Choosing a Lubricant - Personal Lubricant Reviews

Did you know that there are three kinds of personal lubricant?


Water-based lubricants: are the most common and recommended since they're safe to use with sex toys and latex contraceptives like condoms and diaphragms. Water-based lubes are formulated to be nonirritating, though some contain glycerin, which can cause yeast infections in women. Flavored water-based lubes like those from Sliquid can be great for protected sexual play but are not recommended for vaginal or anal sex. Water-based lubes are typically the least expensive of all three, and clean up is relatively easy.

Silicone-based lubricants: can be used with latex contraceptives and non-silicone sex toys. Silicone-based lubes will last longer than water-based ones but cannot be used with silicone sex toys because of silicone-on-silicone reactions. Some people can get irritated by silicone-based lubes so test it out on a patch of skin before using. Silicone lubes can stain sheets and clean-up can be a bit messy.

Oil-based lubricants: are not safe with latex products such as condoms or rubber toys, because they can break down the latex, but last a long time and can be very soothing. Like the silicone lubes, oil-based lubes (like vitamin E, coconut oil, and Vaseline) can stain sheets and be messy. Coconut oil is fine for unprotected oral, vaginal, or anal sex. It is not expensive, has a wonderfully smooth texture, smells and tastes great. And because of the anti-fungal properties of coconut oil (it naturally contains caprylic acid, capric acid, and lauric acid - which all combat fungi), it can be a good choice for those prone to yeast infections.

Choosing the right lube is becoming trickier as new evidence suggests some of the most popular personal lubricants sold in stores today may have the potential to damage sensitive genital tissues and actually increase your chances of getting an STD, as discussed by Dr. Laurie Steelsmith, in this article and this article.

For safety, Dr. Steelsmith suggests a lube that:

  • Is made of natural ingredients, as in no synthetic chemicals.

  • Is water-based (condoms used with oil-based lubricants are twice as likely to break); and

  • Does not contain propylene glycol and glycerol (these 2 ingredients are the key drivers of high osmolality (i.e. have more sugars and salts than are found naturally in our own bodies, therefore drying up the body's cells, causing them to be prone to chafing and tearing, which weakens the body's defenses against infections and STDs).

Several KY and Astroglide lubricants had the highest osmolality of 15 brands tested. One brand, called Aloe Cadabra - made of 95% aloe - had the lowest, and was closest to the vagina's natural osmolality. Another excellent all-purpose water-based lube that everyone can use is called Fistpowder.

As far as silicone-based lubes go, I'd recommend Sliquid Silver Premium Silicone Lubricant. For oil-based lubes, I'd recommend trying the mineral-based Elbow Grease or simply coconut-oil like mentioned above.

Happy slip-and-sliding!

– Nikita

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