I’m always amused by people who tell me that lube is something they don’t, quite literally, f**k with. Because, well, using it often allows for a far smoother sex life. “Lube makes everything better,” says Taylor Sparks, erotic educator and founder of sexual wellness emporium Organic Loven. “It makes long sex longer and it helps reduce friction, which in turn reduces micro-tears in the vagina.” To wit, more lube can often mean more pleasure. Now that everyone’s convinced of its powers, let’s break down what the best lube for sex play is.
Sex experts tend to be of the mind that there’s no single best lube for sex so much as there’s one that works best for you. After you make sure a given product is free of potentially harmful ingredients like glycol, glycerin, and fragrances, selecting a lube comes down to a matter of preference, and what type of sex you’re looking to enjoy. Because what might work for one orifice will not work seamlessly for another.
With that in mind, below, sexperts share their recommendations for the best lube for sex of all kinds.
The best lube for penetrative sex
“When it comes to vaginal sex, you want a lube with natural ingredients that won’t irritate [your own] or your partner’s vulva,” says Zachary Zane, sex expert and columnist. “The last thing you or your partner wants is a UTI.”
Both Zane and Kenneth Play, international educator and sex hacker, are big fans of Promescent, which is condom-compatible—a rare feature among natural lubes. “It’s made with organic quinoa, hemp, flax, green tea, and oat extracts that rejuvenates the skin,” says Zane. “It’s also pH-balanced and doesn’t contain any glycerin or parabens, so it shouldn’t irritate you or your partner’s vulva. Last but not least, I love the texture of the lube; it feels almost silky.”
Shop Now: Promescent Premium Lubricant, $10
Spunk Lube Hybrid, $32
This lube is a top recommendation from Tatyannah King, a sex educator and sex coach with Blex Technologies. It’s a rare hybrid lubricant in that it’s water-based with a dash of silicone. King loves its thicker, velvety consistency because it legitimately feels like…well, let’s just say it’s true to it’s name.
Shop Now: Spunk Lube Hybrid, $15
“My all-time personal go-to is Swiss Navy Silicone Lubricant,” says Play. “It’s all-purpose, inexpensive, and you can get up to a gallon of it, which some people want.”
Shop Now: Swiss Navy Silicone Lubricant, $20
The best lube for oral sex
For oral sex, Sparks says you want to seek out “organic and eco-friendly lubes [that] are chemical-free, paraben- and glycerin-free,” she says. “Not only should the chemicals and parabens not be on your skin, but you don’t want to ingest them.”
Sparks loves this one because it’s odorless, with only a very slight taste of lemon and vanilla. It has a base of aloe vera, which can also be very soothing to the skin of the genitals, and of course, it’s chemical-, paraben-, and glycerin-free.
Shop Now: Good Clean Love—Almost Naked, $16
This all-natural lubricating body butter has a base of coconut oil, olive oil, sunflower oil, and vitamin E, making it completely edible. Oh, it very fittingly melts on contact with your skin. You might even go back for seconds.
Shop Now: Body Butter – Fragrance-Free By Southern Butter, $15
Bijou Indiscrets Slow Sex Oral Sex Balm gives a very literal fresh definition to the concept of temperature play. “It has a base of coconut oil with a natural ingredient called Frescolat, or menthyl lactate, which gives a cooling effect that contrasts with a warm mouth,” says Sparks.
Shop Now: Bijoux Indiscrets Slow Sex Oral Sex Balm
The best lube for solo sex
“My personal lube recommendation for solo sex is Sliquid Sassy Formula or Sliquid Sea Natural Lubricant,” says King. “They’re both water-based, so they’re compatible with sex toys. They both have a thicker and more moist feel than most water-based lubes.” And for what it’s worth, we’ve already crowned Sassy Sliquid Queen of Lubricants, so it’s sexologist and sex-writer approved.
Shop Now: Sliquid Naturals Sassy Lubricating Gel, $18
“For a vulva-body’s solo play, I highly recommend checking out Foria’s oil-based lube,” says Caitlin V, MPH, resident sexologist for sexual-health company Royal. “[It] contains CBD, a non-psychoactive chemical produced by the hemp plant that can create pleasurable sensations, decrease pain, and even enhance arousal.”
And though not technically a lubricant, Sparks adds that Foria’s Awaken Arousal Oil ($33) can intensify sensations and allow your body to produce your own, uh, lubrication. “It has nine aphrodisiacs, a hint of mint and chocolate and broad spectrum CBD,” says Sparks. “This acts as a vasodilator, which opens up the blood vessels allowing more blood to flow to the clitoral area, giving you a more intense orgasm.”
If you’re interested in a bundle, know that the Awaken Arousal Oil with CBD and Intimacy Natural Lubricant with CBD are available as a pair for $78.
Shop Now: Intimacy Natural Lubricant with CBD, $30
One of the biggest mistakes people make with manual masturbation is working with bone-dry hands. It’s why sexperts recommend slipping on a lubricant with high-quality ingredients to really amp up the sensuality. Consider this self-love potion for your inner pleasure goddess: It features natural ingredients including essences of pomegranate, hemp blossoms, rosewood, golden jojoba, and cranberry.
And friendly reminder: oil-based lubes are not condom compatible, so you might as well get your fill went playing solo.
Shop Now: Living Libations Venus Love Lube Sensual Serum, $38
The best lube for anal sex
For anal play, lube is all but non-negotiable. “The anus, unlike the vagina, is not self-lubricating,” says Zane. “If you don’t use lube during anal sex, you increase your chances of getting anal fissures, which can be extremely uncomfortable and painful.”
“For anal sex, you typically want a thicker, silicone-based lube that you don’t need to reapply often,” says Zane. He recommends pjur ‘sBackdoor Silicone Lube, which has an extra bit of jojoba to, ahem, relax the sphincter muscles.
Shop Now: pjur Backdoor Silicone Lube, $24
“I like [überlube] because they make a clean and safe lubricant without any extras—there’s only one ingredient,” V says. “Silicone-based lubricant is best for anal sex because it doesn’t dry out in the way that water-based lube can.”
V adds that this condom-safe wonder-lube can work for vaginal sex and is amazing for penis-bodied individuals who are training to last longer in bed by extending their masturbation time. Just keep it away from silicone-based toys, because it can degrade the material.
Shop Now: Überlube Luxury Lubricant, $28
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