How To Use Lube for Better Sex
It can make solo play better too.
If you’re wondering how to use lube—also called personal lubricant—the product is a gel or liquid applied to the genitals or sex toys during sex to help increase wetness. This helps prevent too much friction that may make sex uncomfortable or even painful, especially if you are experiencing vaginal dryness or having anal sex.
Even if you don’t have dryness or pain during sex, lube can be a fun and pleasurable addition to foreplay and the main event. So whether you’re enjoying penetrative vaginal sex, anal sex, mutual masturbation, or some self-love, here’s how to use lubricants for better sex.
Types of Lube
Depending on your sexual preferences or comfort needs, there’s a lubricant for everyone. Some are better than others when using condoms or sex toys. Others can add more longevity and foreplay fun.
Water-based lubricants are the most popular and available lube option. Most popular brands are Bloomi, LubeLife, Pepper, Maude and K-Y. You may need to apply them more than once during sex.
Additionally, these types of lube:
- Are easy to wash off
- Can be used with condoms and silicone sex toys
- Won’t stain sheets
Silicone-based lubes come with a few benefits, as they are:
- Able to be used with less frequent application compared to water-based lubes
- Ideal for people with sensitive skin
- Safe for use with condoms
These lubes also won’t rinse off easily during shower sex and are a popular choice for anal sex. However, like water-based lube, silicone-based lube can also include irritating ingredients like glycerin.
Silicone lubes will also break down the surface of silicone sex toys. This destroys the toy and allows bacteria to grow in torn or cracked areas on the toy’s surface.
Oil-based lubricants last the longest—to the point where you may only need to use them once during sex. Examples include mineral oil or baby oil. However, these types of lubes come with many disadvantages like:
- Increased likelihood of stained sheets
- Inflammation and irritation if you have a vagina
- Latex condom breakdown, leading to an increased risk of sexually transmitted diseases (STIs) or unintended pregnancy
- Risk of silicone sex toy damage
These lubes combine water and silicone or water and oil ingredients. Combining ingredients may provide some benefits from each type of lube, but hybrid lubes are not well studied. The oil in hybrid lubes can still break down latex condoms, and oil or silicone can still break down silicone toys.
How To Apply Lube
You can apply any amount of lube to your or your partner’s vagina, penis, or anus. No matter where you place lube, it will help reduce any friction. This can make sex more pleasurable and alleviate any pain you may experience during sex from dryness or friction. Also, consider the following:
- Apply the lube where needed. If you’re using condoms or a sex toy, apply non-oil-based lube to the latex condom, dental dam, diaphragm, or sex toy (make sure to skip silicone-based with silicone toys, too).
- Communicate what you like with your partner. This can help you decide where to use lube and how much works for you.
- Use lube to make sex comfortable. You or your partner may be experiencing vaginal dryness due to hormonal changes from menopause, for example. You might also enjoy anal sex but lack lubrication and could experience anal pain or tearing. In either case, lube can add the needed lubrication for comfortable sex.
Use With Condoms
Using lube with condoms may help decrease your chances of contracting STIs because it allows for less friction that can tear or break a condom. However, you must pick the right lube or risk damaging the condom.
Oil-based lubes should never be used with latex condoms. Stick to a water-based lubricant or silicone lube when using barrier protection made with latex. Avoid using oil-based lubes with non-latex polyisoprene condoms made of isoprene rubber. Oil can weaken this material as well
If you use non-latex synthetic condoms made of polyurethane or natural membrane condoms made of lambskin, it is safe to use oil-based, water-based, and silicone lubricants.
Use for Oral Sex
You can use lube for oral sex, but you’ll want to check your lube to see if it’s safe to ingest. Although getting poisoned from a personal lubricant is unlikely, avoiding ingredients like lidocaine and benzocaine is best. You may also deal with nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea if you ingest an oil-based lube; some lubes may taste bad.
Use for Solo Sex
Lubricants can be an excellent addition for solo masturbation. It’s all about decreasing friction and increasing the glide, making self-love more wet, slippery, and pleasurable.
Applying any personal lubricant will help make masturbation slicker and faster. This is also an opportunity to use oil-based lubes since you don’t have to worry about condoms breaking down. A nice bonus is that you can use oil-based lubes to self-massage other areas.
If you’re using a sex toy, stick to water-based lubes to help increase the slip without increasing your risk of infections from bacteria due to toy breakdown. If you’re not using toys, choose the lube you like best.
Products and Ingredients To Avoid
Petroleum jelly is a thick, petroleum-based gel used to moisturize the skin that some might think of using as a personal lubricant. However, that should be avoided.
One study of 141 women found that those who applied petroleum jelly inside their vagina were more likely to get bacterial vaginosis. Other petroleum-based oils like mineral and baby oil can also cause vaginal irritation.
Within products that are strictly used for lube, there are still ingredients you may want to consider avoiding, such as:
- Chlorhexidine Gluconate: A chemical that harmed “good” and “bad” vaginal bacteria and healthy cells in a lab setting. This could translate to a greater risk of bacterial infections like bacterial vaginosis.
- Glycerin: A sugar-alcohol added to water-based lubes to help them retain moisture and give them a thicker texture. The ingredient may negatively affect the “good” and “bad” organisms in the vagina. Research has also shown that high concentrations of the ingredient reduce the skin barrier and damage vaginal tissue.
- Nonoxynol-9: A type of spermicide—a chemical that kills sperm—that some lubes might have. The chemical can be irritating and disrupt good vaginal bacteria.
- Parabens: A type of preservative that may disrupt bacteria and healthy cells in the vagina
- Propylene Glycol: A preservative that’s a common allergen and can irritate sensitive skin. Similar to glycerin, studies have shown it damages vaginal tissue and can reduce the skin barrier.
A Quick Review
Lube can also be a great addition to your sex life, even if you’re not experiencing pain or dryness. Adding more glide to partnered sex, mutual masturbation, or solo sessions can make sex pleasurable. As a bonus, using lube also reduces your risk of contracting STIs when used with condoms.
Remember that oil-based lubes should not be used with condoms or sex toys. Silicone-based lubes will also break down silicone surfaces and should be avoided with most sex toys. Also, look on the box for ingredients that may irritate your genitals before buying any lube.