Lube is often overlooked, but it’s an essential part of a healthy and active sex life. It keeps your bits moving smoothly and comfortably for all kinds of salacious fun, including solo sex, anal play, and more. It supplements your body’s natural moisture for longer-lasting and more enjoyable sex. The right lubricant can even make the difference between good sex and great sex!
Lube is important for masturbation no matter what genitals you have. However, it's absolutely essential when engaging in anal play and penetration because the anus does not self-lubricate. The vagina – with enough foreplay and arousal — will often self-lubricate. But not always. Some women live in dryer climates and/or can be more dehydrated. Some women struggle to lubricate because they might be in particular part of their cycle, peri-menopausal or postmenopausal. I always recommend a high-quality lubricant, so we don't feel the need to be hyper-vigilant, tracking if there is enough being produced naturally. This can really help everyone relax and enjoy their time, versus worrying about lubrication.
What’s Your Type: Water, Oil, Silicone, or Hybrid?
Lube comes in a wide variety of different types, each with its own special properties and features.
As the name suggests, water-based lubes are made primarily from good old H2O. They can be used safely with condoms and all types of sex toys (including glass, silicone, rubber and everything else) for pretty much anything you want to do. They cost less than other types, making them easy on the wallet. There’s also a vast selection to choose from, including vegan-friendly and organic options. Another benefit is that water-based lubes clean up quickly and easily with just a little soapy water and a towel.
If you are going for a water-based option, you can’t beat Adam & Eve Lube. This budget-friendly product has satisfied countless couples over the years, and it’s sure to keep all your important parts just as smooth and sleek.
Unfortunately, the sheer versatility of water-based lubricants is also their biggest drawback. As the ultimate jack-of-all-trades, they’re the master of none as they dry up more quickly than others and need more frequent re-application. If you’re looking for something to use just in the shower for example, then you’re better off with another formulation like oil.
Oil-based lubes last longer than any other type. However, go cautiously before using them. For starters, and most importantly, they aren’t safe for use with condoms. They are also not compatible with sex toys made from rubber-based materials like TPE, TPR, or jelly. Lastly, they can permanently stain your sheets and lingerie. On a rare occasion, they can also cause some health complications, such as urinary tract and yeast infections. If you do choose an oil-based lube, my favorite is a simple organic coconut oil that you can get at the store. Make sure you are in a situation where you can safely go condom-free, and even consider throwing down an old, shabby towel to prevent staining.
Silicone-based lubes are the slickest of all and are waterproof, so you can use them in the shower and anywhere you might get wet and wild! Silicone is a versatile substance used in everything from medical equipment to cooking utensils. Your body doesn’t absorb it like it does water, so these lubes also last longer and don’t need to be applied as often. When you’re done, you can wipe it off with a clean towel. On the downside, silicone lubes are much more expensive than water-based ones. And you should never use them with silicone sex toys, as they could damage the product.
If you want to try a silicone-based product, then A&E Personal Silicone Lubricant is a great option. While it’s more expensive than their water-based lube, it’s still a bargain compared to other brands. The longer-lasting formula saves you some money in the long run too.
Hybrid lubes combine water with a little bit of silicone to create what just might the ultimate lube, striking a great balance between price and usability.
Hybrids are still being developed, so your options are limited. While hybrid manufacturers say they’re safe to use with silicone toys, I would do a test run on a less exciting toy before slathering up your favorite vibrator or dildo. You don’t want to risk ruining your fav go-to toy!
Special-Purpose Lubes: Anal, Flavored & More
While most lubricants are made for use during sex, there are some specially created for more exotic purposes. These specialty lubes are still made from one of the Big Four types (water, oil, silicone or hybrid). They just contain some extra ingredients that help them excel at their intended purpose.
Anal lubes are the perfect fit for (surprise, surprise) backdoor play. Many of these are made from either water (which makes them safe to use with anal toys and condoms) or oil. Anal lubes are thicker than usual, which helps them stay in place to protect the sensitive inner tissue of the anus. They also last longer, so you don’t need to reapply them as often. Even though they’re intended for anal usage, those traits make water-based anal lubes great for vaginal penetration, toy play, and solo sex as well. Forbidden Anal Lubricant is a long-lasting water-based formulation designed to be compatible with your favorite anal toys. The user-friendly bottle makes it easy to dispense, so you can keep everything moving smoothly even in the heat of the moment.
Flavored lubes are perfect for oral sex and come in a wide assortment of yummy options, with cherry and chocolate being some of the most popular at Adam & Eve. Simply drizzle a little on your partner before going down on them. The tasty treat leads to lots of tongue play as they try to lick up every drop! Best of all, Adam & Eve’s Flavored Lube is super tasty and sugar-free, which makes it safe to use in the vagina. (Sugary items like chocolate sauce can irritate the vagina and cause bacterial growth.) They come in three different flavors: cherry, cotton candy, and strawberry. Any of them are sure to leave you (or your partner) licking your lips!
You can also find specially formulated sex toy lubes. They’re safe for all types of materials, so you can use them with your favorite toys. They typically last longer than your average water-based option, so you don’t need to interrupt your play session to reapply quite as often. A&E Masturbator Lube is perfect for strokers, while their Vibrator Lube really gets your buzz on!
Lastly, there are organic lubes made with all-natural ingredients, many of which are also certified vegan-friendly and cruelty free. If you’ve got sensitive skin, you can also find body-friendly lubes. No matter what you need, there’s a lube out there for you!
How to Use Lube
Using lube is pretty straightforward as long you follow these simple steps:
- When using any type of lube, coverage is key. Squirt roughly a quarter-sized amount onto your fingers before gently applying it to your intended body part, sex toy, or anything else you want to insert or stroke. If you’re using it for penetration, work it inside the vagina or anus as well.
- Continue applying until there’s a thin layer completely coating everything. This layer of lube keeps everything moving smoothly during playtime and protects your most sensitive areas.
- You’ll probably need to reapply at least once or twice depending on how long things last. This is especially important for water-based lubes, which can become sticky as they’re naturally absorbed by the skin.
- After you’re done, wash off with warm, soapy water and a clean towel. Then check your sheets for spots. While most water-based lubes are non-staining, others aren’t. “Lube spots” are much easier to clean off if you take care of them before they dry.
Everyone can benefit from using the right sex lube for the situation. Keep it by your bedside. Re-apply often. Make it your best friend!
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