So you need some personal lubricant eh? As you waltz into your local adult store, or hell even your local big box store, you are faced with a hundred different options. What is all this? Water Based, Silicone Based, Flavored, Warming? What do I need? Is the warming going to burn? Is the flavored actually decent? Silicone is slicker and I have a new toy! WRONG, WRONG, WRONG…Lube School is now in session!
Water Based or Silicone? Is there even a difference? YES! Don’t ever just walk into a store and grab the first thing you see, or you may end up ruining that new toy, or even worse, ruining the mood completely.
Water based lubes are probably BY FAR the most popular, and well-loved of all the lubes. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as long as you are using it for the right reasons. Water based as you probably guessed are easier to clean up, and Water-soluble. The downside to a water based lube is, it has a tendency to dry out over time…over a very short time, and since it is water-soluble it can’t really be used in the shower, hot-tub, river, lake, ocean, etc. The upside is, for personal use, if it does start to dry out, typically speaking, it can be reactivated by adding a splash of water, or even saliva. If you are a connoisseur of lube, then you may have noticed that some water based lubes are thicker than others, some are way too runny, etc. The simple explanation… less water, more cellulose (or whatever manufacturer A used for a gelling agent). There isn’t much of a mechanical breakdown between the consistency of lubes, it is more of a personal preference. Prime example, Jeff is a big fan of Gun Oil brand which is a thinner lube, and Jenn is a HUGE fan of PistonLube, an EXTREMELY thick lube, which we were only ever to get directly through Millenium Labs. Water based lube will be safe to use with your new toys, and easy to clean up when you are done. Water based lube will also be perfectly safe to use when condoms are involved.
Silicone based lubes, unlike water based lubes are not water-soluble, therefore are not absorbed into the skin, making it last longer during playtime. While it may be a bit more of a pain during cleanup, it can enhance playtime quite a bit if you aren’t stopping to reapply. While it is a fun personal lube for intercourse, or even masturbation, DO NOT use a silicone based lube with your toys. Here’s the deal: Silicone based lubes have a completely different chemical makeup that water based lubes, and that make-up IS NOT compatible with silicone. If you use silicone based lube with a silicone toy, it will slowly erode the toy, and the guess what? That’s right (man, you guys are good at this!) you get to buy another toy! When you use a silicone based lube on a silicone toy it will basically start out by getting all tacky/sticky which at that point means it is already ruined because bacteria is being trapped in it now. THROW IT AWAY. It’s not worth the risks involved to use a contaminated toy. Now that being said…silicone lube is perfectly safe to use with glass toys, and will probably enhance the experience overall vs a water based lube!
Silicone Lube vs Condoms. DO IT! No seriously, it will be ok. Condoms that come pre-lubed (trojans, durex, etc) are using a silicone based lube. Silicone has a superior latex compatibility, and will not dry out in the packaging over time, while waiting on Jack & Jill to head out and grab a box! While not all silicone lubes are certified latex-safe…there are plenty out there that are. (See Gun Oil in the picture above).
I’m not going to write a book about the use of flavored lubes, I’m sure everyone reading this article knows EXACTLY why flavored lube is available. Flavored lubes are a water based that have been infused with a type of flavor! So here we are back at water based lubes a few of the issues we had in the first section. Drying out! When the lubricant eventually dries out, it may leave behind a residue from the other ingredients in it. In particular, lubricants containing sugar, glycerin, or other preservatives create a sticky residue and associated sensation, sometimes along with a taste and smell that some may find unpleasant. This may require reapplication during sex, and/or removal of the residue with water. While flavored lubes can be fun, you can also COMPLETELY ruin the mood with them if your chemical makeup don’t mesh with its chemical makeup. That being said there are plenty of flavored lubes that are glycerin and sugar-free…GET THOSE. If you choose to try one of the flavored lubes that aren’t glycerin or sugar free, be sure not to get it inside anything, and if you do WASH WELL. Leaving sugar residue inside can cause some nasty problems for folks.
Warming Lubes: (Credited to Lubricant.net)
I don’t personally know enough about warming lubes to fully detail the makeups and compounds in them, but I wanted to include them in this write-up, so the following is an excerpt from lubricant.net
Warming lubricants are lubricants that contain typically synthetic ingredients that induce thermoception when put into contact with skin or natural body moisture. Thermoception refers to a process by which the product does not actually heat up, but seems to the user to feel warmer. The main ingredient in most warming lubricants is glycerol, a very thick, viscous sugar alcohol that aids the seemingly heat-creating ingredients. A lot of warming lube contains capsaicin, a natural ingredient that is the active component in chili peppers. Warming lube can be either water based or honey based. Honey based warming lube is generally for external use only and is best used for external sexual play or as a massage oil. These are sometimes preferred because they have natural ingredients that can be less irritating to the skin, but they are not recommended as a warming lube used on the genitals or in the vaginal canal. Water based warming lube is safe for sexual use and many of these options come with adding tingling effects, aided by capsaicin or other similar naturally occurring ingredients of spice. Some of these lubricants are flavored and edible and make fun all-purpose sexual lubricants.
It is important to be aware of the ingredients in any type of lubricant, as they may cause skin irritations or allergic reactions, especially lubricants with added extras like warming or tingling sensations. It is best to test all warming lube on the inside of your wrist before using. The inside of the wrist is a sensitive area of the skin and will generally represent the reaction that your genitals will have to the products used. If you have an adverse reaction to a particular type of warming lube, a quick and easy fix is simply to switch to a different brand that has a different main ingredient. Because glycerol is a sweet substance, you should be aware that it could potentially harbor, incubate and feed bad bacteria that can lead to infections, and it can also feed the natural yeast occurring in a healthy vaginal canal, potentially causing yeast infections. It is imperative when using any kind of lubricant, but especially warming lube, that you maintain the utmost cleanliness after use.
What is your lube preference?