LUBE 101: Lubricant is used during sex play to reduce friction, create slickness, and thus make sex more pleasurable. While lube is certainly recommended for folks with vaginal dryness, lubricant can actually enhance the sexual experience for anyone, even if they lubricate naturally. Lubricant is necessary for anal sex because the anus does not self-lubricate, as the vagina does. Spit does not suffice as lubricant as it dries out incredibly quickly and does not provide the same slickness that lubricant does.
With the exception of one or two types of lube, all of the lubricants that our store carries are glycerine-free and paraben-free (Slippery Stuff and Maxim contain body-safe methyl-parabe). This is particularly important because glycerins are sugars and can cause yeast infections for folks with vaginas, and parabens are substances that may be irritants to some folks and have in some cases have been linked to carcinogens. Remember, sex toys and lubes are not closely regulated by the FDA, so companies can put whatever they want in lube and it is up to us to help educate our customers about body-safe lube options.
Our store carries several main categories of lubricant. They are:
Silicone-Based Lubricant: Silicone is often a preferred lubricant as it is incredibly slippery, long-lasting, and often water-resistant (which means you can use it in the shower). The main drawback to silicone lubricant is that it is not compatible with silicone toys (which comprises of the majority of our toys that aren’t glass or stainless steel), as silicone binds with itself and thus causes perforations in the toy, which can then collect bacteria. The other drawback is that some silicone lubricants may stain sheets. Because of it’s slick, long-lasting qualities, silicone lubricants are often the lube of choice for anal sex.
Water-Based Liquids: Water-based lubricants are a go-to lubricant because they are compatible with just about any material and are good for sensitive bodies, as they are primarily based in water. When in doubt about the material of a toy or the sensitivity of one’s partner, go water-based. Water-based liquids are generally runnier in consistency. The main drawback to water-based lubricant is that it dries out much quicker than a silicone lubricant because the water absorbs into the person's body and/or evaporates. To remedy this, it is possible to reactivate the lubricant with more water from a spray bottle, spit etc., or just add more lube.
Water-based Gels: Water-based gels have similar features and drawbacks to water-based liquids, except that they are generally thicker in consistency. Water-based gels are advised over water-based liquids for anal play, as the thickness creates extra cushion for the lining of the anus which can be prone to tearing if not careful.
Hybrid/Silk Lubricant: Hybrid lubricants are a sort of catch-all lubricant. They contain a little bit of silicone, but not a high enough concentration to bind with and affect silicone toys. Yet, the silicone in this type of lube makes it longer lasting and a bit slicker than water-based lubricants.
Oil-based Lubricant: These are usually found in jerk-off creams and the like generally aimed at folks with penises but can technically be used by anyone. The main drawback to oil-based lubricants is that they degrade condoms (and other latex products) rendering them ineffective, and thus should not be used by folks who are relying on condoms for birth control or STI prevention. Note, folks who use olive oil or coconut oil as lubricant will experience the same latex-related drawbacks as with using these lubes.
Flavored Lubricant: Just like it sounds, flavored lubricant is applied to genitals so that partners can enjoy various flavors while partaking in oral sex. Flavored lubes are water-based and are compatible with products of all material types. While it is generally safe to use flavored lube internally for penetrative sex, it is advised to switch lubes if transitioning to penetrative sex, as some folks may be sensitive to some of the ingredients in flavored lubes. Flavored lubes SHOULD NOT contain sugars (glycerins/glycols) as part of the flavoring!
Warming lubricant: Lubricant that creates a (usually subtle) warming sensation when it is applied to genitals and activated with friction. Usually the warming sensation is created by ingredients like cinnamon. Sensitive folks should proceed with caution.
Arousal Gel: While not technically a lubricant, arousal gels are a (usually water-based) substance that can be applied to the genital region to increase a person’s sensitivity. Arousal gels are somewhat similar in sensation to warming lubricant (utilizing ingredients such as cinnamon and/or menthol) but are noticeably more concentrated/potent than warming lubes. Generally speaking, arousal gels are marketed for use on the clitoris, however, with more generous application, arousal gel can be equally effective on the head of a penis or on nipples. Some arousal gels come with variations including “cooling effect” or certain flavors.