The many flavours of lube

semi naked young white couple with legs entwined kissing on a blanket on the floor

Having sung the praises of lube in the last post, it seems a good idea to talk about the different kinds and what to look for. Most people are aware of water and silicone based lubricants. These are great for a range of situations, but there are also some people that prefer to use oil rather than these options. When it comes down to it, there is no ‘one true way’ as far as lube is concerned. The best lube is going to be the one that works best for the body or bodies involved.

There are certainly pro’s and con’s to take into account – and there are some big no-no’s. For example, if you use latex condoms then oil based lubes aren’t going to be a winner for you. Similarly, if you are using silicone toys then silicone lube should probably be off limits since it can melt your toy. Some people use condoms on their silicone dildo’s to get around this, but even with a condom, is it really worth risking an expensive silicone dildo when there are alternatives that could work? It is up to the people involved, but it is a risk to seriously consider.

Water based lube has a lot going for it. It’s pretty cheap – and it is possible to make it yourself (see recipes here and here). It is very widely available, easy to clean off yourself (as well as sex toys, partner/s, and your bedding), and it comes in an astonishing number of different varieties. Whether you are looking for it to taste like strawberries or make your bits tingle, there is going to be a water-based lube out there for you. I’m really picky about my water based lube, and I usually make my own. If I’m buying some, I’ll usually pick up Sliquid, but on a recent weekend away when I forgot to pack any I found the delightfully titled  ‘Swoon smooth mover‘ at boots and was very pleasantly surprised. I’d not touch anything containing glycerin with a bargepole since it’s sugary and may cause yeast infections.

Using oil for lube has taken off in the last few years, but it is a practice that was documented as far back as Ancient Greece. Some people are very keen on oil-based lubricants because they are more ‘natural’. Others have reported that oils can trap bacteria in the vagina and cause irritation of both the vagina and anus. Nevertheless, oil has a lot of plus points. It isn’t something you need to buy at a specialist store, it’s often available in your kitchen. It can stay slippy for longer than water, and it is harder to wash off, so shower sex is more possible. On the other hand, it can stain sheets and should never be used with latex condoms since it degrades latex (but you can pick up some non-latex condoms to use with oil) . It is safe for use with silicone toys, and you can mix it with water based lubes for a super slippy time. My favorite is coconut oil – it is easy to store because it is solid at room temperature and melts at body temperature. Other people have recommended Olive oil and Flax oil.

Silicone based lubes are amongst the most expensive on the market, and although they are marketed as hypoallergenic, some people find that silicone lube irritates their genitals. There are many advantages to silicone lube. It lasts a very very long time, it doesn’t come off easily and it is super slippy. It is also really thin, so you can feel everything through it. It is condom safe, and lots of fun for sex in water, be it the swimming pool, the sea or the shower. You shouldn’t use it with silicone toys and it can stain clothes/sheets. Removing it is some task, and if you try to do so in the shower you may end up wth a lethally slippery floor, so be careful. I’m not a fan of silicone lube, mostly because I find the texture uncomfortable. If I were going to try it again, I’d be starting with the LoveHoney variety that you can find here.

Choosing the right lube for you can make the difference between superb, mindblowing sex, and an awkward encounter that is really uncomfortable. If you are thinking of having partnered sex with someone new, it’s worth talking about everyone’s lube preferences when talking about sexual health.  Including pleasure and desire in conversations before sex can demonstrate that you’re a considerate lover who wants to make sure that sex is pleasurable for everyone involved.

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