It’s wet, slippery, and found in most stores that sell toiletries and personal items...that’s right, it’s lube! Lube, short for lubrication, is a slick gel used to enhance pleasure, reduce pain, and make sex and masturbation more enjoyable. Lube can aid in penetration, reduce friction, and, in some cases, intensify sensations, making sex and masturbation safer and more fun! It can be used during any sexual practice and is absolutely necessary for anal play since, unlike the vagina, the anus does not self lubricate. Lube is characterized by the base, or major ingredient of the lube, and each type has specific characteristics and uses. It is important to pick the type of lube that best fits your desires and practices, so below are short summaries of the characteristics and uses of water-based, silicone-based, oil-based and hybrid lube.
Water-based lube is the most popular and most widely available because it is versatile and can be used for most sexual practices. Water-based lube can be used with toys made of any material and can be safely used on any part of the body. It is easy on the skin, easy to wash , and won’t stain sheets or clothing. For these reasons, water-based lube is the most common and most often recommended type of lube, especially if you engage in a variety of sexual practices or are unsure what kind of lube to get. The major drawbacks of water-based lube are that it doesn’t last as long as silicone or oil-based lube and is not best for use in water, because it washes away.
Silicone-based lube lasts longer than water-based lube and is slicker, causing less friction. It is waterproof, making it a good choice for use in the shower or other water environments. However, because it is waterproof, silicone-based lube requires both soap and water to clean, meaning clean up can be more difficult and take longer. Silicone-based lube SHOULD NOT be used with silicone toys because the silicone in the lube will breakdown the silicone in the toy, both shortening the life of the toy and opening up the toy to bacteria.
Oil-based lube is best for anal and penis play because it is slippery and extremely long lasting. It is not recommended for vaginal use because it has higher rates of inflection than water-based or silicone-based lube. Oil-based lube also stains easily and requires both soap and water to clean. Most importantly, oil-based lube should NOT be used with condoms or any other latex or rubber products because it breaks them down and decreases their effectiveness. Oil-based lube is the most limited on its uses, so it is the least recommended and hardest to find, but may be available at shops that cater to anal and penis play.
Hybrid lube is any mixture of the types of lube listed above. Most hybrid lube is a mixture of water-based and silicone-based lube and is longer lasting than water-based but easier to clean up than silicone-based. Hybrid lube is still not recommended for use with silicone toys because even a decreased amount of silicone can break down the toy.