I hate that lube has such a weird stigma. A lot like medication, some confused folks believe lube is a “last resort” or proof of a failure of some kind. As if your body doing what it’s supposed to be doing could ever be a fucking failure, but I digress. Lube is awesome.
And not just for partnered sex. Lube is for solo sessions. Stop saving the lube for when you think you “need” it and get on board with the love for all things lube.
While all body-safe lube is great, not all lubes are created equal. There are a few common types, which all have their own unique pros and cons.
Water-based lubes are the most versatile, in my opinion, and you can never go wrong with a good one. One of my favorites is Wicked’s Aqua, which is nice and light, not sticky, and has no smell. Water-based lube is silicone toy compatible, and won’t affect their longevity. It’s good for sensitive skin and cleans up easily. It is also condom-friendly.
Since water-based lube absorbs into your skin, it doesn’t last as long as other types of lube. Fun fact: you can “reactivate” water-based lube with a splash of water, making it slippery again if it feels like it’s dried out. I happened to discover this one morning when I almost dropped my wet coffee cup because I evidently still had lube on my hands from the night before.
The first thing I want to mention about silicone-based lube is that it can break down your silicone toys, so it’s not compatible with anything made of silicone. I repeat, do not use your silicone lube with silicone toys. No, it won’t make them explode or melt on contact, but it can affect the integrity of the surface, leaving them more susceptible to bacteria and that isn’t something you want when you are putting them in such sensitive, important areas.
Now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk about all the great things about silicone-based lube. It’s thicker and more substantial than water-based lube, making it ideal for anal sex. It’s also waterproof, so you are able to use it in the shower or bath without it rinsing right off.
Silicone lube is safe for condoms and doesn’t soak into the skin like its water-based counterpart so it will last a little longer. And while it doesn’t play nice with your silicone toys, it pairs perfectly with glass and steel.
Hybrid lubes are tricky. Many boast that they are the best of both worlds since they are usually a combination of water and silicone-based, making them slicker than strictly water-based, but claiming compatibility with silicone toys. While this is true in some cases, I’d recommend paying close attention to the ratio of the silicone-based ingredients before using it with your precious silicone toys. You could always do a small patch test just to be sure. Put a small dot of the lube on an inconspicuous part of the toy, or the handle, if applicable, and if it remains unchanged in a few minutes, meaning the surface isn’t a gummy mess, then it is likely fine.
Oil and etc.
Oil-based lubes basically last forever once they are applied. Ok, maybe not forever-forever, but they are pretty long-lasting. And can double as a massage oil, which is a pretty sexy combination if you ask me. The downside is that it isn’t easy to wipe off and can stain fabrics. So if you are breaking out the oil-based lube, put a blanket you don’t care about down, and maybe strip on out of your favorite lingerie so it doesn’t get ruined.
It is also worth noting that oil-based lubes are not compatible with latex condoms.
There are also some variations of natural and organic lubes, CBD-infused lubes, and really an entire world of lubes exist out there for your exploration. I recommend trying a few different kinds and discovering which ones you prefer.
What are some of your favorites?
Enjoy this handy, dandy lube guide!
Nikki is a photographer, writer, artist, and advocate of radical self-love. She writes about mental health, gaming, sex, and inclusivity.