Everything Lube: Your Complete Guide To Personal Lubricants

From understanding which personal lubricant is the best for various sexual activities, to lube ingredients and safety, we cover everything you need to know.
Photograph Of Two Women Sitting Together With A Selection Of Personal Lubricants Nearby
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Updated:July 2023

When it comes to sex — or solo masturbation sessions — wetter really is better.

When you’re staring at a seemingly endless array of lubes in the drugstore or online, however, you might begin to feel totally lost.

What’s the best lube for anal or vaginal sex? What kind of lubes work with latex condoms? Are there ingredients I should avoid? What the heck is a tingling lube?

Don’t worry — we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about personal lubes, share some of our favorites along the way, and help you pick the right lube for every occasion!

We’ve created a comprehensive, ever-evolving resource where you’ll learn about specific types of lubricants, what they’re made from, what they’re best for, and how to use them safely.

Over time, we’ll be adding more articles, reviews, and resources crafted by folks who are truly invested in your sexual health.

To get started, just keep scrolling!

Article Summary:

Personal lubricant is a great addition to sex or masturbation but there are many different types — each with their own unique ingredients and purpose.

This guide is a starting point — a “hub” or directory — on everything related to lube.

In this guide, we’ll cover:

Lube Quiz: How To Choose The Right Personal Lubricant

Are you in a hurry and just want to figure out which lube is right for you? Take our quiz and get a personalized recommendation in about a minute.

What Is Personal Lubricant And Why Do People Use Lube?

Photograph Of Personal Lube Dripping Downward Toward Open Hand

The real question is why wouldn’t you use lube?

Personal lubricant is a product that people often use during sex and masturbation to provide, well, lubrication!

To be fair, a lot of people don’t realize how amazing lubes can be. Some folks believe the pervasive myth that needing a personal lubricant means that something’s wrong — which is totally not the case!

The benefits of using lube include:

  • Decreasing friction and/or pain during penetrative vaginal sex, which can also reduce the risk of irritation or injury
  • Alleviating vaginal dryness brought on by hormonal imbalances like menopause or pregnancy, or as a side effect of certain medications
  • Providing lubrication when your mind is turned on but your body hasn’t produced enough of its own natural lubricant
  • Enhancing pleasure during masturbation or sex by providing a more slippery surface texture
  • Making anal sex much more comfortable while lowering the risk of injury

Let me start by saying that a person is not “broken” in any way if they need to use lube during sex or masturbation.

Lubes can be used during just about any sexual situation. Many people even use hydrating lubricants as daily vaginal moisturizers like Aloe Cadabra — and that is completely normal.

Lubes are often used for solo play, with sex toys including dildos or vibrators, and with partners.

Regardless of the reason why one person uses lube, I’m here to tell you that tons of folks all over the world are using lubricants, too.

Roughly 49.9 million Americans use personal lubricants and about 89% of those in the LGBT community say they use personal lubes regularly.

Every lube is different, and while some of them feel ultra-lightweight, others are thick and viscous.

Depending on their formula, lubricants may offer different benefits, but all high-quality lubes should ultimately make sex or masturbation more comfortable by limiting friction to reduce the rubbing or chafing that often comes with skin-to-skin (or skin-to-toy) contact.

However, while mystery can be fun in the bedroom, you don’t want to just slather a random lubricant on yourself and hope it’s the right choice for your particular situation — this stuff goes on your privates, after all.

So let’s begin by exploring the categories of personal lubricants and what they do.

Curious about which lube is best for you? Take our quiz to find out!

What Are The Different Types Of Lube?

Lubes come in many different forms, but the majority of them can be categorized as water-based, silicone-based, or oil-based, each with their unique pros and cons.

Let’s take a closer look at each.

  • Water-Based Personal Lubricants

Water-based lubes are the workhorses of the lube world.

They’re lightweight, they work with latex condoms and dental dams, they’re compatible with silicone sex toys, and you can find them just about everywhere.

As their name suggests, water-based lubricants are made using water-soluble ingredients, meaning that they will dissolve in water.

For this reason, water-based lubes are not a good choice for shower sex or bathtub masturbation, as the water will completely dissolve the lubricant.

Still, water-based lubricants have got a lot going for them and they’re often the first choice for “lube virgins” thanks to their versatility.

Water-based lubes are easily re-activated with (a little) water or saliva, they don’t stain and they’re a breeze to clean up, and some of them are even designed to enhance oral sex!

Finally, as with most lubes, there are certain ingredients and preservatives you should look out for when choosing a water-based lube that we’ll go over later.

→ Learn about the best water-based lubes personally curated by Gena Gephart.

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  • Silicone-Based Personal Lubricants

A silicone lubricant is crafted using a synthetic polymer made from silicon (heated silica), oxygen, carbon, and hydrogen.

If you’re frightened by those chemical terms, don’t be. Silicone is considered to be safe as long as it’s being used appropriately.

That said, there are certain ingredients you’ll want to watch out for — in any type of lube — and we’ll talk about those in just a bit.

Silicone personal lubricants typically have a thick texture and they’re designed to last for a long time — making them a good choice for marathon sex sessions when you don’t want to reapply more product.

In fact, they last longer than water-based lubes and they’re ideal for folks with sensitive skin.

Unlike water-based lubes, silicone personal lubricants are waterproof and won’t rinse away easily with plain water, so if you want to have a sensual sesh in the shower, they’re a perfect choice.

Additionally, they’re safe for use with latex condoms.

One important thing to note is that you shouldn’t use silicone lubes with your favorite silicone toys, since the two don’t play well together, as we’ll talk about more later on.

Though they’re not quite as popular as water-based lubes, you will certainly have lots of options when looking for a silicone-based lube.

→ Learn about the best silicone-based lubes personally curated by Gena Gephart.

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  • Oil-Based Personal Lubricants

Oil-based lubricants are exactly what they sound like: personal lubes made from oils.

An oil-based lube is typically made using natural oils that are often derived from plants or other organic sources, however, they can sometimes include synthetic oils or other common lube ingredients like vitamin E.

What many people likely don’t realize is that oil-based lubricants are as long-lasting as those made from silicone — and they’re equally as waterproof.

Oil-based lubes can be used during masturbation, vaginal sex, anal sex, and shower sex, plus they can be used with most high-quality sex toys.

The one major downside to oil-based lubricants — and it’s a big one — is their incompatibility with most condoms.

Unfortunately, oil-based lubes will break down condoms that are made from latex and most other materials. The only two exceptions are lambskin condoms, which won’t protect you from STIs or STDs, and condoms made from polyurethane.

Additionally, oil-based lubes — just like most oils in general — can and do stain fabrics.

That said, if you’re not concerned with staining your sheets and don’t plan to use condoms, oil-based lubes are a great choice thanks to their incredible versatility.

→ Learn about the best oil-based lubes personally curated by Emily Deaton.

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  • Hybrid Personal Lubricants

Hybrid lubricants are usually a mixture of silicone-based and water-based lubricants.

While these lubes are often long-lasting and fairly lightweight, you might be better off sticking with a strictly silicone-based lube or water-based lube, depending on your situation.

Hybrid lubricants tend to stain fabric and can’t be used with silicone toys, so if either of those things is a concern, you’ll want to skip them.

Since hybrid lubricants mix common ingredients from both silicone-based and water-based lubes, they’re likely to have long lists of ingredients — which can be a real problem if you have sensitive skin.

Plus, hybrid lubes are much less common than other types of lubricants, so being picky — and, trust me, you want to be picky when it comes to what you’re slathering on your bits — isn’t really an option.

That said, most cum lubes — those that are designed to mimic realistic semen — are typically water and silicone-based hybrids.

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  • Flavored, Edible, Sensitizing, And Numbing Personal Lubricants:

Beyond the basic categories of lubricants we’ve talked about so far — water-based, silicone-based, oil-based, and hybrid — there are some lubes that offer specific features to enhance sex even more.

If you’re looking for something to sweeten the deal, for instance, an edible or flavored lube can make oral sex a delicious treat.

If you want to experience new sensations, it’s also worth looking into sensitizing lubes that create warming, cooling, icy-hot, or tingling effects on your skin.

You’ll want to be careful and use sensitizing lubes as directed — and that means likely not using them for oral sex.

After all, you don’t want to drool on your partner or fumble over your words during foreplay because a cooling lube made your lips and tongue numb!

Speaking of numbing…desensitizing or numbing lubes do exist, but we don’t recommend them.

Numbing lubes, which are often used for anal sex, put you at risk of receiving an injury because you can’t feel yourself getting hurt — especially during penetrative sex that’s hard or fast.

However, with so many types of amazing lubes available, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding something that feels amazing and helps turn you on.

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Are Lubes The Same Thing As Vaginal Moisturizers?

While some lubes — but not all of them — can double as vaginal moisturizers, all vaginal moisturizers are not lube.

Unlike personal lubricants, which are normally gel-like or oily, vaginal moisturizers come in a variety of forms — from balms to creams. There are even insertables that claim to help reduce vaginal dryness.

Ingredients in vaginal moisturizers can be pretty similar to those found in lube, but vaginal moisturizers often have a texture that’s a little richer and creamier compared to most personal lubricants.

It’s also important to remember that lubes are specifically created to reduce friction, last for a long period of time, and in some instances, work well with sex toys.

On the other hand, vaginal moisturizers are specifically made just to hydrate your sensitive skin.

Sure, they might incidentally lessen friction and hopefully they last a relatively long period of time, but they very well might not be compatible with latex condoms or dental dams, and many aren’t made to be used with sex toys.

One obnoxiously irritating difference I’ve noticed between lubes and vaginal moisturizers is that vaginal moisturizers can be much, much pricier than lubricants.

When I see a personal lubricant that uses similar ingredients that’s also priced 75% less than the vaginal moisturizer…well, I’m gonna go with the lube and save my coin.

If you’re interested in using a hydrating lube that doubles as a vaginal moisturizer, first consider if you need the product to be compatible with condoms or dental dams.

Since oil-based lubes break down latex dental dams and condoms, you’ll likely want to use a water-based lube instead if that’s a concern.

If you don’t need a lube that’s compatible with condoms or dental dams and don’t mind if your lube stains fabric, then oil-based lubes may be a great option for long-lasting moisture.

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Can You Use Lube When Trying To Get Pregnant?

Using a lube when trying to conceive can make the act of conception a lot more enjoyable and let’s be real, even though sex can result in procreation, you should definitely enjoy it, too!

However, you won’t want to use just any lube when trying to conceive, as some personal lubes definitely won’t help your chances of conceiving and in some cases, can actually hinder them.

One study performed an in-vitro analysis to explore the way that different lubes affected the vitality and motility of sperm, discovering that some products appeared to have a negative effect on sperm function.

When it comes to lubes for conception, you’ll want to avoid using silicone or oil-based lubes and stick with a water-based lube that’s made specifically to help you conceive.

Generally, lubes that are created to aid in conception include hydroxyethylcellulose.

The Mayo Clinic advises that folks who are trying to conceive a child should choose a personal lubricant that is hydroxyethylcellulose-based because “these lubricants don’t decrease sperm motility and are the most like natural vaginal mucus.”

This ingredient is sometimes found in water-based lubes, including a few on our current best of list.

You’ll always want to be careful, however, because some lubricants that include hydroxyethylcellulose may be listed as “sperm-friendly” or “safe to use when trying to conceive” — but they may also include parabens, which is an ingredient to avoid.

Additionally, lube can be used during pregnancy as long as it is made from safe ingredients.

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Household Items As Lube — Are They Safe?

If you’re in a pinch and desperately need lube but don’t feel like going out to the store, there are a few items in your home that you might be able to use as a lube alternative or as part of a homemade DIY lube recipe.

Before grabbing the nearest liquidy substance, though, make sure you’re not using the following:

  • Baby oil or mineral oil
  • Vaseline or petroleum jelly/petroleum jelly products
  • Vegetable oil or canola oil
  • Essential oils
  • Lotion

Even though some of these products might sound like a good idea, you’re way better off using a safer alternative.

Baby oil, mineral oil, Aquaphor, Vaseline and petroleum jelly products, vegetable oil, canola oil, and essential oils aren’t made for the delicate skin on and around your genitals — and all of these break down latex and polyisoprene condoms and dental dams.

These oily products also might increase your risk of infections, such as bacterial vaginosis, which can cause itching, a burning sensation when you pee, and general discomfort.

And even though it is safe for babies’ skin, baby oil should never be used as lube. Likewise, you’ll want to skip using olive oil as lube — although it’s not entirely unsafe, its purity is not regulated and it can also increase your risk of infections.

Lotion as lube might sound like a good idea because of its moisturizing properties, however, it can be made from a wide variety of different ingredients that can irritate your vagina or anus — even if it is formulated for sensitive skin.

Similarly, things like shampoo, conditioner, vegetable glycerin, and many other substances should be avoided as lubricants, entirely.

So, what should you use instead?

Some folks swear by plain, unsweetened yogurt, which can be safe for vaginal or oral sex in certain circumstances — but not always.

If you don’t need to use a condom or dental dam, you might try extra virgin coconut oil. It’s edible, moisturizing, and you probably have it in your pantry right now.

Of course, you’ll want to make sure you get unrefined coconut oil to avoid any extra ingredients that could irritate your vag.

Otherwise, aloe vera gel is an awesome natural ingredient that is lightweight, hydrating, and compatible with latex condoms and dental dams! Aloe can be safely used in the vagina, as well as on the vulva and anus (externally).

A quick caveat about aloe vera gel: as great as it is, you should avoid it if you’re allergic to latex.

Aloe vera naturally contains latex, so just make sure to be mindful of any allergies before using it, or any other ingredients, as lube.

If you’re ready to try it out, just remove the aloe gel from the leaf or check out a nearby drugstore to buy 100% pure aloe vera gel, and you’re good to go!

Bottom Line: Lubricants are available in water-based, silicone-based, oil-based, and hybrid formulas and some offer additional perks like flavoring or unique sensations. Using lube isn’t just for certain types of people — it’s for everyone! There are some major benefits to using lube, and some lubes even double as vaginal moisturizers. Knowing the different types of lubricant available in stores, and potentially even in your home, can help you find the lube of your dreams.

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Common Personal Lubricant Ingredients And Their Safety

Collage Of Lube Ingredients: Aloe, Oil, Water, Vitamin E

I don’t know about you, but if I’m going to be putting something anywhere near my genitals, I want to know that it’s totally safe.

After all, lube is used on our most sensitive areas and some personal lubricants are used internally — so you really don’t want to skimp on quality and you’ll want to know what your lube is made from.

Before generously applying any lube to your bits, you’ll want to make sure to do a patch test on your skin to make sure you’re not sensitive to the ingredients.

But speaking of lubricant ingredients, let’s explore which ones are often found in the best lubes, their safety, and the ones you should avoid.

What Are The Most Common Personal Lubricant Ingredients?

If you read the ingredient labels on a bunch of different lubes at the drugstore, you might find a lot of recurring substances listed.

After all, while the formulas will vary between products, many personal lubricants will use similar ingredients.

Ingredients commonly used in personal lubricants:

So, which of these ingredients are wonderful and which should you avoid?

Let’s take a closer look.

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Which Personal Lubricant Ingredients Should Be Avoided?

Glycerin, petroleum jelly, parabens, and in some instances, added fragrances, flavors, and dyes all fall onto the “things-that-shouldn’t-touch-your vagina” list.

Let’s break down each one.

  • Glycerin:

Glycerin is a no-go because it can cause dryness and irritation, but more than that, it can contribute to yeast infections.

Almost anyone with a vulva can tell you that a yeast infection is an absolute pain in the ass to deal with, so avoiding anything that causes them is a smart move.

Additionally, glycerin raises the osmolality of the lubricant itself, which could lead to genital or anal irritation, and possibly even infection.

  • Petroleum Jelly:

Speaking of butts, a lot of people believe that using Vaseline or petroleum jelly products is a good idea for anal sex. Although it can soothe irritation from hemorrhoids externally on the anus, it really shouldn’t be used on the vulva, vagina or inside the anus.

You might think petroleum jelly would be a thick, soft lube alternative, but trust me — the only things that come from using petroleum jelly as lube are a sticky, gummy mess, broken condoms or dental dams, potential infections, and sadness.

  • Parabens:

Though you might be used to hearing about paraben-free shampoos and conditioners, parabens are in a surprising number of personal lubricants.

While there’s debate around whether or not parabens are also endocrine-disruptors, avoiding questionable ingredients like this one is a good idea.

  • Added Fragrances, Flavors, And Dyes:

When it comes to additional fragrances, flavors, and dyes, things get a little bit tricky.

While synthetic ingredients can be pretty harsh sometimes, there are natural ingredients that are sometimes added to give lubes a mild but pleasant scent or taste, as in the case of Aloe Cadabra — which is one of our top recommended and safest lubes.

Just because something’s natural doesn’t necessarily mean it’s safe, though.

Dyes should never really be in your lube.

If you do want to go for a lube that has a bit of fragrance or flavor, look for organic, food-grade ingredients.

Also note that if a lube is edible and has flavoring, it could be irritating if you have sensitive skin — so be sure to patch test the product first before applying it to your nethers.

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Which Personal Lubricant Ingredients Are The Safest?

Now that we’ve covered the worst of the worst, let’s look at the best of the best ingredients found in personal lubricants.

Water is a common ingredient in water-based lubes and it’s generally the very first one listed on the label. Water is entirely safe, although it shouldn’t be used as a lubricant by itself.

Safe silicones include dimethicone, dimethicone crosspolymer, dimethiconol, cyclomethicone, cyclopentasiloxane, and phenyl trimethicone.

Those words might sound scary, but silicones such as those listed above are quite safe when used in lubricants because they’re not absorbed by the skin and are used in concentrations approved by the FDA.

Oils, specifically plant-based oils, can be amazing for your skin (provided you don’t have allergies to them, of course — always do a patch test)!

Rich in antioxidants, lubricants that use plant-based oils such as argan oil, coconut oil, grapeseed oil, and almond oil — all of which are safe as lube alternatives on their own — can make your skin feel soft and silky while also giving your lube a nice slip.

Vitamin E is also a great lube alternative and ingredient that is sometimes included in formulated lubricants.

A body-safe ingredient, Vitamin E generally doesn’t weigh down a lube or make it feel heavy or greasy, yet it still moisturizes your skin and leaves your skin feeling supple.

Finally, aloe vera gel or juice is another great ingredient found in some lubes. Since aloe vera is water-based, it won’t cause issues with latex condoms or dental dams, and will also offer your skin a boost of hydration.

At the end of the day, there are way too many amazing lubricants out there for you to be risking your health using a toxic lube with questionable ingredients!

When you know what to look for, you can make sure to only use the best lubes by yourself, with a partner, and with your toys.

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Why Does The pH And Osmolality Of Personal Lubricants Matter?

When it comes to water-based lubricants, talking about numbers related to pH and osmolality might not seem sexy, but trust me, both are incredibly important.

  • Why A Lube’s pH Is Important

Ranging from 0 to 14, pH measures how acidic or basic an aqueous (water-based) substance is.

So, why does pH matter when it comes to personal lubricant?

Well, lubes that don’t match your vagina’s pH (or your anus’ pH, depending on how you’re using the lube) can not only boost your risk of infection, but can actually cause damage to your vaginal or anal tissue.

With so many good water-based lubes out there, there’s no reason you should use a product that’s going to leave your vag or anus feeling as fragile and dry as tissue paper!

Instead, stick to a lube that closely matches your vaginal pH — which shouldn’t exceed 4.5 .

When seeking a lube to match your anus’ pH, which is more netural, lubes for anal sex that are water-based can safely range from 5.5 to 7.

Why A Lube’s Osmolality Is Important

Osmolality, which is a measurement of how much one substance is dissolved into another water-based substance, is also important for similar reasons.

A lube that’s hyperosmolar (meaning a lube that has an osmolality that’s too high) pulls water from your tissues, which can make your skin feel itchy and irritated.

That’s not the worst part, though.

A hyperosmolar lube can also cause tissue damage and even increase your risk for contracting HIV.

Basically, you’re better off using spit compared to using a lube that doesn’t match your body’s osmolality, also known as being iso-osmotic.

The World Health Organization (WHO) suggests that the ideal lube should have an osmolality of less than 380 mOsm/kg.

However, since so many lubes exceed this range, the WHO ultimately recommends lubes with an osmolality of less than 1200 mOsm/kg.

Since oil-based and silicone-based lubes aren’t aqueous, pH and osmolality aren’t factors that you’ll need to consider with either type.

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What Does It Mean If A Lube Is Natural, Organic Or Hypoallergenic?

If you’re someone who really wants to use a “clean” lube, it’s important to know that some of the terms you might think signify a lubricant as being “safe” can actually mean a whole lot of nothing!

For example, the term “natural” doesn’t have one singular definition, so just because a product says it’s natural on the label doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll meet your standards.

One company may say their lube is “natural” if just 25% of the ingredients are derived from nature, while others may have much higher standards.

This is why it’s so important to understand which lubricant ingredients are safe — and which ones aren’t.

The term “organic,” however, is thankfully more reliable and regulated.

If a lube is labeled as “organic” or has the USDA Organic Seal, then 95% of the ingredients used in the personal lubricant must be organic.

There’s a whole lot of regulation involved in this designation, from the production, labeling, and handling, all the way through the actual certification process.

Of course, just because something is natural or organic doesn’t mean it’ll work perfectly for you, especially depending on your wants and needs.

Another important term you should be aware of when it comes to natural and organic lubes is the term “hypoallergenic.”

If you have sensitive skin, or even if you just want to protect your privates, you might think hypoallergenic lubes are the way to go, and while they can be great, that’s not always the case.

According to the FDA, “[Hypoallergenic] means whatever a particular company wants it to be.”

Scary, right? Basically, a company can use the term just to sell products without ever proving their claim to anyone.

Ultimately, natural and organic lubes are usually great options — just make sure to know what you’re looking for before you buy!

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Are Ingredients In White Label Lubes As Safe As Those In Private Labels?

The term “white label” means a product isn’t associated with a private brand name or company.

Many white label products are generic or “store brand” products, but that doesn’t mean that a larger, private-labeled company didn’t make them — it just means that a specific brand name isn’t associated with that product.

So, can you trust the “generic” or white label lubes?

Honestly, there’s not a universal answer, which means you’ll have to take the time and look at the ingredients before you can know for sure if a white label lube has safe ingredients.

Just because a lube is white label doesn’t inherently mean you shouldn’t trust it — you might be getting a nearly identical product to a pricier lubricant!

Before you buy, though, take a few seconds to check the ingredients.

Bottom Line: Knowing what’s in your lube really matters, and the difference of a few ingredients can turn what could’ve been a great lube into something you want to toss in the trash. In addition to knowing your ingredients, understanding what pH and osmolality levels a quality water-based lube should have can help you avoid some misfortune. If you don’t want to waste money on lube, consider looking at white label lubricants; you could get a bargain for an amazing product if you know what to look for!

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What Is The Best Type Of Lube For Sex Toys?

Close Up Photograph Of A Hand Holding Purple Sex Toy Covered In Lube

In order to determine what lube to use with your sex toys, you need to look at both the toy’s material and the lube you’re considering, as well as how you intend to use both.

Even if you feel like your body produces enough natural lubrication on its own, using lube with a sex toy can make your experience so much more pleasurable.

And when it comes to using anal toys, such as those you might play with during pegging, lube is absolutely something you can’t skip out on since your anus isn’t self-lubricating.

Here’s a quick lube + toy safety cheat sheet, listing the safest personal lubricant options for different toy materials:

  • Silicone Sex Toys: safest with water-based, oil-based lube
  • ABS Plastic Sex Toys: safest with water-based, oil-based, silicone-based lube
  • Rubber Sex Toys: safest with water-based, silicone-based lube
  • Metal Sex Toys: safest with water-based, oil-based, silicone-based lube
  • Glass Sex Toys: safest with water-based, oil-based, silicone-based lube

So, for example, if you’re using a silicone vibrator or dildo, you shouldn’t use a silicone lubricant because it’ll degrade the toy’s material.

Water-based lubes are safe for silicone toys, but if you have a waterproof silicone egg vibrator you’d like to take into the shower, a water-based lube won’t work for you.

In that case, you’d choose an oil-based lube because it’s both silicone and water-play friendly.

Similarly, if your favorite toy is made from rubber, you should avoid using an oil-based lubricant because it will break down the toy’s material — you’re better off going with either a silicone or water-based lube.

Bottom Line: In order to determine what lube to use with your toy, you need to consider the toy’s material, the lube’s base ingredients, and how you’ll be using the toy. Certain lube types do not pair well with toys made from specific materials and in some cases, a lubricant can degrade a toy’s material. The right lube with the right toy, however, can be a match made in heaven.

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→Trying to figure out which lube is right for you? Take our quiz and get a personalized recommendation in about a minute.

Best Types Of Lube For Sex

Photograph Of Couple's Entwined Hand With Their Bodies Blurred In The Background

While there’s no one best lube ever” and everyone will have their own preferences based on their needs and desires, there are several lubricants that are the top in their respective categories depending on their use.

  • What Are The Best Types Of Lubes For Oral Sex?

For oral sex, you’ll want to use a lube that is edible, although it’s important to note that not all edible lubes are flavored.

If you’re looking for something super flavorful, make sure you’re using a lube that specifically says it’s flavored, not just edible — otherwise, you might be in for a disappointing surprise when you taste your lube!

One edible lube we highly recommend is Aloe Cadabra Personal Moisturizer & Lubricant.

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  • What Are The Best Types Of Lube For Vaginal Sex?

If you don’t need a latex condom, you can use an oil-based lube. These are super moisturizing and luxurious, and they’re great for anyone dealing with vaginal dryness or struggling with vaginal penetration.

Our favorite oil-based personal lubricant is AH! YES OB, which we personally tested and reviewed!

If you need to use a latex condom, though, your choices are limited to silicone-based lubes and water-based lubes only.

Silicone-based lubes are long-lasting and they’re great for people with sensitive skin. A high-quality silicone-based product like Pjur Original Silicone Personal Lubricant is a great option.

Finally, water-based lubes are solid options when you need something compatible with condoms and dental dams.

There’s a wide variety of water-based lubes to choose from, but some of the best are Aloe Cadabra and AH! YES WB.

Vaginal lubricants are easy to apply — no matter which type you reach for.

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  • What Are The Best Types Of Lube For Anal Sex?

When it comes to backdoor explorin’, you need a lube that’s super slick and also hydrating during anal sex or pegging.

This is non-negotiable. It is not safe to have anal sex without lube.

There are some potentially safe anal lube alternatives that’ll work in a pinch, but we recommend anal lubes specially formulated for the activity.

A great option if you’re using a latex condom during anal sex is a silicone-based product because they generally have a thicker consistency and offer more cushion for the pushin’.

Our top choices for silicone-based lubes for anal sex are Pjur Original Silicone Lubricant and Sliquid Silver, as they both have a thick texture that lasts a long time.

You can use a water-based lubricant, but you’ll want to choose one that offers a heavier consistency, as many water-based lubes have a more lightweight texture.

Sliquid Naturals H20 is a great choice for a water-based lube for anal sex, thanks to its higher pH level that more closely matches normal anal pH.

If you’re going without a condom, an oil-based option like AH! YES OB is a great choice to go through the backdoor.

As we mentioned earlier, lubes that decrease sensation can increase your risk of injury during penetrative anal sex because you can’t feel yourself getting hurt if or when it happens.

Still, we understand that there are times when you might want to select a numbing lubricant to help make anal sex easier.

Although we don’t endorse the use of numbing lubes in general, Pjur Backdoor Glide is a safe option that relaxes your anal sphincter but doesn’t fully numb it.

This product is the safest one we found through our heavy research into the topic of desensitizing and numbing lubricants.

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  • What Are The Best Types Of Lube For Shower Or Water Sex?

If you need a lube that’s both waterproof and compatible with a latex condom or dental dam, then a slippery silicone lube is best.

Pjur Original Silicone Lubricant (formerly known as “Bodyglide”) is one of the best silicone lubricants available. 

However, if you want some extra hydration and don’t need to use a condom, a slick, moisturizing oil-based lube is a great choice.

One of the best oil-based lubes out there is AH! YES OB, which our team personally tested and reviewed.

Bottom Line: The best type of lube is the lube that consistently works well with your body, your toys, your partner(s), any accessories like condoms or dental dams, and feels silky and soft. Finding your favorite lube can take a little time — but testing them out can be pretty enjoyable, especially when you’re using a toy or with a partner. At the end of the day, you can’t go wrong with a lube that’s made with high-quality ingredients that are proven to perform well and feel like a wet dream.

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Tips For Using Lube Safely And Effectively

Photograph Of Woman Holding Anal Toy In One Hand And Bottle Of Lube In The Other

So, you have a lube that works well with your body and it feels amazing — but you have some questions about the best way to use it.

Instead of randomly guessing, we’ll cover some no-nonsense tips to get the most out of your lube.

  • How Do You Know You Are Using Enough Lube?

If masturbating, using a toy, or having sex doesn’t cause any sort of discomfort, you’re probably using enough.

On the other hand, if you start to feel heat from the friction of your skin rubbing against your partner’s body or from using your toy, then you might want to reapply or use a bit more lubricant.

  • Do Personal Lubricants Have Any Side Effects?

A safe lubricant shouldn’t have any long-lasting side effects when used as directed, but if you use a sensitizing lube or a numbing lube, you might have a few short-term side effects.

For example, if you use a tingling or cooling lube, you might still feel the sensation for up to half an hour after using it.

If you’re sensitive or allergic to an ingredient in a lubricant, you might also experience itching, dryness, or general discomfort.

One of the best ways to avoid these side effects is to patch test a lube before using it for the first time.

Lube can burn — but it doesn’t have to if you use the right one.

  • How Long Can You Use A Bottle Of Lube After Opening It?

Some lubes last longer than others and natural or organic lubes may not last quite as long due to a lack of preservatives. One of the best ways to know for sure is to check the expiration date on the bottle.

Lubes do expire but most will last at least a year, with some products lasting longer than that after they’ve been opened.

If you notice that your lube starts to smell weird, becomes discolored, or if the texture or consistency turns from slick and slippery to gummy and gluey, it’s probably time to toss it.

  • Which Types Of Lubes Are Safe To Use With Condoms And Dental Dams?

Water-based lubricants are generally going to be the very best choice for condoms and dental dams, as they won’t break down their materials and can be used for both penetrative and oral sex.

Silicone-based lubes are safe to use with latex condoms and that’s an especially important quality if you’re having anal sex, as silicone personal lubricants offer a thicker and more cushiony feel.

Oil-based lubes are not compatible with most condoms, aside from lambskin and polyurethane, and they can’t be used with dental dams, either.

  • Is It Safe To Swallow Lube?

If you happen to swallow a bit of water-based or silicone-based lube, you shouldn’t have any problems — such lubes are safe to swallow — though you shouldn’t go out of your way to chug them, either.

However, you’ll want to avoid swallowing oil-based lubes since they are thick and can cause choking; if you’re into that sort of thing, there are safer ways to go about it.

Bottom Line: Using a lube in a safe and effective way can take a bit of practice, but it’s totally worth the effort! Ultimately, the best way to use lube is in a way that is safe and that makes you sigh — or scream — in pleasure.

In Conclusion

Some people might not absolutely need lube, but it’s sort of like saying you don’t need hot fudge on a sundae — sure, you could go without it, but it’s going to be so much better with it!

Personal lubricants can drastically improve your sex life and also have the potential to affect your sexual health — for better or for worse.

Even though finding a high-quality product that works for you and your preferences can seem a little daunting at first, you’ll never want to go without lubes once you try them.

So, what’re you waiting for? Squirt out your favorite lube — or try experimenting with a new one — and get ready to slip and slide into bliss.