Can You Use Precum As Lube Or For Anal Sex?

You can use precum as lube for vaginal or oral sex but it’s not a good choice for anal. It also might not be ideal because of STI, pregnancy, and other concerns.
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Updated:July 2023

Yes, you can use precum as lube for vaginal or oral sex, although it may not be safe in every circumstance, and it generally isn’t a good choice for anal penetration.

Here’s why:

  • Precum is a completely natural, body-produced lubricant. Because of this, however, it’s available only in limited amounts and may not provide adequate lubrication for anal sex or in some cases, vaginal penetration during long sex sessions.
  • Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can be passed between partners through precum during oral, vaginal, or anal sex.
  • Although semen (cum) carries far higher quantities, precum may contain sperm cells that can result in unintended pregnancy when birth control isn’t being used.

Precum can be a safe lube alternative for some people in certain circumstances, but there are many things to consider before using it.

Editor’s Note: This article is part of our Lube Alternatives and Everything Lube hubs, in-depth and evolving resources that comprehensively explore 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.

Things To Know
In this article, we’re going to cover everything you need to know about using precum as a personal lubricant, including:

Can You Use Precum As Lube?

You can — and it might be safe — but there are serious considerations to think about before you do.

Here’s what you need to know about using precum as lube:

  • Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can be passed through precum during any type of sex — oral, vaginal, or anal.
  • Precum may carry sperm cells that can result in unintended pregnancy if condoms, diaphragms, or other birth control aren’t being used. The risk for pregnancy is, of course, much higher when using semen (cum) as lube because the average ejaculate contains almost 100 million sperm.
  • There is a limited supply of precum, so it may not provide adequate lubrication during sex — especially when it comes to anal penetration. The same holds true for vaginal penetration during lengthy sex sessions.

As with using other bodily fluids as lube — including saliva or semen — precum carries significant risk.

One study found that 37% of pre-ejaculate samples contained motile sperm — those capable of resulting in pregnancy if birth control isn’t used.

Without the ability to lab-test precum, it is impossible to know whether it contains live sperm cells.

Additionally, precum is a bodily fluid that can carry sexually transmitted infections (STIs), which can be passed between partners when used as lube.

This can happen even if using condoms since any precum used as lube is applied to the outside of the condom before penetration occurs.

If you’re not concerned about unintended pregnancy or STIs, precum — also known as “pre-ejaculate” — can be a lube alternative, but it might not be the best choice if you’re looking for something long-lasting.

Despite precum acting as a naturally occurring lubricant, men don’t have any control over how much precum they produce.

Not being able to feel when they’re experiencing pre-ejaculation also adds to the wild card and unpredictability factor, making it difficult to tell when there’s enough lubrication.

Whenever possible, it’s better to buy a personal lubricant formulated for the kind of sex you’re having, or select a body-safe lube alternative.

Can You Use Precum As A Vaginal Lube?

Because pre-ejaculate operates as a natural, body-produced lubricant, it stands to reason that you can use precum for lube during vaginal sex if it is safe for you to do so.

It is possible to contract an STI and/or get pregnant if using precum as lube.

Studies have shown that although the initial secretion of precum from a man’s Cowper’s gland does not contain sperm, by the time it exits through the tip of the penis, sperm may be present.

In that study, active sperm were found in 37% of pre-ejaculate samples, meaning that there’s more than a 1-in-3 chance that precum will contain live sperm.

Additionally, precum exists for the sole purpose of neutralizing the acidity of a woman’s vagina to make it more suitable for sperm to thrive.

Beyond the risk of pregnancy, STIs can be passed between partners through precum. If this is a concern or if either partner is unsure of their STI status, it’s best avoided.

As we mentioned earlier, precum is a bodily fluid that’s available only in limited supply, which may not be adequate during lengthy sex sessions.

For this reason, using quality lube products guarantees the ability to use as little or as much as you need — right when you need it.

Can You Use Precum As Anal Lube?

Not really.

Precum as anal lube can work momentarily but the biggest drawback is that it isn’t likely to be long-lasting.

In general, anal sex requires a lot of lubrication to prevent friction and discomfort, along with the potential risk of damage to delicate anal tissue.

Chances are good that someone with a penis wouldn’t be able to produce an adequate amount of pre-ejaculate to get the job done properly.

Although pregnancy isn’t a possibility with anal sex, getting an STI certainly is.

Using precum as anal lube can put the partner on the receiving end at risk so if either partner is unsure of their STI status, your best bet is to pair a condom with a reputable lube formulated for anal penetration.

If that isn’t an option, select a body-safe anal lube alternative, instead.

What Is Precum Made From And Is It Safe?

Precum is a natural, alkaline bodily fluid that contains enzymes and mucus.

Biologically speaking, its purpose is to facilitate impregnation.

In layman’s terms, however, pre-ejaculate is made to encourage pregnancy by creating an ideal environment for sperm to do its thing and it also doubles as a lubricant to facilitate penetration.

Because the vagina is more acidic, the alkalinity of precum temporarily raises the pH level of the vagina in preparation for sperm, which is best supported by a more alkaline environment.

What’s important to note is that pre-ejaculate (precum) and ejaculate (sperm) are not the same.

Seminal fluid changes in phases as it progresses from pre-ejaculate to ejaculate.

When precum is first made in the Copwer’s glands [click for diagram], it doesn’t contain any sperm at all.

However, since precum typically presents itself once a penis is erect and stimulation begins, it can become “contaminated” with sperm as it leaves the tip of the penis.

As a result, it’s a form of natural lubricant that may contain some sperm, which is a concern for those wishing to avoid unintended pregnancy.

Although the chances are low, sperm cells in precum can result in pregnancy.

What Are Better Lube Alternatives To Precum?

Instead of using precum as lube, formulated personal lubricant is a much more reliable and safer alternative.

Understanding the common types, their uses, and benefits is a great way to ensure your sexual escapades will be pleasurable, long-lasting and worry-free.

Below are some of the most common types available on the market:

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

Lube Type:
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?

There is a personal lubricant for every preference and situation.

Having trouble deciding?

Our in-depth lube guide can help point you in the right direction or you can take our lube quiz to find your perfect match.

Let’s take a look at the most popular forms of personal lubricants and how they can make a big difference in your sex life.

  • Water-Based Lubricants

When in doubt, water-based lubricants are a great alternative to using precum as lube for several reasons.

With its excellent glide and smooth feel, it comes pretty darn close to a person’s natural lubrication — in general, it doesn’t feel like you’re using lube.

Additionally, water-based lubes are ideal for use with any sex toy material and all forms of contraception.

Most are also safe enough to be ingested, with many made to be edible. Additionally, flavored lubricants can help to improve the taste of precum during oral sex if that is a concern.

One of the few downsides is that reapplication is usually required. And due to the water base of the formula, this type of lube cannot be used in the bath or shower, since it’ll rinse away easily.

Interested in taking a water-based lube for a test drive? Check out our picks for the safest and best water-based personal lubricants.

  • Silicone-Based Lubricants

One major reason silicone-based lubes are popular is the fact that they’re formulated to be long-lasting — that means less frequency with reapplication — unlike their water-based counterparts.

While this type of personal lube is friendly for use with contraception, it is important to note that you should never use silicone lube with silicone sex toys.

Silicone-based lubricants tend to have a silky, thick feel that’s luxurious on the skin, with some even formulated to serve double duty for massage.

If you’re trying to decide between water-based and silicone-based lubes, there are a few things to consider.

The same thick and silky texture mentioned above might feel foreign to some since it isn’t made to feel at all like the body’s natural lubrication.

However, because this type of lube is heavier and more viscous, it serves as a great choice for anal sex.

Want to know which silicone-based lubes are worth testing? Check out the ones we’ve researched, reviewed, and ranked.

  • Oil-Based Lubricants

Oil-based personal lubes are made from natural and/or organic ingredients that are safe for anal or vaginal sex.

Those with allergies will want to pay special attention to the ingredient labels on these types of products, as they may include blends containing tree nut oils.

When in doubt, consult a doctor if you’re unsure about whether a specific oil-based lube product is safe for you.

One of the biggest advantages oil-based lubricants have over water and silicone versions are that they tend to last longer and are considered a more “natural” option for those searching for products with fewer chemicals.

Of course, “natural” means something different to every company but as long as you read all labels carefully, it shouldn’t be too difficult to find a product best suited to your needs and preferences.

However, oil-based lubes should not be used with latex or polyisoprene condoms or diaphragms, nor with sex toys made from latex or jelly rubber.

They should also not be used with dental dams.

In fact, most oil-based lubricants shouldn’t be ingested or used for oral sex because their thick texture can present a choking hazard.

Additionally, oil-based lubes can stain sheets and other fabrics so it’s important to be considerate of where you’re planning on using this product.

Are you intrigued enough to want to try an oil-based lube? We’ve compiled our favorite oil-based personal lubricants just for you.

  • Natural And Organic Lubricants

Natural and organic personal lubes encompass a wide variety of water-based or oil-based body-safe products for vaginal or anal sex.

Similar to what’s been mentioned above for oil-based lubes, some natural and organic products might contain nut-based oils or other potential allergens.

When browsing through items that fall under this category, reading the ingredient labels is important to reduce any risk of accidental allergic reactions.

Lucky for you, we’ve done the hard work by researching and ranking the safest and best natural and organic lubes available for purchase right now.

Are There Any Safe Home Lube Alternatives?

In a bind and need lube fast?

Common lube alternatives that can be found around the house include:

Remember: Oil-based lube alternatives shouldn’t be used with latex or polyisoprene condoms, diaphragms, or dental dams.

To avoid a potentially irritating reaction, do a patch test on your inner elbow first and monitor the area before diving in and using it for lubrication purposes.

Our Top Lube Recommendations

After researching hundreds of personal lubricants — and personally testing dozens of them ourselves — we have found the very best lubes of each type, vetted by our team and recommended for their safety and performance.

Editor's Note: When you purchase a product via an affiliate link (*) on our site, we earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. On behalf of our entire team, thank you in advance for your support!

Bottom Line: 

If it isn’t safe for you (or your partner) to cum inside due to worries over STIs or pregnancy, you probably shouldn’t use precum as lube.

Turning to trusted personal lubricant products will keep sex play going strong — and safely.

Regardless of which type you end up choosing, always ensure that what you’re buying is compatible with you, your sex toys, and your preferred method(s) or pregnancy protection and STI precautions.

If you’re not sure what type of lube you need, take our lube quiz to find out!

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