Lube is the greatest. If you think you only need it to help with penetration, let us enlighten you: Lubricants can make all kinds of sex and masturbation feel even better. You can reach for lube to make hand jobs extra slippery, pair it with a sex toy, or use it during anal sex, since your anus doesn’t self-lubricate. To figure out which lube to choose, here’s a quick rundown of some fabulous options—as well as expert picks.
What should you consider when shopping for lube?
Choose your lube based on what you want to use it for. Water-based lube is perhaps the most versatile formula, as it’s great for almost all types of sex and is compatible with most toys and condoms. It usually comes in a thin, slippery liquid or gel form. One downside is that water-based lube tends to get sticky as the water evaporates during use, so it needs frequent reapplication—you can remedy any tackiness by adding a few drops of water to refresh it. If you’re especially prone to yeast infections, make sure that your water-based lube doesn’t have glycerin in it. This ingredient is a byproduct of sugar, which may alter vaginal pH by producing an overgrowth of yeast—leading to infection.
According to the experts we spoke to, silicone-based lube is an excellent choice for anal sex and hand jobs because it’s longer-lasting than water-based and less absorbent (requiring fewer reapplications). Crucially, however, this kind of lube should never be used with silicone sex toys or condoms because it can degrade their material.
Lastly, there are oil-based lubes like coconut oil, baby oil, and petroleum jelly, which are popular because of how easily accessible and cheap they are. But oil can cause latex condoms to break—and petroleum jelly can potentially lead to vaginal infection, so if you do opt for oil, use it with a latex-free condom like this option from Skyn ($6).
The best lubes
Below, we’ve rounded up the best lubes according to experts and shoppers.
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