It may seem like the vast selection of lubrication available at your local sex toy store is complicated solely for the sake of making your life more difficult. You might be surprised to discover that the many different kinds of lubes available serve a wide range of purposes!
“Different purposes?” you ask. “Isn’t lube just for… well, lubrication?”
Well of course all those fine lubes are designed to smooth out your midnight ride, but did you know that certain lubes can put holes in your condoms, or that others can cause your favorite sex toys to melt or warp? Were you aware that some lubes are great for anal while others are best for male masturbation?
Who knew? Well I did, of course, and that’s why you love me isn’t it?
Lubrication comes in three standard varieties, with a few extra twists at the end: silicone, water, and oil… plus those warming, tingling, and numbing kinds.
Slick, Sexy Silicone
Silicone lube is great for use with condoms, and excellent for both vaginal and anal sex. It is usually very long-lasting without the tendency to gum up and get sticky like oil-based lubes. It can run from a thin liquid to a thick gel, but most often falls somewhere in between.
Be very careful using this with any sex toys! Silicone toys, which are among the safest and most hypoallergenic variety, are not compatible with silicone lube. The combination can cause degradation of the toy, so be sure to carefully cover it up with a condom if you don’t have any other lubrication options!
Wet, Wild Water
Water based lubricant is the most versatile of the three groups. It can be used with condoms, with toys of any variety, and is appropriate for vaginal, anal and manual sexual stimulation of just about any kind. Some varieties of water-based lube can be quite long-lasting, but generally speaking these liquids will absorb into the skin during use. For this reason, you will likely need to reapply during extended use, and you should be extra careful about buying a brand made with quality, natural and/or organic ingredients.
While water-based lubes tend to be the thinnest of the three varieties, certain other ingredients can be added to create gels and other thicker substances. Read your ingredient lists carefully!
Oil & (Oil-based) Lube
Oil-based lubes can be longer lasting than water-based, but they also have a tendency to absorb through the skin, especially if they are made from natural, edible oils. They are more likely to come in thicker creams and can be great for anal sex because of this natural staying power.
Oil-based lubricants are not condom safe and should never be used with latex toys or sex gear. If you are enjoying some skin on skin contact though, natural oils make wonderful lubricants for tantric sexual encounters, because they can also be used as body massage oils, bath oils, even to scent the room! Coconut oil, cacao butter, avocado, and even regular kitchen olive oil make great lubes in a pinch. Be sure to choose the most natural, organic source possible and be very careful about fragrance. Just because something smells nice enough to scent your bedroom doesn’t mean it’s appropriate for your lover’s skin, especially in her most sensitive spots! If you aren’t sure, refer back to the “spot test” and do a bit of research about essential oils before creating your signature blend.
Warming, cooling, or numbing lubricants are typically water-based but can come in any variety. If you want an “edible” lube, try to pick one made with the most natural ingredients, and avoid silicone at all costs, as it is known to cause stomach upset and GI distress.
Sensational lubricants can be over-stimulating for some, so like any other bath or body product, be sure to test it on the inside of the wrist first to gauge any possible allergic reaction. Putting hot or cold substances directly onto the genitals can cause some serious discomfort, especially when the product is difficult to wash away, so be careful! Most importantly, don’t use numbing lube for anal sex, especially if you are new to it and not sure how to enjoy yourself without hurting your partner. Numbing only prevents her from feeling pain that you might be inflicting. Pain happens for a reason, so don’t cop out and mask the problem just so you can have a good time. If you can’t do something without harming your partner, you shouldn’t be doing it at all.