The Wonderful World of Lube

How to Pick the Best Lube for You

Lubricant is essential for sex. It can enhance all of your sexual experiences, including pleasure, by reducing friction, adding comfort, and reducing dryness. Unfortunately, not everyone has the full scoop on lube and its many benefits. I used to be one of those people. I thought my vagina was supposed to do all the “heavy lifting” when it came to my internal and clitoral stimulation since I would use my vaginal secretions to reduce friction during masturbating with my hands. You see, the funny thing about enlightenment is that you have to look for it.

Lube isn’t just for helping vaginas get wet. They are great for reducing friction during anal play, with toys, and preventing condom breakage by reducing friction. Additionally, lube can help prevent serious injuries from rough romping or first-time encounters when trying new sexual experiences and enhancing all the good feeling sensations. Sex should be fun, not painful. Unless you want it to be. You are in total control of your pleasure.

Think about how you want your lube to feel, what you want to use it for, what you want to use with, and how long you want it to last.

Lube Categories

Variety is truly the spice of life. However, with so many options on the market, where does one start on their search for the perfect lube? Let’s start with these things in mind: Lube base & use, and lube compatibility. When you think about these two things, think about how you want your lube to feel, what you want to use it for, what you want to use with, and how long you want it to last.

If you’re looking for a lube to use with your sex toys, what kind of sex toys would you be using your lube with? Silicone? Wood? Glass? Will you be using condoms with your lube? If you are not using condoms or sex toys with your lube, do you want something as natural as possible, or would like something that can last for extended periods of play? Something on the thicker side perhaps? Maybe you want a lube that looks like cum for aesthetic reasons. Knowing these things can help narrow down your search in finding the best lube for you and your body.

Water-Based: Emulates the body’s natural secretions like pre-cum or vaginal wetness, and is the most multi-purpose use lube for all types of sex and sex toy materials. It mainly consists of water with some slight variations and is easy to clean with a damp washcloth and water and doesn’t stain sheets, clothing, or other fabrics. They are compatible with all condoms and dental dams.

Silicone-Based: Designed to deliver a slippery experience without being sticky. It usually dries down with a satin finish and lasts longer than its water-based counterparts. It’s not recommended for use with silicone sex toy materials, but it’s great with latex condoms and other safer sex barriers. Some variations can stain fabrics.

Hybrid: This lube combines the qualities of water and silicone-based lubes and leaves the skin with a moisturized and satiny feel. They can also last longer than water-based lubricants. They are generally compatible with most materials, but each formula is different.

Oil-Based: These lubes are great moisturizing alternatives for the skin, but are not recommended for pairing with latex, polyisoprene condoms, or latex dental dams. They can stain fabrics and might be difficult to wash out.

Subcategories of lube

Flavored: These are mainly water-based with some flavorings. They can up the ante on oral sex, adding flavor and fun.

Anal: Lubes designed for anal play are great for reducing friction. They tend to be on the thicker side so they don’t evaporate as quickly, and are available in both water and silicone-based options.

Numbing/Desensitizing: These lubes are marketed to help reduce pain during sex. They are available in both silicone and water-based variations and contain benzocaine, lidocaine, or prilocaine. Be cautious, however, as these ingredients can inhibit your body’s ability to sense pain and potentially lead to injuries.

Warming/Cooling: This lube offers temperature-enhanced sensations, which can be great for temperature play and offer new stimulation.

Reading through the ingredients list before picking up a bottle can help in narrowing down your choices.

How to read the ingredients list

Reading the ingredients list is a great way to determine how compatible a lube would be for you and your needs. While recommendations are great, you might already be aware of allergy triggers from previous experiences with these ingredients in the past. Reading through the ingredients list before picking up a bottle can help in narrowing down your choices. Another reason is to see which ingredients are being used the most. For example, if an ingredient is at the top of the list, it means that there is more of that ingredient, whereas there is less of an ingredient when it is closer to the bottom of the list.

Ingredients to Watch Out For

Glycerin is a sugar alcohol. It’s perfectly safe to eat, and most variations, if not all, are food-safe. Even the variations used in cosmetics as most glycerin is derived from vegetables. Adding it to water-based lube enhances its slipperiness while giving it a slightly sweet taste. That’s why you will see it often. Some bodies are sensitive to this ingredient, however. At Spectrum, all the lubes are glycerin-free.

Parabens are artificial preservatives used in cosmetics to help keep them fresh. However, they can disrupt hormones in the body and potentially harm the reproductive system. All the lubes at Spectrum are also paraben-free for this reason.

Aspartame is an artificial sweetener that many companies use when making flavored lubricants. It’s commonly used in many food items and is safe to consume. While it is still a sugar, there isn’t much evidence that it can cause yeast infections, but those who are prone to them should monitor their use for sudden changes and discontinue use accordingly or avoid it.

Nonoxynol 9 is a spermicide rarely used in lubricants anymore. It can irritate both the user and the wearer.

Glycol is similar to glycerin and has a sweet taste to it. 

Polyquaternium-15 is a preservative used in cosmetics to help them last longer. It can throw off the vagina’s pH and cause irritation.

Gluconate is another sugar commonly used in flavored lubricants. You don’t see it much on the market anymore

Can coconut oil be used as a lubricant?

There has been quite a debate on how safe coconut is to use as a lube. While there hasn’t been much scientific testing done to support either side, there are some facts to know that can help. Coconut oil, in its most natural form, ideally organic, can be a great lubricant. It’s long-lasting and is highly effective in reducing friction while remaining thin consistency. However, coconut oil can throw off the vagina’s pH, making it more alkaline and more susceptible to yeast infections and other vaginal infections. It can also stain your sheets and cause allergic reactions. So if you’re allergic to coconuts or coconut oil when used in food products, you might want to avoid putting it on your skin or genitals.

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera is a natural moisturizer and conditioner for the skin and hair, derived from a plant. You might have even used it for a hair treatment or to relieve discomfort from a burn. Its pulp is mucusy and slippery, making it a great addition to an all-natural lubricant.

More things to watch out for:

Don’t use silicone-based lube with silicone sex toy materials. Silicone lube and silicone sex toys, for the most part, do not get along well. It’s like a toxic relationship. They will eat each other. Specifically, the silicone lube will break down a sex toy consisting mostly or entirely of silicone. This can not only ruin the aesthetics of the toy but potentially void the manufacturer’s warranty. Some sex toy manufacturers guarantee the compatibility of silicone lubricants with silicone sex toys but do your research first and if you do decide to pair the two, always do a spot test at the base of the toy before use.

Don’t use oil-based lubricants with condoms. Oil and condoms simply don’t mix. While oil-based lubes can provide long-lasting moisture, they can cause latex materials like condoms and dental dams to break down, significantly reducing their effectiveness or breaking them entirely.

Don’t use flavored lubricants for vaginal (internal) penetration. While these lubes can be quite tasty with tons of slipperiness to get the party started, they aren’t very efficient for penetrative sex with a vagina. Many flavored lubricants contain glycerin and other sweeteners that can cause yeast infections, cause vaginal irritation, and throw off the vagina’s ph. If you are not yeast sensitive and want to get a 2-for-1  out of your lube by using it for penetrative sex and licking off you and your partner’s bits, I suggest trying it out and monitoring your body for any changes such as itching or or other signs of irritation.

Don’t use a lube that causes discomfort. I know this should go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway. If you notice that your body has been feeling a bit off since using a new lube, discontinue use of it immediately. Allergic reactions can happen when we least expect it, from surprising ingredients. Your lube is always supposed to work with you, not against you.

Lube for Anal Sex

I didn’t think about lube for my butt until I ventured int the wonder world of anal play with butt plugs. I automatically knew that I needed lube since the anus doesn’t lubricate itself naturally. Depending on what you looking for, there are tons of options that are great for both solo-play and partnered sex. Here are some suggestions!

Lube for Vaginas

While the vagina is self-lubricating, some can find it difficult to get those juices flowing during arousal sometimes. This can be caused by a variety of things like stress, not being hydrated enough, or certain medications. Either way, lube has got you covered and will get you going in no time and you don’t have to use lube just for sex. You can also use it to treat vaginal dryness outside the bedroom. Here are my suggestions:

Lube for Toys

Adding some lube to your toys is great for enhancing sensations and reducing discomfort, especially when using girthier toys. The lube you use will change based on what sex toy material you would be pairing it with. Here are my personal picks:

The wonderful world of lube is your oyster filled with endless possibilities and combinations with toys, partners, and yourself to enjoy and find new ways that feel good and taste good if that’s what you’re looking for too. Remember: think about what you would like to use your lube for, how long you would want it to last, read the ingredients list, and most importantly, try more than one! Because you never have enough lube.

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