If you’ve never used lube during your sexual exploits, you’re missing out. Many people think that lubricant is only made for gay men and post-menopausal women, but everyone could use a little extra help.
If you don’t believe us that lots of people are using lube, how about this? Personal lubricants are one of the fastest-growing products of the global sexual wellness market. Market research suggests that the global market for lube is going to grow by 7% by 2025, with sales reaching $1.5 billion.
Before we talk about all of the different choices for lube, let’s cover why you should be using lots of it, basically every time you have sex, or even every time you jerk off.
6 reasons you should totally use lube
Lube can completely change your sexual experience for the better. These are just a few ways it can work for you.
Not all lubes are created equal! Lacey & Tracey run through the best (and worst) types of lube for any situation and share some of their faves.
Combat vaginal dryness
A lot of people think that lube is only used by people who have super dry vaginas. However, most women and people with vaginas have issues with dryness sometimes.
Dryness isn’t just associated with getting old. There are lots of reasons someone’s vagina might have trouble self-lubricating, such as:
Vaginal dryness isn’t anything to be ashamed of. It may seem embarrassing and difficult to fix, but just adding some lubricant into your routine will make sex more comfortable and pleasurable.
It makes sex feel better
There have been some studies that have shown that women feel more comfortable during sex when they use lube. In one such study, 70% of women said that lube made their sexual encounter (either solo or with a partner) more pleasurable and comfortable.
Lets you do it all night long
Sex is all about friction. If you’ve ever tried to do it for a long time (or many different times all in one night) without lube, you’ll probably notice that you start to chafe and get sore. There’s no reason to let this happen. Just a few drops of lube can help you do it again and again and again.
Reduces your risk for STIs
If you’re having sex and aren’t using lubricant, you’re depending on your vagina’s natural wetness to keep things slick. If you’re having anal, you’re probably using spit, which definitely isn’t enough. Not using lube in these situations can cause microtears in the orifice, and these microtears increase the risk of HIV or other STI transmission.
Makes quickies easier
The moment is exactly right, but you don’t have a long time. You jump right into having sex, only to find that your vagine doesn’t agree.
This doesn’t have to put your sexy tryst to a screeching halt. Some lube will let you screw in that bar bathroom or in that elevator. (There are lube packets and even travel size lube, so you can enjoy the benefits no matter where you are.)
Works as stellar foreplay
Applying lube can be a sensual experience. Imagine slowly stroking it over your lover’s cock or applying it to their vagina tenderly with your fingers. Adding lube to the equation can slow things down a little bit if you want it to, which makes the whole scenario more erotic.
Make anal sex possible
This is a huge one! If you want to have anal (or at least even mildly comfortable anal), lube is non-negotiable. The asshole is not self-lubricating like the vagina. Lube fixes this problem and lets you and your partner go to town. Having anal means you should use lots of lube; if it hurts, add lube!
Now that you know how important lube is for a great sexual encounter, you need to determine what the best one is for your situation.
Water-based lube is definitely the most common type. Most of the lube you find at the drugstore is water-based. (But don’t trust just any old water-based lube you find at the store. More on that later.)
Water-based lube is very versatile and the perfect everyday lube. This type of lubricant is actually the closest to a vagina’s natural lubrication. They’re safe to use with any sex toy and with any condom. If you have sensitive skin or have issues with vaginal irritation, water-based is a good bet. These lubes are also easy to clean up and won’t stain your sheets.
The main rub with water-based lube is that it dries out quicker than other kinds. This just means that you might need to reapply it. When they start to dry out, they can get sticky. They’re also not ideal for shower or water play, as they’ll just wash right off.
Silicone-based lube is very slippery, and it’s great for a longer session. You need to apply less of it and it will stay slippery for a very long time. Silicone lube is usually the best lube for anal. It’s more difficult to wash off your body or your sheets than water-based lube, but this does make it great for shower sex.
The main caveat with silicone lube is that you shouldn’t use it with silicone sex toys. Over time, the lube will degrade your precious play things. You can use other sex toys with silicone lube though, if they’re made from body safe materials like glass and steel.
Generally, it’s best to just stay away from oil-based lubes. The main reason is that it’s very difficult to clean them out of whatever orifice they went in. The lube can trap bacteria and cause infections like bacterial vaginosis.
Another con: they’re not safe to use with latex condoms. The oils will break down the condoms enough that they break, which then increases your risk for STIs and pregnancy. Many non-latex condoms are sensitive to oil, too, like SKYN condoms made of polyisoprene.
If you really want to use oil-based lube, you can probably use it externally to masturbate if you have a penis. Oil also makes for a killer back massage. Other than that, we don’t recommend it.
Natural and DIY options
There’s been a big boom in using natural lubricants. There are some lubes that consider themselves natural because of their ingredients, but there are more DIY solutions that people have come up with.
One big one is coconut oil. One great thing about this is that, as long as you don’t have a coconut allergy, it should be good for sensitive skin. However, coconut oil is, obviously, an oil, so it’ll destroy most condoms. One study showed that exposing latex condoms to mineral oil reduced their efficacy by as much as 90%. Don’t mess around with this.
Many say that coconut oil is antibacterial and antimicrobial, which is true. However, it can still cause killer yeast infections. This is because coconut oil has a high pH, which makes it alkaline, while the vagina is acidic. Introducing coconut oil can throw off the pH balance of your vagina, which can make you prone to yeast infections and other vaginal infections.
There are a bunch of food products that people have decided would be appropriate lube. People have tried sweet almond oil, olive oil, avocado oil, and nagaimo (a yam that’s popular in China, Japan, and Vietnam). Some people use ghee (clarified butter), and others use egg whites.
If you’re really feeling like digging into your pantry for stuff to put in your vagina, do your research. But personally, we don’t find the idea of slapping some butter in your hand or cracking an egg by the bed particularly sexy.
Someone on Gwenyth Paltrow’s site Goop wrote, “When it comes to lube, if it is safe to eat, it is generally safe to apply.”
That is 100%, absolutely not true. Be kind to your vagina or asshole. Don’t put random slippery crap in it that you bought to make a quiche.
Not all lubes are created equal. Some products have chemicals in them that can be harmful to your downstairs bits. You’ll need to read the ingredient label to make sure that you’re getting a good, body safe lube.
We honestly have no idea what idiot thought it was a good idea to put this shit in there. Ugh. (Okay, fine. It’s actually a humectant, which helps the lube retain moisture. But it’s so not worth it.)
Glycerin is a metabolic byproduct of sugar. Sugar is what yeast and other microbes in your vagina feed off of. Therefore, using lubes with glycerin is a one way trip to Yeast Infection City. Bacteria in your butt can feed off this too, so you shouldn’t use it for anal, either. This is almost always in flavored lube, but it’s often in other unflavored lubes as well.
Some examples of glycerin ingredients include aspartame, potassium acesulfame, sucralose, maltodextrin, and xylitol.
Not everyone who uses a lube with glycerin in it is going to get an infection, but best not to risk it.
Parabens are chemicals that are used as preservatives, which makes the shelf life for lube longer. However, they might not be safe for your body.
Some studies have shown that parabens are endocrine disruptors. This means they can mess with your hormones, acting like estrogen in your body. Some scientists think parabens could cause breast cancer, but there’s no firm answer on that just yet.
Although the jury’s still out, there are lots of personal lubricant products on the market. You can find many that don’t have parabens (including the ones at the end of this article).
Some lubes contain benzocaine. This ingredient may sound familiar, since it’s a local anaesthetic used in Orajel and Lanacane. It’s meant to numb an area to make it less sensitive to pain, and is sometimes used during anal sex if the bottom is having trouble.
You should never be numbing your vagina or anus! If you’re feeling pain, that’s your body’s way of telling you that something’s not right. Maybe you need more lube (one that’s not numbing), or maybe you need to slow things down a bit. If you can’t feel the sex that’s happening, you can’t know if it’s hurting you.
If you’re thinking of using that tub of Vaseline as lube, think again!
Any petroleum-based ingredients make lube stick around in the vagina for far too long. (Think about how long it takes to wash Vaseline off your hands!) It can also alter your vagina’s pH, which contributes to bacterial overgrowth. Hard pass.
There’s one more thing that makes certain types of lube unique. You can add many different chemicals to lube to make it feel and taste different. However, is it a good idea to use lube that tastes like cotton candy or that will make your junk burn?
Here are some common lube varieties, and whether you should stay away from them.
People like the idea of flavored lube. It comes in all sorts of flavors, and if your partner’s hesitant to go down on you, promising them that your bits will taste like a pina colada isn’t the world’s worst incentive. If it tastes good and feels good, what’s not to love?
Well, flavored lubes should be avoided with penetration. This is because they nearly always contain glycerin and other sugar ingredients, which often cause yeast infections. If you can just keep the lube on your vulva and clit, flavored lube is less risky. Just make sure to wash it off afterwards so as little goes into your vagina as possible. We’ll recommend some flavored lubes that don’t have sugar in them at the end of the article.
Warming or Intensifying
You see a lot of ads for these on the TV; they’re usually marketed as “Yours & Mine” or “Fire & Ice.” They come with two different lubes that are supposed to work off of each other to explosive results.
Unfortunately, these lubes are almost always full of some of the chemicals we discussed up above. For example, one of the most popular versions of this product is KY Yours & Mine. These lubes contain glycerin, propylene glycol, methylparaben, sucralose (more sugar), perfume (?!), and literal honey. Not even mildly body safe. Plus, they’re oil-based, so they’ll degrade condoms!
We’ve found a couple that should be body safe, but if you have sensitive skin, they’re still probably not the right choice for you.
These lubes usually contain benzocaine, which we talked about above. It’s not a good idea to use this kind of lube to block out sensations, especially in a BDSM scenario. When your body is in pain, it’s trying to tell you something.
If you have pain during sex and it won’t go away, talk to your doctor or gynecologist. They might be able to help.
CBD lube is the new kid on the block, and people are nuts for it.
This type of lube is infused with CBD oil, which is the non-psychoactive cannabinoid that’s found in marijuana. People who use the lube say they have a better sexual experience. They say it helps with painful sex (without numbing) and gives you more intense orgasms.
There’s very little research on CBD, but experts theorize that it reduces muscle tension and increase blood flow to your genitals. This can make you more aroused and make your orgasms better.
It’s important to note that most CBD lube is oil-based. Therefore, a lot of these aren’t body safe, and they shouldn’t be used with condoms. However, we’ll recommend some CBD lubes that aren’t oil-based.
Plus, since CBD is plant-based, it’s a good idea to do an allergy test before you get it all up in your genitals. Let it sit on the inside of your wrist for a while to make sure that you won’t have an allergic reaction.
As we’ve learned, it’s important to get the right kind of lube without parabens, glycerin, and other harmful chemicals. The bummer is, you’re almost certainly not gonna find lubes like this if you just walk into a Walgreens. Well-known brands like KY and Astroglide generally have chemicals that could make your junk burn or give you a yeast infection.
So we’ve compiled some lube recommendations for you, after doing a lot of research. All of these lubes are body safe, and they should be a great way to get the most out of your sexual conquests.
First, let’s say you’re looking for something water-based. The lube that seems to come most recommended is Sliquid H2O. It’s blended to match your body’s natural lubrication, and it’s pH balanced. It hasn’t been tested on animals and it’s hypoallergenic. People online can’t get enough of this stuff.
Two runners up are Unbound Jelly and Isabel Fay. Unbound Jelly has 95% organic ingredients, and it even has the faint taste of vanilla and lemon without any sugar, making it great for both penetrative sex and oral. Isabel Fay has all natural ingredients and offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee. It also comes in a classy bottle with a pump that doesn’t scream, “Hello! I’m for boning!”
If silicone lube is more your style, Überlube should be your first choice. This stuff is super high end with a classy clear bottle. One unique thing about this stuff is that the creators say that it can be used for stuff other than sex. You can use it for taming frizzy hair, conditioning your ends, and protecting you from chafing during exercise. Plus, they have travel size containers and refills if you need some lube on the go. (So much classier than packets.)
Two other silicone options are Gun Oil and Pjur Back Door. Gun Oil is enriched with vitamin E, which helps soothe any microtears that happen during sex. They say that their lube is sex toy friendly, but we still wouldn’t risk using it with our favorite silicone toys. Pjur Back Door is a silicone lube specifically made for anal. It’s thicker and slipperier, so it’s the ideal lube to get you started in your pegging journey.
Some people want to make sure that what they’re putting into their body is all natural. If you’d like, you can extend this preference all the way to your lube. Our ultimate organic recommendation is YES Lubricant. It’s water-based and certified organic. One Amazon review says, “If you're struggling to find a lubricant that you're not allergic to, this is a great candidate.” This is another pro of organic lubes.
If you’re looking for more options, try Aloe Cadabra or SYLK. Aloe Cadabra’s #1 ingredient is aloe vera water-based gel, making it great for your skin, so much so that the company recommends using it as a daily moisturizer. It’s also 100% vegan, if you want to use it for oral without breaking your dietary restrictions. SYLK’s main ingredient is kiwi fruit vine extract, which is pretty unique. It’s free of fragrances and harsh chemicals, so you shouldn’t have any allergic reactions (unless, of course, you happen to be allergic to kiwis).
Remember when we said that some flavored lubes could be body safe? Well, here’s a few. We don’t want to rank them, because it’s all gonna depend on your taste preference. Just remember that these still shouldn’t be used internally, and if you’re having any burning or itching, you should stop using them!
The Aloe Cadabra organic brand makes flavored lube, too. It comes in edible peppermint, pina colada, and vanilla flavors that are all body safe. Passion Licks comes in candy apple, vanilla, caramel, and watermelon flavors, and they don’t contain any sugar or sugar substitutes.
Sliquid’s flavored line is available in pink lemonade, cherry vanilla, and green apple tart. These do have aspartame in them, though, and there’s not a ton of information about whether artificial sugar is good for your downstairs. Lastly, there’s Wicked Lubes flavored line, which comes in a whole crapton of flavors. You can try out candy apple, cherry cordial, cinnamon bun, mocha java, pomegranate, peach, and more. Whatever you’re in the mood for, you can find a flavored lube for it. There’s no reason to settle for lubricants that aren’t body safe.
Need to get warm this winter? Sliquid comes through again with Sizzle, a warming lube. It warms up with friction and creates a unique warming sensation while still being healthy for your junk. You can try out [G] Female Stimulating Gel as well. It contains natural mint extract to induce a tingling, warming sensation. It still might be best to use these lubes externally, but if you don’t have an interaction, you do you.
Lastly, CBD lubes! These two are both water-based, not oil-based, and still contain CBD extract. Dazy CBD Lube has 30 mg of CBD, and many reviewers say it helps their pain during sex without numbing. There’s also Ignite CBD Lube, which includes nanoparticles of CBD that can absorb through the skin and into the bloodstream. It’s guaranteed to be free of THC, so it won’t get you high, (though you can get weed lube if it’s legal in your state).
Once you get your lube in the mail, it’s time to enjoy!
Use a little more than you think you’ll need for penetration. It’s better to be a little over lubricated than under. A dime-sized amount should be about good. (Don’t go too nuts. A handful will get all over the place and make a mess.)
It’s a great idea to rub it between your hands before applying it to you or your partner’s genitals. It’ll probably be pretty cold right out of the tube. You can apply lube with your fingers, or you can buy lube shooters to get in the vagina or butt quickly and effectively.
If you’ll be using a condom, lube is a great way to make the experience more pleasurable and help prevent the condom from breaking. Put a drop of lube in the tip of the condom before rolling it down. This helps the condom move on the head, which prevents the latex from ripping.
Lube can help you have better sex, protect you from STIs, and experiment with your kinky fantasies. Whether you’re having a BDSM session with your sub or jerking off to the used panties you just got in the mail, lube can help you along the way.