So let me guess: You’re looking at this post’s title, thinking, “What? Lube and condoms together? Aren’t condoms already lubricated?” Or maybe something more like, “Why would it matter which lube I used with whichever type of condom?”
Questions like these — and a few others we’ll get to here today — aren’t stupid in the slightest. They’re totally understandable! The ins and outs of sexual lubricants and condoms, as well as the best ways to use them together, are things you can’t really understand until A. you’ve done research (which starts with consulting us here at Wet; look, you’re doing great so far) and B. you’ve tried these things yourself (a.k.a. the best part of the process). So without further ado, let’s find out about the best lube for condoms and tackle some other major difficulties you might have regarding these sexual aids.
What are condoms made of?Although it may seem a bit Sex Ed 101, we’ll tackle this question to start, because it ultimately factors into why you need to consider the ideal lube-and-condom pairing in the interest of a better sex life.
Most typical condoms are, these days, made of latex non-vulcanized rubber. While the material doesn’t look natural, it most certainly is: Rubber is derived from the latex produced by a wide variety of plants. Because latex rubber is extremely stretchy but firm, and not easily broken unless deliberately torn, it was a natural replacement for condom materials of years past including sheep intestines (apologies to all the vegetarians/vegans out there) and — I’m in pain just thinking about this one — linen. (Chemical-treated linen, no less; usually by sulfur or lye. Ow, ow, ow, ow, OW.)
Latex rubber condoms are still popular because their primary advantages haven’t changed since they were first made in the early 20th century. We’ve also learned that plenty of folks have allergies to latex, some mild (itching and a mild rash), others serious (i.e., with the potential to cause anaphylaxis, which can be fatal). That led to the creation of condoms made of polyurethane or other synthetic materials. This is also why sheep-gut condoms (marketed as “lambskin,” but you can’t fool us) are still on the market. Some people swear by them, but they’re not always easy to find and are usually pretty expensive.
Do condoms have lube on the outside?Short answer: “Yes, often enough, but not by default.”
Numerous condoms are designed and manufactured with a pretty decent lubricant on the exterior and interior (usually a silicone-based variety) — but this isn’t always the case. A fair number of the condoms you’ll most readily find at your local pharmacy or sex shop (or your favorite online version of either one) will be insufficiently lubricated on one side or the other. Also, depending on the condoms you’re buying, the lube that comes with them may have been designed more as a spermicide than a pleasure-boosting substance, or vice versa, and if you’re trying to be safe and have a good time, you want to cover both bases.
Then, of course, there are non-lubricated condoms to think about. As odd as they may sound, if you’re not familiar with them, these particular prophylactics are actually most often used precisely because you have to use a separate sexual lubricant with them. That way, folks can most readily pick the lube they like the best, instead of relying on whatever a condom might have to offer. (Trying to use a non-lubricated condom “dry” is a bad idea with significant pain potential; that I can assure you.)
Which lubricant is safe to use with all condoms?Yet another question with a multi-part answer, but not a complicated one. For starters, we should say that all of the premium lubricants available from Wet — water-based, silicone, hybrid and aloe-based alike — are safely compatible with all latex and non-latex condoms. But there are some specifics to consider before just going with one or all of those options.
Generally speaking, a lube made primarily of plain ol’ H₂O, such as Wet Water-Based Premium, is probably the safest bet for use alongside most common (a.k.a. latex) condoms. Much like water itself is thought of as the universal solvent, you can consider water-based lubricant to be the “universal lube:” Not only does it work for all latex and non-latex condoms, but it’s also safe to use with every type of sex toy under the sun, which isn’t the case with silicone-based lubes — the latter can react negatively with silicone toys, creating an infection risk.
All that being said, it’s critical to point out that silicone lubricants like Wet Platinum, or the silicone version of Elite Femme, are every bit as safe to use with latex or non-latex condoms as water-based lubes. In fact, sometimes they’re a much better choice than their water-derived counterparts.
Last but not least: A reminder that oil-based lubricants are NEVER safe to use with latex condoms because of the high risk of condom breakage. Natural oil products like Elite Femme Massage Oil are great for foreplay, but not for sex itself. (You may be best off keeping away from oil lubes in general, regardless of your condom choice.)
How to choose the best lubricant for your condoms?Whew. We’ve been over a lot of info so far, not all of it fun. But now we’re at the most important part: how to find the best lube-condom pairing for you and your partner’s unique needs.
Any product that’s meant to enhance the sexual experience will involve a lot of subjectivity because everyone’s sex life is so different. So some trial and error experimenting with different condom styles and lube varieties will be necessary (most fun research ever, TBH) before you find the ideal duo of lube and condom. But there are a few factors that everyone should consider first:
- If you’re using condoms for oral sex (and there are plenty of situations in which that’s necessary, like if you or your partner lives with genital herpes), either the lube or the condom should be flavored. (Only use flavored versions of both if they’re the exact same flavor.) The water-based versions of Wet Flavored, in its five fruit varieties, or the confectionary tastes of Wet Desserts are all excellent choices.
- People with latex allergies, who need to use polyurethane, polyisoprene or polyethylene condoms, have a slightly greater risk of breakage than latex. They’re still safe, don’t get us wrong; it just may be best to use a stronger and longer-lasting (but softer-feeling) silicone lube alongside them. Silicone-based lubes are also ideal if you prefer lambskin condoms.
- For anal sex, you need to ensure you and your partner are both comfortable without dulling the unique sensations involved. So it’s best to use an extra-lubricated condom alongside silicone lube, or a water-silicone blend like Wet Elite Hybrid. You might also want to consider using an internal condom rather than the standard penile version.