Sometimes overlooked and underrated, lube can be an easy and simple way to improve your sex life. Sure, there's a lingering stigma around the use of sexual lubricant and what it says about your body and relationship, but honestly, almost everyone can benefit getting a little lubed up. However, once you've welcomed lube into your sexual toolbox there may still be questions needing to be answered.
What are the differences between lubes?
Though there are many variations and formulas, most lubricants can be divided into the following categories:
Water based lubricant is the most common type of sexual lubricant available. As the name suggests, it’s mainly made out of water. This means during use it absorbs into your skin, and require reapplication for longer sessions. Water base formulas are usually the least irritating and are often combined with other natural moisturizing ingredients like Aloe Vera or Carrageenan. It is safe to use with all toys and barrier methods and won’t stain sheets or clothing.
Silicone based lube is the silk sheets of sexual lubricant. Its extra smooth formula is not absorbed into the skin, so it lasts longer during play. Silicone lube also doesn’t wash away with water alone, making it the ideal companion for shower and bath sex. Silicone is hypoallergenic so as long as it isn’t combined with any irritating ingredients, it’s safe for sensitive bodies. Silicone lube does have some limitations however. Silicone toys can be ruined by the use of silicone lube (though condoms are fine), and it can cause stains on sheets and clothing.
Oil based lubricants are the lube that keep on going. Loved for their longevity, oil based lubes can also double as massage oils. However oil based lube can impact certain barrier methods of STI protection and birth control, most notably with latex condoms. The oil creates small weak spots in latex making condoms more prone to breaking. Oil based lubes are also associated with higher rates of infections. Oil can go rancid quickly so any left in the folds of skin of the labia, penis, scrotum, or anus can lead to irritations. Plus, oil based products are unforgiving on fabrics.
Hybrid based lubricants are lubes that combine base elements, more commonly water and silicone formulas. The idea between hybrid lubes if that you get the best of both worlds. Lubricants that contain both water and silicone have a formula that allows the longer lasting, silky feeling of silicone, with the versatility with toys that a water based lube has.
Not sure what lube to try? Grab a Sliquid Lube cube to try a range of formulas.
Help! I don’t know what lube is ok to use with my toy?
The type of lubricant you can use with your toy is all dependent on what your toy is made from. If your toy is made from a hard material, like natural stone, ABS plastic, glass, or stainless steel, then the lube world is your oyster. Non-porous, hard material toys can be used with any lube without ruining or compromising the toy itself.
Silicone toys require either a water based lube or a hybrid is small amount of silicone. Using a silicone lubricant on a silicone toy will likely break down silicone's structure causing it to become sticky or tacky.
If you’re unsure about whether your lube is safe to use with a particular toy, try this simple patch test. Find a small area of your toy that doesn’t come into contact with your body - usually the base of a toy. Take a very small sample of your desired lube onto the tip of a cotton swab and then apply it to the area. Wait 30 mins and wipe clean. If the area has changed at all, your lube isn’t compatible with your toy. If it looks unchanged, you’re good to use that lube.
What lube is best for anal?
Since the anus is not a self-lubricating part of the body (unlike the vagina and penis) and anal sometimes requires a lot of ‘warm up’ time, it’s best to go for a lube that is long lasting. Thicker water based lubes with a gel like consistency, hybrid lubes, or silicone based lubes are ideal. If you’re using silicone toys however, stick to water or hybrid to avoid ruining your toy.
Our favorite thick water based lube ideal for anal play with silicone toys is Sliquid's Sassy.
I love sex in the shower. Is there a lube for that?
Yes! Silicone lubricants are ideal for sex in water as they have a sticky consistency that isn't washed away easily. When it does come time to clean up, some gentle soap should wash it away.
What lube works with condoms?
Not all lubricant are compatible with your barrier methods. If you’re using latex condoms or barriers, most oil based lubes will actually weaken the barrier, making it more prone to breakage and less effective. Unless a lubricant specifically states that it is safe to use with condoms, opt for water based or hybrid based instead. Remember, a few drops of lube inside of a condom can work wonders for sensation.
Other lubes I’ve tried give me irritation and yeast infections. Is there one that doesn’t?
Though it may be surprising to hear, most of the lubricants available at the local pharmacy aren’t actually body safe. Many contain parabens, glycerin, sugars, or fragrances that can cause bad reactions, unbalanced PH levels, and possible infections. Before using a lube on your body, first check the ingredients to make sure it doesn’t contain glycerin, Nonoxynol-9, Petroleum, propylene glycol, or chlorhexidine gluconate.
If you're sensitive to lubricants, opt for PH balanced formulas that won’t disrupt the natural bacterial levels in your body. All of Sliquid and Good Clean Love formulas are created to mimic the natural levels of your body.
Check out Good Clean Love's Bio Nude for an all natural, stripped back lubricant perfect for sensitive bodies.
Also, if you’re using pre-lubricated condoms, be aware that this may be the cause of your irritation. Try switching brands, opting for non-lubricated condoms, or do a patch test on your skin before use.
I don’t have issue with naturally getting wet. Do I even need lube?
You may have heard the term “Wetter is better”, but if you find you don’t experience any issues with getting wet when aroused, lube can still be a beneficial addition to your play. There are many lubricants out there that can enhance in exciting ways including flavored or heating lubes. Plus if you were to have an experience where your or a partner's body didn't create the natural wetness you're used to, you'd be prepared.
I don’t need lube. I just use *insert common household product here*.
There is always a risk when using a product in ways it was not intended to be used. The areas where you're most likely applying lube (your genitals) have some of the most sensitive skin on your body. Household products could contain unwanted chemicals that you don’t want to be putting inside your body and can cause irritation to these sensitive parts. For example, many lotions that are perfectly wonderful on your legs, bellies, and arms can wreak havoc on your genitals.
Sexual lubricants are specifically designed to work with your body to enhance your sexual experience. Investing in a body safe lubricant prioritizes your health and pleasure, as well as the health and pleasure of your partners.