In the past, companies and marketers used to advertise lubricants only to postmenopausal women because many of them experienced vaginal dryness. However, lubricants can be used by people of all ages, genders and sexual orientations. Like with many other elements and products of the sex industry, the manufacturers of lubricants eventually caught up and today there are a lot of products and manufacturers to choose from.
There are a lot of reasons to use a lubricant. The amount of natural lubricant the female body produces depends on a number of factors, including levels of stress, hydration, exercise, diet, menstrual cycle, and medications taken. Because of this, arousal and lubrication don’t always happen at the same time. Sometimes, the vagina does lubricate but doesn’t do it enough to make penetration comfortable. The butt doesn’t produce any lubrication at all, which means that added lubricants are an absolute necessity.
Even if your play doesn’t include any penetration, a lubricated toy will rub much easier and better against delicate, sensitive skin. For this reason, lubricants are also essentials when using dildos, vibrators, wands and other toys.
How to choose a lubricant
The basic rule of thumb is that lube needs to feel good and you shouldn’t be experiencing any itching, redness or burning on your skin or genitals. If you do, it is likely that you have sensitivity or are allergic to one of the ingredients in the lubricant. Because of this, don’t be discouraged if you try a product once and it doesn’t work for you. There are many different kinds of products and you simply need to find the right one.
When you do, it will fell wet, warm and comfortable. Choosing the right lubricant is a personal matter. Your best bet is to try various products from various brands.
There are three basic types. They are water-based, oil-based and silicone lubricants. This article will introduce you to all of them. Within each category, there are different subtypes such as warming, flavored and so on. Always read the labels carefully and ask questions if you are not sure what’s in the lubricant.
Natural or organic lubricants
Up until recently many water-based lubricants included glycerin, which is a type of sugar. While it did help the lubes stay consistent, yeast feeds on sugar and many women found that using lubricants with glycerin could lead to vaginal yeast imbalance or infection. If you easily get an infection and you find yourself developing symptoms after using a water-based lube, check if it had any glycerin. While it is still present in many water-based products, many manufacturers are now producing alternatives.
Natural solutions usually don’t contain any glycerin or parabens. Parabens are petroleum-based chemical products that prevent bacteria from growing. They are commonly used as preservatives in not just lubricants but also beauty products.
Just like the growing movement to buy organic non-GMO and pesticide-free food has been becoming popular in the recent years, so has the movement for natural beauty products.
For this reason, today many lubricant makers offer products that don’t contain any glycerin or paraben.
Many people wonder if it is safe to use common household creams and products for lubrication during intercourse with their spouse. Such products include baby oils, Vaseline, lotions and olive oils. The biggest issue with these products is that, as many of their names suggest, they do contain oil or a combination of oils. Oil is very difficult to clean up, which you may know from your own experience. Oil stains clothing, sheets and fabrics. It also breaks down latex by creating tiny tears and holes in it. If you are using latex condoms, oil will make them useless.
Oil can also ruin some of the sex toys because it is not compatible with some of the materials sex toys are made of.
Probably the most important reason why oil-based lubricants may be a bad choice is that once oil gets inside a vagina, it is impossible to clean up. It will stay in the vagina providing a perfect environment for bacteria to grow, which may lead to a vaginal infection.
For these reasons, oil is not an ideal lubricant for sex play.
You may see some oil-based lubricants on your favorite sex toy website or in your physical sex shop because oil-based lubricants work well for massages, male masturbation and hand jobs.
Most products available on the market contain mineral, coconut, almond or vegetable oils. Many of them are created in such a way that they don’t stain fabrics. Because of this, some of them are somewhat easy to clean, but they are still oil-based which means incompatible with latex and not to be used inside of a vagina. If you choose to use several kinds of lubricants during sex, make sure you thoroughly wash the oil-based lubes first and use a different type of lubricant.
Most products that you will see on the market today are water-based.
Their advantage over oil-based products is that they don’t leave any stains and are very easy to clean up. Different brands produce products that have various ingredients, consistencies and tastes.
Consistency can vary from thin and liquid to medium to super-thick and being like a hair gel. Slippery lubricants are meant to copy vaginal fluids and work well for vaginal penetration. Thicker products work better for anal penetration.
Water-based lubricants are compatible with all sex toys and materials, including latex and non-latex condoms.
The most common complaint about water-based products is that they can become sticky with time and you may need to re-lubricate. Also, if you plan on using your mouth on lubricated skin or toys, make sure that the lube has a taste you are comfortable with. Some products have a chemical taste that may turn you off. In this case, go with a flavored product.
Flavored water-based lubricants
If you don’t like to stick to one sexual activity for a long period of time, like a lot of variety and switching from fingers to toys to oral to penetration, consider a flavored lubricant. Today most of the manufacturers offer at least several versions of flavored products. The taste is typically not delicate and has a chemical component to it, so you will most likely either really like it or hate it. Try different brands and see for yourself which products you are going to like.
Some brands create water-silicone hybrid products. Such products combine easy-to-clean properties of water lubricants with staying power of silicone lubricants. While manufacturers do not recommend using these products with silicone toys, many people find that they do work well with high-quality toys made of medical grade silicone.
Warming lubricants are typically water-based. They create a warming sensation when they touch the skin. Today most of the brands and manufacturers offer at least one warming lubricant.
There are various ingredients that can serve as the main one. Some brands use acacia honey or its derivatives, while others use menthol. The most natural ingredient is cinnamon bark.
As with all other lubes, finding one that you will like is a matter of personal choice. It is also possible that you are not going to like the sensation that a warming lubricant creates.
Silicone lubricants do not leave any stains and are often tasteless and flavorless. They are typically more expensive than their water-based counterparts, but you will be using less of them because they don’t dry up as quickly and easily.
Silicone lubricants are typically very concentrated, which means that even as little as a few drops will go a long way. Many people like the texture of silicone. Others enjoy the fact that it doesn’t get sticky as some water-based solutions do. Silicone lubes are great for use in the shower because they stay slick even when there’s water present, which is not a feature that water-based lubricants have.
Silicone lubricants work well with condoms and sex toys made of PVC, glass, metal and rubber. Silicone lubes are not compatible with CyberSkin.