The other day, we explained how dangerous it can be if you buy just any lube.
So, how do you choose a personal lubricant?
Before you choose a lube, you first need to understand why you need to use lube.
Why Use Lube?
Lubrication during sexual play is important. That is because lube makes sex better and makes sex more comfortable. The act of sexual intercourse often creates friction. If there is not enough lubrication, small tears could occur in the vagina, which could increase the risk of urinary tract infections, STIs, and other types of infections.
Just as important, lube makes sex much more pleasurable. Every sensation is enhanced which will allow you to feel every movement at a heightened level.
For anal play, lubrication is a must. Unlike the vagina, the anus does not produce natural lubrication. Therefore, lube is necessary. Plus, lube makes anal play more comfortable. Anal lubricant, which is thicker than regular lubricant, stays on the skin longer and provides a more comfortable feeling by reducing friction and sensation.
If you are using sex toys, it’s always smart to use personal lubricant. Toys tend to dry up as they are exposed to air, making for uncomfortable re-entry. Ouch!
Myth #1: I am wet enough.
Fact: Every person has a baseline level of wetness. Where it may take one person five minutes to produce enough natural lubrication with just a minimal amount of stimulation, it may take another person as long as thirty minutes of foreplay before they have produced enough natural lubrication for enjoyable sex.
You can always be wetter …especially as you get older. Menopause causes many women to be drier, which makes sex painful. Another way to think about it….Imagine when you wash your hands without soap. You can do it but it’s not as easy. Now add a tablespoon of water. Again, you can do it but you probably wish you had more water. Now add a cup of water, washing your hands is now much easier. Lube essentially acts the same was lessening the friction of penetration.
Myth #2: I turn my partner on enough so that they don’t need lube.
Fact: No matter how much your partner may be turned on, the amount of personal lubricant produced by their body is different for everyone and is different at different times of the month. Where it may take one person five minutes to produce enough natural lubrication with just a minimal amount of stimulation, it may take another person as long as thirty minutes of foreplay before they have produced enough natural lubrication for enjoyable sex.
Myth #3: Something is wrong with me if I need lube.
Fact: Nothing is wrong with you if you need to use lube. The amount of lube you produce is affected by:
- Lack of sleep
- Health conditions
- Menstrual cycle
- And more...
Myth: You don’t need lube for anal play.
Fact: Just like it is mentioned above, unlike the vagina, the anus does not lubricate itself. Therefore, lube is required for comfortable and pleasurable anal sex.
How Do You Use Lubricants?
This is how you should use and apply lube:
- On the outside of the condom (both male and female)
- Inside and around the anus or vagina
- On a sex toy
Types of Lubricant
Sexual lubricants are made with three different types of bases: Water, Silicone or Oil.
Water-Based Lubricant is a good versatile lube. It works in every situation but doesn't stay wet for very long (unless you add water). This type of lubricant can also be a little tacky. Meanwhile, water-based lube also has the most variety. (More on that in a bit.)
- The first ingredient is water or aloe
- Feels cool on the skin and may get sticky after a while
- Slippery but it also tends to dry up - can be reactivated by adding water or saliva
- Most common type used with vaginal intercourse, anal intercourse, oral sex, and masturbation
- Offers the most variety: flavors, warming, and stimulating
- Washes from the body quickly
- Does not stain (unless color is added)
- Compatible with all toys
- Compatible with latex condoms
- A small amount of silicone can be added (which produces a white or creamy lubricant) - feels slippery, not sticky yet is still thin, while leaving the skin silky smooth when dry
Silicone Based Lubricant is excellent for sex and water play because it stays very slippery for a long time. However, do not use with silicone sex toys because silicone lube reacts (can melt, decompose, etc.) to a different silicone on the toy!
Please note: it has been recently found that silicone lubricant is fine to use on luxury premium 100% silicone toys. We would suggest either doing a small test or just be safe and use water-based lubricant instead.
- Always slippery but never feels sticky or tacky
- A little goes a long way & creates long-lasting glide (and lasts longer than water-based lubricants)
- Doesn’t dry out and excellent for water play
- Compatible with latex, rubber, glass & plastic
- Do not use with silicone sex toys (it breaks down the silicone of the toy and may start to smell)
- Can be used with vaginal intercourse, anal intercourse, and masturbation
- Can be used for body massage
- High-quality lubricants (with only 2-3 ingredients) are inert and won’t change a woman's pH level, i.e. no threat of yeast infections.
- May leave an oily residue on sheets but it washes away with soap & water
Many people equate oil-based lubricants to petroleum jelly. You should NEVER use petroleum jelly as a lubricant. You should also NEVER use oil-based lubricants with latex condoms.
If you choose to use an oil-based lubricant, you should only use an oil-based lubricant made with the best ingredients.
Oil-based lube is:
- Good as a daily moisturizer
- Slick & doesn’t dry out easily - only need a small amount
- Can be used with masturbation or vaginal intercourse
- Limited risk of irritation or yeast infections if they are made with all natural ingredients; however, if not washed off after use, it may clog pores and leave an unwanted residue that can harbor bacteria and yeast
- Safe for all types of sex toys
- Never use with rubber or latex
- Stains and can be difficult to wash off
- Not recommended for anal play because bacteria thrives in oil
Can You Use Coconut Oil As Lubricant?
A common question that sex educators get asked is: Can you use coconut oil as lubricant?
Coconut oil can be used as a lubricant. This all-natural oil is anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and an excellent moisturizer for vaginal tissue, especially if you are experiencing vaginal dryness. It can also treat/prevent yeast infections.
However, despite all of the positives above, no one really knows if coconut oil as a sexual lubricant is actually safe. Coconut oil can also clog pores. This isn’t an issue for everyone, but it can cause irritation to the skin for others. Another negative of using coconut oil is that it does not work with latex condoms or silicone sex toys. Additionally, although coconut oil is anti-bacterial, that might not be what the vagina needs. The vagina has good and bad bacteria. Adding an antibacterial substance can disturb the good and bad bacteria. Therefore, coconut oil can actually do more harm (cause infections) than good. Finally, coconut oil out of the jar can be messy and hard to apply during sex.
Now what? Once you have chosen your base, now you need to decide what variety you want:
- Flavored - Designed to enhance oral sex
- Glycerin-free – Glycerin mimics sugar, which causes yeast infections or irritation
- Paraben-free - Parabens are a common preservative but can be irritable to some women
- Stimulating - Designed to increase sensation for both partners; contains active ingredients like menthol or pepper that increase blood flood and awakens nerve endings
- Carrageenan - A seaweed that adds extra slipperiness as well as heals & repairs vaginal tissue, soothes & relieves vaginal dryness and adds more moisture
- Sensitive - Designed to add extra moisture to the genital area and relieves vaginal dryness
- Anal – Thicker lubricant that stays on the skin longer providing a more comfortable feeling by reducing friction & sensation
- Women’s – Thinner lubricant where you feel more sensation without friction; perfect as a “kick starter” until her own moisture takes over
Hybrid lubricants are mostly water-based with a touch of silicone for extra glide. This type of lubricant can be used with premium silicone sex toys since it is mostly a water-based lubricant.
Everyone Has Different Lubricant Needs
Should you buy what your friend recommends? Just because your friend recommends a particular type or brand of lubricant, it doesn’t mean that it will work for you. It is normal for people to have different physical reactions to things and be turned on in different ways. Find what works best for you!
Final Thoughts On How to Choose A Personal Lubricant
Personal lubricants are essential. Most of the time, our bodies produce enough natural lubricant to be comfortable every day. However, whether you are alone or with a partner, lube is necessary to help you get closer, connect, and stay longer. Plus, if you choose a flavored or stimulating variety, it will change things up a bit in the bedroom!