If you've ever looked at the lube page of an adult retailer or walked into a store with a well-stocked shelf of bottles and pump tops, you know that there are a lot of lubricant options out there. Here at SheVibe, we stock only lubes which are free of any known harmful ingredients. Some folks may have sensitivities they were not aware of, such as citric acid, which although a safe ingredient, may cause irritation in a small number of people. If you are trying a brand new lube, buy the smallest size available and start with a small amount. You might be overwhelmed, and it's understandable: lubricants come in a variety of primary base ingredients, and each contains even more options with so many different applications they can leave you dizzy. Some lubes are best for certain things, others are not for use with certain sex toy materials, and some aren't condom safe: where do you start? Here's a basic run down so you can get your lube on, hassle free!
What it's best for: Water-based lubricant is the most widely available, easily accessible, and it has the most options available. It can be used for most penetrative sex acts (you're going to want a thicker gel consistency for anal use, though!). Water-based is most people's tried-and-true, and there's a reason for that!
Don't use this with: There are no sex toy materials you shouldn't use water-based lubricants with, and they're 100% safe to use with all condom materials!
Other drawbacks of note: The biggest issue with water-based lubricants is the ingredients. Many of your typical water-based lubricants utilize ingredients that can cause irritation and even damage; I don't recommend most of the water-based lubricants you can find in your local pharmacy, and that somewhat defeats their accessibility. After ingredients, most people find that the lasting power of water-based lube just isn't up to par: it'll soak into your skin or evaporate a lot faster than other kinds of lube will. Re-apply as often as needed.
What kinds of options are available? Literally every kind of lubricant you can think of comes in a water-based version. Personal moisturizers, anal lube, heating and cooling, flavored (be careful with these!), they've all been made in a water-based option.
What it's best for: Silicone lube is looooooong lasting, it's just going to keep going and going because liquid silicones don't evaporate the same way water-based lubricants do. That long-lasting nature makes it good for anal play, and because it's not water-based you can use it if you're planning on having sex in the shower (though be careful, because if it gets on your floor or tiles it will be slippery). It doesn't have a taste, so you can use it in conjunction with oral sex without a problem. Silicone is also wonderful because it's inert, meaning that a pure silicone lube (some contain other ingredients like Tocopherol, or Vitamin E, which some people are allergic to) isn't going to cause a reaction or irritation in the vast majority of people. Silicone lube is also multi-purpose; you can use it to de-frizz hair, it can help reduce skin chafing, and I've known people to use it on a squeaky hinge.
Don't use this with: Silicone toys. There is some confusion about this floating around the web, but your safest bet is just don't. While a silicone lube may not melt your silicone toy right away, it will likely deteriorate it over time. Silicone lube is compatible with all condom materials, though, and is what most condoms come pre-lubricated with!
Other drawbacks: Silicone lube might make your floor slippery, it'll usually stick around well after sex (you can get rid of it with soap and water if you don't like the texture), and it might stain your sheets until you give them a wash.
What kinds of options are available? There are some silicone lubes that are thicker than others, usually they're formulated for anal use or marketed as being "for men."
What it's best for: Water and silicone hybrid lubes are really the best of both worlds: they won't interact with silicone toys or stain your sheets like a pure silicone lube will, and they last a lot longer than a typical water-based lubricant will. Hybrids will be good for hand fun and penetration, though some might not find it long-lasting or cushiony enough for anal play.
Don't use this with: Hybrid lube is friendly to all sex toy and condom materials! No issues of note.
Other drawbacks: I honestly can't think of any drawbacks other than the potential for some of the water-based ingredients not being great. Other than that? Hybrid lubes are generally a pretty good bet!
What kinds of options are available? Really, it's only the one: water-silicone hybrid. You're not going to find anything fancy here, but you will find something good.
What it's best for: Ah, oil-based lube, my finicky friend. This is the kind of lubricant that comes with the most caveats, but it's so wonderfully good at what it does that it's well worth it. Oil-based lubes are fantastic for solo or partnered hand sex, incredibly long lasting, wonderfully moisturizing, and ideal for anal play.
Don't use this with: Do not use oil-based lubricants with latex or polyisoprene condoms, as oil will degrade them. You can use oil-based lube with Trojan Supra Polyurethane condoms, Lambskin condoms, and the FC2–but it's better to just not use it if you're going to be using condoms unless you're really determined. Oil can also degrade some sex toy materials, typically porous jelly-rubber type materials. It's best not to use oil-based lubes with sex toys unless you know they're silicone or they're another non-porous material like specially treated wood, metal, or glass.
Other drawbacks: Stains! That's about it. Oil based lube will get on your sheets and stay there until you wash them, just like any oil would. Some vulvas might not like oil, but plant oil-based lubricants are believed to be perfectly fine. If you're going to be using your oil-based lubricant with a vulva, be sure to only get plant oil-based lubes and listen to your body! If you're feeling weird, and this goes with any lube you try, stop using it and try something new.
What kinds of options are available? Oil based lubes are pretty straight forward, though there are mineral oil-based kinds and plant oil-based kinds. Mineral oil lubes are best suited to penis play, and not much else.
Lube it up! Knowing the right lube for your needs is just the first step. The next is ending up with a night stand full of different lubes and being able to pull out the one you need with ease, likely impressing your sex partner or sweetie with your knowledge. Lube is a personal choice, and you deserve to have all the tools you need to find the lube or lubes that are just right for all your needs and desires!