Personal Lubricant FAQ
Lubricants are often used for things like bicycle chains and machines to help cut down on the friction caused by moving parts. Personal lubricants contain different ingredients, but the idea is the same — they’re used to reduce the friction on your own moving “parts” to make sex and masturbation easier and more enjoyable.
Ready to become an expert in all things slippery, sensual and sexy? Then read on, lube noob:
What exactly is lube?
Technically, a lubricant is any substance that helps reduce friction.
Sounds simple enough, right? But if that’s all there is to it, why are there so many different kinds of lubes out there? It’s because like condoms and vibrators, different lubes offer different benefits.
Let’s begin with the bases: water, silicone, hybrid and oil lubes
Personal lubricants can come in liquid and gel forms, and each formula has a base ingredient that accounts for its unique texture. Let’s take a look at the three main lube bases and what they mean for you:
1.) Water Based Lube
Water-based lubricants are by far the most common type of lube, and for good reason.
Because they’re water-based, they’re easy to clean up (and to wash out of clothing or sheets). And of course, since pure water is about the most natural ingredient out there, these lubes can also be very gentle and soothing to your skin. Most water based lubes can be used with condoms without compromising their integrity (meaning they won’t cause condoms to rip or tear more easily). They can also be used with toys like vibrators — even those made of silicone material.
3.) Hybrid Lubes
With a hybrid lube you get to enjoy the natural feeling of water based lubes while also getting the benefits of a longer lasting silicone formula.
There’s no need to have one kind of lube for in the bedroom and another for water play — a hybrid lube formula can pull double duty. Just remember that, like any lube that contains silicone, a hybrid lube can put some serious wear and tear on your silicone toys, so avoid using them together.
4.) Oil Based Lubes
If you’re looking for a lube that is seriously long-lasting with a luxurious silky feel, an oil-based lube can be a great go-to.
Some people find that they prefer the sensation of an oil and oil-based lube is also great for giving massages. However, if you’re thinking about using an oil-based lube, there are a couple of things you need to keep in mind. The first is that oil-based lubricants aren’t safe to use with latex condoms. They can make the latex porous, or even cause it to rip and tear. This means that oil-based lubes are better for those who do not need to use condoms. Another thing to consider is that oil-based lubes can also be hard to clean off of toys and skin, so be prepared to do some extra clean-up afterward.
Which type of lube is best for you?
Now that you have a “base understanding” of different lube formulas, you can begin to get an idea of the lube that’s best for you by deciding exactly what you’d like to use your lube for.
Lube for Solo Play
People of any gender who are looking to use lube for solo masturbation have plenty of lube options.
Water based, silicone based, or hybrid lubes can work well, as can liquids and gels. If you’re relying solely on stimulating yourself with your hands, you may opt for a water based liquid lube. This lube is also safe to use with toys of any type. The best thing about using lube on your own is that you only have your preferences to consider, so you can take your time experimenting until you find the formula that’s perfect for you!
Lube for Use With Condoms, Diaphragms and Dental Dams
If you’re playing with a friend (or friends!) both water and silicone based lubes are good choices.
Most water- and silicone-based lubricants are latex safe (always make sure to check packaging for condom compatibility). Again, you’ll definitely want to steer clear of oil based lubes, as these can erode latex and make your safe sex practices anything but.
Thinking of bringing toys into the bed with you, and need a toy-safe lube?
For toys coated in silicone gel or made with silicone resin, opt for a water based lube that won’t cause the surface of your toys to break down. For toys made of other materials like glass or steel, both water based, silicone based, and hybrid lubes will all work wonders.
Lube for Playing in Water
Want to do more than frolic in the waves during your beach vacation?
Plan to christen your newly remodeled shower or make your hot tub even hotter? Believe it or not, using water alone for lubrication can actually increase friction and make things even less enjoyable for you and your partner. So if it’s water play you’re after, you’ll definitely want to invest in a silicone based lube or a hybrid lube.
Lube for Those In Search of a New Adventure
Just looking to spice things up in the bedroom by trying something new?
You may enjoy using lubes with special benefits. Warming lube, for example, produces a gentle warming sensation when it comes in contact with skin. This can increase blood flow and arousal, and can even help you and your partner relax and unwind. Flavoured lubes can also be a fun addition to your routine, especially if oral stimulation plays a major part in your lovemaking.
Ultra Gentle Lube
Are you prone to allergic reactions like hives or rashes, and need lube for sensitive skin?
Or have you experienced discomfort or burning when using lubes in the past? If so, you may want to use a personal lubricant that’s especially formulated to be gentle. If you’re worried about having a bad reaction, try applying your new lube to a small section of your forearm to see how your skin reacts before moving on to more delicate areas.
Personal Lubricants Aren’t Just for Sex
Although sex may be the first thing that springs to mind when you think of personal lubricants, they aren’t for intercourse alone.
In fact, many women use lube to help ease the discomfort that comes from vaginal dryness. Vaginal dryness can occur any time, though it often becomes a problem for perimenopausal and menopausal women who are experiencing changes in their natural hormone levels. Sound like an issue that’s familiar to you? If so, speaking to your OB/Gyn is always a great idea. She may have some suggestions or insights into your personal situation, and she may even be able to recommend a specific type of lube that’s right for you.
How to Apply Personal Lubricant
You made it through the Walgreens checkout and home in one piece with your lube — what now?
When it comes to applying your lube, don’t overthink it — it’s actually quite simple. Start by applying a pea-sized portion of lube to yourself, your partner or your sex toy of choice. For extra control and to limit spillage, squeeze lube onto your fingertips first, then apply. With a little practice, you’ll be able to estimate pretty closely how much lube you need. Remember, you can always reapply!
How to Store Your Lube
Most lubricants have extremely stable chemical structures.
So when storing them, you don’t need to treat them with the same care you’d give to, say, insulin medication. While there’s no need to stash your lube in the fridge, it’s definitely a good idea to keep it away from direct heat and out of the easy reach of children and pets. While most lubes feature non-toxic formulas, they can all cause digestive issues if consumed in large quantities — plus cleaning massive quantities of lube from your carpet, sheets and drapes is a task most of us would like to avoid.
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