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One under-discussed part of sexual health is lubricants. The best personal lubricants, more commonly called lubes, can make sex and self-pleasure more fun, but they can also make it safer and less painful. This is especially true when talking about any especially sensitive areas. Lubricants can be used for all types of sexual activity, but different activities call for different types of products. Likewise, some people have specific sensitivities that will affect the type of product they need.
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To help our readers select the best lube for their body and sexual health, we’ve been reviewing products and consulting experts. From gynecologists to sex shop owners, we’ve been talking to “sexperts” about their favorite lubricants, the best lubricants for specific activities, and the best lubricants to use with sex toys and condoms.
We’ve outlined everything we’ve learned for you in this guide. In addition, we collected the best lubricants based on this expert advice and our product testers’ experience with various products.
How To Pick the Right Personal Lubricant
To answer this question, we consulted Dr. Mary Jane Minkin MD, a clinical professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences at Yale University School of Medicine, when working on our overall guide to the best personal lubricants.
“There are many excellent lubricants available. First bit of advice: don’t buy a huge supply of the new lube the first time you try it-make sure it agrees with you first. (the vaginal tissue is among the most delicate in the body),” Dr. Minkin said.
“Next, consider if there are any special circumstances. For example, if you are a couple trying to conceive (and sometimes have to have sex at a certain time of the cycle it can be stressful and you will have limited lubrication)-then you want to use a sperm-friendly lubricant such as Pre-Seed (which will help keep those sperm alive!) Some of the other general lubricants available are Replens Silky Smooth (which is a good companion for the Replens moisturizer which many women use for ongoing moisture.) And never forget that foreplay is very important for stimulation of vaginal lubrication-and many couples will benefit from the use of vibrators: vibrators also increase pelvic blood flow that increases vaginal moisture.”
What Are the Different Types of Lubricants?
There are many different kinds of lubricants, and they’re good for different things. A silicone-based lubricant is one popular option because it’s long lasting, hypoallergenic and creates a nice silky feeling. It’s also less sticky compared to other lubricants and washes off easily. One thing worth noting is that silicone-based lubricants can deteriorate the surface of silicone-based toys, so it’s best to use them directly on the body.
There are also water-based lubricants. These are great because you can use them with silicone sex toys, and they are most compatible with condoms. They’re also suitable for those with sensitive skin. Another kind to consider is oil-based lubricants, which include synthetic and natural options. The major drawback with these is that they can damage condoms and toys.
For these reasons, many people strongly prefer water-based lubes, which can also contain fewer chemicals and unnatural ingredients. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference, but it’s important to understand the differences between different types of personal lubricants.
When working on our guide to the best lube for anal sex, the experts we spoke to were unanimous that some type of lubrication is absolutely necessary. For the most part, they advised using silicone-based and water-based lubes
“Water-based is generally gentler on skin, easier to wash off of yourself and your toys and compatible with all types of barriers,” said Vanessa Carlisle, Ph.D. “When using toys, water-based is best…Some silicone lubes will actually degrade the body-safe silicone used in higher-end toys, or, be impossible to clean off of other materials. Also, silicone lubes can stain sheets!”
How We Chose the Best Lubes
To find the best lubes, we first consulted sexual health experts. While some of our experts declined to recommend specific products, we kept their advice in mind when selecting the best lube to recommend to SPY readers. There’s no shortage of options out there, and we’ve primarily focused on water and silicone-based lubes. These are the more versatile options, and they’re suitable for use with condoms.
Why trust SPY.com when shopping for the best lube? The SPY health team frequently writes about our favorite sexual health products. We also consult experts in the sexual health field when creating guides for our readers. Finally, we test and review popular sex toys and wellness products, and we’re always honest about the pros and cons.
With all this in mind, these are the best personal lubricants to use right now.
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1. Sliquid Intimate Lubricant H20
Sliquid has been in the sexual health business for two decades, and according to many of the experts we consulted (as well as our own product testers), Sliquid makes some of the best lubricants in the world. They have a wide variety of different products, but the company's original water-based lubricant is a stand-out. It comes in 4.2 or 8.5-ounce sizes, depending on your needs. The unscented, paraben-free formula is 100% vegan, and we were surprised how long this lube lasted and how little was needed.
Pros: Super long-lasting water-based lube. Unscented paraben-free formula is also glycerin free.
Cons: Limited variety in size availability.
Sliquid Intimate Lubricant H20
2. Uberlube Luxury Lubricant 100ml
With a bottle that looks like it could be luxury cologne, Uberlube delivers on the promise of a premium product. Of course, Uberlube's silicone-based lubricant goes well beyond just looks. Uberlube's ultra-simple formula eliminates unnecessary ingredients — it's pure silicone combined with vitamin E, making for something that reduces friction without reducing sensation. Thanks to the fragrance-free formula, classy packaging and pump top, it feels a bit more sophisticated than the typical lube.
Pros: Pump-top makes it easy to get just the right amount. Odor-free.
Cons: There are more affordable options.
Uberlube Luxury Lubricant 100ml
3. Wet Platinum Lube
This odor-less silicone lube is also paraben and oil-free. It's compatible with rubber latex, polyisoprene and polyurethane condoms. The manufacturer, Wet, has been around since 1989 and is one of the top names in the industry.
Pros: Long-lasting, waterproof, gives a silky feeling.
Cons: The pour-top bottle makes it easy to spill.
Wet Platinum Lube
4. Astroglide X Premium Silicone Personal Lubricant
If there's a lube brand that's truly a household name, it's Astroglide. The brand offers lubricants of pretty much every variety, and its silicone lube is one of our favorites, thanks to its clean, fuss-free application. It's also waterproof, fragrance-free, and long-lasting. A tiny bit of this lube goes a long, long way, and it doesn't have that sticky feeling you get with some personal lubricants.
Pros: Silky smooth feeling, affordable.
Cons: Not compatible with condoms.
Astroglide X Premium Silicone Personal Lubricant
5. Replens Silky Smooth Personal Lubricant
This option was specifically recommended by one of our experts, who pointed out that many women used it in conjunction with a moisturizer. It's a silicone-based lubricant that's compatible with natural rubber latex, polyisoprene and polyurethane condoms. It's free from parabens.
Pros: Recommended by doctors. Compatible with most condom types.
Cons: Some options are more economical. Designed for a specific purpose, so might not be ideal as a general-purpose lubricant.