How to Choose a Lubricant

How to Choose a Lubricant

How to Choose a Lubricant

By Dr. Laura Berman, creator of


Using lubricants is an easy way to maximize your pleasure during sex. They can make sexual activity more slippery, sensual, and fun, so use them when exploring the world of sex toys or trying to add a little twist to your sex routine, or as a quick remedy for vaginal dryness.


It’s important to find a lubricant that’s right for you, though, since they can interfere with certain contraceptives and sex toys. It can be confusing, given all the brands out there, but fortunately all lubricants can be grouped into three categories: water-based, silicone-based, and oil-based. Any lubricant can cause irritation, so be sure to test it on a small part of the inner labia first. Wash the area with mild soap if you develop a burning sensation or topical irritation, then try another lubricant when the irritation clears up.


Here’s the lowdown on lubricants:


Water-based lubricants: These all-purpose lubes are the most common ones, since they’re safe to use with sex toys and latex contraceptives like condoms, diaphragms, and sponges. They’re easy to clean up and are formulated to be nonirritating, though some contain glycerin, which can cause yeast infections. They do dry up easily, but water or saliva can quickly remedy this. Some good water-based lubricants include K-Y Ultra Gel (which has a “warming” version) and Liquid Silk.

Flavoured, edible water-based lubricants are also popular and fun, though they often contain yeast-encouraging sugar and glycerin. Silicone-based lubricants: These lubricants last longer than water-based ones. They can’t be used with silicone sex toys because of silicone-on-silicone reactions, but you can use them with latex contraceptives and sex toys not made of silicone.

Two great brands (that double as sensual massage oils) are Pjur Woman Bodyglide and Überlube. Keep in mind that some women are easily irritated by silicone, so test it out first. Also, silicone-based lubricants are harder to wash off bedding and clothing and are more expensive than water-based ones. Oil-based lubricants: Common oil-based lubes include Vaseline and vitamin E oil.

These lubricants can be great for hand jobs, but they are not considered safe for use with latex products or rubber toys, as they can break down the latex. They might therefore be more appealing to people in monogamous relationships who don’t use condoms or other latex contraceptives. They’re also very messy and difficult to clean up because of their thick texture. If you want to try vitamin E oil, check with your partner first, as many people are allergic to it.


Now that you know the basics, go ahead and experiment with different lubricants to find one that works for you — a little lube can go a long way toward enhancing your sex play.

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