Using lubricant, short “lube” to facilitate less friction during sexual intercourse and more pleasure is often considered when we do not produce enough natural lubrication; in reality, it can improve any kind of sexual interaction: from oral sex to anal sex and masturbation involving toys.
There are different kinds of lubes; we will have a look at the pros and cons of the main categories:
Practically, water-based lubricants can be used for all types of sex: they are compatible with silicone toys as well as safe to use with condoms – both latex and non-latex ones.
Water-based lubes do not leave stains on the sheets and wash off easily with water.
These lubes feel most like natural body lube and can therefore simply be used to boost what is already being naturally produced during sexual arousal.
When things get hot and heavy, water evaporates – meaning: water-based lubes tend to become dry and need reapplying.
If you are trying to get pregnant, it is important to consider that water-based lubricants can slow down sperm mobility.
Silicone is a hypoallergenic material, which makes silicone-based lubes ideal for sensitive skin. It feels like silk.
Silicone-based lubricants are long-lasting, which makes re-applying often unnecessary.
These lubes are safe to use with condoms.
The silicone in lube can deteriorate the surface of toys made of silicone – the use during sexual interactions involving silicone toys is, therefore, not recommended.
These lubes are more difficult to wash off. For sex, under the shower or in the bath this can be seen as a plus though.
Once very popular, oil-based lubes are harder to find now and here is why:
These lubes are not recommended for intercourse involving latex condoms as they increase the risk of rips and tears. This also applies when the contraception method of choice is a female diaphragm. Having said that, safer sex is not guaranteed when using an oil-based lube including a higher risk of sexually transmitted infections (STI) and pregnancy.
Oil tends to leave stains on sheets and can be difficult to clean.
These lubes are also associated with higher rates of Candida, a fungal infection.
On the other hand, oil-based lubes can easily be used for massages during sexual interactions. They are great for external play.
Our body produces natural lube. As a more recent development, there are more and more natural lubricants available on the market consisting of aloe vera and olive oil for example.
Natural lubes contain little to no unnatural ingredients. Some of them are common household items and can, therefore, easily be used when nothing else is available to facilitate increased pleasure.
Most of these lubes are vegan.
However, natural lubes leave stains on sheets and those containing oil come with a potential risk of causing breaks in condoms.
These lubes are not as long-lasting as other options and can increase the risk of yeast infections.
If you are wondering whether you are using the right lube or struggling to choose one of the many available options, you may wish to also read this blog. [link the other one]
If you think that you can benefit from professional support on this issue you can reach out here.
Franziska Richter is a transcultural counsellor with the Willingness Team, offering counselling sessions to individuals and couples. She is particularly interested in sexuality, relationship issues, trauma and general mental health.