Slippery sex is fun sex. Whether alone or with a partner, internal or external, pretty much no matter what you are doing, using some lube will make it better and possibly safer. Using lube helps things/people go in and out while lowering the risks of tearing or hurting delicate tissues (which is especially important as we age or when we engage in more extreme forms of penetration). Extra lube helps reduce the possibility of your condom breaking. Lube with sex toys make them feel great inside or against your body and putting lube on your fingers before touching yourself or someone else, allows for less friction and a more pleasurable sensation.
There are about a million different personal lubricants out there so choosing one can be hard, not to mention the fact that some of them are better for your body than others. There is not one perfect lube for everyone and most folks have to try a few different ones before they find their brand so I’ve broken it down in to the major categories of commercially available lubricants to give you an idea of where to start.
These are usually your first choice for using with people, safer sex items and toys. Water-based lubes clean up fast, tend to be less expensive and come in a vast array of formulas. There are, however, a couple of things to think about when choosing a water-based lube. A lot of lubes contain glycerin as an ingredient and anecdotal evidence suggests that those prone to yeast infections may find glycerin can exacerbate that condition so we suggest that folks with vaginas look for glycerin-free lubes. There are also lubes that contain parabens which are a controversial chemicals that are contained in many cosmetics as a preservative and may contribute to negative health effects. So if you are being extra cautious, paraben-free is also a good way to go. And if you are living an organic life, you may also want to seek out lubricants that contain organic ingredients (and usually fewer chemicals). In general, my favorite brand is Sliquid. All their water-based lubes are glycerin, paraben and cruelty-free (and some formulas contain organic ingredients). Folks also love Aloe Cadabera which is an aloe-based lubricant that is super gentle on your body. Overall, I recommend water-based lubes most of the time for their easy of cleanup and versatility.
If you want a lube that will stay slippery for a long, long time or that won’t dissipate under water (hello, shower sex!), silicone lube is a great alternative to water-based lubes. Some folks who feel that all the water-based lubes they try are irritating find that silicone lubricants are easier on their body. And some people just love the super slippery feel. You can also use silicone lube for a scent-free massage or even to de-frizz your hair! My favorite is Uberlube which comes in a snazzy glass bottle. The only caveats about silicone lube are that you do have to wash them off with soap and water and if you have a silicone toy, you should do a patch test with your silicone lube as some toys can be degraded by silicone lube. Silicone lubes are latex-friendly and very gentle on the skin.
There is a whole genre of commercial lubricants that I do not recommend for anyone with a vagina – oil-based lubes. These are made of mineral and other oils (sometimes petroleum-based) that are not good for ladybits. These are all pretty much designed for penis-only fun and usually have names that are suggestive of what they are for (like Him Cream or Please Stroke Cream). Oil-based lubes are also not latex-condom compatible so in general, I say leave these lube for the dudes and their solo time.
Some folks want to stay free of any chemicals at all and have turned to the grocery store for alternatives. Natural lubes are not my specialty but I have heard that lots of women like virgin organic coconut oil as a lubricant. It is super slippery and feels great on the skin. While it is solid at room temp, it quickly melts in your hand. Coconut oil is naturally fungicidal and anti bacterial, so many say it is actually good for your vagina. But because it is usually sold in jars, it is recommended that you scoop some out with a spoon and not dip your hand in the jar to keep it bacteria free. I have also heard of almond oil being used as a lubricant and from my research, I can’t see anything wrong with it. But with any oil keep in mind that they can damage latex condoms and may hurt some sex toys. I also suggest checking with your health care provider if you have questions about using oil in your vagina as some oils do not clean out of there very quickly and can clog your delicate pores.
I hope this helps set you on the path to slippery fun, but if I have only made you more confused, let me know! You can always email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear from you!