feeling would be a serious case of ass sweat,” Jeremy details. “Or, depending on how much you use and how deep you put it, like someone came inside you and you still have the load in there.” Others, like Gabe, admit that if you use too much, it “feels like you’ve shit yourself.” In his opinion, syringes often attribute to this uncomfortably wet sensation.

In speaking with these individuals, it is clear that pre-lubing is not a taught behavior. Rather, it is often a shrugged chore (not unlike trimming or shaving one’s pubes) one elects as a pre-emptive measure in hopes of getting laid. As if bottoms didn’t have enough to do already.

But it’s also a process that, according to pre-lubers, is mutually beneficial for the top and the bottom: It eases intercourse for the penetrative partner and offers comfort for the receptive partner since—biology be damned—the anus does not lubricate itself.

In simpler words? Pre-lubers don’t get ready. They stay ready.

Bobby Box is a freelance journalist and editor whose work on sex, relationships, culture, and sexuality has been published in the Daily Beast, Playboy, Them., Into, Women’s Health, Complex, PopSugar, among others.
@bobbyboxington