Regardless of sexual orientation or favorite activity, lubricant makes things better. Here are four lubes that should be in your nightstand so you’re ready for anything with your partner, or without one, or with a lot of them. (Hey, we don’t judge.)
1. Limited-Ingredient formulas
Allergies, chemical sensitivities, or just plain awareness of what we’re putting in our bodies make limited-ingredient, water-based lubes a must-have. While glycerin is a common ingredient and helps make water-based lubes slippery, it can irritate sensitive skin. Look for formulas with a short ingredients list and that are free of glycerin, parabens, fragrance, and flavors. Skip anything that says “warming” or “cooling”, too. Limited-ingredient formulas will probably have to be reapplied because they absorb into the skin more rapidly than standard water-based formulas, but they can’t be beat if you have sensitive skin.
2. Water-based Gel
When it comes to versatility, lubes using water as their main ingredient can’t be beat. They work for vaginal or anal sex, they are compatible with all types of sex toy materials, and they are easy to clean up. The downside is they can feel “sticky” as they absorb into the skin. Gel formulations are thicker than their standard liquid counterparts, last longer, and stay where you put them. We suggest at least one tube in your nightstand. Gel may become your new favorite do-it-all formula.
3. Classic Silicone
For slipperiness that lasts longer than your partner, silicone lube is the way to go. Unlike water-based lube, silicone lube doesn’t absorb into the skin. It’s water-resistant, latex-safe, and leaves the skin soft, making it great for people who don’t like reapplying lube during play. Since it’s glycerin and paraben free, it’s a great alternative for those who want a hypoallergenic lube but don’t like the limited-ingredient formulas. It’s latex safe and doubles as a great massage lotion. Silicone lubricant does not always work well with silicone sex toys, so stick with a water-based formula if silicone toys are involved and save your favorite silicone formula for pretty much every other kind of play.
4. Water-Silicone Hybrid
Among all the types, hybrid lubricants feel most like a body’s own lubrication. Combining silicone and water, they last a long time like a silicone lubricant, and work well with most toys like a water-based formula. They also don’t have much of a taste. We frequently suggest hybrid lubes for menopausal women who want something that doesn’t get sticky and feels natural. The silicone component could possibly damage a silicone toy, so before slathering your favorite dildo with it, do a small patch test at the base to make sure it will work with the toy.