Personal Lubrication Buyer’s Guide

It’s Not All About the Rippin’ and the Tearin’. Who Told You That?

For the longest time, I wasn’t very picky about the types of sex toys and accessories that came into my bedroom. Once I was introduced to the world of self-pleasure devices, it seemed like I plateaued for quite a while out of sheer fascination. Happy with just about anything as long as it got me off, I subjected my genitals to some of the harshest conditions on Earth.

Cruel and unusual punishment is a crime in the United States, meaning I’m technically a felon for what I did to my junk. Fortunately, the statute of limitations has been exceeded and now I’m a free bird. But although I didn’t serve time for my crime, I did come away with a jailhouse education on the subject, especially when it comes to lube.
Throughout my tenure in the Hard-knock School of Life I learned more than I ever thought I would. Aunts, uncles and cousins all gather round to discuss their knowledge and expertise on subjects like law and medicine. Meanwhile, I’m giving 45-minute dissertations on the value of carefully choosing the right lube for anal sex. Needless to say, I’m usually the life of any party.

My favorite trick: Asking people random questions about lube to see if they can answer them correctly. Most of the time, the response is wrong and I have to spend the next half hour explaining the faults in their logic. I’ve come to realize that fewer people know the facts about lubrication than I ever thought. I mean, it’s almost like we’re just a bunch of zombies walking around using whatever lube the advertisers tell us to. C’mon, guys, we’re better than that.

Understanding how all this works and appreciating the importance of a good lube is the only way you’re ever going to skip the otherwise mandatory step of trial and error. So many people fall victim to a lack of knowledge that they end up having terrible experiences or throwing in the towel altogether. I don’t wish either one of those scenarios on my worst enemy, which is a why a comprehensive buyer’s guide for lube is so important.

For instance, did you know that the type of lubrication you use with your sex toys and other devices can dramatically affect the way that toy feels and functions? And did you know that some toys cannot be used with certain types of lubrication? Furthermore, I’m not sure if you know this or not, but having sex or masturbating without being properly lubed up can cause serious consequences. We’ll get more into all that later but for now, just realize that lubrication is a crucial factor that cannot continue to be ignored.

What Is Lube?

Lube is a commonly used product during sex and masturbation, but certain types of lube are used in industrial settings and for medical purposes. Those kinds of lubrication should not be confused with the type we’re discussing here – the type that’s often referred to as “personal lube.” Personal lubes are a special breed, formulated to promote more fluid motion between body parts, not parts in a machine.

The right lube is an ideal companion for any sexual act, from masturbation and head to vaginal and/or anal sex. The main purpose of lube is to reduce the amount of friction experienced during penetration of either another human orifice or the opening of a sex toy. In any event, choosing the correct lubrication often makes all the difference between a pleasurable experience and a horrific one.

Keep in mind as well that lubes are not all the same. While some are relatively thin and spread out over the body quickly like water, others are thick and must be manually applied for full coverage. And although the watery varieties are much easier to use and clean, they don’t always have the staying power that some people prefer. But we’ll get into all that in a minute. For now, let’s just all agree that lubrication is a key component to good sex.

Why Use Lube Though?

I know what you’re thinking right now. You’re thinking, “I’ve been having pretty good sex all my life and I haven’t used a lot of lube.” Well, there’s only one thing I have to say about that: You’re wrong.

I hate to be the barer of bad news, but sex without lube is like cooking without heat. Sure, something’s getting served up, but that “something” is going to be raw and uncomforting. There’s just nothing that compares to a hot meal, and likewise, there’s nothing that compares to well-lubed crotch during sex. In fact, there are at least 5 good reasons I can think off the top of my head:

1. Lube Reduces Friction

I’ve already touched base on this a bit up top, but using lubrication is the number one way to cut back on all that painful friction you experience during insertion. Whether engaging in vaginal sex, anal sex, or sex with a toy, the perfect amount of lube is the perfect companion to the perfect event.

2. Lube Increases Pleasure

Face it, you don’t know pleasure like lube lovers know pleasure. The reason: because lube creates a viscosity that lends itself to improving the intensity of the sensation you feel during sex. In other words, it enhances pleasure by making every touch and tickle ten times more tantalizing.

3. Lube Protects the Skin

Good lubes provide a layer of protection between the skin and whatever it comes in contact with. In some cases, lubes are even made with antibacterial and/or spermicidal ingredients. Various formulas do a variety of things, but there’s one thing they all have in common: They make your crotch complexion happy.

4. Lube Prevents Injury

There’s nothing worse than turning your crotch into sandpaper, but that’s exactly what you do every time you have sex or masturbate without a proper amount of high-quality lube. I say all that because “high-quality lube” does not include things like saliva or massage oils – both of which can make matters worse.

5. Lube Moisturizes

The right kind of lube can make your family jewels look and feel like a million bucks. Whether used for prep or slathered on during the act, a good lube will moisturize your skin like a high-dollar lotion. And we can all agree, there’s just something about a soft and smooth crotch that feels sexy and inviting.

BONUS: Lube Can Smell and Taste Good Too

Depending on the type of lube you get, there could be a subtle smell or taste associated with it. Flavored and/or scented lubes are pretty commonplace these days, with a wide variety of options to choose from. There are even warming and cooling versions available too, so get that Pros and Cons list ready.

Exploring the Three Types of Personal Lubricant

So, now that you know what lube is (and isn’t) and what it’s good for, you’ll need to learn a few more important things before you can begin to shop. Lube may seem like a simple purchase, but a lot of thought is required to enjoy the best experience. Skip these vital points of interest below and enter the world of personal lubrication at your own risk.

Fortunately, this part of the lesson is pretty short. It involves an education on the three different types of lube on the market today. And while this considerations may not seem like a big deal right now, keep reading to discover why they’ve been given their own section in this guide.

Oil-Based Lube

Among the most popular types of personal lubricants are the oil-based varieties. These lubes have their own short list of pros and cons, including:

PROS: A little goes a long way with an oil-based lube, plus it’s very long-lasting, waterproof, and is relatively friendly to all skin types as long as the user doesn’t have an allergy to any of the ingredients.

CONS: Oil-based lubes tend to stain the user’s clothes and/or bedding, plus they’re not compatible with all sex toys or skin types and can be difficult to wash off.

Silicone-Based Lube

Silicone-based personal lubricants aren’t nearly as mainstream as their oil-based counterparts, but they do have their own list of benefits and drawbacks, including:

PROS: Silicone-based personal lubricants are resistant to water and never dry up, making them ideal for anal sex. Furthermore, silicone lubes are always hypoallergenic and help to moisturize the skin.

CONS: This type of lube is almost impossible to wash off because of its innate water-resistant properties, plus it’s usually not the right choice if you plan to use silicone-based sex toys.

Water-Based Lube

As the most user-friendly and sex toy-compatible personal lubricant variety on today’s market, water-based lubes are usually viewed as the best. However, they aren’t perfect either, with their own brand of perks and pitfalls, including:

PROS: Water-based personal lubricants are considered the best of the best by many consumers and manufacturers because 1) they’re friendly to the skin, 2) they work well with almost every sex toy on the market, 3) they can be easily washed off, 4) they don’t stain anything, and 5) they’re the best option to go with if you’re looking for a flavored lube.

CONS: This variety of personal lubes does not always last as long as the other types, so you may be required to constantly replenish your supply.

There is an additional short list of other types of modern-day personal lubricant that you might want to at least know exists before you continue on this little shopping trip of yours. These types are considered “specialty” lubes and can be made using any of the three base ingredients mentioned above, just so you know:

  • Anal Lubes
  • Fisting Lubes
  • Male Lubes
  • Female Lubes
  • Warming Lubes
  • Tingling Lubes
  • Organic Lubes
  • Flavored Lubes

Selecting the best lube takes a few key considerations, one of which is based on the type of lube it is and the kinds of things you plan to do with it. Furthermore, you may want to think about your budget, your lifestyle, your sexual fantasies and your skin type while you’re at it. Those things will ultimately play a bigger role than the price tag in how much you love your lube purchase.

The Top 4 Ways to Tell If That Lube Is Worth It or Not

Got a good grasp of what you’re about to encounter when you start shopping for your next (or first) bottle of personal lubricant? Good, because it’s only uphill from here. I’m kidding, the things I’m about to discuss should help you narrow down your search for the perfect product even further. If not, stay tuned for my three favorite lubes and maybe then you’ll find what you’re looking for.

In the meantime, be sure to look at or examine the following things when considering any kind of personal lubricant:

The Type

Of course you’ll be looking at what type of lube it is; we just went over all that. So before going any further with any of those lubes in your shopping cart, be sure to look and see whether it’s an oil-based, water-based or silicone-based product, and then go from there. Remember what you learned about each one above and don’t forget to consider you and/or your partner’s unique skin type. The ideal lube should be gentle on your skin and toys while being tough on friction.

If the one you’re considering just isn’t what you’re in the market for because of its base-ingredient, check to see if the manufacturer offers the same product with a different base. Many times, the same brand will make several of the same kind of lube for different users and purposes – aka, the same features with a varied recipe. However, some lube types cannot be used in conjunction with certain activities and/or toys, meaning the brand won’t even humor the idea of making another type. Just take your time and do your homework.

The Volume

Knowing how much lubrication you’ll need is an important consideration that often gets overlooked. However, running out of your favorite lube when the mood is hot and heavy makes for the beginnings of a nightmare. This is especially true once you’ve purchased a high-end sex toy, finally got that hot partner in the sack, or become accustomed to the feel of a good lube. I don’t really have to tell you how much of a pain in the ass it is to be knocked off your grove mid-stroke, do I?

Just know that lube is sold in containers of all shapes and sizes with varying label décor and information on each one. Some come in small, travel-friendly bottles and others are packed into jumbo kegs more suitable for porn stars and professional pervs. Either way, each one is bound to have a unique lid. You’ll most likely see flip tops, twist-offs, pumps and pour spouts galore, so choose the option that best suits your bedroom routine. Straining to apply an adequate amount of lube is no bueno. Also, don’t buy a large bottle until you know whether you like the product or not, but stock up on the good stuff while you can because demand is high.

The Intentions

Knowing ahead of time how you plan to utilize this little (or big) bottle of lube you’re about to buy is important. After all, once you spend money on it there’s no going back. And if you pick the wrong thing you may end up looking like an idiot in front of someone you admire. I’d suggest taking a long, hard lookin the mirror before selecting this new lube. Question number one: Are you planning to experiment sexually or are things going to more or less stay the same?

Do you plan to use this new bottle of personal lubricant on yourself, a lover or a marital aid? Are you about to engage in vaginal, anal or oral sex? Will you be including your favorite toys in playtime? These are all questions you need answered before proceeding. The type of lube you choose will play a critical role in how much enjoyment you get out of this upcoming sexual experience. Pick the wrong one and you can be in big trouble – irritated skin, allergic reactions, broken toys, and broken hearts. None of those things are ever welcome to the parties in my pants and they should be snubbed at yours as well.

The Brand

Brand loyalty can count for a lot when it comes to buying new products, not to mention it may be the best way to get yourself some high-end, toy-friendly lube for cheap (if not for free, since some manufacturers send complimentary samples with some of their products). Check for special discount codes and coupons while also getting the low-down on the lubes you like the most. Meanwhile, keep your options open because brands are only as loyal to you as far as your dollar will stretch.

Regardless of how you feel about a certain lube or brand you’ve found, there’s one thing you have to realize before things get ugly. Certain sex toy manufacturers require the use of specific lubes with their products, meaning you might have to buy a separate supply to enjoy your playthings responsibly. But since most personal lubricants are surprisingly affordable, it’s often feasible to purchase two or three distinct stashes for different occasions.

The Three Kings: My Favorite Lubes (In Each Category)

If you’re looking for a few starter recommendations on good lubes at decent prices, I’ve got just the thing. Here are what I consider to be the top lubes in each main ingredient category (silicone-based, oil-based, and water-based):

BEST SILICONE-BASED LUBE: Überlube

As far as silicone-based personal lubricants go, this one is the one I swear by. It provides that silky-smooth sensation that you want while being fortified with vitamin E for enhanced skin protection and moisturization. On top of that, the proprietary ingredients are long-lasting and compatible with natural rubber latex and polysoprene sex toys and condoms. Taste and fragrance-free, this sleek selection comes in a sophisticated 3.38 (240ml) glass container that looks just like a bottle chic perfume for better discretion.

PRO: The bottle uses a wide-angle spray nozzle for better product coverage and conservation.

CON: It may be a bit too expensive for newbies or for people who don’t plan to use their silicone stash very often.

BEST OIL-BASED LUBE: YES OB

YES OB is the top-selling oil-based personal lube on the market right now, and there are lots of good reasons for that. For one, its main ingredient is derived from natural plant sources. For two, this stuff doubles as a massage oil if you want it to. It’s relatively safe to use with most sex toys as well, plus it’s completely hypoallergenic and even moisturizes the skin. Gynecologist recommended, long-lasting and ideal for water play, this 4.7-ounce bottled marvel eventually soaks into your skin and thus needs no washing off.

PRO: Gentle and effective, this personal lube option is among the most versatile you can find.

CON: Unfortunately, YES OB is not compatible with latex toys or condoms.

BEST WATER-BASED LUBE: Paloqueth

When you want a terrific water-based lube with extra features, Paloqueth is the one you should reach for in my humble opinion. Not only is it both long-lasting and contained within a huge 8 oz. bottle, but it’s odor-free and features a subtle sweet taste for oral games. Sex toy, condom and diaphragm compatible, this stuff is also suitable for minor cases of vaginal dryness. And since you can use this lube during any kind of sex act, it’s a one-hit wonder in the sack. Hailed as one of the best water-based personal lubricants on countless review websites and product guides, Paloqueth is simply an all-around great product.

PRO: It’s not only edible but also delicious, not to mention there’s plenty to go around for the price.

CON: The bottle’s design may not be as user-friendly as some people might want.

The End Game

Lube selection is a very personal decision, with many important considerations that have to be made. Even creating this buyer’s guide and picking my top favorites was difficult and I know just about all there is when it comes to lube. The key is find one that has all the features you need for the type of life you live. If that requires an 8-ounce bottle of flavored and/or scented lube with a convenient cap and an ergonomically-shaped container, then so be it. At the end of the day, you’re the only one who has to live in the skin you’re in.