Everything You Wanted To Know About Lube*
*But were afraid to ask
In case you didn't notice, lube is having a moment. From new brands like Sustain marketing personal lubricants on Instagram to Astroglide's recent billboard in the epicenter of New York City, the best sexual enhancement secret is out and with it comes a virtual smorgasbord of options. There's even a new weed-infused infused personal lubricant hitting the market.
But let's back up. Why use lube at all? "Using lube during sex reduces friction for numerous types of sexual activity including masturbation, anal sex, vaginal sex, oral sex, or sex with sex toys," sexuality educator Kim Airs tells Elite Daily. The greased-up action allows for enhanced movement and a smoother, silkier ride—no matter what type you're on.
If it's so good, you'd imagine everyone would have a tube in their nightstand, but the stigma surrounding the product has deterred many from stocking up. "When it comes to lube, the biggest misunderstanding is that there needs to be something wrong with you in order to need it," suggests Airs.
"Some women are too embarrassed to request it," Katy Zvolerin, director of public relations for the adult toy retailer Adam & Eve, tells Vox. "Some men (and I've heard this quite often) feel that if their partner isn't producing enough natural lubricant, there's something wrong with her or the relationship."
In fact, vaginal dryness doesn't always signal a lack of attraction. Everything from contraceptives to menstrual cycles can vary your production of vaginal fluid. It's totally natural, normal and nothing to be ashamed about. And it certainly doesn't mean you should have less-than-awesome sex because of it. Moreover, lube is more than a supplement, it's an enhancer that can make already great sex even better.
If you're sold on lube, you may already be Googling products to buy—and that's where the real sex ed comes into play. There are a plethora of offerings out there, but the trick is finding one that's right for you. To point you in the right direction, here are some answers to frequently asked questions about every kind of lube under the sun.
What kind of lube is safe to use with condoms?
Lubricants that are safest to use with condoms are water-based, silicone-based or a hybrid of the two. All three types of lubricants stave off condom-related dryness without compromising the latex. Water-based products are easy to wash off and usually thinner in consistency than silicon brands, but they tend to lose their slickness quicker and don't work well when you're in the water. Silicone-based products have smoother, thicker texture and tend to last longer, but they're a bit messier on your sheets.
What are 'silk' lubricants?
Silk lubes are also known as hybrids because they contain both water and silicone. They are safe to use with both condoms and silicone toys.
Wait, I can use lube with sex toys?
Yes you can and should give it a whirl for added enhancement. But, skip the silicone lube as its properties tend to deteriorate the silicone in your toys. Instead, try water-based, silks or an all natural oil-based product like olive or coconut oil.
Is coconut oil really safe to use as a personal lubricant?
It depends. Oil-based lubricants can deteriorate the latex in condoms and leave you unprotected mid-act—so don't use these types of lubes if your protection is made of rubber. Still, coconut oil has it's benefits. It can be a better choice than some water-based lubricants that contain glycerin and parabens, which can cause irritation and raise certain health concerns. It also doesn't smell artificial, like some preservative-heavy products. "Coconut oil is antibacterial, anti-fungal, and extremely moisturizing," sexologist Emily Morse, D.H.S., tells Glamour. "It's free of any added chemical or toxins, making it seem like the ideal choice for women with allergies or sensitive skin." At the same time, those antibacterial properties in coconut oil can lead to yeast infections for some women. If that's the case, leave the coconut oil in the kitchen and out of the bedroom.
Are there any organic lubes on the market?
There are indeed, and if your skin and nether-regions are particularly sensitive, these lubes are your best bet. Sliquid Organics makes hybrid products that are glycerin- and paraben-free. The folks at Health Magazine also recommend Good Clean Fun Personal Lubricant, which is made with herbs and vanilla and is "free of proplylene glycol, parabens, synthetic fragrance and other petrochemicals."
What's the deal with warming lubes?
These super-stimulating lubes are designed to increase blood flow and amp up the sensation. The key ingredient is usually glycerol or capsaicin, which is also found in hot chilies. Some people swear by them, others find the feeling too intense. It's also possible to have an allergic reaction, so read the ingredients carefully, opt for organic versions, like Blossom Warming Lubricant sold at CVS, and start with the slightest dab.
"There is likely no lube that will be perfect for every user," Carol Queen, staff sexologist at Good Vibrations, tells New York Magazine. "As with food sensitivities, some lubricant ingredients just don't agree with everyone's body chemistry." On the flip side, when you find the right lubricant it can absolutely improve your sex life—whether you're flying solo or sharing the experience with someone else. Either way, your body will thank you.