Let's Talk All Things Lube
When it comes to lubricant, there's often a stigma, as if folks should feel embarrassed for using it. But there's nothing wrong with reaching for lube in the bedroom, and there's no reason to experience shame.
Personal lube is designed to reduce friction or irritation during sex. While most vaginas self-lubricate when aroused, it's sometimes helpful (and fun!) to use an artificial formula to enhance sexual pleasure and reduce possible discomfort from penetration.
For anal sex, lube is important for several reasons. The anus doesn't produce its own lubricant, so any type of play will likely feel painful without it. Additionally, lubed-up anal penetration reduces the risk of abrasions, which minimizes (but not eliminates) the risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
Types of lube
Depending on what you're planning to do in the bedroom, there are several different kinds and formulas of lube. Generally, there are four types you should be considering: water, silicone, oil and hybrid.
If you're looking to add some extra glide in your vagina, lubrication made from water is a safe bet. The most versatile option, water-based lubes can be used in any sexual situation and are safe to use with both latex and non-latex condoms. They also work with silicone toys, which is an added bonus.
Planning on a longer sexual session? Then silicone is your gal, thanks to its long-lasting formula, which requires less reapplication than water-based lubes. Though it's a bit more difficult to wash off after sex, silicone is hypoallergenic, so fewer people are likely to experience an allergic reaction than they would with other artificial lubes. It's not encouraged to use these lubes in tandem with silicone toys, but you still can use them on glass, plastic or steel.
Most ideal for masturbation or penetrative sex, oil lubricants shouldn't be used with condoms because they increase the likelihood of tearing. They're also associated with a higher risk for infections, but they can double up as a fun massage oil for chill, sensual nights with your partner.
A hybrid lube is mostly water-based but includes just a little silicone. Unlike silicone lubes, you can use a hybrid lube—also known as “silk lubes”—with silicone toys. You'll like it because it washes off like a water-based lube, but you don't have to keep reapplying it, thanks to the tiny amount of silicone.
No matter what lube you choose, you might want to avoid ingredients such as glycerin, nonoxynol-9, petroleum, propylene glycol and chlorhexidine gluconate, which can cause irritation and possible infections. Just spend a little more time in the lubricant aisle and read the ingredients.
If you find yourself experiencing adverse symptoms following your use of lube, visit a medical professional.