Lube is the magical elixir of your sex life. If you want to combat friction, tearing, and pain during sex — and make sure you’re always slippery when wet — using a personal lubricant is a must. Before you run out to the store and purchase the first lube you see, however, it’s important to learn the lube basics.
Contrary to certain beliefs, using lube during any kind of sexual act does not mean you’re lazy, “dried up,” or unable to get wet naturally. Lubricating your parts is not only pleasurable, but practical. Using lubricant during penetrative sex decreases the likelihood of tearing the sensitive lining of the vaginal or anal cavity, which not only hurts, but can increase your risk of transmitting STIs.
Lube can also decrease the likelihood of condom breakage, and depending on the kind of condom or sex toy you’re using, the kind of lube you choose matters.
Water-based lubricants are safe to use with latex condoms and sex toys made of most materials. Water-based lube is usually not particularly sticky and is easy to clean up quickly. However, water-based lubes don’t last as long as other types of lube, so you might have to re-apply mid-session. Water-based lubes are either glycerin-based or glycerin-free, depending on the brand. The glycerin-based lubes gives some lubes a sweet taste, which can be fun, but has been known to cause yeast infections and other irritations. The glycerin-free type of lube might be more bitter, but less likely to trigger any reactions.
Silicone-based lubricants are good for use with latex condoms, but not so good with silicone sex toys. Avoid using silicone lube with your silicone sex toys because silicone lube may eventually degrade a silicone product. However, silicone lube is fine to use with hard material sex toys like ceramic, glass, wood, and plastic. A big benefit of silicone lube is that it is hypoallergenic, which means folks with allergies who are more likely to get skin irritation often find it the most gentle on their parts. Silicone-based lube lasts much longer than water-based lube, so you can go longer and stronger. However, silicone lube might stain your sheets, so throw down a towel to protect your bed.
Oil-based lubricants cannot be used with latex condoms or latex sex toys, but using oil-based lube with silicone sex toys is OK. Most oil-based lube contains ingredients that you might find around your kitchen or in your beauty products like Sweet Almond Oil, Jojoba Oil, Coconut Oil, Sunflower Oil, Argan Oil, and Ylang Ylang Oil. Oil-based lube can stain, and can potentially cause a reaction if you’re allergic to the natural ingredients in the lube.
Can’t make up your mind? You can also consider using a hybrid, which is usually a combination of water and silicone-based ingredients. This lubricant is longer-lasting than water-based lube. Depending upon the brand, hybrids are often cream colored, and may feel similar to moisturizer.
Congratulations! Now that you know all the ins and outs of lube, you’re ready to go forth and multiply your pleasure!
Myths and facts
Setting the record straight.
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