Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Lube

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Let’s just come out and say it: lube makes sex better. Whether you’re 19 or 90, less friction equals more pleasure. It’s that simple.

And yet, there is a large stigma around needing lube during sexually intimate escapades. Never mind that it genuinely improves coitus – and quite literally makes it smoother. 

It’s important to remember that a woman’s vaginal lubrication changes over her monthly cycle and her lifetime. And, how lubricated she is does not necessarily indicate her arousal or readiness for sex.

But let’s learn a little more about the benefits of lube, so you can incorporate it whenever you want to increase your pleasure. 

What is Lube Made Of?

If you are wondering what lube is made of – well, there are several types of lube to choose from, so the ingredients are going to vary greatly. However, they can include everything from purified water and glycerine, silicone, petroleum jelly, to a large variety of oils.

You can begin your selection process by checking if you or your partner have any allergies. Carefully read the labels for the lube you’re considering, and ask yourself if you’ve had a reaction to any ingredient once before.

If you plan to use toys, you may want to test how the lube interacts with the material. Another factor is your birth control method – oily types can damage latex condoms and break them.

Your chosen lube will have an impact on your body, condoms, and toys – so it’s important to understand how these different materials impact each other. 

best lube for sensitive skin

What Are the Different Types of Lubes?

Here are the 5 most commonly-sold lube types on the market: 

  • Water based lube – Ideal for sensitive skin, it’s also safe for most toys. Check out Good Clean Love, Sliquid, and Shine Organic
  • Silicone – This type of lube is great for play in water (think hot tub or shower!), is super slick, lasts longer and may therefore not need to be reapplied as often. Check out Replens Silky Smooth.
  • Hybrids – These lubricants provide the benefits of both water and silicone. Coming in at a lower price point, they offer long-lasting benefits and work for many types of play. Check out Wet Gold or Pink Unity
  • Oil based lube – Options include natural oil or synthetic oil based lubricant. Oil based lubes can damage not only condoms, but also sex toys. We like Yes OB however.
  • Anal specific – Anal play lube should have a high viscosity for maximum pleasure. Some are also designed to relieve discomfort during anal sex (but caution – be sure to check if you’re allergic to the numbing agent benzocaine). Try out Tush Cush. 

Which one is best? That is highly dependent on the type of sex you want to be having. Looking for an all-nighter? Silicone based lube may be your best friend. Water based types is great for delicate skin and toys. Anal lube is best for anal pleasures, for both men and women. Hybrids may be great for the sensitive ones who want a longer lasting impact. And lastly, oil based lubricants can also be used for sensual massages, but can cause infections or break down condoms. 

What Is the Healthiest Lube to Use?

Again – that totally depends. The healthiest lube is individual to the person who is using it.

If you have silicone allergies, a water based options may be best for you. Maybe you’re looking for the most natural and safe to eat choice – and in this case, coconut oil may be your go-to. If you’re wanting to ensure your anal play is going to be the most pleasurable for your partner, then maybe a high viscosity lubricant is your healthiest option. 

Best Lube for Sensitive Skin  

If you’ve experienced burning, itching or other discomfort during sex, you’re probably desperate to find a lube that’s best for sensitive skin.

In general, water based lubricants are a great solution for fussy skin. Think of this lube as your safest bet – it’s the least aggressive on skin. Use it with sex toys (particularly silicone toys that don’t play nice with silicone lube), condoms, and any other types of birth control. Bonus: it will also wash out of your sheets super easy! 

You might also want to stay away from any sort of flavored or scented kinds, as well those that give the extra cooling or warming sensation.

Uber lube is a silicone based lube

Lube Alternatives 

Not fond of commercial types? If you’re looking for lube alternatives, your kitchen cabinet might harbor some good options.

One of the cleanest and most available household items is oil. It’s a great tool for play – that doesn’t involve condoms – and it’s also edible. Many people particularly love coconut oil because of its clean feel, wonderful smell and the natural experience of bringing in oil to their sexy play. 

Another great alternative is aloe vera. Water based and slippery, aloe lends a natural feel to the experience and can be eaten safely if it comes straight off the plant. Bottled aloe vera may contain other ingredients that are not be edible so be sure to check the label first. 

Is Lube Safe? Is it Edible?

Lube is designed to be safe for sex. Though it’s always good to do a skin test on yourself before prolonged use, the more important question is: Is this lube safe for me? Some oil based kinds trap bacteria and cause infection, so they may be best used only externally if you are prone to infection. 

Beyond coconut oil and aloe vera, there are a heap of options that are marketed as flavored and specifically being edible. It may be best however to ingest these in very small amounts as they do contain synthetic ingredients.

What Does Lube Do For a Man 

It’s likely you won’t need to look no further than his bedside table. Many men use lube, lotion, or oil to masturbate, which helps to keep the penis’ sensitivity level high, especially if he’s uncircumcised. 

For a man, lubrication can also have incredible intimate benefits. Whether you are receiving a hand job or penetrating someone, decreased friction always results in increased pleasure. The skin along the shaft of the penis is incredibly sensitive and delicate, and anything slippery heightens the pleasure without catching or sticking. 

Ready yet to create your best sex life? Take a stroll down the lube aisle, give some different options a try, and use them as accelerators in your most pleasurable moments.

Find a professional sex coach near you or by expertise now.

Celeste Hirschman
Celeste Hirschmanhttps://www.somaticainstitute.com/faculty/celeste-hirschman/
Celeste Hirschman is the is the co-creator of the Somatica® Method and the co-founder of the Somatica® Institute. She received an MA in Human Sexuality Studies from San Francisco State University, and a BA in Women’s Students from UCSC.

In her teaching and coaching, Celeste routinely draws on her extensive training in attachment psychology, sociology, gender studies, and body-based modalities like Hakomi. She uses these embodied learning principles to help students and clients tap into their own somatic wisdom, deepen their experiences of pleasure, and realize their full personal and professional potential.

A prolific writer, Celeste researched and published a defining paper on adolescent sexuality development in 2006, during her tenure at SFSU’s Center for Research on Gender and Sexuality.

Since then, she has co-authored 3 books with Danielle Harel: Cockfidence, Making Love Real, and Coming Together. She writes frequently and is generally the first expert journalists turn to for quotes and information on sex, dating, and relationships.

No matter what she does – whether she is co-producing the sex-coaching-based TV series Here She Comes, or teaching at the legendary Esalen Institute – Celeste always brings her unconditional love, scintillating presence, erotic energy, and insight to every part of her work.

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