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Trope · Genre
Related: Anal Sex, Safe Sex and Fandom, A Regular Boy Scout
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Tropes · Slash Tropes · Tropes by Fandom
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Lubricant, a product used in sex, penetrative anal sex and other, is more than just a physical substance; its procurement and availability is a trope in fanworks that often says much about characterization, experience and motivation.

Depiction in Fanworks

Some slashers see the poor choices of lube as a systematic lack of knowledge of anatomy, and have written posts (often with an amount of humour) on the subject.[1][2] Minotaur wrote extensively on the subject and included images to show a gay man's perspective of the lubrication needs in anal sex.[3]

However, fans' perspectives on lubrication, preparation, and anal sex, both in fic and reality, vary widely.[4]

Reality and Fantasy

A fan writes in The K/S Press #18 (February 1998):
You mean K/S sex scenes are supposed to resemble reality? It’s kind of like how terribly romantic it sounds to fall asleep in each other’s arms (you’ve usually got one, or possibly two, too many arms for comfort) or with one’s head pillowed on the other’s shoulder (you might as well amputate your arm in the morning). But, if I was reading K/S for the accuracy of the sex acts described, I’d just read a medical text. To summarize, I’d have to say that K/S sex scenes are more ideal than real. Which is just fine by me.

Different Meanings

Planning and Intent

Much can be read into a seduction where the lubrication is already under the pillow/in a bedside table drawer. Sometimes, a character will toss a tube into his backpack/pocket/suitcase at the last minute, telling readers he has plans but isn't too cocky. Having no lubrication, or reaching up and dragging a bottle of olive oil off the kitchen counter says something else.

At Home or Away

Control over environment:

  • if away from home, the art of improvisation

What the Lack of Planning May Say

  • character/s didn't expect the sexual encounter, consciously or subconsciously, letting him/her "off the hook"

What the Fandom Dictates

The time period in which a fandom takes place has much bearing on available products. Lubrication on the Enterprise, at Hogwarts, in the city of Cascade, or behind a dusty saloon in the Old West are perhaps all going to be different.

Example Products and What They May Suggest

  • spit
  • the shower/water/soap
  • KY or other brand
  • hand lotion
  • suntan lotion
  • a used container
    • leftover from an encounter with a woman
    • leftover from an encounter with himself
    • left over from an encounter with another man
  • massage oil given to him by a former girlfriend, an old reliable classic
  • olive oil/butter
  • alien/future substances
  • weapon polish
  • hair conditioner

For those times when you're just not sure, the Dreamwidth community beginning_cocks maintains a pictorial Lube/Not-Lube database.

Some Fans Comment

  • " There was one memorable story [in Starsky & Hutch fandom] with butter for lube. :-)" [5]
  • "So, THAT’s where butter for lube came from! I failed gloriously attempting to draw that in a game fanish pictionary back in the day." [6]
  • "Just be sure to use plenty of lube [in your fanfiction], OK? I've been reading a bunch of old zines looking for FSP material, and I've just about had it with "I shall prove my love by having you fuck me dry" stories. Wake up and smell the Astroglide, boys." [7]

Examples in Fanworks

  • In the Sentinel story Ticket to Tuscon by Cara Chapel, Jim employs a decidedly poor choice. "He worked saliva into his mouth patiently as he opened the foil envelope and rolled on the condom, then spat into his palm repeatedly while Blair waited for him, upraised body trembling with anticipation. Mouth dry, Jim palmed his cock carefully, distributing the precious moisture over it, again regretting that they didn't have anything better."
  • In the Starsky & Hutch story White Rabbit by Morgan Logan, Starsky gets creative. "'Something. We need something,' Starsky said, and reluctantly he pulled away from the warm body beneath him to dig frantically through Hutch's pack... Starsky found and discarded a tube of toothpaste and a bar of soap, settling finally on a bottle of what looked like suntan oil."
  • In the Harry Potter story One Night at the Ministry by Maeglin Yedi, Harry and Draco get drunk and use office supplies as lubricant. Unfortunately, the substance turns out to be magical super glue.
  • In the Star Trek: TOS story "Backrub" from the zine First Time #51 by Virginia Sky, the lubricant is a psychological turning point for Kirk. He and Spock are engrossed in foreplay when Kirk fetches the lubricant and remembers he'd used the same container on previous lovers. Kirk feels guilty but then decides he needs to "look to the future, not the past."
  • In the Starsky and Hutch story, "Labyrinth by Merle Decker and Carol Davis," they improvise: "'Okay.' The simple word of agreement that slipped past his lips so easily could change everything, Hutch realized shakily. 'I'd better get something....' His mind was suddenly blank. Starsky must've realized as much from his expression because he was the one to finish the sentence. 'That stuff you bought for your chapped lips?' Starsky offered matter-of-factly, but Hutch could hear the underlying strain in his voice."
  • From the due South story An Admirable Solution, Ray Kowalski nixes the spit: "Wait, wait, whoa!" Ray said, getting up on his knees and barking out a laugh of surprise. "Join us in the 20th century, why don'tcha?" Ray reached out, hooked his fingers in the nightstand drawer pull, and blindly managed to find not one, but two tubes of lube—one bright pink, one lime green. He dropped the pink one back into the drawer. "They got products for this, now, you know," he said, twisting around and handing the lime green tube to Fraser."
  • In a Pokémon comic featuring the Lance/Silver pairing, Silver is shown sucking on Lance's fingers as they get ready to have sex. Lance then produces lubricant (and a condom) from seemingly nowhere, with the artist's note stressing the importance of both implements during any kind of sex.


  1. ^ xtricks, (2010). Butt Confidential 1. Retrieved 17 November 2010.
  2. ^ awils1, (2010). November 12, 2010. Retrieved 17 November 2010.
  3. ^ Minotaur, (2001). Minotaur's Sex Tips for Slash Writers. Retrieved November 18 2010.
  4. ^ The INAPPROPRIATELY-TITLED PANAL! survey results compilation post by mrsronweasley, 5 April 2011. (Accessed 27 April 2011)
  5. ^ Tumblr post by lunaris103, January 18, 2015
  6. ^ Tumblr post by brak666, January 18, 2015
  7. ^ Mary Ellen Curtin at alt.startrek.creative.erotica.moderated, November 1999