4 Types Lubricants For Your Sex Life
When it comes to sex, no matter what you enjoy, you can usually play by the rule: the wetter the better. This logic works, well… fluidly when it comes to lube because wetter is exactly what you’re getting.
And if you associate lube with vaginal dryness only, it’s time to step out of the box. Instead think less friction, smoother skin, and all around better sex — no matter your gender, age, or stage in life.
When a woman is sexually aroused, the vagina normally self-lubricates. This makes the overall experience a lot more fun.
Intercourse without lubricant can be painful and damage the vaginal lining. Your body may produce less lubricant as a result of hormonal changes, menopause, aging, or medication. That’s usually where artificial lubricant comes in.
Artificial lubricant can help enhance arousal, boost sexual pleasure, keep your vaginal skin soft, and, most importantly, reduce friction during penetration — whether it’s by a partner or your favorite sex toy. You can buy lubricant online or at your local drugstore.
Not sure where to start? Read on to learn how water, oil, silicone, and natural options compare, products to try, tips for use, and more.
Who can benefit?
Lubricants can be used by everyone, regardless of whether their body produces lubrication naturally.
If you’re dealing with vagina dryness, you may find lubricant especially beneficial. Using lubricant before sexual activity can help prevent itching, burning, chaffing, and other discomfort.
Dryness commonly affects people who:
- take certain medications, including antihistamines and antidepressants
- struggle with daily water intake or are often dehydrated
- use hormonal birth control
- smoke cigarettes
- are breastfeeding
- are in perimenopause or menopause
- have an autoimmune disorder, such as Sjögren syndrome
- are undergoing chemotherapy
Some lubricants are designed to enhance sexual function and arousal. If you want to try something new, these lubricants can be a great way to spice things up with your partner or set the mood for some solo play.
4 different types lubricant to try
Water based lubricant
Water-based lubricants are the most common. They come in two varieties: with glycerin, which has a slightly sweet taste, or without glycerin.
Both types of water-based lubricant are cost-effective, easy to find, and safe to use with condoms. They typically don’t stain sheets, either.
Glycerin-free products are less likely to cause vaginal irritation. They also have a longer shelf life.
Flavored or warming lubricants often contain glycerin. Although these products have their perks, they dry out quickly. Because of their sugar content, they’re also known to contribute to yeast infections.
Glycerin-free lubricant can taste bitter. It may not be the best option if you like to switch things up between oral and penetrative sex.
Both types can become sticky or tacky over time.
Silicone based lubricant
Silicone-based lubricants are odorless and tasteless, slippery and smooth.
Silicone-based lubricants last the longest out of any lubricant. They don’t need to be reapplied as often as water-based lubricants.
They’re safe to use with latex condoms and — if you’re in the mood for a steamy shower session — will hold up under water.
Silicone-based lubricants are also hypoallergenic.
Some of the pros of silicone-based lubricant are also its cons. This type of lubricant may last longer, but it’s harder to wash off. You’ll need to give the area a soapy scrub to remove any residue.
Silicone-based lubricants aren’t recommended for silicone sex toys because it can break them down, making them gummy and gross over time.
Oil based lubricants
There are two types of oil-based lubricants: natural (think coconut oil or butter) and synthetic (think mineral oil or Vaseline).
Generally, oil-based lubricants are safe to use, inexpensive, and easily accessible. But, if you can, opt for a water-based lubricant first. Oils can irritate your skin and stain fabric.
Natural-based oil lubricants — like avocado, coconut, vegetable, and olive oils — are great for genital massages and all types of sexual play. They’re also safe for the vagina and safe to eat.
Synthetic oil-based lubricants, including body lotions and creams, are good for external masturbation, but not much else.
Both natural and synthetic oil-based lubricants can destroy latex condoms, cause condom failure, and stain fabrics.
Synthetic products may irritate your vagina. They’re also harder to clear out of your body than their natural counterparts. This could lead to a vaginal infection.
Natural oil-based lubricants aren’t the only natural products on the market. Some companies have produced organic or vegan lubricants made of botanicals or other eco-friendly ingredients.
Many natural lubricants are free of paraben, a commonly used preservative with established health risks. They also use organic ingredients, which are better for the environment and safe for your vagina.
All-natural lubricants may have a shorter shelf life. They may also cost more than a traditional lubricant.
How to choose the right lubricant for you?
- If you’re dealing with dryness. “Warming” lubricants may not help, as they contain glycerin and can dry quickly. Long-lasting silicone lubricants are your best bet.
- If you’re prone to yeast infections. Stay away from lubricants with glycerin. The compound can irritate your vagina and kill good bacteria, triggering an infection.
- If you’re trying to conceive. Look for a lubricant that says it’s “sperm friendly” or “fertility friendly” on its packaging. ResearchTrusted Source shows that some lubricants can have a negative impact on sperm motility.
- If you’re going to use a condom. Avoid oil-based lubricants at all costs. Nothing destroys a latex condom quicker than oil-based lubricant.
- If you’re going to use a sex toy. Stick with a water-based lubricant. If your sex toy is made of silicone, silicone-based lubricants can break down a toy’s rubber over time.
- If you’re going to play in the shower. Opt fora silicone-based lubricant. Water-based products will rinse off as soon as you’re under the showerhead.
Lubes for anal sex
Personal lubrication is recommended for anal sex since the anal canal does not produce fluids to help ease penetration. Plus, the tight muscular sphincter at the entrance of the anus offers much more resistance than the vagina, which is full of folds and stretchable tissue.
Using a personal lubricant can also make anal sex safer. Using a water-based lubricant decreases the chances of condom breakage while having anal sex, in contrast to oil-based lubricants or saliva, which both increase the chances of condom breakage during sex. The chances of the condom slipping off during anal sex are also related to lubrication. Applying lubrication to the outside of the condom can decrease chances of slippage, while applying lubrication to the inside of the condom can increase chances of slippage.
Avoid at all costs
When you go lube shopping, you’re going to find all sorts of options out there — flavored, natural, warming, tingling. These lubes can be fun, but be careful to look at the ingredients and test the pH value of over-the-counter products with litmus strips (like in science class).
A healthy vagina should maintain the pH level of 3.5 to 4.5, so the lube you use should also be around the same level.
Always pay attention to the ingredients listed. In fact, there are a few names you may want to avoid because they may cause irritation or inflammation:
- propylene glycol
- chlorhexidine gluconate
Specialist also suggests finding one that is paraben-, glycerin- and petroleum-free to minimize risk of infections. If you’re using condoms and toys, find a lube that is latex, rubber, and plastic-friendly.
And no matter your reasons for using lube, remember — it’s a simple and fun way to take your sex life to the next level. So go forth, and lube up!
How to use lubricant more effectively?
There really isn’t a “right” or “wrong” way to use lubricant effectively. But there are a few things you can do to make the process easier:
- Lay down a towel to prevent staining.
- Warm up the lubricant in your hands before applying.
- Include lubricant as a part of foreplay to boost arousal.
- Apply lubricant right before penetration during partner or solo play.
- Be liberal when applying so that your vulva and vagina are sufficiently wet. Apply lubricant to the penis or sex toy.
- Reassess how much lubricant is still on as you go, and reapply as needed.
Are there any side effects?
Most lubricants are free of side effects. However, it’s possible to have an allergic reaction to something in the lubricant.
See your doctor if you develop any of the following symptoms after use:
- difficulty breathing
- any swelling, especially of the tongue, throat, or face
Also see your doctor if you develop more frequent yeast infections when lubricant is a part of your regular routine.