The 4 Best & Safest Anal Lubes That Will Do Your Booty Good

Anal sex and butt play can be lots of fun — but don’t forget the lube! Discover what makes a great anal lube, ingredients to avoid, and the best available.
Rear Photograph Of Swimsuit-Clad Woman Standing In Ocean Water With Wave Brushing Against Her Buttocks
Updated:November 2022

The anus doesn’t lubricate itself naturally which is why it’s so important to use a high-quality lube for anal sex — one that provides lasting comfort, reduces friction, and prevents injury while being completely safe for your body. 

That’s an exceptionally tall order, as we discovered through our extensive research.

To qualify as the “best,” an anal lubricant can’t damage delicate anal tissue and must be free from harmful chemicals, additives, and allergens, while also performing safely in the bedroom.

After more than 51 hours of cumulative research consulting with our medical review board, crowdsourcing opinions from enthusiasts, and personally testing only those products that passed our strictest safety standards over the last two years, we’ve concluded that Pjur Analyse Me! is the best silicone-based anal lubricant available.

Additionally, AH! YES OB is our top choice for the safest and best oil-based anal lubricant.

As of this writing, NO water-based anal lubes met our strict criteria for inclusion. Here’s why.

In A Hurry? Start With Our Top Anal Lube Picks

Important Things To Know:

  • Safety: Our recommendations are free from parabens, glycerin, capsaicin, benzocaine, and added fragrances, flavors, and dyes. These ingredients can be irritating or toxic and some can increase the chances of developing an anal infection.
  • How we chose: When choosing the best anal lubes, we weighed: their ingredients, additives, potential allergens, intended use, performance, texture, and consistency.
  • Other considerations: Finding the best and truly safest anal lube proved a difficult task, which is why there are only a few options that we can fully recommend. We are not aiming for quantity, but quality and the utmost safety. Additionally, there were no water-based anal lubricants that met our safety criteria due to incompatible pH and osmolality levels, despite those products being marketed for anal use.

*When you purchase a product through an affiliate link, we earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. On behalf of our entire team, thank you in advance for your support!

Our Top Recommendations

Best Overall (Silicone)
Best Overall (Oil-Based)
Runner Up (Silicone)
Also Good (Silicone)
4.7
5.0
4.5
4.3
$24.99 (3.4 oz)
$21.99 (4.7 oz)
$34.00 (4.2 oz)
$39.99 (3.4 oz)
Description:

Bottom Line: Formulated to provide long-lasting comfort during anal play, this silicone-based lubricant is infused with jojoba oil, which softens and moisturizes the skin, promoting elasticity without any loss of sensation during anal penetration. [Read Full Review]

Description:

Bottom Line: Extremely hydrating and long-lasting thanks to a rich formula that includes shea butter and vitamin E, this product is the best natural and organic anal lube available — so you can feel good about using it in more ways than one. [Read Full Review]

Description:

Bottom Line: This ultra-concentrated, premium formula uses three of the slickest pharmaceutical-grade silicones available, resulting in a product that “will last for hours with only a few drops” — perfect for those who need a marathon-ready anal lubricant. [Read Full Review

Description:

Bottom Line: Designed to minimize discomfort without reducing sensation, this product uses a preservative-free formula infused with nourishing jojoba oil to improve elasticity while relaxing anal muscles so you can enjoy penetration without pain. [Read Full Review]

Best Overall (Silicone)
4.7
$24.99 (3.4 oz)
Description:

Bottom Line: Formulated to provide long-lasting comfort during anal play, this silicone-based lubricant is infused with jojoba oil, which softens and moisturizes the skin, promoting elasticity without any loss of sensation during anal penetration. [Read Full Review]

Best Overall (Oil-Based)
5.0
$21.99 (4.7 oz)
Description:

Bottom Line: Extremely hydrating and long-lasting thanks to a rich formula that includes shea butter and vitamin E, this product is the best natural and organic anal lube available — so you can feel good about using it in more ways than one. [Read Full Review]

Runner Up (Silicone)
4.5
$34.00 (4.2 oz)
Description:

Bottom Line: This ultra-concentrated, premium formula uses three of the slickest pharmaceutical-grade silicones available, resulting in a product that “will last for hours with only a few drops” — perfect for those who need a marathon-ready anal lubricant. [Read Full Review

Also Good (Silicone)
4.3
$39.99 (3.4 oz)
Description:

Bottom Line: Designed to minimize discomfort without reducing sensation, this product uses a preservative-free formula infused with nourishing jojoba oil to improve elasticity while relaxing anal muscles so you can enjoy penetration without pain. [Read Full Review]

Our Research
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Why Trust Our Review

Why Trust Our Review?

We’ve invested more than 51 hours (and counting) researching, evaluating, and testing the best anal lubes over the last two years so we know exactly what to look for in terms of ingredients, performance, and most importantly — safety.

We began by speaking with several members of our medical review board, who consist of board-certified OB-GYNs, pelvic health experts, and sex educators about what makes a great lube, and what ingredients and safety precautions people should look out for.

We took the advice from our medical review board, recommendations from subject matter experts on our team, and aggregated crowdsourced opinions, to create a list of anal lubes — silicone and oil-based — that met our strict criteria for safety and performance.

Then, several experts on our team (including Vanessa Russell and Chris Fernandez) personally tested all our finalists in real-world conditions in the bedroom over several weeks to form a consensus.

In addition, we constantly evaluate new entries to the market as they become available.

Finally, we do not accept paid placements, and all our recommendations are brand-neutral. For accuracy and thoroughness, we also have an expert from our medical review board evaluate all reviews.

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How We Made Our Picks

How We Made Our Picks & Features We Considered

When we spoke to our medical review board and began researching anal lubricants and their safety, we noticed a disturbing trend: potentially harmful ingredients were common in most mainstream anal lubes — brands you’ve probably heard of before or have even used in the past.

Although common ingredients like parabens and glycerin eliminated about 60% of all anal lube candidates, we made the shocking discovery that of the remaining 40%, all of the water-based anal lubes were eliminated from contention.

Why?

As we’ll discuss later on, water-based anal lubes — those marketed specifically for use during anal sex — do not have anal-safe pH or osmolality levels.

In fact, we couldn’t find a single water-based anal lube currently being manufactured that meets those requirements for safety. Learn more.

For this reason, we focused our recommendations on anal lubes that are silicone or oil-based, and for which pH and osmolality do not apply.

But we didn’t stop there.

When choosing the best anal lubricants, features we considered included:

  • Natural And/Or Safe Ingredients: It is always best to use lubes with a short list of high-quality ingredients that are completely body safe and are naturally derived (when applicable). This includes avoiding unsafe ingredients like glycerin or parabens.
  • Limited Allergens: Allergic reactions (even if mild) are an important concern for your most delicate parts. Although some plant oil-based products contain potential allergens for certain people, the majority of our selections are silicone-based — which have minimal risk.
  • No Additives: We avoided those products with added flavors, fragrances, and dyes, as these ingredients can irritate delicate rectal tissue, potentially leading to infection. We also avoided products that included added ingredients whose purpose is to numb the anus during penetration, as these can lead to unintended anal injury during use.
  • A Safe Formulation: This includes the way a lube is developed and how its ingredients fit together.
  • FDA Approval: All of our anal lubricant recommendations have either a registered 501(k) clearance with the Food & Drug Administration as of this writing or were exempt from providing one. Every product is approved for sale within the U.S.
  • Great Texture/Consistency: We selected a variety of lubricants that offer lasting slickness and a cushiony texture that makes anal penetration easier and more comfortable, and that protects the anus from injury.
  • Real-World Performance: Finally, members of our team tested how each anal lubricant performed, evaluating all of our finalists firsthand, using them on their skin and during anal sex. They kept track of how they performed not only during anal intercourse but also during clean-up.

Although the performance of an anal lube is certainly important, this consideration should always come after those given to the ingredients, safety, and formulation.

Even if an anal lube works wonderfully, the way it performs is secondary if it contains harmful ingredients or additives that can cause anal irritation, infection, or injury.

On that note, you may be wondering whether you should use a numbing lubricant to make anal sex more comfortable — and why we did not include such lubricants in our list of recommendations.

As we’ll talk about later, we strongly suggest that you avoid desensitizing lubes because they can mask the pain caused by injury.

That said, one of our recommended products below relaxes anal muscles without removing sensation entirely.

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Our Top Picks

Our In-Depth Breakdown Of The Best Anal Lubes

After spending over 51 cumulative hours researching various types of anal lubes and performing more than 2 years of research (and counting) evaluating the best anal lubes, we’ve narrowed our picks to the list below.

All of the anal lubes we recommend have met our very rigorous performance and safety standards and are free from harmful chemicals (like parabens) and additives (like glycerin) while being pH and osmolality-friendly.

Editor's Note: All products reviewed by Women’s Health Interactive are independently researched, vetted, brand-neutral, and deemed to be the very best in their category.

We do NOT accept sponsored or paid reviews.

We are able to fund our team and maintain high editorial standards, objectivity and independence by earning affiliate commissions (*) when you purchase a product that we recommend, at no extra cost to you.

Thank you in advance for your support!

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Best Silicone-Based Anal Lubes

Best Silicone-Based Anal Lubes

Silicone lube is made from silicones — which are body-safe — and is ideal for anal sex thanks to its long-lasting durability and extremely slippery feel.

It’s luxurious, decadent, and feels wonderful with sex toys, but it isn’t safe to use with toys also made from silicone, as it will degrade their materials.

If you plan to have anal sex with a fluid-bonded partner, a silicone-based anal lube might be a great fit. It is very silky and soft, and it never dries out, so it’s bound to last as long as you do.

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Best Overall: Pjur Analyse Me!

Best Overall: Pjur Analyse Me!

Best Overall (Silicone)
Pjur Analyse Me!
4.7
$24.99 (3.4 oz)
Pros:
  • Jojoba Oil Adds Cushion For Better Comfort And Is Highly Moisturizing
  • Will Last As Long As You Do Without Becoming Sticky
  • Completely Waterproof And Compatible With All Condoms
Cons:
  • Stains Fabrics Easily
  • Cannot Be Used With Silicone Sex Toys
Bottom Line: Infused with jojoba oil for maximum comfort during penetration, this high-quality silicone lube was specifically designed for anal sex. Free from preservatives, Pjur Analyse Me! is extra slippery, long-lasting, and highly moisturizing.
$24.99 @ Enhanced Male $23.99 @ SexToy.com
When you purchase a product through an affiliate link, we earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. On behalf of our entire team, thank you in advance for your support!

Pjur is a European brand based out of Wasserbillig, Luxembourg. They make high-quality lubricants and are known for making awesome anal lubes.

Analyse Me! Silicone-Based personal lubricant has a short and sweet ingredient list and is preservative-free. Not only that, but it’s a top pick in our review of the best lubes available.

One reviewer mentioned how this product finally made anal sex possible.

“I was an anal first-timer and I must say I was impressed by this product. I’ve tried other lubricants and was never able to complete the process,” they said.

“Everything happened within seconds,” they continued. “I took it all! And the best part is my boyfriend and I both didn’t feel any kind of numbness.”

Analyse Me! feels extremely slippery and is soft to the touch. This lube was specifically made for anal sex, so it’s thick and cushiony.

It does stain easily, so be sure to put a towel down before using it. Additionally, like all silicone lubricants, it can’t be used with silicone sex toys.

Learn more* about Analyse Me! or check pricing*.

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Runner Up: Sliquid Silver

Runner Up: Sliquid Silver

Runner Up (Silicone)
Sliquid Silver Sliquid Silver
4.5
$34.00 (4.2 oz)

[Note: Get Sliquid Silver for only $21.24. Use code AFF-WH15 and get 15% off site-wide at Lovehoney — a specially negotiated discount we secured after independent review.]

Pros:
  • Made From The Highest-Grade, Ultra Concentrated Silicone For Maximum Slip
  • Just A Few Drops Is All That’s Needed For Lasting Endurance And Optimal Comfort
  • Completely Waterproof And Compatible With All Condoms
Cons:
  • Some Reviewers Didn't Like The Texture On Bare Skin
  • Stains Fabrics Easily
  • Cannot Be Used With Silicone Sex Toys
Bottom Line: Sliquid Silver is a silky-smooth, lavish personal lubricant made from 100% pharmaceutical-grade silicones you can trust, making it particularly well-suited to those with sensitive skin.
When you purchase a product through an affiliate link, we earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. On behalf of our entire team, thank you in advance for your support!

This ultra-concentrated silicone lubricant is ideal for anal sex because it doesn’t have an extensive ingredient list and is very long-lasting.

Sliquid Silver is nice and thick which provides a lovely and slippery cushion for anal penetration. Its limited ingredient list — 100% pharmaceutical-grade silicones — is especially ideal for people with sensitive skin.

Watch a quick video to learn more about Sliquid Silver:


One reviewer sums up the quality of Sliquid Silver in their review:

There is nothing available in the regular retail market that compares with Sliquid. There are several options to choose from, but this feels natural and is not sticky.”

Another reviewer was completely honest with their experience when they said, “I bought this lube specifically for shower sex. It does not disappoint. Unfortunately, shower sex usually does.”

If you’re into water play, Sliquid Silver is a perfect lube because it’s completely waterproof.

This product is also great for long-lasting anal sex sessions because it doesn’t dry out — it will last as long as you do.

It never gets sticky or tacky and always stays smooth, all the way through to the end.

If you’re looking for a sexy and silky anal sex experience, Sliquid Silver is worth its weight in gold.

Learn more* about Sliquid Silver or check pricing*

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Also Good: Pjur Backdoor

Also Good: Pjur Backdoor

Also Good (Silicone)
Pjur Backdoor Pjur Backdoor
4.3
$39.99 (3.4 oz)

[Note: Get Pjur Backdoor for only $33.99. Use code AFF-WH15 and get 15% off site-wide at Lovehoney — a specially negotiated discount we secured after independent review.]

Pros:
  • High Concentration Of Jojoba Oil Relaxes Anal Muscles Without Numbing You So You Can Retain Sensation And Prevent Anal Injury
  • Highly Moisturizing For Improved Skin Elasticity
  • Limited Ingredient List Is Great For Those With Sensitive Skin
  • Waterproof For Long Lasting Shower Sex
Cons:
  • Applicator Can Be Messy
  • Stains Fabrics Easily
  • Cannot Be Used With Silicone Sex Toys
Bottom Line: Pjur Backdoor is ideal for anal sex because the high concentration of jojoba oil relaxes anal muscles to minimize discomfort without reducing sensation. The preservative-free formula is made with only four ingredients, so it’s sure to provide comfort for even the most sensitive of backdoors.
When you purchase a product through an affiliate link, we earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. On behalf of our entire team, thank you in advance for your support!

Pjur Backdoor Silicone Personal Lubricant is a great choice for those with sensitive skin, particularly because it’s only made with four ingredients.

Jojoba oil gives this lube a thick consistency that makes it perfect for entering the backdoor, and because the oil is highly concentrated, helps to relax the anal muscles without making you completely numb.

Watch the video below to learn more about Pjur Backdoor, direct from the manufacturer:


While we do not endorse the use of desensitizing anal lubes because it can lead to serious injury, this particular lube can help to soothe and relax your butt to help ease penetration.

You’ll still feel everything during anal sex — so you don’t have to worry about being oblivious to injury.

One reviewer said:

“My husband loves anal but it was always SO uncomfortable and painful for me. He’s also quite large. After using numerous brands, I thought that I might just not be able to do anal. After doing a lot of research I found this, I wanted to enjoy it and make him happy. Last night we used it and wow what a difference it made! It was enjoyable for both of us!! We will definitely be keeping this in stock and anal will happen more often now.”

Because Pjur Backdoor Silicone Personal Lubricant is silicone-based, you can also have fun using this lube in the shower or hot tub when you’re in the mood for some steamy sex!

Learn more* about Pjur Backdoor or check pricing*.

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Best Oil-Based Anal Lube

Best Oil-Based Anal Lube

Oil-based lube is excellent for anal sex because it never dries out and is extremely moisturizing. Often made using naturally-derived oils, this type of lube is not safe to use with latex or polyisoprene condoms.

Some oil-based personal lubricants can be used as massage oil, so it’s like getting a 2-for-1 product!

We’ve only included one oil-based lube because it’s truly the best pick for anal sex. It is slippery, long-lasting, extremely hydrating, and free of unsafe ingredients.

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Best Overall: AH YES OB

Best Overall: AH YES OB

Best Overall (Oil-Based)
AH! YES OB Natural Plant-Oil Based Personal Lubricant
5.0
$21.99 (4.7 oz)

[Note: Get AH! YES OB for only $18.70, a specially negotiated discount we secured after independent review.]

[Read Our Full Review]

Pros:
  • One Of The Few Lubricants That Meets The Soil Association’s Organic Standards; Certified as 99% Organic
  • Extremely Hydrating And Long-Lasting Because It’s Oil-Based
  • Waterproof; Safe For Condoms Made From Polyurethane, Nitrile, Or Lambskin
  • No Added Flavors, Fragrances, Or Dyes
  • Great For Vaginal And Anal Sex
  • Personally Reviewed By Women’s Health Interactive
Cons:
  • Not For Use With Latex Or Polyisoprene Condoms, Dental Dams, Or Latex Diaphragms
  • Sweet Almond Oil Or Sunflower Seed Oil Could Be Allergens To Some
  • Not Safe For Oral Sex, As Its Thickness May Present A Choking Hazard
  • No Pump Dispenser So Application Can Be Messy
  • Can Stain Fabric
Bottom Line: The best in natural and organic lubricants, AH! YES OB Natural Plant-Oil Based Lubricant is an organic lubricant that you can feel good about using in more ways than one. This product is great for anyone who wants a hydrating, waterproof lubricant made with the very best ingredients.
$18.70 @ Lovehoney –> CODE: AFF-WH15 $18.70 @ AH! YES -> CODE: WHI
When you purchase a product through an affiliate link, we earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. On behalf of our entire team, thank you in advance for your support!

AH! YES Organic Plant Oil-Based Lubricant is the best of the best oil-based lubes on the market right now.

It is made with safe and hydrating ingredients that are sure to add lots of comfort and moisture to your most sensitive backdoor bits. It is thick in texture which helps to alleviate penetration-related pain.

As with all oil-based lubes, never use this one with latex or polyisoprene condoms because it breaks down their materials.

It is safe for use with those made from polyurethane, nitrile, or lambskin, although the latter offers no protection against STDs and STIs.

AH! YES OB is made with all-natural ingredients including sunflower oil, shea butter, and vitamin E.

Watch a quick video demonstration on AH! YES OB:


It soothes and heals sensitive genital tissues, which is why this particular lube is great for anal sex. It is supremely moisturizing, and since it’s oil-based, it never dries out.

As our Editor-In-Chief Alison Huff noted in her personal review of AH! YES OB:

“Initially, I was surprised at just how thick this lube was straight out of the bottle. It felt slightly grainy at first and I was a little worried about how the texture would feel when I was actually using it.

However, I found that rubbing the lube between my hands melted the oils and butters perfectly to give the product a smooth, pleasant, and very rich texture.

AH! YES OB is incredibly slippery. Surprisingly, it wasn’t greasy and once I washed it off, my skin was left feeling velvet-soft and nourished.”

This lube is also a great choice for shower or bath sex. Since oil and water don’t mix, this one will stick (and slick) where it needs to while everything else washes away.

Like many oil-based lubes, you’ll want to read through the ingredient list, particularly if you have nut allergies, because this product uses sweet almond and sunflower seed oil.

Learn more* about AH! YES OB or check pricing*.

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Why Use Anal Lube

Why Use Anal Lube Vs. Regular Lubes?

Photo Collage Of Four Anal Lubes: AH! YES OB, Sliquid Silver, Pjur Analyse Me! And Pjur Backdoor

Anal lubricants are designed specifically for anal sex, providing a thicker texture that lasts much longer compared to “regular” lubes that are best suited to other types of sex.

Since the anus doesn’t lubricate itself naturally like a vagina, anal lube adds moisture to delicate rectal tissues, easing pain during penetrative anal sex, soothing soreness, and increasing pleasure at the same time.

It also makes anal sex safer — which is important and often overlooked.

The right anal lube can lower the risk of STD and STI transmission by reducing friction and making penetration easier while preventing injury to the anus.

Lubricated condoms, although they do provide a slippery texture, may not have enough lubricant on them for extended anal sex sessions, so you’ll still want to have anal lube handy.

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Pros And Cons

Pros And Cons Of Anal Lube

Anal lube is the best choice when you’re looking for a personal lubricant that will offer a texture that provides easier and more comfortable penetration during anal sex while preventing injury to delicate anal tissues.

If you intend to explore anal play — whether during intercourse or with toys — having an appropriate anal lube on hand is non-negotiable.

Anal Lube Pros:

  • They have a texture that’s thick, allowing for comfortable anal penetration while protecting the anus from injury at the same time
  • They are long-lasting and generally require little-to-no reapplication during use
  • Some products are designed to relax anal muscles through the use of natural oils and safe ingredients, making penetration easier
  • They are waterproof if silicone-based or oil-based
  • They are compatible with all condoms if water-based or silicone-based
  • They are compatible with all sex toys if water-based
  • They are easy to clean up if water-based

Anal Lube Cons:

  • Some anal lubes contain numbing agents (although none of our recommendations do), which can potentially result in unintended anal injury during use
  • If water-based and truly pH-balanced for anal use, they are not compatible with vaginal sex, as the natural pH of the vagina (4.5) is lower than that of the anus (7-8)
  • Those made from silicone or oil will stain sheets and fabrics
  • Those made from silicone are generally not compatible with silicone sex toys
  • If oil-based, they are not compatible with condoms made from latex or polyisoprene and they will degrade sex toys made from latex, rubber, or jelly rubber
  • They are more difficult to clean up if silicone or oil-based

When Should You Use A Water-Based, Silicone, Or Oil-Based Anal Lube?

Personal lubricants are available in a variety of different formulas but they do not perform equally in every situation.

Before buying an anal lube, you should first consider the kind of sex you plan to have while using it — and whether it will involve any condoms or sex toys.

Here’s a cheat sheet for selecting the best anal lube based on how you intend to use it:

Lube Type:
Water-Based
Silicone-Based
Oil-Based
Oral Sex Yes Yes Not usually
Vaginal Sex ONLY if pH/Osmolality suitable Yes Yes
Anal Sex ONLY if pH/Osmolality suitable Yes Yes
Condom Types All All Polyurethane, nitrile and lambskin only
Sex Toy Types All All but silicone All but latex
Bath/Shower Use No Yes Yes
Does It Stain? No Yes Yes
Lube Type:
Oral Sex
Vaginal Sex
Anal Sex
Condom Types
Sex Toy Types
Bath/Shower Use
Does It Stain?

The way you intend to use an anal lube has a direct impact on the choice you should make when selecting the best one for yourself.

Not all anal lubes are compatible with condoms or sex toys, they may not be equally effective during sex in the bath or shower, and some of them will even stain your sheets or clothing.

Each of those factors is an important consideration you need to make before purchasing an anal lube.

We’ll explore every type of anal lube in descending order, beginning with those that have the greatest potential for incompatibility (oil-based) to the least (water-based).

  • Oil-based lubricant is not safe to use with latex or polyisoprene condoms because it degrades their material. It’s only safe for condoms made from polyurethane, nitrile, or lambskin, although the latter doesn’t offer protection from STDs or STIs.

That being said, if you’re having unprotected sex with a fluid bonded partner, using an oil-based lube for anal sex is a great idea since it’s extra long-lasting and highly moisturizing.

Oil-based lubes also can’t be used with latex anal toys, as they’ll degrade their materials, and they will stain your sheets. They won’t dissolve in water so if you’re using them in the bath or shower, staining won’t be an issue.

  • On the other hand, a silicone-based lubricant is safe for all condom types but it will break down silicone sex toys, such as those that might be used during pegging or other anal play. Like oils, silicone stains fabric and can also be used in the bath or shower.
  • ​​Water-based lube is the safest option when using condoms and toys because it’s compatible with all types of materials, but it can’t be used for sex in the bath or shower because water will dissolve it on contact.

Because their base ingredient is water, however, water-based lubes won’t stain fabrics.

As of the time of publication, however, there were no water-based lubes designed for anal sex that met our strict criteria. Click here to find out why.

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Anal Lube Vs. Others

How Is Anal Lube Different From Regular Lube?

Several characteristics make anal lubricants stand out from those used vaginally or orally:

  • Their pH balance should be higher, if water-based: The pH balance of water-based anal lubricants should be higher than vaginal lubes. That’s because the pH of the anus is higher than that of the vagina.
  • Their texture is thicker: Anal lubricants have a thicker consistency compared to other lubes. This adds comfort and eases pain during deep anal penetration.
  • They last longer: Anal lubes, especially those made from oil or silicone, are longer-lasting than other lubricants. With any quality anal lube, you’ll find that a little goes a LONG way.
  • They feel slicker to the touch: Anal lubes, particularly those made from silicone, typically feel extra silky and smooth to the touch. This creates more glide and reduces friction.
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How Do Anal Numbing Lubes Work

How Does Anal Numbing Or Desensitizing Lube Work?

Desensitizing or numbing lube is a controversial product among sexperts and doctors alike.

This type of lubricant is meant to numb the anus to dull pain and minimize discomfort.

That sounds good — in theory.

However, we don’t recommend using desensitizing lube because it can cause confusion with your body’s natural pain receptors and lead to injuries.

​​Dr. Justin Lehmiller is a social psychologist and the host of the Sex and Psychology Podcast and a member of our medical review board, he advised people to be very careful when using numbing lubes. He said:

“While [desensitizing lubricants] may temporarily increase comfort, too much desensitization can lead people to engage in longer or more aggressive sex than they otherwise would have, which can create a risk for injury.”

Especially during anal sex, the indication of pain is an important signal that lets our body communicate that something is wrong.

When you can’t feel an injury as it’s occurring, you won’t stop doing the activity that is causing it. In many cases, you’ll have no idea that anything is wrong until it’s way too late.

Additionally, desensitizing lube contains potentially unsafe numbing ingredients such as lidocaine or benzocaine.

These compounds can be irritating to rectal tissues and cause major discomfort, which we’ll cover in just a moment.

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Safety & What To Look For

Is Anal Lube Safe And What Should You Look For?

Photograph Of Woman Holding A Bottle Of Pjur Analyse Me! Silicone Anal Lube

There are several factors to consider when you’re looking for a quality anal lube.

In addition to seeking out a lube that is specifically designed to make anal sex enjoyable, you’ll also want to avoid harmful ingredients like glycerin, parabens, and added flavors, dyes, or fragrances that can be irritating or damaging.

Additionally, pH and osmolality are important considerations, however, these affect only water-based anal lubricants.

Unfortunately, there are none we are comfortable recommending at this time.

When considering the overall quality of an anal lube, our rigorous criteria helped us to decipher the good from the bad.

Although the performance of an anal lube is certainly important, it should always come AFTER ingredient and safety considerations.

After all, even if a lubricant works wonderfully, the way it performs is secondary if it contains dangerous chemicals or additives that can lead to irritation, infection, or anal injury.

Despite our strict criteria, we found several anal lubricants that we (and our medical review board) feel confident in recommending.

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Is Anal Lube Safe

Is Anal Lube Safe?

For the most part, yes.

When used as directed and made from body-safe ingredients that you or your partner are not allergic or sensitive to, anal lube is completely safe.

It is important to understand, however, that not all anal lubes are safe.

One thing we discovered when researching anal lubricants, much to our dismay, related specifically to water-based products being marketed for anal use.

We found several potential products that passed our criteria for safe ingredients with flying colors, however, they failed to reach the necessary pH and osmolality levels required for safe anal use.

We discuss this in far more detail below.

Before using any new anal lubricant, it’s a good idea for you and your partner to do a patch test on the inner elbow to monitor the area for potential reactions before using them during anal sex.

Additionally, anal lubricants have a shelf life of between 1 and 3 years.

  • Will Anal Sex Make Your Butt Bigger?

Anal sex will not make your butt bigger but it’s a reasonable thought.

Though the rectum does stretch during anal penetration or when using a butt plug or anal toy, it won’t permanently make your butt larger.

The use of anal lube will make anal penetration easier and much more comfortable, but you can rest assured that your butt (or anus) will not grow larger as a result.

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Safe Ingredients

What Are The Safest Ingredients For Anal Lube?

When you’re choosing an anal lubricant — or any lube, for that matter — you always want to select a product that uses the safest ingredients.

Safe anal lube ingredients include:

  • Water
  • Body-safe silicones
  • Plant-based oils
  • Vitamin E
  • Aloe vera

It’s worth it to pay a little extra attention to what’s in your anal lube because the anus is so rarely exposed to anything but its own environment.

Body-safe silicones include dimethicone and dimethicone crosspolymer, dimethiconol, cyclomethicone, cyclopentasiloxane and phenyl trimethicone.

Those words are more than a mouthful, but research has proven each of them safe in lubricants at concentrations approved by the FDA.

Particularly if you have known allergies and you’re selecting a lubricant that uses plant-based oils, you should make sure to read the ingredient list very carefully.

Many plant-based oils used in personal lubes are derived from nuts or other sources that can potentially cause allergic reactions.

Additionally, aloe vera contains natural latex.

Although quality manufacturers take steps to ensure that all of the latex is removed from the plant’s gel, it can cause a reaction in those with a latex allergy if it was not done so thoroughly.

We’ll talk about this in greater depth later on, but it’s important to select a lubricant that won’t disturb your rectal pH.

With that in mind, it’s best to go with well-known brands that use high-quality ingredients, and those derived from natural sources whenever possible.

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Unsafe Ingredients

What Anal Lube Ingredients Are Unsafe And Should Be Avoided?

Every booty deserves extra care and attention, which is why steering clear of harmful lube ingredients is essential.

Unsafe anal lube ingredients you should avoid include:

  • Glycerin
  • Parabens
  • Petroleum
  • Polyethylene Glycol
  • Benzocaine
  • Lidocaine
  • Mineral Oil
  • Added fragrances, flavors, or dyes
  • Any other ingredients you and/or your partner are allergic or sensitive to

Commonly found in Vaseline or Aquaphor, petroleum or petroleum jelly is the same compound that’s found in plastic bags and gasoline. This is definitely not something you want to use as anal lube.

A sugar alcohol commonly used in toothpaste and other household items, polyethylene glycol is high in sugar and can alter the pH of your perfectly balanced genitals and lead to infection.

Benzocaine is a numbing agent found in desensitizing lubes that can cause irritation to the skin or internal damage if you can’t feel the injury as it’s occurring.

Another numbing agent found in desensitizing lubricants, lidocaine can also lead to irritation of delicate rectal tissue and mask signs of injury during anal penetration.

Untreated mineral oil has been classified as a carcinogen and isn’t a safe ingredient in lubricant — nor should it ever be used as lube on its own.

Additional Anal Lube Ingredients To Avoid

Other ingredients that are not found in any of our top recommendations include added flavoring, fragrances, or dyes.

These ingredients can be too harsh for delicate anal skin, increasing the risk of irritation and subsequent infection.

Finally, if you or your partner have known (or suspected) allergies or sensitivities, always read the label on any anal lubricant to ensure such ingredients are not used in its formula.

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Glycerin

Why You Need A Glycerin-Free Anal Lube

Most commonly found in water-based lubricants, glycerin is used as a thickening agent in lubes and is frequently sourced from animal fats and soybean oil.

It’s not safe to use in or on your genitals because it raises osmolality, which could lead to bacterial growth and cause yeast infections and irritation.

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Parabens

Why You Need A Paraben-Free Anal Lube

Often used as preservatives for cosmetic and pharmaceutical products, methyl parabens (often known simply as parabens) are not safe to ingest and can be highly irritating to your genitals.

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pH And Osmolality

Why (And When) Anal Lube pH And Osmolality Matter

You may have heard the terms “pH” and “osmolality” before but brushed them off as being some sort of science-based mumbo-jumbo.

When it comes to water-based anal lubricants, however, pH and osmolality matter greatly.

A typical and healthy rectal pH is between 7 and 8 which means that anal lubricants should be in a higher pH range, as well, between 5.5 to 7.

The pH of vaginal lubes is generally around 4.5, however. The difference in pH might not sound like much but it is important to consider — using an anal lube with a pH that’s too low can lead to rectal irritation and possibly infection.

To ensure that you’re not throwing off the very important pH levels in your anal cavity, be sure to use a lube that is designed and marketed specifically for anal sex — one with a pH between 5.5 and 7.

Lube osmolality matters just as much as pH. Osmolality refers to the concentration of ingredients that are not water.

Lubricants that go beyond the WHO’s recommendations and standards for lube osmolality can potentially irritate your rectum and lead to irritation or infection.

As we mentioned earlier, pH and osmolality only affect lubricants that are water-based.

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FDA Approval

FDA Approval Of Personal Lubricants For Anal Sex

Personal lubricants of any type and regardless of their use during sexual activity are classified as “Class II medical devices” by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

To that end, lube manufacturers have to register their products for 510(k) clearance unless they are exempt from requiring this.

The exemption relates to the way the product is marketed and intended for use. If it is listed as a “personal moisturizer” rather than a “personal lubricant,” it is exempt from requiring 510(k) clearance.

Regardless of having the clearance or exemption, the FDA has considered the product and you can trust that it’s approved for sale in the U.S.

If you’re curious about anal lubes or other personal lubricants you own or are considering, the FDA provides a searchable database for investigating the 510(k) clearance of any lubricant.

All of our anal lubricant recommendations have either a registered 501(k) clearance certificate on file with the FDA as of this writing or were exempt from providing one.

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Why It Is Hard To Find Water-Based Anal Lube

Why Is It Hard To Find A Safe Water-Based Anal Lube?

Our list of top recommendations for anal lubes includes only products made from silicone or oil — which may leave you wondering about water-based anal lubes.

It’s no secret that our recommendations must meet very stringent requirements for inclusion because your personal safety is very important to us.

We deeply research every product before deeming it safe — or not.

The truth is that most water-based lubes contain glycerin, which eliminates the majority of products from consideration entirely.

Studies suggest that glycerin promotes yeast infections by killing good bacteria and yes — anal yeast infections are a thing.

Then, those products that don’t contain glycerin often include unsafe ingredients like guarana and ginseng, which could be irritating — so those cannot be considered, either.

The water-based anal lubes that actually pass our ingredient test must then pass the requirements for anal-safe pH and osmolality — and this is where the remaining candidates typically fail.

When anal pH is disrupted by a lube whose pH is too low and better suited for vaginal use, rectal tissue can become irritated or damaged, leaving it more prone to infection.

We performed very deep research and to our surprise and dismay, discovered that several “great” water-based lubes that are being marketed for anal sex have a low pH that is best suited to the vagina — not the anus – or osmolality readings that are inappropriate for safe consideration.

The very few remaining products that have safe ingredients, appropriate pH, and safe osmolality are either unavailable at this time or they are from new and/or unreputable companies we are still gathering information on.

For this reason, we currently do not recommend ANY water-based anal lubricants as safe but are working on finding options we trust.

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Performance

The Texture, Consistency, And Performance Of Anal Lubricants

Above all things, anal lubricants have a texture that is thicker than most other types of lube, while providing long-lasting slickness that makes anal penetration more comfortable — while preventing injury to the anus at the same time.

Depending on the formula, anal lubricants may have a thick, jelly-like consistency or one that is heavy and slippery.

Anal lubes with a water base are generally suitable for all condom types and sex toys, however, they will not withstand use in the bath or shower.

Silicone or oil-based anal lubricants perform well in wet environments so they’re excellent choices for anal play in the bath or shower, but they will stain fabrics.

There are also limitations on both in terms of compatibility with sex toys and condoms of various materials.

In general, silicone anal lubricants cannot be used with sex toys made from silicone, as the lube will degrade their material.

Most silicone lubes are compatible with all condom types.

Oil-based anal lubricants will degrade condoms made from latex or polyisoprene. Although they are safe for use with those made from nitrile, polyurethane, or lambskin, the latter does not offer STI protection.

Additionally, oil-based anal lubes cannot be used with sex toys made from latex, rubber, or jelly rubber, as they will degrade their materials.

When considering any anal lubricant’s performance, we took into account the different preferences some might have by including lubricants with varied bases and use intents — specifically with condoms or toys.

This also included formulations that would work well in water.

Our team then tested how each of our finalists performed during anal intercourse (with or without condoms, when applicable), and during clean-up to determine which anal lubes were the best.

As a result of our testing and research, we selected a variety of formulations, giving clear preference to those made from silicone or oil, as no water-based anal lubes met our criteria.

Anal Lube Alternatives: Safe (And Unsafe) Home DIY Remedies

It’s best to stick with specially formulated anal lubes for the reasons we’ve outlined, but in a pinch, there are some mostly safe home anal lube alternatives you can try.

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Conclusion

In Conclusion

Anal lube makes backdoor loving an extremely enjoyable and incredible experience — whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro.

That said, all lubes are not created equal, nor can they always be used for every type of sex you want to have.

If anal sex is on the menu, do your bum a solid and use anal lubes that are made from safe and high-quality ingredients — like those we recommended above.

Trust us, your booty will thank you for it.

Editor’s Note: This article is part of our Everything Lube hub, an in-depth and evolving resource that comprehensively explores all aspects of personal lubricants from the different types and how to use them, to ingredients and safety — created to help you achieve the sexual pleasure you deserve.

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