Lube. I love the stuff. It’s one of the best things to use during sex, it’s the glue that keeps everything running smoothly and it adds a spark to sexy time that takes it to the next level. This article is going to break down what exactly goes into the different types of lubes that are available on the market, what makes them great and not so great and which ones are perfect for whatever situation you find yourself in.
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There are three basic types of lube: Water, Silicone and Oil based lubes are the foundations of the three types of lube that you can buy, each type is then infused with different ingredients that make them applicable to different situations. Whether it be warming or cooling sensations (these are usually just menthol additives), desensitizing agents or flavours, there is 100% no doubt a lube out there to suit the needs of each and every person in the world.
Water-based lubes are the most common type of lube, mainly because of their affordability and the fact that they wash off easily. Typically they don’t stain and because their main ingredient is water, they tend to have a soothing affect when they come into contact with your skin.
Another thing to look at when purchasing water-based lube is if you are having sex with a person who has a vagina, whether they are gender non-conforming, cis-gender or transgender, the glycerin in a water-based lube can throw out the pH balance and cause discomfort and yeast infections. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s best to choose a lube that is made of all natural ingredients just so you and your partner(s) are completely comfortable.
Silicone-based lube is a form of silicon. Silicon comes in many different formats – rubber, resin and oil being primes examples. Silicon mixed with oxygen atoms in liquid form is more of a complicated way of describing silicone-based lube.
Silicone-based lube has its perks and its downfalls, its biggest perk being that it lasts a hell of a lot longer than water-based lube (a little goes a long way), its biggest downfall is that it isn’t always easy to clean up; meaning that it requires a bit of soap, warm water and some patience. It can also stain clothes and material so you should always lay down a towel.
In use, silicone-based lube is silky smooth, it tends to cling to your skin so you feel everything, it wraps your skin in a soothing layer and because silicone is hypoallergenic (meaning it causes fewer allergic reactions), it’s a perfect solution for people with sensitive skin and allergies. This is an added bonus and also a reason why silicone-based lubes tend to cost quite a bit more than water-based lubes. The Swiss Navy Premium Anal Lube is a personal favourite of mine.
Silicone-based lubes are condom safe and they can be used with some toys. I wouldn’t suggest using them with silicone-based toys because they will break down the rubber. This will then cause damage to your body if you use the damaged toys. Some lubes like the Spunk Pure Silicone Lube are compatible with silicone toys, to be sure though I would do a spot-test on a part of the toy that won’t be inserted into your body.
Oil-based lubes are a new favourite of mine; long lasting, luxuriously silky and incredibly thick. They are great for experienced people who enjoy more extreme sexual activities, like fisting and the use of larger sex toys. Many oil-based lubes include desensitizing agents that can allow for a more comfortable experience while enjoying extreme activities, which can be bad because if the desensitizing agent is strong enough an injury can go unnoticed. Most high-quality oil-based lubes like Swiss Navy Grease include a desensitizing agent that isn’t numbing so although it makes penetration less painful, you will still feel the sensation.
One not so major downside of oil-based lubes is that they aren’t easy to wash off. Warm, soapy water and a bit of patience will leave you with a smooth and somewhat oily feeling left on your skin. Cheaper oil-based lubes can stick around in your body so it’s best to be thorough when cleaning up.
Oil-based lubes also aren’t condom safe. The oil breaks down the latex in the condom causing it to tear, so if using oil-based lube for penetrative sex – do so with someone who you can trust, no matter the type of sex you are having, always know your own status and the status of your partner(s).
Hybrid lubes have been a growing trend in recent years. Combining the best qualities of water-based and silicone-based lubes, hybrid lubes are the best of both worlds. Many hybrid lubes are great because they take on the natural feel and easy to clean nature of water based lube and the long-lasting effect of silicone-based lube. Avoid using Hybrid Lubes with silicone toys solely because you can’t always guarantee which specific silicone based ingredients have gone into the mix.
The best place to begin when trying to avoid toxic ingredients is if you’ve ever had a reaction or suffered discomfort from a certain type of lube. You can also do a quick Google if an ingredient sounds suspicious or if you’re just generally curious about what certain ingredients will do to your body.
The ingredients that you should try to avoid when buying lube include:
- Petroleum or petroleum-based ingredients. These pesky buggers coat your skin with a slick feeling. They can linger after being washed away and can cause irritations like rashes. Petroleum-based ingredients can be found in many common multipurpose lubricants, such as petroleum jelly and KY jelly. If you have KY in your draw, chuck it out the window ASAP.
- Parabens. They’re synthetic preservatives that can mimic the effects of estrogen in body tissue. They are more of a risk to women, but still, you don’t want these problems forming in your butthole where the skin is hella sensitive.
- Phenoxyethanol. This is a moderately hazardous chemical that has been known to cause rashes. High concentrations have been associated with reproductive damage, depressed immunity, and reduced nervous system function in newborns. Again, it’s more toxic to people who have vaginas and people who have sex with people who have vaginas. But again, do you really want to risk these problems in your butthole?
- Propylene glycol. This potentially toxic ingredient can cause tissue irritation. Propylene glycol is found in some frequently used over-the-counter lubricants as well as some types of antifreeze. So stop buying that cheap and nasty lube from your local supermarket.
- Glycerin. Glycerin is basically sugar, as mentioned previously it can increase the risk of yeast infections in people who have vaginas and throw out the natural pH balance.
- Chlorhexidine. This ingredient is commonly found in multi-purpose lubricants (ones used on cars) this ingredient can trigger irritation and toxic effects and it’s best to run away if you see this ingredient on the bottle.
So, now you’ve learnt the basics to the best types of lube to try out. Remember that these lubes are just what I’ve found what works and you are bound to find one that suits your needs perfectly. Also, I should note that I’m not a medical professional so any advice received from this post, run it by your doctor first if you have any doubts or further questions. And honestly people, if you have any doubts or queries just Google it and you’re sure to find an answer.