Lubricants can greatly enhance your sexual pleasure and comfort by decreasing friction and creating a slippery entry for your partner or toy. But with so many lubes on the market, it can be difficult to choose the one that’s right for your needs. Here are some tips to help you navigate through the large variety and find the lube that works for you!
Types of Lubricants
There are four basic types of lubricants:
1) Water-based lubricants, such as System JO H20 or Slippery Stuff, are the most basic of the four kinds available. It is safe to ingest, condom safe, and safe for use on all body parts and toys. Since the main ingredient is water, these lubes will eventually dry out when the water absorbs into the skin or evaporates into the air, which can make cleaning up a lot easier.
2) Silicone-based lubricants, like ID Millennium or Pjur, are much longer lasting and slicker than water-based lubes. Unlike water-based lubes, the silicone molecules are too big to absorb into the skin or evaporate, so it endures until you wash it away or wipe it off with a Pleasure Wipe. They are also waterproof so they would be ideal for any intimate activities involving water, minimal in taste and smell, can be used alternately as massage oil, and is hypo-allergenic. It is harmless to ingest, condom safe, and can be put in any hole, but you want to make sure you avoid using it with silicone toys (they’re made of the same thing and the lube will stick to your toy – permanently!)
3) An oil-based lubricant, such as Stroke 29 or Super Stroke It! get more slippery the longer you use it. These lubes are great for anal-play, external vaginal play, and male masturbation because of their durability and slickness, but are generally not good for vaginal use because the oil can stay in the vagina and collect infection-causing bacteria. Oil-based lubricants are also not latex compatible, so if you’re going to be using a condom you need to find another type of lubricant. Lastly, you cannot use oil based lubricants on sex toys made of any type of soft material, toys made of hard materials like glass, steel, ABS plastic (hard plastic) are okay.
4) Lubricants are now being offered as hybrids, which are between water-based and silicone-based lubricants. These lubes are typically labeled as ‘silk’ and offer the versatility of water-based lubes while having the skin-conditioning attributes of silicone. These lubes, such as Sliquid Organics Silk and Liquid Silk, are great for the most sensitive areas on the most sensitive people.
Ingredients in lubes vary as much as the reasons for which they are used. Some lubes contain glycerin, which is a complex sugar added to water-based lubricants to make them last longer. However, glycerin can increase the risk of yeast infections and vaginally irritation if you are susceptible. If you tend to react easily, consider a lubricant without glycerin, such as Intimate Organics or Lelo Personal Lubricant.
Some lubricants are labels as ‘women’s’ lubricants. This means that the company has taken extra measures to make the lubricant more vaginal-friendly. These lubes, like System Jo Women, often do not contain glycerin and may even have added natural ingredients such as aloe or for extra protection for the softest of body parts.
Lubricants, like Climax Bursts, have ingredients added for extra sensation. The active ingredients are usually peppermint or cinnamon extracts to create a warming, cooling, or tingling sensation.
People use lubricant for diverse reasons and there are specific lubes that work better for different purposes. Some lubes serve the purpose better than others. For instance, flavored lubricants, like O’My or Hathor Flavored Lubricants, are great for oral sex, whereas silicone lubes, like System JO All-In-One Glide, are great for erotic massages with happy endings. Others, like Intimate Organics Defense, help keep the vaginal flora balanced and some, like Liquid Silk, absorb like lotion and help moisturize the skin even after sex is over.
Lubricants for anal use usually requires something on the thicker side like Maximus or Slippery Stuff Gel because it stays where you put it, lasts a little longer, and provides extra cushioning. Intimate Organics even makes an anal lube with added guava bark, which is known for its naturally anti-bacterial properties and can help calm any concerns about cleanliness during anal play.
It can be hard to find one lubricants that fits all of your requirements. People often find that they have to sacrifice one aspect of lube they want (like longer lasting) for something that they don’t want (like a bad taste). To combat this, just buy different kinds of lube! It’s totally ok to have more than one bottle! You can keep one with a pump top by your bed for solo/partner play, get a thick one for anal, a flavored for oral sex, a silicone based lube in the washroom for shower sex, or a small one for travel. Different lubes are made for different things, so don’t be afraid to take advantage of the fun and unique uses and own more than one rather than settle for something that’s not giving you all you want.