Once upon a time, the best part about summer was the Slip ‘n’ Slide. Breaking out that rubbery strip and hosing it down for the kids to throw themselves on was required at every celebration. The Slip ‘n’ Slide never failed to deliver a good time, until I sustained a debilitating injury that put an end to my slipping and sliding days for good… Or so I thought.

The elimination of friction is what makes a Slip ‘n’ Slide so thrilling. What an interesting coincidence that it is also a basic component of what makes sex so fun. It is a Slip ‘n’ Slide of its own making, without grass in undesirable places and a painful wedgie – most of the time.

Adding lubrication into the sexual equation is fun, easy and always makes things better, unless you are allergic to certain ingredients in the type of lubricant that you use. Other than that, I can’t think of a solid reason to not make lubricant an integral aspect of every stage of intimacy. Please note that by lubricant I am not referring to saliva. While it is a helpful lubricant in oral sex, you probably don’t naturally produce enough saliva to keep vaginal or anal penetration lubricated. Also, sucking up mucus through your nose and spitting it at the problem is unacceptable. If you do this, you deserve to be kicked in the face. If you endure this, the fact that someone’s snot is in your orifice is punishment enough.

By keeping the vagina or anus properly lubricated, the chances of causing tiny tears in the walls of either are reduced, and thus the chances of transmitting STIs communicable via fluids and open wounds are also reduced. Lube can also prevent condoms from breaking and reduce the chances of painful sex. For women, it can be easier to orgasm during intercourse because parts that usually don’t come in contact with each other have more movement with lubricant and are more likely to slide past each other during sex.

Like finding the sex toy that suits you best, it is necessary to use the right kind of lubricant to satisfy your basic sexual needs and desires. You must consider where on your body you will be primarily using the lube and what kind of partner you will be engaging sexually with.

Water-based lubricant is as safe as, well, water. It doesn’t last as long as other lubes, but it doesn’t destroy the latex of condoms and is unlikely to cause any kind of irritation in the vagina. It also doesn’t leave awkward residues on clothing and sheets like other lubes. You’ll have to really lay this stuff on thick if you need to go all night, but if you just want a quick fix, I suggest a warming lube, as many lubricants can be shockingly cold when applied in a hurry.

If you aren’t using condoms because you and your partner are monogamous or because you are careless, then you don’t have to worry about lubes made with natural oils or thicker lubes like Vaseline ruining the condom. However, be careful where you use petroleum-based lubes, like Vaseline. Lubricants that employ this ingredient often bother the vagina. Both of these lubricants are great for almost anything else, including masturbation and anal intercourse.

Flavored lubes are fun, especially if you are engaging in oral sex. It’s like syrup on top of a sundae: While you love ice cream, sometimes you just crave caramel, or maybe strawberry, or even grape on top. You won’t need much extra lubricant because saliva is already involved, so those little packets of flavored lube they sell at sex shops for 50 cents will be enough for a one-time use. Don’t buy the bottle unless you know that you won’t get tired of that sickly-sweet apple taste after using it twice.

Lube is an incredibly effective way to make different types of sex better. It’s not solely reserved for times when things go dry, it can also be rubbed on when things are great for an added sensation.

So take it off, lube it up and tackle each other. You may have outgrown your old, ratty Slip ‘n’ Slide, but it will take you a while to outgrow this one.

As a child, Daily Nexus sex columnist Nina Love Anthony actually owned a Crocodile Mile.