Everyone at Adam & Eve knows that I have some kind of weird obsession with finding The Perfect Lubricant. I mean, really. Is there anything more integral to good sex than the perfect keep-it-going-juice? I think not. Besides, you know, a sex partner or a good toy. So the running joke is that if anyone has lube questions, they can be directed to me. Flavored, warming, cooling, natural, organic, vegan, silicone, hybrid, water, liquid, gel… Is your head spinning yet? Let’s break it down…
Water based lubricants are probably the most common lubricants on the market. They include KY Liquid (which is superior to KY Jelly, which is frankly kind of disgusting and medical), Astroglide, and specialty names such as JO H2O, Intimate Organics, and Sliquid. A lot of women lean towards water based lubes because they’re familiar, and hey, water is kind of important to us as a species. There are a couple things to watch out for in your water based lubricants, though:
Glycerine – It’s still argued whether glycerine can really lead to yeast infections, as not all glycerin is created equal. Cheaper, less quality glycerins are more likely to cause an infection. Glycerine is also what makes some lubricants taste sweet, and because it is a sugar derivative, it can feed yeast. Bottom line: I would caution you to stay away unless you have a vagina of steel.
Parabens – Parabens are widely used in cosmetics, foodstuffs, and pharmaceuticals as preservatives, and have been declared unsafe by the FDA in certain amounts. Because they’re deemed unsafe in quantities larger than what we find in cosmetics, lubricants, and even food, many people choose to avoid them altogether. Women who are sensitive, prone to yeast infections, or are concerned about the safety of these chemicals should avoid lubricants containing parabens.
Fortunately, many lubricants are now being marketed as Glycerin and Paraben Free, such as Sliquid Organics, Intimate Organics, and JO for Women. Babeland’s BabeLube is also glycerin and paraben free, and they even make a natural organic version. All of the lubricants mentioned in this paragraph are also Vegan, apart from JO for Women (as far as I know).
My favorite? Intimate Organics Defense (Adam & Eve Pittsburgh, represent!), which contains carrageenan, an algae extract. Defense actually helps protect the natural pH and microflora levels in the vagina, effectively preventing yeast infections. The carrageenan actually keeps the lubricant slick and thick, great for vaginal intercourse or use with toys. It doesn’t get sticky or tacky during handjobs, either, which you know is a rarity if you’ve ever tried pleasing your man with a water based lubricant. Bonus: Carrageenan has been shown in some studies to help prevent the spread of HPV.
Silicone lubricants are the marathoners of sex lubes. They might even outlast you, unless you’re Sting and you’re into tantric sex or something. Seriously. The most common ingredient in silicone lubricants is Dimethicone, which can be made from sand. Which, honestly, freaks me out because imagine sand in your vagina. No, actually, don’t. Just keep reading.
Silicone lubricants do not dissolve in water and do not sink quickly into your skin, which is what gives them their staying power. Instead of being absorbed by the vagina tissue like water based lubricants are, they stay slick laying on top of the tissue. So what are the drawbacks? They’re not natural or organic products, and if you are concerned about the safety of dimethicone (Canada is, the US isn’t), you might wish to stay away. Also, you cannot use silicone lubricant with silicone toys, or you will risk ruining your toy. You can, however, use silicone lubricants with condoms.
But why choose silicone lubricant? If you have a very sensitive vagina and even Sliquid Organics causes you pH grief, a simple, quality silicone lubricant could be just what you need. Pink is very popular among women with sensitivities, and Babeland makes a high quality silicone lubricant of their own that is supposed to be very similar. Some people love silicone lubricant for anal sex and anal play, too, though it is harder to find a thicker formulation which is usually favored for backdoor entry.
Hybrids are a mix of silicone and water based lubricants, which sounds silly and a bit pointless, but they can actually be quite nice. I like them for the fact that they’re long lasting, but easy to clean up. Dare I say they’re the Hannah Montana of lubricants: the best of both worlds. Oh yeah, I went there. Things you don’t want to picture. Sorry.
Despite my parting ways with Pure Romance, if you attend a party any time in the near future, I do recommend their Pure Silk lubricant. It’s a hybrid, but it’s somehow safe to use with toys. I’ve never used any other hybrid lubricant, but JO makes one that I wouldn’t hesitate to try out. Warning: most hybrids cannot be used with silicone toys. Do not ruin your investment pieces.
Yum! There are many, many types and brands of flavored lubricants, from the cheapo jelly-like tubes to the warming, saccharin-sweet “massage liquids” to higher-end, more body friendly options. What you really need to know is that what’s suitable for the penis isn’t always suitable for the vagina. A friend of mine swears by warming, flavored massage liquid for blowjobs. Would I ever suggest using that for oral sex on a woman? Nope. It’s simply too sweet, and the sweeter a lubricant is, the more sugary and potentially yeast-causing it is.
My personal favorite flavored lubricant is JO H2O (again, holla to Adam & Eve Pittsburgh!), which is available in several tasty but not too sweet flavors, and is made with top quality glycerine to keep it safe for vaginal use for most women. I have the cherry flavor, while most others seem to prefer pomegranate or strawberry. If you’re looking for a certifiably vegan option, check out Intimate Organics, which also warm to the touch.
Things That are Not Good Lubricants and/or Will Make Your Vagina Very Sad
Spit – Stays wet for, what, five seconds? Unless you’re using it to refresh some water based lube (yep, it works!), spit is not a lubricant.
Oil based lubricants – Great for handies, awful for vaginal sex. At best, you’ll have an oily vagina and stained sheets. At worst, you’ll have bacterial vaginosis and/or a urinary tract infection. If it’s creamy, don’t put it in you. The worst culprit of this is Whipped, from Pure Romance. That stuff is satan in a squeeze tube, and a large part of why I quit the biz.
Soap or shower gel – Sex in the shower is great. Soap in your vagina is not great. No fingering with soap, no vaginal intercourse with soap. Soap has a completely different pH than your vagina. Don’t make your vagina sad.
Whew! What’s your favorite – or least favorite – lubricant? Do you have a new one on your must try list now?