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Choosing a Lubricant

SEX EDUCATION: Choosing a Lubricant 

So what is a personal lubricant? Very simply, it is a substance designed for  intimate  encounters that reduces genital friction by making surfaces slippery. Sexual lubricants can increase sexual pleasure both with and without a condom, relieve vaginal dryness, and prevent condom tearing.

Okay, that’s the technical definition, but what kinds are there and how do I choose? To make it easy, we have grouped the personal lubricants into 6 categories:

  • Water-based Lubricants
  • Flavored Lubricants
  • Silicone-based Lubricants
  • Oil-based Lubricants
  • Warming & Cooling Lubricants
  • Hybrid (H2O + Silicone)
  • Anal Sex Lubricants

Water-based Lubricants

Water-based personal lubricants can be used for all types of intimate encounters including vaginal intercourse, anal intercourse, oral sex, and masturbation. They are also latex condom and toy compatible.

Pros:
Reactivate with a few drops of water, latex compatible, typically don’t stain unless color has been added, thicker and more slippery than silicone lubricants, & cleans up with soap and water.

Cons:
Not compatible with sex acts in water and may contain glycerin. Some water based lubricants contain glycerin, an ingredient that turns into sugar in the vagina causing yeast infections in sensitive women.

Flavored Lubricants

Flavored Lubricants are water-based and are designed for oral sex. Most contain sugar or glycerin that turns into sugar in the vagina so we do not recommend them for vaginal intercourse unless it is sugar free.

Pros:
Adds flavor and fun to oral sex, reactivates with a few drops of water, latex compatible, doesn’t stain unless color has been added, and cleans up with soap and water.

Cons:
May contain sugar or glycerin that can cause yeast infections in sensitive women.

Silicone-based Lubricants

Silicone based lubricants can be used for all types of intimate encounters including vaginal intercourse, anal intercourse, masturbation, and massage. They are latex condom compatible and can be used with non-silicone adult toys. Ingesting silicone lubricant is not harmful, but may result in an upset stomach.

Pros:
Always slippery and never tacky feeling, a little goes a long way so your bottle will last a long time, doesn’t dry out and need reactivating, isn’t water soluble so it is great for ”water play”, is inert so it won’t change the pH levels in your body (that means no yeast infections), and washes away with soap and water.

Cons:
Makes all surfaces it comes in contact with slippery so be careful in the tub, is not compatible with silicone and realistic skin feel toys, and may leave oily residue on sheets but it will wash out.

Oil Based Lubricants

Oil lubricants are only recommended for male masturbation and non-genital massage because they cause bacteria growth in the vagina and possibly the anus and are not condom compatible. They are made out of medical grade mineral oil or petroleum or natural plant oil extracts.

Pros:
Slippery and slick feeling, never sticky, and can also be used as a moisturizer.

Cons:
Stains sheets and other fabric surfaces, difficult to clean up, and is not safe for use with condoms, adult toys, or for vaginal sex.

Warming and Cooling Lubricants

Warming and cooling lubricants are designed to add excitement to oral sex, massage, and masturbation. When they are blown on or rubbed, they create a warming or cooling feeling depending on the product. They can be used for vaginal intercourse and anal intercourse, but it is possible that some individuals may experience an uncomfortable or excessive warming sensation. If this occurs, wash off immediately. They are also toy and latex condom compatible.

Pros:
Simple way to add excitement to your sex life and to sensual massage, condom and toy compatible, easy to clean up, and non-staining unless color has been added.

Cons:
May contain glycerin and/or ingredients that certain individuals are sensitive to.

Anal Sex Lubricants

As mentioned above, many lubricants are safe for anal sex, but there are products that are specifically designed to enhance the anal sex experience. Many of the anal lubricants contain benzocaine, a numbing agent that will numb the anal area for a more comfortable experience. Others like Astroglide Shooters do not have a numbing agent, but are conveniently packaged for ease of application.

Pros:
Increase pleasure

Cons:
Products containing benzocaine will numb all body parts they come in contact with.