Quick guide: Choosing a lube that works

When it comes to sex, no matter what you enjoy, you can usually play by the rule: the wetter the better. This logic works, well… fluidly when it comes to lube because wetter is exactly what you’re getting. But which lube to choose?
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When shopping, you’ll want to think about the different types of lube out there when choosing the one that’s best for you. Lubes come in a variety of bases:

  • water
  • silicone
  • oil
  • hybrid, combining a few of the above

Hybrid lubes are often a combination of both water and silicone, and have elements of both. There are many different formulations to perfectly suit your needs.

Water-based

Known as the “versatile” lube, water-based lubes can be used in practically any activity you can think up, even ones involving silicone toys. They are also safe to use with condoms — both latex and non-latex as they may decrease the risk of condom breakage.

It’s arguably the safest way to start out with lube, water-based comes with a lot of features such as less residue, easy clean-up, no stains, and is gentle on the genitals. It may sometimes need reapplication if you’re engrossed in a particularly rigorous session, but this can be true with all types of lube, and there are plenty that hold their own.

They are easy to clean up with water. Look for high-quality (body safe) choices that state they are petrochemical-free, glycerin-free and paraben-free.

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Silicone-based

But if you’ve got really sensitive skin you’re going to want to try a silicone-based lube, which is like silk sheets on your sensitive parts. Since silicone is hypoallergenic, most people won’t experience a reaction. This type of lubes also lasts longer.

If you’re interested in something more long-lasting that needs to be reapplied less often, you may have found your match.

The only downside? The silicone in your lube can deteriorate the surface of silicone toys. When this happens, your toys become less sanitary because it creates abrasions in the silicone where bacteria can grow.

If you share sex toys or use them with more than one partner, make sure to use water-based lubricant when playing with toys to ensure your safety. Fortunately, silicone-based lubes are safe to use with condoms.

They generally require soap and water for clean-up. Use them sparingly and avoid getting them on surfaces you don’t want to slip on later.

Oil-based

If you’re the type that simply can’t be bothered with reapplying at all once you get going — we get it — this lube is the gift that keeps you going, going, and going.

Pro tip? Oil-based lubes can double for sexy and fun massage time. But the downside comes if you’re using a latex condom. This type of lube increases the chances of a ripped or torn condom, defeating the condom’s purpose — and your good time in the process.

Cons? Most notably, it’s not recommended for use with latex condoms, as it can decay the material and lead to breakage (not unlike silicone vs. silicone). On top of that, oil-based lubes are known for leaving some unfortunate stains on sheets.

Hybrid

A hybrid lube has the best of both worlds: water and silicone. Based from both substances, this unique formulation means that it has the cleanliness and toy-compatibility of water-based, with the longevity and feel of silicone.

Natural lube

Worried about exactly what ingredients you’re putting down there? Natural lubes have been cropping up in the past couple of years, though there’s a bit of debate as to what “natural lube” really means. Basically, look for products that have both natural and a small number of ingredients on their list.

Coconut oil is a popular choice as well, though it’s got its downsides. It can stain your sheets and increase incidence of condom breakage, as oils break down the efficacy of the latex.

You’ll also want to be careful about cross-contamination if you’re not cleaning your hands while dipping them in a jar of coconut oil that’s also used for cooking. When picking up something all-natural to warm up, make sure it’s used just for sex and nothing else.

How to lube-up the right way

We kid, there’s no “right” way to use lube. In essence, go ahead and spread… liberally.

After you’ve figured out which lube is best for you, you might want to warm it up a little bit in your hands. This isn’t necessary, but lube can be a little cold on your nether regions if you skip this step. If you’re using a condom, don’t forget to apply a non-oil based lube to the outside!

No matter if you use condoms, diaphragms, or dental dams, lube can help reduce friction and make sex more pleasurable for you and your partner.

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