Without a doubt, you’ve heard the term wetter is better. This is super relevant when it comes to sexual activities.
Whether for masturbation, anal play or traditional sex, matching the best sex lube with the situation is of utmost importance.
Using this simple, inexpensive product can mean the difference between having a so-so time and a great time.
If vaginal dryness is the only thing you think of when considering lube, think again.
You’re about to get a master class in Lube-ology!
Q & A regarding lubes
- Intro – why is lube important?
- Best water based
- Best silicone based
- Best organic, natural
- Best desensitizing
- Best flavored, edible
- Best for sensitive skin
- Best warming
- Best for sex toys
- Best for anal sex
- Best for vaginal sex
- Best for oral sex
- Best for travel
- Best for use with condoms
- How to correctly use lube
- Benefits of using lube
- Things to avoid!
INFOGRAPHIC: 5 situations and the best sex lubricant for each one
Not sure which lubricant to use? The following infographic will tell you everything you need to know.
For the hi-res version, click here.
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1. Why are lubes so important?
Before we get started, I want to mention that sex lubricants aren’t just for sex. They’re also used on sex toys of all sorts. Aside from using them with my girlfriend from time to time, they serve double duty for my prostate toys, masturbators, sex dolls and sometimes on my hand when masturbating solo!
Let’s be real for a moment…sex and masturbation aren’t always perfect. Real life sex definitely isn’t like a porno. Surprise!
She’s not always wet and ready to go. Us guys aren’t always hard and standing at attention. Sometimes it takes a little something extra to make things go smooth and comfortable.
Likewise, the sex toys we love to use don’t automatically lube themselves. They need a little help too.
You should keep lube on standby for a couple of reasons:
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 penis 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.
2. Best water based
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.
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.
3. Best Silicone Based
As I mentioned earlier, silicone is my #1 favorite for longevity and slipperiness. But, in my opinion, they should only be used for anal sex or with stainless steel butt toys. I rarely need to reapply these after the initial application, unless it’s going to take a LONG time 🙂
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 Swiss Navy. It’s as good as any of the more expensive products, but it’s cheaper. Compatible with latex condoms, too.
4. Best organic/natural
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 or other plants. Some even contain shea butter.
- Disadvantages – more expensive than water based. More difficult to find, unless you order online. Usually available at your local adult toy store, but might be hard to find at the grocery or drug store.
I personally recommend YES organic oil based lubricants.
5. Best desensitizing
Personally, I don’t care for these products. However, I felt I should include them anyway, since they’re pertinent.
These are good if you find anal play to be painful or uncomfortable. These contain an ingredient called lidocaine that will numb the area of application. This is a viable option if you’re just getting started with prostate massage or anal sex.
- Advantages – they provide all the slick qualities that you expect, with the added benefit of numbing the area.
- Disadvantages – it can dull the excitement. I personally like to feel everything going on down there. Also, a numb asshole could mask pain that deserves immediate attention.
My favorite desensitizing brand? Cleanstream Relax Desensitizing. I like this product because you get more of it for less money, and it performs on par with similar products.
6. Best edible/flavored
These are more fun than useful. However, they should only be used for oral sex.
I love to use a bit of fruity flavored lube on my lady’s outer lips of her vagina. That added scent and flavor makes the experience a little more fun!
I personally recommend this water based strawberry flavored lube from Anjou.
7. Best for sensitive skin
Lots of us have tender or sensitive skin that doesn’t respond well to foreign substances. These generally do not include glycerin or parabens, making them hypoallergenic for the most part. I don’t have sensitive skin, but I’ve used this type and love it.
One of my personal favorites is called Isabel Fay. It’s condom safe too.
8. Best warming
My overall experience with “warming lubes” is meh…
I personally don’t care for them. I feel that they ruin the moment. Sex is hot enough for me anyway. I don’t need to add a product to the mix that creates the sensation of heat. To each their own I guess, and if it’s something you enjoy, more power to you.
With that said, I have used the KY brand warming jelly, and it does work. My rod feels like it has a heating blanket wrapped around it upon application. Unfortunately most of the women I’ve been with really don’t care for that sensation around their vagina.
9. Best 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 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 perform well all around.
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 provide longer lasting fun, but have a few drawbacks.
For one, silicone has a nasty tendency react poorly with sex toys made from silicone. Depending on the toy, a silicone lube can actually break down the material in the toy and render it useless. Now, this isn’t always the case, and some toys/lubes work just fine together, but I recommend staying away from this combination to prevent any issues.
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.
10. Best for anal sex
As you know, butt holes are very different from vaginas in that they are NOT self lubricating. So if you’re planning to play around in your partner’s rectum, 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.
It works extremely well for vaginal sex as well.
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 doing damage such as tearing 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.
11. Best 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…wait for it…Astroglide. While it’s not my favorite overall for water based lubes, it works perfectly for a night of banging with the lady. Slippery enough for a good time and relatively inexpensive. Lots of people disagree with me on this, but I invite you to try it for yourself. I’m sure you’ll be perfectly satisfied with it.
12. Best for oral sex
I’m personally not a big fan of using flavored lubes. None of the ones I’ve tried are of high quality, and they really don’t provide much in the way of lubrication. But getting things slippery isn’t really the point of flavored lubes anyway. They’re more of a novelty that I use from time to time just to spice things up.
I love strawberries. And strawberry flavored lube is fun to use when I’m feeling frisky! A couple of drops carefully placed on the outer lips of my girls vagina makes it even more tasty!
She likes to do the same by placing a few drops on my cock and rubbing it in before taking me into her mouth. The lube itself really doesn’t give me any pleasure, but since she likes the taste, her blowjobs are more exciting than normal!
With that said, I have to go with my favorite strawberry flavored lube from Anjou.
13. When you’re traveling
Unfortunately we aren’t always in a position to have our big bottle of lube handy when an out of town sexual encounter arises. For this reason I like to keep a few portable sachets of lube in my shaving kit just in case.
I don’t see these from many of the common manufacturers, but I found a product I like made by Pasante. Pretty good quality. Compatible with latex condoms.
It’s not the best lube out there, but in a pinch, it’s better than nothing.
14. Best to use with condoms
I asked my self this recently: what lube should I use when wearing a condom?
Lots of condoms come pre-lubed, but this often isn’t enough if you’re going to be at it for a while. In this case, I like to use a water based product. Silicone products will also work (assuming a latex condom), but I just prefer water based to avoid any complications.
Again, Passion is my favorite brand.
15. How to correctly use it
Honestly, there’s no “correct” 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 your experience more comfortable for all parties involved.
The only rule of thumb is to be liberal with it. Don’t skimp to try and make a bottle of lube last longer. Remember, this is an inexpensive product, so it’s better to use more than you think you’ll need. You can always buy more later.
Here are 3 real life scenarios that I’ve personally experienced.
Scenario 1 – dryness during vaginal sex
I once dated a girl, Dani age 28, who had difficulty producing enough natural lubricant for vaginal sex. During foreplay she would always grab the bottle of lube and rub a liberal amount on my penis, right before sex.
If she started to feel dry again while we were going at it, we would pause for a few seconds while she applied more to my shaft. Then she’d rub what was left onto her labia.
A simple solution to a very common problem.
Scenario 2 – dryness while using a sex toy
In case you weren’t aware, I’m a big fan of Fleshlight masturbators. I prefer to use water based lubes with these toys, so I frequently encounter dryness in the middle of a stroking session.
So here’s my solution: I apply a liberal amount onto the head and shaft of my penis prior to first insertion. Then, I slide the toy over my member and pump it a few times to spread the lube throughout the sleeve of the Fleshlight. Then, I’ll pull out, add even more lube to my penis and get started.
If I don’t cum within 5 minutes or so, the toy starts to feel dry on the inside and friction starts to increase on my penis. When this happens, I’ll apply do one more application of lube by pulling out and applying a generous amount once more. This will keep things slippery enough to finish.
Scenario 3 – dryness during anal sex
Most of the women I’ve been with over the course of my adult life have loved anal sex. Not sure if that’s the norm, or if I’ve just been fortunate, but I LOVE plugging a girl in the butt!
I used to date this girl Jennifer, age 30. She couldn’t get enough of having my cock buried in her bum. She actually preferred it over vaginal sex. She was kinky as hell, and I loved that about her!
As you know, butt holes aren’t self lubricating, so we always had a bottle of water based lube within arms reach. Unfortunately, I wasn’t aware of the long lasting properties of silicone lubes back then. Silicone would normally need just one application, instead of multiple with water based.
Anyway, part of our routine was for me to stroke my shaft with a big handful before insertion. At the same time, she’d be rubbing some around and inside her butt hole. It was hot as hell when we were both lubing ourselves while gazing deeply into each other’s eyes.
Sometimes our butt sex sessions would last a LONG TIME, 30 minutes or more! As you might expect, things would start to dry up and we would have to stop and reapply lube. We’d do the exact same thing when applying our lube: give each other the fuck me eyes while rubbing it in and masturbating at the same time. Sexy 🙂
For best results, warm it up!
I don’t like rubbing cold lube onto my private parts. I suspect you don’t either.
This is why I always recommend rubbing it a bit between the hands to raise the temperature before application. This isn’t a requirement, of course. It just makes things a bit more pleasant and prevents a cold surprise around the nether regions!
Beyond the obvious benefit of making things slippery, lube has other benefits:
It 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!
It combats infection.
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.
They are 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.
17. Things to avoid!
As you probably noticed in this post, the sheer number of options you have regarding lubes can be mind boggling. In order to avoid complications, here are a few things to keep in mind.
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.
This should cover all the bases for any situation you may encounter. Remember that using a good lube for your sexual activities is important for BOTH your health and your pleasure.
Two key points to remember
- Water based is universally acceptable. Great for sex with a partner and with sex toys.
- The others (oil, silicone and desensitizing), while awesome in their own right, have their place. Their use should be restricted and only applied during the right situations.
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