This is one of the fun pieces of research I’ve had to write about ever 😉
For as long as I remember, lube has been thought of as most useful for those of us heading towards a time of life and any of us who are anal enthusiasts. Not so! Lube is rebranding, it’s for everyone and designed for every sex act and dare I say it’s lubulicious fun.
Let’s talk about vaginas, they are self-cleaning and self-lubricating and yes, as we grow older our natural lubricating fluids reduce. If uninitiated or unaware, it’s somewhat inevitable that sooner or later a tube of KY will be found lurking close to the bed because it’s not like we are 21 forever – or is it!
Of course, we are, so the first rule for old or young, if your vagina is dry or your partner is dry, use lube!
Now to modern-day, we have toys, we use fingers, we have more than one passage so where does lube fit and how does it work for us and when best to use it. From water-based, oil, silicone, organic, flavoured and stimulating it can be a confusing world and there are several things to consider. Not all lubes are suitable for every situation, so the following is a brief rundown on some of the pros and cons.
Generally, water-based lube is suitable for vaginal sex with condoms, it is unlikely to mess up the pH levels needed to maintain a healthy vagina. It will not damage condoms or toys. But in my opinion water-based lube does not have the staying power of other options. I find it tends to dry and needs to be reapplied frequently.
If you are among us that enjoy more than a brief roll around in the sheets you may find that a more lasting, and I would say, a natural-feeling solution is required. On the plus side, water-based lube is easy to wash off and for a rather brief play maybe alone, it has its merits.
Tip: if you are the kind of person that does get quite dry and feels a little awkward reminding your partner, a fun game to try is setting a timer, every time the buzzer rings, reapply.
A step up from water-based varieties when it comes to staying power but be aware that oil degrades latex and silicone toys when the surface of toys is degraded, they become less sanitary so risks of upsetting the natural balance of bacteria.
And get this, a very good friend told me that playing with her partner their oil eventually eroded the latex holding beads together – imagine the panic!
So if you have toys or use condoms (polyurethane condoms are an exception), oil-based lube is a serious no go. As with any fluid, be aware that an oil-based lube might upset the pH balance of vaginal passage and slight risks of irritation or UTI.
On the plus side, oil is so much fun and organic coconut oil is my go-to, it feels great, my partner enjoys it, it tastes great and, vaginal or anal, it does what it says on the tin.. well actually a tub of organic coconut oil has nothing on the label about sex but it should.
While coconut has become our staple purchase, olive, groundnut, or any oil work, and when the tub runs out, I have used them all. There is also mineral oil, I don’t use mineral oils and with coconut and other natural oils available and relatively inexpensive, I rather steer clear of mineral oils.
A word of caution, natural oils will not destroy bedding but maybe watch your 1000 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets. Lastly boys and girls please don’t forget the bonus of natural oils as being excellent when used as a massage oil to be enjoyed, before, during, and after!
Previously, and before switching to coconut oil, we had been advocates of silicone-based lube and still use it with toys. Silicone-based lubes are certainly the slipperiest on the list and recommended for all your anal fantasies, they will not degrade your latex condoms, work well for that hot shower sex, and a tip: you can fill a small travel-sized shampoo bottle with silicone lube and keep among your bottles discreetly) many silicone-based lubes do not contain potentially irritating glycols or glycerine but there is a downside.
Silicone is hard to remove from surfaces and it can not be easily washed off. If you find yourself gliding across your wooden floor in socks the morning after it’s not because you are walking on air, its a silicone lube spill! It can also damage some silicone toys as the silicone will harden on the surface.
These will heat desired areas by increasing sensation and stimulate the genitals with the intent of heightening the orgasm.
The main warming ingredient in stimulating lubes is glycerol which can be irritating for some so worth using only a little. Also, others may find the stimulating effect a bit too much, some varieties can last for 20 min while others much longer.
This is the one lube In the list that I’ve not yet experimented with myself.
I think it’s fairly self-explanatory what the intended purpose is for these is. I must say there is such a wide variety of flavours available and the formulas have come such a long way since the first conception they are now actually delicious, so much so that I remember recently my best friend confessed that she had gone through a whole bottle of Crème Brulee, just licking it off her finger.
These are typically water-based so you can use with condoms and with toys.
So now you all know a little more about the wonderful world of lube! I recommend trialing a few, chatting with your friends about which you find the best in each category.
I am Gillian Myhill, Founder of Bare dating and relationship and sex expert. I see myself as an explorer of personal and sexual freedom.