A Beginner’s Guide To Personal Lubricants

Everyone can benefit from using lubricant, especially with sex toys. The trouble is finding the right type of lubricant for the sort of play you’re engaging in. There is such a vast selection on the market these days that getting stuck pondering the differences between bottles is not a rare occurrence. Some people don’t even know that there are key differences and just pick up whatever is available in their local supermarket. Outside of the different types of lubricants, there are a couple of other important things to consider. The ingredients list and the reviews. Ingredients can give you a good idea of whether the lubricant will be suitable for your skin and the reviews can give some clues as to the texture and consistency. I’ll be writing a detailed post regarding ingredients soon, but for now, I’d suggest staying away from the major problematic ones which are Parabens and Glycerin.

In this guide, we’ll be taking a look at the most common types of lubricants, the pros and cons to each type and my product recommendations for each category. If you are feeling unsure about whether lubricant would be beneficial to you, I’d recommend reading my let’s talk on the subject. I answered some frequently asked questions and posted my thoughts on the stigmas surrounding these products. For the record, using lubricant is completely normal and people who use it tend to have more enjoyable sex. So, now you’re back on board, let’s get back to the topic at hand!

Lovehoney Enjoy Water-Based LubricantWater based; If you are sexually active, then I highly recommend using lubricant whether you think you “need it” or not. It can truly enhance sexual experiences and I believe that everyone needs at least one bottle of good quality water-based lubricant on hand. It’s a permanent staple in our collection and that’s because it’s extremely versatile. The base ingredient for these products is Aqua, as the name might suggest, which is the most natural ingredient in the world. Other ingredients are then added in to provide texture, consistency and longevity.

As it’s water-based, this type of lubricant can be used with any sex toy material. It doesn’t matter whether it’s plastic, silicone, glass, metal or a porous material that I don’t recommend, it will be compatible with all of the above and more. These lubes can be used for multiple sex practices, which aren’t limited to, but can include: oral, vaginal and anal sex. They’re compatible with latex and other condom types, so there’s no need to worry about these breaking down protective barriers. They don’t stain clothing or bed sheets and can be removed very easily after use with a quick rinse or wipe.

My recommendations? Sliquid Satin, Sliquid H20 and Yes Water-Based.

Just Glide Silicone LubricantSilicone based; Do you find yourself frustrated with lubricants that dry out quickly? If you answered yes to this question, then I’d suggest trying some silicone based lubricant. Silicone doesn’t evaporate and dry up as water based lubes do. As a result, silicone is one of the most long-lasting categories of lubricant on the market. It’s ideal for use during anal sex as the anus doesn’t self lubricate and water-based lubricants can dry out too quickly, resulting in possible friction. There’s really no need to top up on silicone as it should last as long as you do.

Silicone lubricants do not harbour any bacteria, nor do they upset the ph balance in women. Silicone is a hypoallergenic material which makes it great for people with allergies and sensitive skin. It’s mostly tasteless and odourless too.

The main difference between water and silicone lubricants beside the ingredients list is that silicone can be used for water play. Water based lubes are quickly washed away when they come into contact with water in the bath or shower, but silicone stays put and keeps discomfort at bay whilst playtime ensues. This is a downside for some people though as it’s not as easy to remove. Soapy scrubs are necessary when it comes to removing silicone from your body and your sex toys.

On the topic of sex toys – many retailers recommend that you do not use silicone based lubricants with silicone sex toys. The silicone in the lubricant can react to the silicone toy if the standard of both are not on equal levels. It has been promoted by Pjur that their silicone lubes are safe to use with We-Vibe’s silicone and I’ve had no problems using Sliquid Silver on Tantus, but I would always recommend doing a patch test on the base of the toy before using it and avoiding it when possible. It is fine to use with materials such as glass and metal though and barriers such as condoms are safe too.

My recommendations? Lovehoney Indulge, Sliquid Silver and Pjur Bodyglide Original.

Yes Oil Based Vanilla LubricantOil based; Oil based lubricants are not vagina friendly. There’s one exception which is the brand listed below, but I still wouldn’t advise using oil based lubricants on a regular basis if you have this orifice. They can change the Ph levels inside the vagina and because they don’t absorb they can trap and harbour bacteria.

This can lead to vaginal infections and urinary tract infections. If you are prone to UTIs anyway, I’d definitely recommend steering clear from oil based lubricants for anything other than external use. If you have a penis then you can use oil based lubricants to masturbate with, as many oil based lubricants are masturbation creams designed for men, but make sure to rinse well after, especially if there’s a chance of vaginal sex afterwards. You could also use them for body massage but make sure to avoid the vulva region for the reasons listed above.

On top of the problems they can cause for vagina’s, these lubricants also have another issue. They are not suitable for use with condoms, latex, diaphragms or rubber/silicone sex toys. The reason for this is the oil will weaken and break down these materials. They can cause damage to the surface of sex toys, leaving a tacky feeling that cannot be removed, especially on those toys that are porous. They can stain surfaces and sheets too. If you wish to use oil based lubricants, keep play external and only use products specifically labelled for intimate use or pure, refined coconut oil. Do not use things like baby oil and Vaseline as a sex lube.

My recommendations? Yes Oil Based.

Sliquid Silk Hybrid LubricantHybrid; A combination of water and silicone. Hybrid lubricants are primarily water, but they contain a small percentage of silicone. Silicone is added to extend the life of the product. Water based lubricants don’t last long and often need to be reapplied during a session, but silicone lubricants are the opposite. So adding a small amount of silicone into the water-based formula adds extra use time to the product.

It also changes the consistency. Many water based lubricants are thin and provide a very limited amount of protection from friction, where silicone lubes are slick and slippery. A combination of the two varies between manufacturers, but in my experience, the majority of hybrid lubricants are creamy and slick in comparison to water-based products.

These lubricants are safe for oral, vaginal and anal sex, although I personally wouldn’t recommend them for oral as the taste isn’t the best. Hybrid lubricants will not damage latex condoms, although I recommend checking (if possible) what lubricant the condom manufacturer has used to be sure that there’s no reaction between different grades of silicone. If I want to use a hybrid lubricant and a condom at the same time, I opt for a unlubricated rubber. As for use with sex toys, they can be used safely with most, but it depends on the formulation of the product and the grace of the silicone used. I would suggest a patch test on the base of the toy before use to make sure they are compatible. If you feel a gummy, sticky texture on the toy after the patch test, I would rinse it off and stick to water-based.

My recommendations? Sliquid Silk and Sliquid Organics Silk.

Flavoured LubricantsFlavoured; Almost always water based, these lubricants are designed with oral sex in mind. The brands I’ve recommended below can also be used for vaginal and anal sex though. There are so many flavours of lubricant to choose from now. Some are wonderful, some are weird and some make me wonder why on earth they were made.

The most popular flavourings seem to be fruit based and there are a ton of brands out there that offer their own take on foods such as passion fruit, cherry and strawberry. There are some unusual flavours out there too, ranging from bacon and whiskey to coffee and champagne. There’s flavours to suit everyone and they can be a great incentive to improve oral sex or change things up.

My recommendations? Lovehoney’s flavoured line and Sliquid Swirls. My favourite is Green Apple.

Lovehoney Discover Anal LubricantAnal; These can be water based or silicone based. They are described and labelled as an anal lubricants because they are thicker than the standard versions and thicker lubes provide more comfort for back door play. The anus doesn’t self lubricate, so bottled lubricants with a thick consistency are essential.

Some anal lubricants contain ingredients like lidocaine and benzocaine which numb the nerve endings in the nether regions to limit sensation. Some people think this will stop anal sex being “painful”. It should never be painful in the first place. If it is, something is wrong and your body is telling you to stop. These desensitising products can stop you from knowing when something is wrong which can cause damage back there. I would avoid these at all costs as they’re not particularly safe. If anal is painful, stop. Come back to it later. You can try thicker lubricants, taking play at a slower pace and build up (over a period of time) with smaller sex toys.

My recommendations? Lovehoney Discover and Sliquid Sassy.

Sliquid Sizzle LubricantSensation; These lubricants are usually water based and contain ingredients that leave a mild cooling or warming effect. It can be a fun way to add a new dimension to play and they are ideal for people who enjoy sensory and temperature fun. It’s unfortunate that a lot of these lubricants contain Glycerin, as this isn’t great for vaginas, and as a result I tend to avoid these products.

If you read my post about Durex lubricants, you’ll understand exactly why. I find these lubricants provide a stinging sensation more than anything pleasurable. If you are sensitive and/or prone to UTI’s, I would suggest an orgasm gel or balm that’s used externally instead. Always check the ingredients on these products before use and do a patch test on all parties to ensure there are no allergies or nasty surprises waiting ahead.

My recommendations? Sliquid Sizzle.

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