The Best Lubes – Big Guide on the Slick Stuff

Fist with lube oozing out.

Credit: Getty

Not all women can get wet at the drop of a hat. In fact, around 40% of women in the US say they have trouble getting wet enough.

That’s where our friend, Mr. Lube, comes in.

Let’s look at the important factors you should know when buying lube (things like osmolality, PH, and additives, etc.)

WHY YOU NEED LUBE


There’s this weird notion going around that using lubricant somehow makes a woman or man a failure in bed. 

The truth is, there are LOTS of reasons things aren’t raining in V-town:

Medications, birth control, smoking, health issues, cancer treatments, STIs, low libido, having less sex than you’re used to, stress, fatigue, menopause, sensitivity to chemicals, and dehydration.

… just to name a few.

And what about sex with toys? Or anal play?

Sex is just better when it wetter and there’s no shame in getting a little help.

If you want to skip straight to the product reviews 

CLICK HERE

IS THERE A RIGHT OR WRONG CHOICE?


It comes down to what kind of play you’ll be getting into.

  • Anal?
  • Vaginal?
  • Will you be using toys?
  • What materials are these toys made from?
  • Do you have any allergies or sensitivities?

Each kind of lube comes with its own list of pros and cons. You will also find some dedicated (near zealous) followers for all of them — each screaming that the brand they use is a lubricated gift from the sex gods, and you HAVE to try it.

Should you listen to them?

No.

Who should you listen to?

You … specifically your nether regions.

Our bodies do differ from each other.  Even PH levels can vary from vagina to vagina (typically between 3.5 to 4.5 – even an occasional 7).

Credit: Smitten Kitten

Vaginal PH sits just above vinegar. Rectal PH, just above coffee

  • In the 2-3 range — Replens, Good Clean Love Restore, Swiss Navy Natural
  • In the 4 range — Good Clean Love Almost Naked, Blossom Organics, Yes, Pjur, Sliquid Sea, Aloe Cadabra, KY Jelly, Intimate Organics
  • In the 5 range — Sliquid Sassy, Sliquid Sizzle, ID Glide, Gun Oil, Sliquid H2O, Maximus, Liquid Silk, Coconu
  • In the 6 range — Silquid Satin, Waterslide, Astroglide Warming Gel, Babelube
  • In the 7 range — Pre-Seed, Atroglide TTC, Probe

OSMOLALITY AND LUBE


OSMOLALITY = the measurement of how many solutes in a liquid solution.

A. Iso-osmotic = lube sits next to cells (ideal)

B. Hypo-osmotic = gives cells too much water (can kill sperm)

C. Hyper-osmotic = sucks out moisture from cells (kills outer layer of cells, making mucus lining more vulnerable to STIs or infections etc)

Iso-osmotic
Hypo-osmotic
Hyper-osmotic

ISO-OSMOTIC LUBE EXAMPLES: Aloe Cadabra, Colon Lining, Vaginal Mucus, Good Clean Love, Sliquid Organics, YES Wd, Pulse H2Oh.

Vaginal levels are ideally 260-290 mOsm/kg.

Let’s compare that to Warming KY Jelly which sits at over 10,000!

TRYING & HAVING MORE THAN ONE


A lube that works for external masturbation might give you nightmare reactions in your hoo-haw. The same goes for anal (they have a different PH level than vaginal targeted lubes)

So, when you go into a store, don’t think you’re going to only need ONE, you most likely need to try several.

Don’t get me wrong, there ARE hard rules with certain lubes and certain activities or toys — eg. Not using silicone lube with silicone toys. Conversely, the jury is still out on other, more holistic/natural, options — things like olive and coconut oil.

There also hasn’t been nearly enough proper testing done on certain lubes with various materials used in sex toys — eg. wood, stone, etc.

And remember…

It’s not a matter of only water-based vs. silicone. You might find that one brand makes your nether regions feel like fire ants are marching across your skin, but a different one makes everything slippery-goodness.

DON’T FORGET: Always spot test. Put a drop of the product on the inside of your arm (inside elbow), and leave it there for 24 hours. No reactions? Give it a try.

THE FDA AND 510K


What most people don’t know is that sexual lubricant is classified as a Medical Device.

This is because what we put into our openings can have an impact on sperm, dehydration of cells, epithelial damage, and increased risks of STIs.

Plus,

The membranes in those areas are sensitive and function within their own “environment” (things like PH levels, bacteria percentages etc.) To disrupt those in environments can cause adverse reactions (e.g. possible yeast infections from a sugar-based lubricant)

The 510k simply means that manufacturers must submit their clinical tests to the FDA and scientists to prove the product does what it advertises … and you’re not going to grow a mutant vagina or anus. An interesting case is the 50 Shades of Grey lubricant. Many people are being sued because the product doesn’t do what it says.

However … it’s the FDA.

Sometimes even THEY don’t know what they’re doing or testing extensively enough. Eg. The FDA does NOT require companies to disclose osmolality levels.

Credit: Smitten Kitten

LUBE OPTIONS


You have more choices than you think

WATER-BASED – THE SENSUAL SOCIALITE

It’s everywhere and used for everything

  • Compatible with EVERYTHING
  • The most common and affordable form of lube
  • Comes in a wide variety of thicknesses and flavors 
  • Easy to clean and won’t stain 
  • Flavored should NOT be used for vaginal play (yeast infections)
  • Has the longest list of ingredients — greatest potential to irritate 
  • Dries out faster and becomes sticky or tacky
  • Needs a  top-up coating or a little water 
  • Not good for water sex 
  • Parabens in the ingredient list? Don’t buy it

Recommended Brands – Sliquid Sassy, Wet Naturals, Good Clean Love, Astroglide NaturalYesBlossom Organics Sliquid H20

SILICONE – THE SATINY SEDUCTRESS

Just add a few drops and go to town 

  • Lasts longer, doesn’t need a top-up
  • Inert – won’t affect body’s chemistry
  • Hypoallergenic – good if you’re sensitive
  • Better for sex in water
  • Harder to clean up
  • Could stain sheets and clothes
  • NOT compatible with silicone toys

IMPORTANT: Silicone against silicone will degrade the material and cause rips or tears, which is not cool if you’ve spent some serious cash.

Recommended Brands – Uber LubePjur Original, Please, Shibari, Swiss Navy

SILK/HYBRID – THE HOT HERMAPHRODITE

A mix of mostly water-based with a bit of silicone – best of both worlds.

  • Fewer chances of irritation *but not hypoallergenic
  • longer than water-based, shorter than silicone
  • Similar feeling between brands
  • You can use it with most sex toys
  • Need to spot test with silicone toys
  • Less long-term testing results
  • Less educational information 

Recommended Brands – Please Cream, Sliquid Organic, Sliquid Silk

OILS – THE SLIPPERY SIREN

You can’t decide if you love her or hate her

These break down into two groups – Natural based (cooking oils, butters, Crisco) and Synthetic based (mineral oil, Vaseline, body lotions, creams). This is also the section that will bring out the loudest supporters and/or protesters.

The bad news … people (and test results) can’t agree on whether it’s safe or unsafe for the body. You’ll hear people say you should stay a million miles away from all oil products (for internal sexual use), and that they clog pores, restrict natural body cleansing, and promote infections.

Some are adamant that it’s okay for just anal play. The good news? Everyone at least agrees synthetic oils are NEVER to be used in the vagina.

A. NATURAL OILS 

  • Low cost and easy to find
  • Coconut and olive oil are the main options
  • Natural and soft on the skin
  • Messy and staining
  • Not compatible with latex condoms
  • Not much scientific testing for long-term safety
  • Safe to eat doesn’t always mean safe for other uses
  • Must be careful with sex toy material compatibility
  • Use vaginally/anally at your own discretion and risk

Recommended Brands – Sky Organics Coconut OilCoconu, Nature’s Way Coconut Oil

B. SYNTHETIC OILS

  • Good for external masturbation
  • Lasts longer than water-based lubes
  • Some people prefer this during anal play
  • Messy and staining
  • Not much scientific testing for long-term safety
  • Must be careful with sex toy material compatibility
  • Not compatible with latex or polyisoprene (PIP)
  • Do not use for vaginal play
  • Anal use at your own discretion and risk

ANAL POWDERS – THE SMOOTH STUD

A newcomer who’s eager and ready to please.

This stuff is mostly known for veterinarian use (birthing livestock) but there have been a few developments for human use.

  • Slippery as hell
  • Washes off with iodized salt
  • Cheap and can be made by the gallons
  • Good for anal use, especially girthy toys
  • Apparently doesn’t stain
  • Evaporation/drying time varies
  • Must mix yourself. Takes some testing.
  • NOT vagina friendly – high in sucrose or fructose
  • Dispersing agents are not always listed
  • Different brands have different consistencies and ingredients
  • A fairly new player in the lube field – reactions and results pending
  • Since it has fructose/sucrose, it will not last indefinitely
  • Must use immediately – shore fridge life

NOTE: There hasn’t been much formal testing with this product and sex toys. Glove and anal play seem perfectly fine, but I would use caution with pairing it with anything in your toy chest

There are only really two brands out there right now: X Lube and J Lube

OTHER TARGETED LUBES

  • Gun Oil for anal (watch osmolality)

DESENSITISING & TINGLING LUBES

These should be used sparingly and with care.

Although the desensitizing ones are great for people who have premature ejaculation problems, the ingredients in them are akin to the stuff used in sunburn sprays, lozenges, and teething gels.

Long-term use might cause health problems (remember it’s not just the penis that will be affected – bums and vagoos might have issues too). The warming ones might also contain capsaicin (the active component in chili peppers) and could cause irritation to sensitive skin.

HANDY COMPARISON CHART


Image by Robyn @ Lovense.com

  • “Maybe” refers to either: not enough information, conflicting information, or the porosity and compatibility of the material being in question. If someone finds something conclusive that bumps it into a full YES or No, I’ll definitely change it!
  • * Oils and Powders do not have adequate testing – use at own risk
  • * Wood and Ceramic toys need a proper coating to be used within this chart

CLOSING


The argument “I’ve used it (for years) and I’ve found nothing wrong with it ” is not a valid argument to push someone to share the same opinion on (or use) a certain lubricant.

What might be a miracle for one, is a curse for another. Even with products like Silicone, having hypoallergenic properties, there WILL be a small percentage out there who can’t use it.

Finding a lube that works for you is a personal journey. Research, educate yourself, read the ingredient and, above all … do a spot test.

Also, if you found this article helpful, you might want to check out:

What are your go-to lubes? Have you found any super body-safe options? Share in the comments!

sss

5 thoughts on “The Best Lubes – Big Guide on the Slick Stuff

  1. Jelle by the Wicked brand is another highly rated and safe water based anal lube. It outperforms Sassy.

  2. i use the water based lubrifist lube (about 10 euros for 200ml). It is great for vaginal and anal sex, fingers, toys, strapon, objects…
    Easy to clean (not need for hours using soap or a towel), not fat, do not dry fast, much more enjoyable than other I tried.

  3. amazing article! thank you so much! i was actually looking for a lube that i could use with my lovense lush i just got gifted <3

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