Curated from: Sexual Wellness Blog - Jenny Keane
All About Lube
Lube makes everything better. It makes long sex longer and it helps reduce friction, which in turn reduces micro-tears in the vagina and can add more pleasure. I tend to be of the mind that there's no single best lube for sex so much as there's one that works best for you. After you make sure a given product is free of potentially harmful ingredients like glycol, glycerin, and fragrances, selecting a lube comes down to a matter of preference, and what type of sex you’re looking to enjoy. Because what might work for one orifice will not work seamlessly for another. Keep in mind the skin of the vulva and vagina is one of the most sensitive parts of the body and the last thing we want is to cause irritation. Gone are the days when all we had for personal lubricant was KY Jelly and now with so many options on the market consider this your complete guide to Lube, from what lube is best for different types of sex, lube and sensitive skin, lube recommendations and more…
“Choosing a lube that feels right for you is an erotic gesture and commitment towards honoring your desire, increasing your pleasure, communicating with your own body, and expanding the ways you can intimately connect with others.”
What is Lube?
Many of us experience dryness and not all bodies produce enough natural lubricant for pain-free penetration or pleasurable sex. Throughout our lifetime the natural lubrication of our vagina changes. Medications, hormonal changes, lifestyle choices, diet and mental wellbeing are only a few potential causes. There’s no shame in needing or wanting to use lube. Lube is supposed to add moisture, prevent friction that may cause mirco tears or pain during/after sex, and add to our experience of pleasure during sexual activity. Not just great for penetrative sex but can be a great way to add sensation to experiences like oral sex or solo masturbation.
Lube and Sensitive Skin
The skin of the vagina and vulva is the most sensitive skin on the body—whatever you put down there is going to absorb faster than other body parts. Lube is supposed to add moisture, but if you're using the wrong kind of lube you are more than likely going to know very fast. The last thing we want is to find ourselves with a UTI after pleasure.
So here’s what you need to know, the wrong lubrication or one that does not work with your body will cause irritation or inflammation which will result in a change in your body's pH, resulting in issues like yeast infections or BV. Some signs to look out for would be tingling sensations, redness, or itchiness. If this occurs as a result of using lube, discontinue use immediately, there are better options for you, it’s just a matter of find out which one that is.
Ingredients to avoid
Glycerin is the most common culprit for irritation, but it's not the only one. Petroleum jelly, microbicide nonoxynol-9 (a spermicide), and propylene glycol can cause issues, too. These are known for trapping and leading to bacterial overgrowth, causing irritation, and sometimes even contact dermatitis.
Taking caution with anything containing fragrances or flavors, as well as anything that claims to be cooling or warming
The best products you can use would be find a natural single based ingredient lube. Coconut oil is a perfect example of this, with it’s antibacterial properties it can often support the PH level of your vagina. Just note, if you do use oil-based lubes, they can damage sex toys and cause condoms to weaken. But it makes a great solo sex companion.
Want more options? Here’s some of my favourites…
Good Clean Love
Product | Almost Naked Personal Lube
Price | Around €25 on Amazon
In 2018, this beauty became the first carbon neutral lube so my eco-friendly friends will love this. It is also formulated with aloe vera, which mimics natural lubrication, and contains lactic acid to help maintain an optimal pH balance during use.
Certified Organic Water-Based Lube with Aloe Vera
Safe for Sex Toys & Condoms
As a water based lube, this is one of my favourites. Only fault is that it doesn’t come in bigger sizes!
Product | Organic Oil Based Lube
Price | Around €15
Natural plant-oil based alternative to silicone lubricants can be used as a lubricant or massage oil. Oil based lubes last longer than water based so they are perfect for prolonged love making sessions. It is chemical and preservative free so beneficial for skin with no need to wash off.
Safe for use with silicone toys
Hypoallergenic: formulated to minimise the risk of allergies
Richly nourishing, providing soothing relief
This brand is my go to for oil based lube however it is not recommended for use with condoms. Luckily they also have a great water based lube for that.
Product | Lubricant
Price | Around €11.99
A Menopause-Specific Brand trying to remedy decades of miseducation and misinformation. This is a Californian based brand but so worth mentioning here as it speaks so well of such a common and taboo like issue around the naturally occuring event that is ageing with your sexuality.
The Best Lube for Different Types of Sex
The best lube for penetrative sex
When it comes to vaginal sex, you want a lube with natural ingredients that won’t irritate your vulva so you end up with a UTI. Any of the lubes mentioned about would be great but things you want to keep in mind is how a lube might interaction with a condom. Oil based lubes can weaken the structure of certain condoms reducing their effectiveness.
Product | Water Based Lube
Price | Around €15
I just love this product. Intensely hydrating, silky, realistic textures, safe with toys and condoms and enhances sexual pleasure and sensitivity.
No smell, no taste, no stickiness
Compatible with natural rubber, latex and polyisoprene condoms and toys
pH balanced for the vagina
rapidly relieves dryness and discomfort
Hypoallergenic: formulated to minimise the risk of allergies.
Protects mucus membranes, and if necessary, supports healing
Leaves skin clean and residue free
So basically, what is not to love about this lube!
The best lube for Oral sex
Who doesn’t want to play and try new things. Adding flavours, tastes, scents can take your oral experiences to a whole other level. You can do this cheaply and without much effort with food you have in your kitchen or find some fun products to play with.
Product | ORAL SEX BALM 10ML
Price | Around €20
This is a bit of fun! A cooling and gliding-effect balm designed to enhance arousal during fellatio. Its gentle cooling effect contrasts with your mouth’s natural warmth, while the gliding effect reduces friction during the “up and down” motion. Tastes really good, coconut and minty flavour! Note, avoid penetrative unless you want the vagina jumping off you! ha!
The best lube for anal sex
For anal play, lube is all but non-negotiable. The anus, unlike the vagina, is not self-lubricating. If you do not use lube during anal sex, you increase your chances of getting anal fissures, cuts or tears which can be extremely uncomfortable and painful and something we want to avoid when it comes to our pleasure.
Product | Back Door Silicon Based Lube
Price | Around €18
Ok so the packaging is a bit off putting but this is one of my favourites, I was given this as a free sample once and have not looked back since. For anal sex, you typically want a thicker, silicone-based lube that you don’t need to reapply often. Pjur 's Backdoor Silicone Lube, which has an extra bit of jojoba that really helps to relax the sphincter muscles.
Note. If you are using sex toys make sure they are compatible with silicone based lubes. Some toys can be damaged.
Remember, Lube Expires
Ok, we have ALL been there at some point in our lives. Bought something years ago and it has sat in a drawer for longer than we care to remember, but here’s what you need to remember. Lube expires.
Depending on what the formulation contains, there is a bit more nuance around expiration dates. In general, silicone-based lubricants usually have a slightly longer shelf life than water-based ones. There are also a couple ingredients that tend to expire more quickly—namely, Nonoxynol-9 and other kinds of spermicide, which you could find in lubricant (or as a coating on condoms)—and those would be less potent after that point.
What you'll typically see when lube does expire is a change in viscosity. What might have once been super slippery and wet may now look and feel thicker, which can happen from evaporation and dehydration of the product. Squirt a bit into your hand (ideally, before you’re in the heat of the moment), and investigate it. If you observe anything unusual in its consistency, color, smell, or tackiness…Replace it! This is about adding to your pleasure!