One of the most overlooked sex toys is a good quality lubricant. Why use lube? In short, it heightens your pleasure, amplifying each stroke, lick, touch, & thrust to feel even more yummy. Like many sex educators, lube is one of my favorite sex tools to talk about and something I consider a must-have.
Many things affect how much lube you naturally produce
Every vagina-haver has their own ‘baseline’ level of how wet they get—and this varies a lot from one person to the next.
Beyond that, many factors can impact how much and how easily you get wet. These include but are not limited to:
- Alcohol intake
- Medications like birth control, anti-depressants, and insulin
- Illnesses like heart disease
- Having sex in the water
- The amount of foreplay
Some of these factors are completely in your control and can vary sexy time by sexy time while others are more complex. Regardless, a good lube can help make sex feel better no matter the underlying reason.
Additionally, the anus and penis don’t lubricate themselves. That means, lube is a must-have for anal play. And it enhances all sorts of penis-play from handjobs to BJs.
Lube increases sensation and pleasure
To test this out, run a dry finger along your also dry bottom lip. Now lick that lip and run your finger over it again. Feel the difference? Well multiply that by a whole lot (because you have way more nerve endings in your genitals) and you’ll see why lube leads to better sex.
As a general rule, always make sure the sexy part you or your partner is touching is lubed up, naturally or otherwise. You may be surprised by how much better everything feels.
Lube makes sex safer
Because lube, by its nature, reduces friction, it also reduces your risk of micro-tears and subsequent infections in the vagina and anus. If you use condoms, it also means the condom is less likely to break.
All of this in turn means you’re less likely to be sore after sex and less likely to get a yeast infection or UTI. As a bonus, using lube with a condom helps sex feel more pleasurable for you and your partner(s), meaning you’ll be more likely to use them.
This is especially true if you’re having marathon sex, shower (or pool or ocean or…) sex, and when you’ve had a lot to drink.
Solo sex is so much more fun
When you’re on your own, it can be harder to get fully aroused, even with a sexy story or fantasy. That means it might not feel as good as it could! Lube helps to maximize pleasure even if you’re masturbating in a rush, using it to self soothe, or distractedly going at it.
Not all lube is created equal
Throughout this article, you may have noticed that I kept referring to “good” and “high quality” lube. Not all lubes are created equal and many just aren’t vagina- or booty-friendly. Good lubes, on the other hand, are made with the highest quality, body-safe ingredients. Many are organic and all are free of ingredients like glycerin and parabens which are not the best for your body. Beyond that though, lubes vary widely in stickiness, thickness (how drippy they are), smell, taste, and more.
For more information on sexual safety and lubricant use, check out this article from Forbes.
The best time to use lube is before the touching starts
This touching can be with hands, toys, or other body parts.
To get started, simply apply lube to whatever body part will be stimulated and/or whatever is doing the stimulating. That might look like: your vagina and your dildo, your hands and their penis, their fingers and your anal opening, between their breasts and on your penis, etc.
Experiment with the placement and amount of the lube you use to find what works bets for you and your beau(s).
Different sex acts call for different types and applications of lube
- Masturbation: Solo play is the time where you need lube the most! You’re less likely to spend time getting turned on, so lube becomes both a health & pleasure necessity during self-pleasure. Apply lube from the start – you can even make rubbing it on part of the experience. Be sure to keep the lube handy for reapplication and/or to put it on any toys you’re using.
- Oral Sex (including rimming): Two of the most common complaints about oral sex are that it tastes and/or smells bad. A yummy tasting edible lube like Sliquid Swirl takes care of both and makes oral more fun all around. So though lube isn’t necessary for oral, it definitely makes it more fun. Plus, the better something tastes, the more likely you or your partner is to spend more time savoring it. 😉
- Vulva massage and hand jobs: Similar to solo play, lube here is pretty darn necessary. The clitoris, outer lips, and penis don’t naturally produce lube so using it from will ensure you get the most pleasurable experience. Same goes if you like to use a vibrator against the clitoris or scrotum. A silicone lube like this one is best.
- Fingering and vaginal intercourse: Since the vagina does produce its own lubricant, you might not always need something else. However, lots of things can affect how much or little lube is made. If you feel fully aroused but aren’t totally wet, don’t sweat it. Just be sure to lube up before anything enters it (fingers, toys, or a penis).
- Anal play (fingering or penetration): When it comes to anal play, the more lube, the better! Seriously- when you think there’s enough, add more. The anus does not produce lubrication like the vagina does. Therefore, the anus should be lubed up before anything enters it. This time, its not only about pleasure but also about making sure you prevent scratches, tears, and infections. For this stick to a silicone lube or a thicker, longer-lasting anal lube.
The two most popular + common types of lube are water-based and silicone
Both are safe to use with condoms.
These are the most commonly used lubes. They can be used for any type of sex and with all sex toys, come in all sorts of flavors, and don’t stain your sheets if spilled. On the down side, they don’t last super long and can taste funky.
Our absolute favourite is this organic, aloe-based lube.
Silicone lubes feel slippery rather than wet. They are super long-lasting as well as waterproof—meaning they’ll last any marathon sex session with with minimal need for reapplication and won’t wash away if you play in water.
On the downside, silicone lube can stain sheets, can cause problems if used with silicone sex toys, and needs to be washed off, especially if you spill it on the floor or tub!
You may also hear about people using natural oils (e.g. coconut or sweet almond oil) or petroleum-based lubes like Vaseline. While a bit easier to find because of their “everyday uses”—seriously, what doesn’t coconut oil help with?!—they’re use for sex varies. For example, oil-based lubes shouldn’t go in vaginas but are great for anal play. They also cannot be used with latex condoms and, obviously, will stain fabric.
Beyond these two basic types, lubes can have any number special features
First up, the two we don’t recommend.
- Desensitizing. Just no. Pain is our body’s defense mechanism. It stops you from hurting yourself too much. These are often marketed for anal sex; however, if you can’t feel what’s happening you a) won’t enjoy it as much and b) won’t know if you should slow down or stop.
- Spermicidal. Also a big no. While spermicide sounds great (yay birth control!), the chemical used (nonoxynol-9 (N9) for all my fellow geeks) is all sorts bad news bears for vaginas and booties.
And now, the ones we do—with some caveats.
Make sure these are sugar-free. Think of all the things that are made when sugar sits in a dark, moist (sorry!) place: beer, wine, kombucha, etc. Delicious to drink but full of yeast. And I’ll leave that where it is.
We love this one from Sliquid.
These vary tremendously in how warm they get as well as the main warming ingredient, making them a a little hit-or-miss and very unique to each person. If you’re interested in a warming lube, try to get a sample and test it on your skin first. Also please avoid KY’s his and hers, warming, sensational, whatever. I know its easy to get and there’s even coupons sometimes, but so many women have negative experiences with it.
Of all the warming lubes available, this one from Maude is the only one we recommend.
Featuring 400mg broad-spectrum CBD and organic coconut oil*, this lube eases discomfort, enhances arousal, and assists with vaginal and anal penetration—without desensitizing you. Its fantastic for back-door play as well as to support those with vaginismus and other forms of pelvic pain.
*This lube is NOT compatible with latex or poly-isoprene condoms. Please play responsibly.
The best lube is the one that you’ll use.
I have clients who swear by each of the different type of lubes and practically every one of my colleagues has their own preference. Said lube has to be a good fit for your body, the types of sex acts you enjoy, and your lifestyle.Generally finding the right lube requires some sexy experimenting. Its a good idea to get some “pillow packs” or samples of lubes first to see what works for you before investing in a full-sized bottle. Sliquid, one of the most popular brands makes variety packs of its water-based, organics, flavored, and silicone lubes.
Some things to keep in mind when trying lubes:
- How long does it last? Silicone > aloe > water-based anal > water-based
- Does it leave you feeling sticky?
- Does it taste and/or smell ok? Everyone is different here so don’t take anyone else’s opinion into account except yours and your partner’s.
- Does it stay where you put it or drip everywhere?
- Do you notice any irritation after using it? Note: Sometimes this can show up the next day
Lastly, here are some general guidelines for which lubes to use with which sexy time acts.
- Marathon sex, sex in water, or anal sex: silicone.
- Sex toys: water based.
- Intercourse, hand jobs, and fingering: either with silicone winning slightly.
- Oral sex: flavored water-based or silicone.
Lube has the power to take sexy time from ‘pretty good’ to ‘AHmazing.’
Finding the right lube for you can seem overwhelming at first. However once you know what to look for and what to avoid, all that’s left is a willingness to experiment and play.
And once you find the right one(s) for you, it does that all the while decreasing pain and your risk of infection. Yup – lube is an all around super star!