"Why should I use a lube?" you may ask. "You're crazy, Reagan." I get that a lot. But in all seriousness, lube is important. I made a list, so you know I'm serious.
- Makes butt stuff possible
- Less pain during intercourse (or fingering/masturbation/anything involving penetration)
- Lube makes things slicker, and more sensitive
- Lube makes things safer
Let's talk about safety for a moment. Vaginal dryness (or just insufficient lubrication) can be a result of hormone changes, irritants, medications, or anxiety. If you're using a condom, dry sex (sex without lubrication), can increase the chance of the condom breaking. Dry sex can also result in small lacerations, or micro-tears, in vaginal or anal tissue, which makes for a much higher risk of STI transmission.
Of course, there's always the possibility of "too much", even with a good thing; things can get a little too slippery. It may take some trial and error to figure out how much you need. Additives in certain lubes can also be irritating, and spermicidal lubes that may contain nonoxynol-9 can actually increase the risk of HPV/HIV transmission. So, you know, avoid those.
Back to the fun stuff. As far as basic lube types go, you've got three main options.
1. Oil Based Lubes
While these things can be fun for external play, they should not be used internally; they can prevent the vagina from cleaning itself and trap bacteria. Oil also isn't recommended for anal use; there's a higher risk of infection. Furthermore, oil can coat toys and make it difficult to clean off bacteria, so be careful.
Oil based lubes can be a solution for people who experience irritation with other products because they don't have additives, but remember, never use oil based lubes with condoms. Oils will degrade latex and cause it to break down, so oil based lube is incompatible with barrier protection.
- easily accessible (just check your kitchen)
- less irritation
- fun for hand jobs
- can't use with latex
- can lead to infections
- messy, difficult to clean up
- don't put whipped cream in your vagina or butt
2. Water Based Lubes
Water-based lubes are awesome and all purpose, they clean up easily and can be safely used internally and with all toys and contraceptions. They do tend to dry out, but they can be revived with more water or saliva, so it's not hard to get going again (I've never actually had an issue with lubes drying out, but I do hear it's a thing that happens).
However, they're water soluble, which means they're not effective in water, so they're kinda useless in the shower/pool/hot tub. Look for one that's paraben free; parabens are linked to a lot of health problems. Some water based lubes (especially flavored ones) also contain glycerin, which can encourage yeast infections.
There's also a wide selection of flavored and sensation lubes that are typically water based. Cooling and warming sensations can be pretty awesome, just try a little bit first to make sure there's no irritation.
Check out sliquid, a water-based lube that's natural and safe.
- most commonly used
- safe for internal/toy use
- washable (don't worry about messing up your sheets)
- wide selection of flavors and sensations
- incompatible with underwater activities
- can contain parabens/irritants (check the labels, and know what you're allergic to)
3. Silicone Based Lubes
|I tried to resist dragging Frozen into this. I really did. Honest.|
Silicone lubes can also be a little tricky to clean up, be sure to use soap and water, and be careful not to get it on sheets. Use them sparingly.
- long lasting
- use in shower
- good for people with sensitive skin
- can't use with silicone toys
- can leave a slick/greasy residue
- can stain sheets/be difficult to clean
- most taste bad