What in the Lube?
I understand the stress of seeing tubes of lube in the grocery store and on the rack at the sex shops and not knowing what it was for. I was shown the world of sex relatively young, not in a bad way but in a way that showed me that sex is simply a part of life and nothing to be ashamed of. Looking back, I’m amazed that I was given that lesson; the trouble was, I didn’t know anything about what I was looking at. I also didn’t know that there were multiple types of lube specifically designed to be used in different ways and on different parts of the body.
I only started using lube when I was in my late twenties and bought my first sex toy - a clit sucker that honestly, is one of the best things I’ve ever bought. Now, I can’t live without the stuff. I’ve been using the same lube for a couple of years, but it wasn’t until very recently that I discovered that while lube is great for almost every sexual interaction, it’s not ideal for every type of play.
Multiple types of lube are specifically designed to be used in different ways. What kind of lube should you be using in the shower? Is there a lube that’s good for absolutely everything? Does a magical unicorn of goo like that even exist? The lube that makes penetrative sex feel exhilarating may not make anal sex comfortable, and the lube you slather all over your favourite sex toys may not be ideal for a fuck fest.
So, what kind of lube should you be using, and when? Good question; let’s take a look at the two most common types of lube and figure it out together!
Water-based lube is an excellent option for anyone using lube for the first time. A gateway lube, if you will.
They’re generally the safest to use and work amazingly well during penetrative sex, oral, masturbation and getting off with a silicone sex toy. As it says in the name, water-based lubes are mainly composed of water (the trusty H2O) and can be easily removed and absorb into the skin.
If vulva owners choose a water-based lubricant, it's important that it replicates the acidity of a healthy vagina (one with a pH of about 3.8 to 4.5). It can help prevent bacterial vaginosis & yeast infections during penetrative sex.
Water-based lubes are condom compatible and work incredibly well with silicone-based sex toys, but if you’re planning to have a bit of a fuck fest, water-based lube may not be the right fit. Water-based lubes can dry out very quickly because the skin easily absorbs it. So if you’re planning on having a sex marathon, water-based lube may not fit your vibe because you’ll have to stop and reapply.
Then there’s the issue of the old shower play. Water-based lube is made of water, so shower sex with a water-based lube isn’t a good idea. The same goes for sex in any other body of water because water washes away water (wow science). Instead, when having sex in water, you’re probably better off reaching for a silicone-based lube.
Silicone-based lubes are usually thicker and silkier than water-based lubes. They also last longer than other lube types, making them perfect for a day of masturbation or fun with a friend.
Silicone-based lubes are the ones you want on hand for shower sex or anal. Of course, that does mean they’re a little harder to wipe away in general, but the gooey goodness is so worth it!
Silicone is hypoallergenic, so this lube usually doesn’t cause any skin irritation and is excellent to use with sex toys made of steel or glass. If you prefer your toys made from smooth medical-grade silicone, you should swap out your silicone-based lube for a water-based option. You may think silicone lube and silicone toys would work together well. Still, silicone-based lube can damage silicone sex toys, as the lube’s formula can solidify on the toy, leave a sticky residue and break down the rubber over time (wow science).
So, which lube should you chose?
Choosing a lube depends on what you plan on using it for and whether there are specific ingredients you're trying to avoid. As a rule of thumb, it is best to reach for a lube made with all-natural ingredients, no matter what base it’s formulated with. This will generally help you avoid irritation and bacterial infections later on. Formulas that include glycerin, petroleum and other harmful ingredients should be avoided, no matter what. So if you see those ingredients on a label, walk away… quickly!
You may find one type of lube works for every sexual encounter you find yourself having, but really, it’s best to have both a silicone-based lube and a water-based lube ready to go. The more tools you have in your toolkit, the more prepared you’ll be for whatever position and type of sex you're going to have!
No matter which way you decide to go though, as long as you choose a lube that makes your sexual experience more enjoyable and your orgasms more intense, then you’re making the right choice. Just remember that wetter is better.
Written by Lauren Payne