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how to choose a lubricant

In an era where the mainstream media absolutely dominates our discource about sex, lube has been the biggest loser. Between the minor social media celebrities bragging that they "don't need lube", and our collective lack of understanding of arousal nonconcordance, there are few sexual topics more misunderstood and underestimated than lube. The happy reality is that lube is amazing and makes all kinds of sex so much better than it would be otherwise. Regardless of your gender, orientation, or sexuality, a great lube literally decreases friction in your relationships and turns a solo session into a super session with a couple of well-placed drops. However, the key is to find a lube that works for you, because a lube that causes an allergic reaction or one that causes your condom to break (we're looking at you coconut oil!) is not going to make sex more pleasurable.

Personal lubricants are designed to provide moisture to decrease friction between toys and people, between people and people and even between toys and toys. We recommend using a lube with all of the sex toys we carry. Vibrators, dildos, anal toys and men's masturbation toys do not lubricate themselves and adding lubricant to any of these toys is sure to increase enjoyment.

Here are some things to consider when choosing a personal lubricant:

  • Water based or silicone based lubricant?
  • Ingredients & allergies
  • Consistency

Water based versus silicone based personal lubricants

  • The vast majority of lube is water based, although this is changing. Traditionally water based lubricants have been recommended as they are condom compatible, won't harm rubber toys, and flush out of the body easily. Our most popular lubricants, Sliquid Organics and Hathor, are all water based and paraben-free.
  • The main drawback to water based lubricants is that they dry up. When they do, they usually feel a bit sticky on your skin. Liquid Silk and Boy Butter H20 are notable exceptions because they never get sticky.
  • While many people are unaware of it, most lubricated condoms use a silicone lube. Silicone lube is ideal in that it never dries up (there's no water in it, so no evaporation). It feels very much like an oil, but it is safe to use with condoms.
  • Other benefits of silicone lubricant are that you can use it in water and because it does not absorb in the skin, it is considered hypoallergenic and people may be less likely to react to using it.
  • Silicone lube should never be used with silicone toys.

Reacting to ingredients in personal lubricants

There is no way for us to guarantee that you won't react to a particular product. For this reason, once you've narrowed your choice down, we suggest getting a small bottle, or our lubricant sampler to start with. There tend to be three main concerns customers have about reacting to our lubes:

  • Lubricants with glycerin and yeast infections
  • Sensitive skin or allergic reactions to lube
  • Avoiding lubricants with parabens

Personal lubricants and yeast infections

While there is no concrete evidence that lubes cause or promote yeast infections, for people with chronic yeast infections it does make sense to avoid anything that might encourage one.

Most water-based lubes contain glycerin which is a ‘sugar alcohol' with a sweet taste and those who suspect that lubes cause yeast infections usually believe that glycerin is the culprit.

Some lubricants without glycerin include:

Sensitive skin or allergic reactions to lube

It is impossible to say for sure whether you will or won't react to a lubricant if you have sensitive skin or allergies. Here are the lubricants we recommend:

  • Probe lubricant only has four ingredients and uses a natural preservative. But the preservative is grape fruit seed extract, so if you're allergic to citrus you may want to avoid it.
  • All of the ingredients in Hathor Aphrodisia lubricant are organically sourced and it also uses a natural preservative
  • The silicone based Eros contains no preservatives and because it doesn't absorb in the skin there is less of a chance of reacting.
  • A certified organic lubricant like Yes! contains no chemical additives, no parabens, and no glycerin.

Avoiding parabens in lubricant

Parabens are a group of chemicals widely used as preservatives in food and cosmetic and therapeutic products. Some parabens are also found at low levels in nature.

There has been some evidence that parabens have been associated with some forms of cancer, although the relationship between parabens and cancer has not been firmly established.

Probe, Hathor, and Eros are all paraben free for anyone who is concerned about reducing their exposure to parabens.

Lube Consistency

Lubricants come in everything from thin as water (Eros, Probe) to thick as jelly (Maximus).

What consistency you choose can be based on a few considerations:

  • Thicker lube is usually easier for anal play. Some people suggest it is also more comfortable as it provides an extra 'cushion'.
  • Thicker lubes can be easier to use with sex toys. Because they stay where you put them, they are less likely to slip right off a toy.
  • Some of the thinner lubricants may feel 'cleaner' and less apparent. If you're looking for a lube that will just enhance regular lubrication, without adding a lot extra, you may want to stick with a thinner lube.


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