There are plenty of different varieties of sexual lubricant out there, typically delineated by the separate needs they meet.
You’ve got a lot to choose from and consider out there, and if you’re a n00b to lube (sorry, sorry; we really couldn’t help it), you may need some help to figure out what the best personal lubricant is for you, to give a major boost to your sex and relationship alike. As you’ll see in our guide, the ideal lube for you and your partner may be several kinds of lubricant, varying according to physical needs and sexual priorities.
What should you avoid in lubricants?Process of elimination is one of the best ways to go about solving any problem. So we’ll start our journey by covering the types of lube you should stay away from before delving into the viable options:
- Oil-based lubes are a no-go in all circumstances. For one, they’re incredibly risky when used with any latex condom because the oil degrades the material, which can lead to breakage, and it’s difficult to clean up, sometimes causing stains. It also may increase the likelihood of contracting certain vaginal infections. (All of these negatives can also apply to the natural and/or organic oil lubes that use ingredients like coconut or grapeseed oil.)
- “Outside-the-box” lubes — a.k.a. things that aren’t actually sexual lubricant — are also always a bad idea. Petroleum jelly and baby oil, for starters, both carry a significant risk of bacterial vaginosis. Hand lotion, another common “alternative,” isn’t an infection risk but it’s just not right for sex; despite the initial moisturizing effect, most lotions quickly cause dryness. No good.
- And as for anything from the kitchen, like olive or vegetable oil, or butter, … I mean, do we even have to explain why this is a bad idea?!
What’s the best lube for sensitive skin?Everyone’s skin gets dry to one degree or another in certain situations, including sex — that’s literally the reason why lube exists! But if you have particularly dry skin, or it’s sensitive and gets easily irritated for any other reason, you need to factor that into your lube choices and not just pick one at random.
Generally speaking, a high-quality silicone-based lube like Wet Platinum or Elite Femme will be ideal for sensitive skin of any kind — as well as issues like chronic vaginal dryness — due to the soft, silky-smooth feeling it creates. A natural option, like the aloe-based Wet Organics, can also be good in these instances.
What about allergies?All of the lube varieties that Wet offers include primary ingredients that don’t typically irritate any allergies: Allergic reactions to glycerin and silicone are extremely rare, and water is, uh … it’s water. (Allergies to aloe on its own aren’t uncommon, but Wet Organics has been tweaked by our expert chemists to be hypoallergenic.) Outside of the realm of lube, some folks are allergic to latex, meaning that a large cross-section of the condom market is off-limits, and the substitutes may affect your lube choices. If using non-latex prophylactics made with polyisoprene, your field is pretty open, because that synthetic material is actually softer than latex. However, if you’re going with polyurethane or lambskin condoms, you may want a smoother lube made of silicone or a water-silicone hybrid to cut down on any potential discomfort. Now that we’ve covered health-related stuff, it’s time to move on to the more fun things you need to consider when shopping for lube…
What lube is best to use with sex toys?Who doesn’t love toys? (Everyone should, as far as we’re concerned, unless you’ve tried them and it’s not your bag.) They go together with lube well to enhance your sexual experiences in new and exciting ways — you just have to make sure they’re specifically compatible.
More than a few of the most common sex toys may include silicone in some form or fashion — when it happens, it’s usually with vibrators, dildos, or plugs. If there’s silicone in any of your bedroom accessories, make sure you’re only using them with a non-silicone lube. Why? Because “silicone” is a general term for a broad category of materials that all contain silicon but otherwise differ greatly from one to the next, so silicone in lube can react negatively with toys containing a different silicone. Often this causes the toys to degrade somewhat, and that can make them magnets for bacteria. Silicone lube works well with leather and metal toys, as well as those made with plastics or other non-silicone synthetic materials. But because water-based lubricant works with all toys, it might be best to keep some of it around for your toy-focused play. Better safe than sorry and all that jazz.