A good sex lube provides all the slippery goodness that makes sex with ourselves and others so much more enjoyable. You’ve heard the maxim wetter is better, right? It’s totally true (generally)! But not all lubes are created equal. The lube for personal dryness isn’t the same one you’d use for anal play.
Fun lube fact: Astroglide (one of the most popular lubes of all time) was actually invented by a rocket scientist working on the space shuttle program at Edwards Air Force Base! Prior to his world changing discovery, I wonder if he was thinking:Dave's shower thoughts: There must be a better way for my rocket to penetrate Uranus!
All jokes aside, it’s important to know which product(s) you need and why you need them.
- The 3 best sex lubes
- The definitive sex lube guide
- Lube Q & A
- INFOGRAPHIC: Which lube should I use?
- Why are lubes so important?
- Always keep lube on standby
- Sex lube info by type
- Best lubes based on what you're doing
- How to correctly use lube
- Benefits of using good sex lubes
- Things to be aware of when using lube
- Wrapping up
The 3 best sex lubes
Only three lubes?! Yep, I’m not gonna go into the myriad of different types available on the market. When it all boils down, how many do you really need?
In my opinion, there are only three real options. I’m excluding flavored, desensitizing, warming lubes, etc. because these are really just novelty items that don’t add any utility. In fact, I think they have the potential to do more harm than good. More on harmful side effects further down the post.
#1: Passion, a water-based lube
Water based lubes are a great all-around solution to dryness issues. They also play very well with sex toys and condoms.
Water-based vaginal lubricants are often the first line of defense if you have discomfort or chafing during sex. “Water-based lubricants usually have minimal ingredients and a low chance of causing irritation or a reaction,” says Dr. Kollikonda.Cleveland Clinic
My personal favorite is Passion. It meets all my needs for being slippery, non-irritating and economical to use.
#2: Pjur, a silicone-based lube
While more expensive, these definitely have a place in your bedroom.
Regarding silicone lubes, here’s what one sex expert has to say:
It’s typically water-resistant and hypoallergenic for most people, so it’s good for those with sensitive skin or allergies. It’s considered the longest-lasting of your lube choices, so you don’t have to keep reapplying it as much as you may with other lubes.Dr. Jolene Brighten
My personal favorite is called Pjur.
#3: Organic coconut and olive oils
These are probably the easiest lubes to find because you likely have them in your kitchen pantry! Here’s what a board certified gynecologist thinks:
…unless you are playing with toys or using condoms just open your pantry and use the most natural products out there: OLIVE OIL or COCONUT OIL. Both are edible and inexpensive.
Neither one increases bacterial count, kills cells or irritates the skin. Coconut oil has been studied to be antibacterial and antifungal.Dr. Gillian Esser, gynecologist in Silverdale, WA
This is the coconut oil I like to use. It doubles as a great oil for the kitchen too!
The definitive sex lube guide
I’ve assembled all the most pertinent information I could find for this section. This is mostly from personal experience, but also from reading real world experiences of others.
Lube Q & A
Some of the most common questions I’ve received over the years.
INFOGRAPHIC: Which lube should I use?
My readers always enjoy infographics. This one was designed to be simple and straightforward. Like a Cliff’s Notes study guide for sex lube.
This graphic covers 5 use cases, along with your lube options for each.
There’s also a button below the picture. Hit it and you’ll be able to download this graphic in hi-res for easy offline viewing later. Feel free to print it, share it or even post it on your own web site. I kindly ask that if you use it on your own blog, please link back to this page.
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Why are lubes so important?
Our genital and rectal areas are VERY sensitive parts of the body. They house many nerve endings that allow us to experience touch and sensations. Even though the skin is pretty durable, it doesn’t take much vigorous rubbing to get things red, raw or irritated.
Choosing a good sex lube is like using premium motor oil in your car. When the oil is at the correct level, all the parts push, pull and rotate as they should. But if that oil level gets too low, things start to get hot and will eventually break down and cause major issues. Our skin is kinda like that too. When things aren’t lubed up enough, these sensitive areas can become irritated or damaged. There’s nothing more uncomfortable than inflamed genitals!
This applies to sex with others AND to solo sex. Whether it’s a penis sliding into a vagina or a Fleshlight girl moving up and down a shaft, lubrication is of utmost importance.
Remember folks, lubes aren’t just for sex toys.
Always keep lube on standby
There are two main reasons for this:
- They make sex (and toy use) more pleasant. Ever tried to have sex with a woman when she’s dry? First of all, she’s not gonna be happy with you for trying to jam your Johnson in her before she’s wet. Second of all, it’s gonna be very unpleasant for both of you and cause friction and irritation.
- They protect our private areas: It’s neither safe nor healthy when inserting things or being penetrated by things without lubrication. The anal canal, penis and the vagina contain very sensitive skin and tissues. Without lube, we can cause damage to these areas. This can upset the natural balance of things down there, causing pain, infections and at a minimum, discomfort.
Sex lube info by type
In this section I’ll be covering the types of lubes available. All serve a different purpose, and some can be used for multiple purposes. I’ll explain their purposes further down the page.
Best for: vaginal sex, sex toys, condoms
There are a lot of myths regarding lubrication. A common misunderstanding is that water based are the best. Well, not exactly. They’re not quite as slippery, and often need to be reapplied because they lose their slick properties in a short amount of time.
When shopping for lubes, avoid ones with glycerin in them. Glycerin is a sugar, which has the potential to breed bacteria and yeast in a vagina.
On the flip side, they’re also inexpensive, and readily available at your local corner drugstore. You can usually find them near the condoms display. They’re acceptable for pretty much any situation that may arise.
PRO TIP: if using a condom, put a little dab on the tip of the penis before putting it on for enhanced comfort.
Get a bottle with a pump top. It’s much easier to deal with in the heat of the moment!
- Advantages – these are safe to use with 99.9% of ALL sex toys. The gold standard for anal and vaginal sex. Compatible with condoms. Easy clean up.
- Disadvantages – it can start to feel dry and quickly lose its slippery properties. You just need to reapply more lube and you’re good to go. Also, a splash of water can help it last a little longer if it’s drying out.
My favorite water based is called Passion. Works very well, long lasting for a water type, and it’s extremely affordable.
Best for: anal sex, condoms
As I mentioned earlier, silicone is my #1 favorite for longevity and slipperiness. I rarely need to reapply these after the initial application, unless I’m in the middle of an EPIC session 🙂
PRO TIP: they can generally be used with latex condoms. Just check the package for compatibility to make sure.
- Silicone should NOT be used with silicone sex toys. The toy may interact with the lube and degrade it, literally melting it. There are some silicone combos that work together, but I prefer to just avoid it.
- Silicone is generally the most expensive and not readily available at the drug or grocery store.
- Very little product is needed to get the desired result. Oftentimes it only takes a few drops to get the job done.
- It’s great to use in the shower. If you or your partner like to play while standing under the running water, silicone is a great option.
- It works great as a massage oil. If you’re giving a back rub to your significant other and you’re out of your regular stuff, this works just as well.
- It stays viable for MUCH longer. It won’t dissolve or wash away as easily.
- It’s gentle on the skin, rarely causing allergic reactions.
I personally recommend Pjur. It’s not cheap. In fact I consider it a luxury lube, with a price to match. However, as with most things in life, you get what you pay for. Compatible with latex condoms, too.
Best for: anal sex, vaginal sex, sex toys
PRO TIP: NEVER use these with latex condoms. A one night sexual tryst could end badly with your condom breaking, possibly resulting in decades of child support payments!
For the environmentally conscious, or those with skin allergies, this type is a great option.
An application definitely lasts longer than water based, but not quite as long as silicone based. Consider this the middle of the road option, with all else equal.
- Advantages – these are natural or natural-based products. Usually containing natural oils from coconut, olives or other plants. Some even contain shea butter.
- Disadvantages – more expensive than water based. Shouldn’t be used for sex toys or condoms.
I personally recommend coconut oil.
Best lubes based on what you’re doing
Here I’m covering some best sex lube that you should be using, based on what you’re doing. Water or silicone based aren’t always the best options.
There’s an easy to read chart in each section for cross referencing.
For sex toys
In general water based products are best for use with sex toys. Others can be used, but some combinations of toys/lube don’t work well together. See the chart below.
Water based products are universally safe (in general) and won’t have bad interactions with toys of any material. As mentioned earlier they aren’t quite as slippery and won’t last as long as silicone or oil based, but they they do the job.
Water based is also easier to clean up, both for the toy and the user.
Silicone and oil based products are a bit more exotic and have a few drawbacks.
For one, silicone may react poorly with sex toys made from silicone. Depending on the toy, a silicone lube can actually break down the surface material, leaving a sticky feeling and worthless toy in its wake. Now some manufacturers state that there are no compatibility issues, so when in doubt, read the label.
On the flip side, stainless steel and glass toys are pretty much impermeable and will work will with anything. I love to use silicone products with my stainless steel Njoy Pure wand.
Again, when lubing up my sex toys, I have to go with my favorite water based lube called Passion.
For anal sex
As you know, rectums are very different from vaginas in that they are NOT self lubricating. So if you’re planning to play around in your partner’s bum, a quality anal lube makes the experience much more enjoyable and comfortable for both you and your partner.
With that said, silicone is the #1 best option for this activity, although most any lube can be used down there.
3 reasons silicone is better:
- It’s heinously slippery
- It lasts a long time, so reapplication is often unnecessary
- You don’t need to use as much
NOTE: For maximum effectiveness, one made specifically for anal sex works best. A brand named pjur is my personal favorite (see below). This particular product is awesome is because it has a thicker consistency, akin to hair gel. It also contains Jojoba, which helps relax the sphincter a bit for easier insertion.
If anal sex is uncomfortable, even with lube, there are desensitizing agents that will numb the area a bit. A common one is called lidocaine.
But I don’t recommend using these.
Why? Because if you’re numb down there, it’s possible that you’re damaging something, and not even know it. You’ll notice in my chart below that I have an asterisk in the desensitizing slot for precisely this purpose. It’s definitely an option, but I personally don’t recommend it.
For vaginal sex
It’s a fact that vaginas vary greatly in the amount of natural lubricant that they produce. Sometimes they’re so wet that they gush. Other times they’re dry with almost no lubrication. It’s always good to hedge your bets and have a good lube on standby.
Vaginal dryness is a common condition that affects ALL women from time to time. It’s nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about.
My personal favorite is Passion. Slippery enough for a good time and relatively inexpensive. Some may disagree with me on this, but I invite you to try it for yourself. I’m sure you’ll be perfectly satisfied with it.
How to correctly use lube
Honestly, there’s no “incorrect” way to use your favorite lubes. Seriously. It’s simply a matter of applying enough of it on the right places, at the right time, to make the experience more pleasurable for all parties involved.
For best results, warm it up!
I don’t like rubbing ice cold lube onto my private parts. I suspect you don’t either. It gets cold where I live in the winter months, and my bedroom is no exception. Yes, cold lube in my nightstand. So rather than shooting it on straight from the tube, I enjoy a brief warm up between the hands. Mr. Miyagi style…
Benefits of using good sex lubes
Beyond the obvious perk of making things slippery, lube has other benefits:
Increases sexual appetite
There’s no better way to kill the mood than unwanted friction during sexual activities. This is true when using sex toys and when engaging in anal or vaginal sex. Full lubrication = better sex for all parties involved!
When having sex or masturbating, lube keeps all points of contact slick. Without lube, genital areas can become chafed and irritated. This is a sign that the surface tissue has been compromised, which increases the chance of infections settling in.
Great for erotic massage
This applies mainly to the silicone based products, as water based dries out too quickly. A good silicone lube works equally well when massaging around the genitals or rubbing other parts of the body, including the back, arms and legs.
I personally believe these work better than some oils and lotions made specifically for body massage.
Things to be aware of when using lube
Sex lubes aren’t just a “set it and forget it” product. A few things to keep in mind:
Be careful when using “specialty lubes”
Specialty lubes are ones that are flavored, warming, desensitizing, etc. They can be a lot of fun by introducing new sensations into the mix. But it’s important to pay attention to the ingredients they contain. Allergies or sensitivities to any of these can quickly make the experience unpleasant for the user.
For vaginal lubes, keep pH in mind
If you’re going to be using these products for vaginal sex, the pH level is an important consideration. A healthy vagina has a pH between 3.5 and 4.5. The lube you use should have a similar pH level.
Avoid products that contain the following ingredients, because these can cause irritation:
- propylene glycol
- chlorhexidine gluconate
To add, Paraben, glycerin and petroluem based lubes increase the risk of infection down there. To keep things safe and comfortable, just avoid these completely for vaginal activities.
That’s a wrap, ladies and gentlemen. Astroglide jokes aside, I hope this post was helpful and that you gleaned at least a tidbit of information from it.
If there’s one takeaway, make sure it’s this: ALWAYS have at least some kind of lube around the house. Water-based is your all around best choice. Hands down. This will cover all your bases. Anal, PIV, masturbation, whatever. Make sure it’s glycerin free while you’re at it. When a lady friend comes over for an evening of “libations”, she may appreciate it.
Never underestimate natural oils like coconut or olive oil. You most likely have at least one of them in your kitchen. For PIV and bum sex, they’re almost as good as silicone. Again, consider any sensitivities before trying these. But I can’t think of a more awesome dual purpose item to have around the house.
And finally, the silicone. I consider these a luxury lube. They cost more than the others, but for me it’s worth it. If lubes were cars, the silicone-based lube is a Mercedes. Water-based is Kia.
Don’t forget to check out my Top Fleshlights page!