At some point, you’re going to need lubricant. Sure, both the penis and vagina secrete natural lubrication, but not always enough due to our hydration levels and hormones. The anus produces no lubrication, so anal play requires lubricant, and using a toy dry is a recipe for discomfort.
Using lubricant for better sex is a no-brainer. So, what kind is best?
It depends what activities your have in mind. There are two main varieties of lubricant, and a variety of choices within each. Knowing what goes into each kind will help you select the right one for you.
The most versatile and common, water-based lubricants are condom-safe and compatible with all toys. Easy to clean up, inexpensive, available in a variety of textures and thicknesses, many people prefer these. Water-based lubricant uses water as its main ingredient. This kind will dry out as its water absorbs into the skin or evaporates, so you may have to reapply. Still, a good-quality water-based lubricant will last a long time. Our Frisky Fave, System JO H2O, stays slippery and slick for a long time.
Why not use water-based lube?
There are two ingredients present in most water-based lubricants that some people may prefer to avoid:
- Parabens are found not only in most lubricants, but also in most cosmetic products. While parabens are approved as safe by the FDA, there has been some concern among some scientists and watchdog groups that parabens may relate to breast cancer. In addition, some people may suffer irritation or an allergic reaction to parabens.
- While safe for most users, women who are particularly prone to yeast infections should avoid lubricants containing glycerine, since the glycerine converts to sugar in the body and may lead to problems. If you do not suffer from frequent yeast infections, the amount of glycerine in lubricant is unlikely to cause a problem. Some people may also be allergic to glycerine.
If you suffer from any irritation after using a lubricant, we suggest switching products. Two of our more popular glycerine-free water-based products are System JO Agape formula and Sliquid H2O. Sliquid is also paraben-free.
Silicone lubricants are hands-down the most slippery of all lubricants, and they don’t dry out. Unlike water-based lubricants, silicone lubricants do not evaporate or absorb into the skin, so they stay slippery pretty much until you wash them off. They are also usually somewhat thicker than water-based lubricants. This combination makes them an excellent choice for anal sex.
Silicone goes by many names like dimethicone, cyclopentasiloxane, and dimethiconal. Hypoallergenic and free of parabens, glycerine, and propylene glycol, silicone-based lubricants are unlikely to cause irritation for even the most sensitive users. These are safe for use with condoms, but may be incompatible with some toys, including lower-grade silicone toys and Cyberskin-type, “real feel” materials.
These days many people try to limit their exposure to chemicals (especially on their genitals). In response, several companies developed excellent lubricants made with a limited number of ingredients and a focus on keeping things as all-natural as possible. System Jo Organic Lubricant is the only lubricant on the market made from USDA-certified organic ingredients. Sliquid Organics makes a liquid and a gel formula using “certified organic” ingredients.
These water-based lubricants have a much different feel compared to their non-organic counterparts. They tend to be thinner consistencies and absorb more quickly into the skin. Reapplication will be necessary.
Some lubricants are designed to function beyond just reducing friction in genital areas.
- Flavored lubricants add an extra dimension to oral sex. Most of these contain some type of sweetener, so these should be used externally only.
- Heating and cooling lubricants have been very popular. Some companies call these “his and hers” lubes, with one partner using the warming formula and one using the cooling. These lubes use ingredients like menthol to bring blood to the skin’s surface. While fun for many, some people can find these ingredients irritating.
- Anal formulas are typically thicker than regular lubricant formulas, but sometimes not by much. Check the viscosity in the bottle before possibly spending more on a “special” anal formula.
- For Women Only lubricants sometimes steer clear of ingredients that women can be sensitive to, like glycerin and paraben, but buyer beware. Sometimes these formulas are just like their regular formula counterparts but with a higher price tag. Read the ingredients before making a decision.
- Hybrid lubricants are contain both water and silicone, and are usually a creamy consistency. More slippery than a standard water-based formula but easier to clean up than silicone, these lubricants often feel the most like the body’s natural lubrication.
Think about the activity the lubricant will be used for and with whom. If anyone is prone to yeast infections or allergic to anything, consider organic or silicone lubricants. Water-based lubes are safe for all kinds of toys and pretty much every kind of intercourse. Silicone lube is great for anal play, and so is water-based lube if you use enough. Add sweetness to oral pleasure with a dollop of your favorite flavored lube, or a bit of sensation with a heating or cooling formula.
Whatever lubricant you choose, just remember to use it! A bit more wetness adds to the fun.