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Know Your Lube: Oil and Silicone and Water, Oh My!

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Know Your Lube: Oil and Silicone and Water, Oh My!

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.

Special Features

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.

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  1. lrydere

    February 11, 2012 at 1:33 am

    Hi, I have a question for my friend told me this; Why lemons are a girl’s best friend? She said it has something to do with female vagina or with sex. So can you help me? True or False? lrydere.

  2. Jon

    February 15, 2012 at 3:18 am

    I read somewhere that grape seed oil makes a great lube. Anyone have any experience with it?

  3. Michael Smith

    February 17, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    Answer to Irydere question: Lemonade without sugar can be used. Lemon which contains citric acid lowers the ph into a favorable range, fungus (yeast) can not survive in lower pH. Add a mixture of lemon and water put it into a douche mechanism and rinse. Just like Mom’s, waxed furniture. As to Lubricants, KY makes a new produce “sensitive” great improvement and the taste is very favorable. Coating the penis before oral makes the insertion easier and deeper

  4. Santh

    February 17, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    It’s nice to know. About it.

  5. Ed

    February 17, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    Hi Gabrielle – I live in South Africa – we have a Johnson & Johnson product calle KY Gel – personal lubricant. Tube states ” Intimate personal lubrication, supplementing natural feminine moisture”, “recommended by Gynaecologists, clear , non greasy, fragrance free, water soluble”, has a numbing effect (to last longer – wow).

    Lemons – have heard if a woman squeezes lemon juice into her vagina – it ” tightens up” the vagina – true or false – my wife has never tried – no need to!!

    Keep up the information please – you are a star!!

  6. Keith

    February 17, 2012 at 10:21 pm

    In some countries the lemon is considered a contraceptive, thats all I’ve heard in relation to the lemon and women.. Jon I’ve had experience with grape seed oil or extract, the stuff is phenomenal and can be used any way imaginable! It’s especially great to use if a massage leading to intimacy is on the agenda, although it doesn’t have the aroma effect that some others do. Something I wld like to add to oil based lubricants is that with continuous use, (due to it’s being absorbed in the skin) it can lead to weight gain.. Thanks

  7. pankaj

    February 18, 2012 at 9:02 pm

    hi Gab. I need immediate suggestion that, my girlfriend want to loose her virginity but while inserting into her pussy it hurts a lot to her and she refuse to do it so……I am so depressed that I am unable to insert and enjoy a sex life with her and also one thing is that she has a bad odor pussy. I tried lots of time to wash it properly but it didn’t works. so I cant suck her pussy. please help me

  8. andre

    April 29, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    My wife hates it when i put my finger inside of her, can anyone help me?

  9. andre

    April 29, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    Hi ED i am also from south africa,and i uses KY jelly! Do you have an answer for me?

  10. David

    May 10, 2015 at 8:40 am

    I am getting up in years and I am finding it harder and harder to keep an erection especially when I have the oportunity to have sex with a woman.

    I have heard that when we get up in years that our arteries start to fill up with what is called “plac” and slows down the flow of the blood to our heart and other places in our bodies.

    Does anyone on this site have an answer for me without taking some kind of chemical.

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