I resisted using lube for years. I believed all those stories about women only needing lube when they got old, hit menopause, were too “dried up”, and should just hang up their sex lives. I also heard plenty of “jokes” about Astroglide and KY for anal sex, usually as an affront to straight men’s sexuality and a slam against gay and bi men. As far as male masturbation was concerned, if hand lotion was good for hands, it was also good for hand jobs.
That was up until the late 1990’s. Things and attitudes have changed since then. So have the number and types of personal lubricants on the market. Fifteen years later, I am now a lube enthusiast and believe that there’s no such thing as one all-purpose lube.
First of all, lube makes penetrative sex so much more enjoyable. It can take up to 20 minutes for a woman to get adequately naturally lubricated, if at all, regardless of age. Who wants to wait that long? Think of sex as being like an amusement ride and lube as what makes the motors and rails whir, spin and race. For me, a dime-size drop of lube gives me an almost instant jump start to get my own juices flowing. I wish I never held out on using lube for as long as I did. What a difference!
Lube also protects skin and internal tissues from chafing and abrasions, which can lead to soreness or infections and the vaginal pain that sometimes comes along with sex. No one wants to sit out on the sidelines because of infections and injuries. That’s so un-sexy for you and your partner.
Now that I’ve sold you on lube, here are some brief explanations of the different kinds, what they do, how they’re used, and the pros and cons. It may look like an overwhelming list of things to take in, but it will help you make informed choices.
Silicone lubes usually hold out for the entire ride from foreplay to climax. They usually stay on the surface of the skin and mucous membranes without soaking in, allowing you and/or your partner to enjoy all forms of slippery sex play without having to reapply and cut into spontaneity.
However, the benefits of silicone lubes come with deterrents for some people. They require some soap and water clean up to get them off your skin and can leave stains on fabrics if they drip. They also can damage silicone and Cyberskin sex toys.
Water-based Lubes – For Sex Toys and Anal Sex, Too
Personally, I prefer water-based lubes, and there are some quality water-based lubes that perform on par with silicone lubes. I love water-based lubes for sex and masturbating with my fingers. They usually don’t require immediate cleanup, if any at all, on skin and don’t stain fabrics.
Water-based lubes are my default lubes for sex toys since silicone lubes run the risk of deteriorating silicone skins on sex toys. There are several water-based sex toy lubes that have a gel-like consistency so that they stay on the toy and won’t drip all over the place. They’re great for sex and masturbation as well since the extra glycerin gives them extra gliding power.
There are also a lot of water-based anal lubes, which are formulated very similarly as sex toy lubes, as well. Gel consistency anal lubes give a nice cush to the push in the tush.
I can’t stress enough that lube is mandatory for anal sex and anal sex toy play. The rectum has no natural lubricant and can be prone to abrasions that could get easily infected or be an open invitation for sexually transmitted infections to run rampant.
But water-based lubes aren’t without their drawbacks. Most water-based lubes require reapplication, which can be distracting in the middle of sex or masturbation. Some can be really watery, runny and drip all over the place.
Oil-Based and Moisturizing Lubes
For women who have issues with vaginal dryness or dry skin, there are some water-based cream and lotion-textured lubes as well as oil-based lubes. While I know some people are wild about oil-based lubes, especially coconut oil, I find that there are too many drawbacks.
1. Oils are messy. They rub off on sheets and clothing. If you spill oil straight onto fabric, cleaning stains is a pain in the ass, if not impossible depending on the fabric, especially 100% cotton.
2. Oil-based lubes are not recommended for use with condoms. Oil runs the risk of breaking down latex.
3. Oils used in oil-based lubes are mostly food products and will go rancid after time.
Vegan, Natural & Preservative-Free Lubes
I also take heed at using vegan and organic lubes, as well. It may sound like a great thing to be all-natural, preservative-free and paraben-free (is a common skin care preservative), but preservatives serve a purpose. They inhibit bacteria growth that may occur from spoilage or bacteria contamination. To me, the remote possibility of the “may be harmful” risks of preservatives (primarily parabens) far outweigh the weightier likelihood of infections that could be brought on by spoilage and contamination. The preservatives that are used in lubes are similar to the ones used in other skin, beauty and cosmetic products. Plus, the average lube user isn’t using as nearly as much lube or using it as often as they do lotions, creams, soaps and shampoos.
Generally speaking, I’ve found that a lot of these lubes don’t perform very well. I’ve only tried one that I consider to be excellent. The others ranged from so-so to absolutely useless.
You’ve probably heard about hybrid lubes. They’re water-based lubes with a touch of silicone to help keep them going for the long haul. Some of them claim to be safe for sex toys, but personally, I don’t take the risk.
Warming & Cooling Lubes
When it comes to giving my sweetie a hand job, I hate the thought of putting cold lube on his warm shaft. (He says it doesn’t bother him but I remember the cold shock of jelly on my belly from the many ultrasound scans I had when I was pregnant.) That’s why I love warming lubes. It’s amazing how a few little drops of warming lube can give any kind of stroking a man prefers an additional pleasing sensation that feels like being swaddled and caressed in a warm blanket. At least that’s how my lover describes it. Sometimes, just blowing on a warming lube (as well as cooling lubes) can heighten the temperature effect. They’re a great way to put some extra fun in your sexy time.
I’m a big, huge fan of flavored lubes. They’re lots of fun for oral sex and can instinctively bring on some mad oral sex skills you never thought you had. There’s no magic ingredient that makes that happen. Just think about what your mouth and tongue do when you eat flavorful food. Certain flavors increase salivation, make you pucker, and spring your tongue into action.
However, I must warn that flavored lubes are very hit or miss. Some can be really nasty tasting even if they’re flavors you think you’ll like. Get informed about buying flavored lubes. Read reviews and try out some samples at sex toy stores.
Speaking of sampling, keep in mind that price and reputations are not always indicators of quality of and performance. I’ve tried several “quality” lubes that are backed by marketing hype that many sex-savvy thought leaders, bloggers and reviewers load with praise. There’s even a lot of variability between different lubes made by the same company. If you’re new to lubes, visit a sex toy shop and try out testers or ask for or purchase sample packets.
Since skin on and inside the genitals is much thinner and delicate than on most other parts of the body and sex and masturbation are far from delicate activities, you should look for skin-beneficial ingredients. Aloe vera and Vitamin E are excellent for repairing and rejuvenating skin. Ginseng and guarana stimulate blood flow for heightened sensual sensations.
You’ve probably gotten the picture that there’s really no such thing as a single all-purpose lube. I like to think of lubes as sex toys in a bottle. They are by no means an aid for women who are sexually lacking. Anything but. They’re for women and men who don’t just have sex, they have great sex!