Hon, can we talk about lube? Okay, the correct name is “personal lubricant” but we’ll just call it lube. I’ve researched lube but frankly, it gets into some serious chemistry quickly and I never did like chemistry. Except the kind between people! Why do I love lube? Simple: it makes sex better. So this post is some fact, and a lot of opinion, about lovely lubes.

Jump to the “A Few Notes from my Bed” section.

THE THREE CATEGORIES OF LUBE

Water-based. This is what I have used most of my sexual life. Water-based lubes don’t cost a lot. But during sex, a water-based lube is absorbed in the skin and evaporates, leaving behind that familiar tacky residue. To reapply three or four times during sex is a pain. If you are going to use toys or condoms, water-based lube is recommended. Water-based lube is a breeze to wash off your body and your sheets. I prefer a gel consistency to a thinner liquid; it’s easier to get a glob in the right place!

Silicone-based. These lubes don’t contain water and are often made with fewer than four ingredients. I like them for sex since they last longer and feel “slicker”, and I don’t have to stop and reapply. However, you can’t use silicone lubes with toys as they may damage the surface over time which allows bacteria to grow – yuck! Silicone-based lubes are waterproof, in case you need that property, and are more expensive than water-based. Treat them in the laundry like any oil stain, or place a big beach towel on the sheets when messy sex is going to occur (which is what I do).

Oil-based. Baby oil or petroleum jelly both sound like a logical lube options but do NOT use them on your privates or your toys. These petroleum-based products can promote vaginal infections and break down a latex condom–two huge reasons in my book to reserve baby oil for massage only. (Remember the beach towel? Yeah, you’re going to need that.) It’s also difficult to wash off of you and your sheets, and breaks down the material toys are made of. Even if a lube is made from plant-based oils, like coconut oil, the lube still has the same drawbacks as petroleum-based products.

Place a big beach towel on the sheets when messy sex is going to occur.

VARIATIONS ON THE LUBE THEME

Natural and Certified Organic. Yes, this is a thing now. My vagina told me she doesn’t care about organic lube and she’s the boss, after all. But considering the use of lube, I am unconvinced that natural or organic elements are even relevant. You are going to pay more for natural plant extracts and related ingredients, and the marketing behind them.

Hypoallergenic and For Sensitive Skin. If you have used a lube and then had irritation, you might try a product that is formulated for sensitive skin. But if it were me, I would do some research first to find out what is in that product that my skin doesn’t like.

Warming. This is my hands-down favorite! The warming effect, called thermoception, is due to sugar-based ingredients, often glycerol. The drawback, again, is that there is a slightly increased risk of vaginal infection, and even a water-based product has a higher price. But I adore the way the gel slowly warms with friction and time. You may not. Personal preference.

I adore the way warming gel slowly heats up gently with friction and time.

Cooling. Lubes with cooling properties usually contain peppermint or menthol. To me, cooling lube feels like a menthol lip balm on the wrong pair of lips. You can combine “his and hers” warming and cooling lubes, which I also deemed a complete failure when I tried it and pretty clever marketing. But maybe it does work for some couples?

pH Balanced. Keeping the ecosystem that is the vagina at the right pH is important. If you are concerned about not upsetting your pH, use silicone-based lubes. If you are very concerned about pH, or are trying to conceive, do the research yourself to find a suitable lube. Don’t trust every label that is trying to market its wares to you without stating what it really means by pH balanced.

Flavored or Edible. I don’t want to eat lube. I have never liked any of the flavors I’ve tried. The idea is that whatever you are doing with your mouth will be more palatable. If you like the taste and smell of edible lubes, go for it. I prefer my partner’s taste, and flavored lube has always seemed…out of place! So throw away the body candy, take a steamy shower with your partner, and enjoy sex au naturale.

DON’T FORGET THE OLD STANDBY…

Saliva. In a pinch, saliva is great–readily available, no questionable additives, cheap, and easy to access if you need to reapply (if you are a spit-making machine, that is). But saliva dries out quickly, which is why it’s never been my first choice.

A FEW NOTES FROM MY BED

  • Lube has a lot of advantages. With it, sex is more comfortable for both women and men. In fact, a well-lubricated penis prevents damage or abrasion to both the vagina and penis. Want to potentially intensify pleasure while making an erection last longer? Use lube.

    Want to potentially intensify sexual pleasure? Use lube.

  • Lube is not just for intercourse! It can be used during masturbation, foreplay or when you are unable to have penetrative sex.
  • Now that I’m over 50, I have found that if I use just a dab down there (okay, a big dab) before sex, my physical arousal increases. Maybe it’s a mind-body connection. “I’m wet? Hmmm, time to get wetter!”
  • If you go on vacation with your partner, remember to bring lube, and make sure the tube is not empty. (Been there, done that.)
  • I keep my lube is on my table by the bed or even between the bed pillows, because I’m over the “Hold that erection, I need to go get….” situation. I want it available ASAP.

Jump back to the “The Three Categories of Lube” section.

The internet has many good articles about lube. I like this one because it spells out lube ingredients:
https://www.condomdepot.com/condom-information/whats-in-my-lube/