5 min read
by Amanda Melhuish | February 17, 2021
Have you ever looked at the ingredients in your lube? I used to just think lube was lube, but wow, I was wrong. There are so many different kinds... but why? What are they for? And most importantly: How do you know which lube to choose? I, personally, have found myself overwhelmed on any mission to get lube from the “family planning” aisle. Learning the unique differences between the different kinds of lubricants will help you pick the perfect—and safest!—lube for your needs.
Lubricants reduce friction, which often helps sex feel more comfortable — especially with penetration. If you and your partner use the barrier method, lube will also decrease the chance that a condom breaks or falls off (except for oil-based lubricant, more on that later).
Wanting to use lube does *not* reflect on anyone’s overall abilities in sex, or even how aroused you or your partner may be. There are many unique factors that contribute to wetness during sex, including where you are in your menstrual cycle. Lube can be useful when you’re having sex with a partner, and also solo play, especially if you are using an internally stimulating toy. (Lube also isn’t only for sex. You may also want to use lubes to relieve the discomfort of daily dryness — and that’s totally okay.)
With that, let’s investigate the difference between the lubes. To find out what your lube is made of, check the ingredients label or give it a quick Google.
This lube is considered “the versatile lube” because you can pretty much use it in any sitch, even with your silicone toys. Water-based lubes are safe for vaginas, butts, and penises. Not only are they safe for use with both latex and non-latex condoms, but like we said earlier, water-based lube is ideal for helping to reduce the likelihood of condom breakage. Because their main ingredient is water, they’re also not nearly as sticky and messy as silicone lubricants. Occasionally, they may be made with other irritants that can cause yeast infections, so be sure to keep an eye on how your body reacts to any product.
As a general rule: If you’re looking for a safe, good-for-anything, no-thought-required lubricant, try a water-based lube!
For those with more sensitive bodies or skin, silicone lubricant is the way to go. They’re hypoallergenic! They’re also a lot more slippery than water-based lubes, so they can really help out if you experience pelvic pain, don’t want to reapply often, or just haven’t noticed enough of a difference with other lubricants. Silicone lube is safe for vaginal and anal sex, and will not increase the likelihood of condom breakage. The downside: silicone lube is not compatible with silicone toys.
Latex condoms are not compatible with oil-based lubes. That means coconut oil, Vaseline, baby oil, and body lotions, to name a few. The oil can break down the latex, causing it to rip and increase the risks of STDs, STIs, and pregnancy. This simple fact alone is why oil-based lubricant is likely the least popular lube. If you’re not using condoms for protection, oil-based lubes can be a good option. They’re especially fun doing double duty as a massage oil. Talk about a ~sensual~ experience.
There are also lubes on the market that are Avengers-style mash-ups of bases! Some hybrids even include silicone at a low enough percentage that you can use ‘em with your silicone sex toys worry-free. When shopping for hybrid lubes, do your research. There are so many different kinds designed for different experiences. To find what’s best for you, try ‘em out and see what you like. Pleasure is personal.
What’s your favorite lube, and why? Give us your recommendations in the comments.
Amanda Melhuish was formerly a Brand Copywriter at Thinx. She’s also a comedy writer whose work has been published on Reductress, Women in Comedy Daily, and Weekly Humorist. She writes and performs sketch comedy regularly at The Magnet Theater. Check out her work (and upcoming shows) on her website. You can also follow her on Instagram.
by Amanda Melhuish