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Find the Best Lube for You

BY: EDITORIAL TEAM | 9.2.2015 |

couple in bed laughing

Lubricant has a number of benefits in the bedroom, from heightening sensation to helping prevent condom breakage. But of course its main benefit is, well, lubricating—by adding moisture and minimizing friction, it makes intimate activities of all types smoother and more enjoyable. And it offers a helping hand when you want to seize the moment without waiting for the body’s natural lubrication to kick in. Everyone should know how to use lube effectively. The first step is finding the best lube to keep in your nightstand.

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Common Types of Lube

Water-Based Lube

water-based lube

Light, smooth, and water-soluble, water-based lube goes on easily and won’t leave behind any stains or greasy residue. However, it can become tacky and sticky over long sessions, so it’s important to reapply.

LONG-LASTING? SAFE FOR LATEX CONDOMS? SAFE FOR SILICONE TOYS? HYPOALLERGENIC? WATERPROOF?
No Yes Yes No No

Silicone-Based Lube

Silicone-based lube

Silkier than its water-based cousins, silicone-based lube won’t get sticky over time, so you’ll have to reapply less frequently, if at all. This slickness also makes it especially recommended for anal sex. When it comes to toys, however, just remember that silicone and silicone don’t mix; it’ll cause the material to degrade. It is safe, however, for all your glass, steel, and plastic toys.

Pro Tip: Water itself doesn’t lubricate. It actually washes away your body’s natural moisture. If planning a shower or tub session, we recommend a waterproof silicone lube.

LONG-LASTING? SAFE FOR LATEX CONDOMS? SAFE FOR SILICONE TOYS? HYPOALLERGENIC? WATERPROOF?
Yes Yes No Yes Yes

Oil-Based Lube

oil-based lube

Oil-based lube has a thick, pleasing texture that feels great, but can be a pain to clean up. It’s best suited for solo play, as it may increase the risk of bacterial infection if used with a partner.

LONG-LASTING? SAFE FOR LATEX CONDOMS? SAFE FOR SILICONE TOYS? HYPOALLERGENIC? WATERPROOF?
Yes No No No Yes

Personal Lubricants Comparison Chart

  LONG-LASTING LATEX-SAFE SILICONE-SAFE HYPOALLERGENIC WATERPROOF
Water-based  No Yes Yes No No
Silicone-based Yes  Yes No Yes Yes
Oil-based  Yes No Yes No No

Specialty Lubes

Anal Lube

anal lube

  • What it’s like: This thick, long-lasting lubricant is the best lube for anal sex.
  • What to look for: Find an anal lube with benzocaine, a numbing agent, to help ease discomfort. Of course, make sure all ingredients are body-safe, too.

Flavored Lube

cherry fruit-flavored lube

  • What it’s like: Infused with sweet, dessert-like tastes and smells, flavored lubes are great for oral sex and foreplay.
  • What to look for: Look for food-grade ingredients and a non-sticky formula. If yeast infection or diabetic sensitivity is a concern, make sure it’s sugar-free.

Warming Lube and Cooling Lube

warming cooling lube

  • What they’re like: These are meant to increase sensation during sex, especially by sustaining erections in men and improving feeling around the clitoris in women. They can get pretty intense, so only a dime-size drop is recommended.
  • What to look for: Warming lubes are made with capsaicin, peppermint, or cinnamon, while cooling lubes are made with mint or menthol. Warming lubes that are honey-based are for external use only.

Coconut Oil (and Other All-Natural Alternatives)

coconut oil

  • What they’re like: Think all the benefits of traditional lube, but with fewer additives and preservatives. Due to their all-natural makeup, these all-natural alternatives can also be used as a moisturizer (especially coconut oil, which can be used for everything from nourishing hair to coffee creamer and cooking oil). However, as with any oil-based formula, these lubes may not be safe for use with condoms and silicone toys, as they could degrade those materials.
  • What to look for: Try aloe, sunflower oil, or jojoba oil.

How to Use Lube

couple in bed with condom

Test it beforehand.

To find the best lube for you, test different brands with a partner before bringing any into the bedroom. Simply dab a little bit on the nerve-dense skin inside your elbow—if any redness or irritation occurs after a few hours, avoid using the product.

Apply it lightly and evenly.

Aim for a nickel-size dollop, then apply evenly. Then it’s best to get right to work, lest the lube lose its slickness.

Try it inside the condom.

Adding a drop or two of lube to the inside of a condom adds extra titillation for him. Just remember to use a lube that’s condom-safe.


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