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Wet & Gushy: Everything You Need To Know About Lube

Let’s talk lube! The different types, which are best in certain sexual scenarios, as well as which ingredients you should keep far away from your body…
If you don’t have lube, I don’t want to have sex with you. While some can boast that all they require is a few globs of spit prior to a good pounding, the truth is that saliva  does not offer the lubricity required to sufficiently decrease friction during anal sex, which can lead to tearing, hemorrhoids, and STI/HIV transmittion, to name a few.
Since anal sex is traumatic to the body, lubrication is one way to minimize potential complications. So to keep your holes happy and healthy, let’s talk lube, discussing the different types, which are best in certain sexual scenarios, as well as which ingredients you should keep far away from your body.
Water-based lubes
Water-based lubes are the most versatile of the bunch, meaning they can be used with just about anything––toys, condoms, penises, you name it. They are also the most widely available and easiest to get your hands on.
The issues with water-based lubes is that they don’t last as long as others, meaning you’ll likely have to re-apply, especially during anal sex. Since, unlike the vagina, bums don’t self-lubricate.
Water-based lubes are also water soluble, meaning they wash away in water, making them ineffective for sex in the shower, bath tub, and other bodies of water. Also, our bodies absorb water-based lubricants over time and its texture will become sticky and tacky––though spit or water can help restore the lubricant to a more slippery state.
To end on a positive note, water-based lubricants are easy to clean, are the preferred lubricant for fisting, and can carry an electrical current, meaning they can be used with e-stim and electrical toys.
Silicone-based lubes
Many favor silicone-based lubes for anal sex because they’re slick, velvety and do not need to be re-applied as often as water-based lubes since our skin’s mucous membrane doesn’t absorb silicone like it does water.
A major con to silicone-based lubes, however, is that they cannot be used with silicone toys (which many toys are made from), as it will compromise its shape, texture and make the device more difficult to fully clean or sterilize.
Silicone-based lubes can also be difficult to clean off the floor (hardwood and tile flooring will become a slippery safety hazard, so scrub those floors with dish soap) and may stain the sheets. To prevent this from happening, soak fabrics in dish soap and water before tossing it into the laundry.
Oil-based lubes
Good for cooking and massages, oil-based lubes are also great for sex, lasting longer than silicone-based lubes and are safe with all sex toys. Coconut oil is a popular oil-based lube that can be found around the house and is rather inexpensive.
However, oil-based lubes aren’t condom safe and can break down latex in as little as 60 seconds. Oil-based lubes will also stain whatever fabric comes in contact with and is not recommended for vaginal sex as it is known to cause yeast infections and other ailments like bacterial vaginosis.
Hybrid lubes
Take the best parts of silicone-based and water-based lubes, and you’ve got hybrid lube. Most hybrid lubes contain roughly 90 percent water-based and 10 percent silicone-based lubes. As such, these lubricants generally contain such small amounts of silicone that they are safe to use with silicone toys, but don’t last quite as long as silicone-based lubes.
Numbing lubes
These lubes are tricky because their greatest benefit is also their greatest detriment. Numbing lubes are water-based lubricants that use mild topical anesthetics (like benzocaine or lidocaine, also used by dentists for root canals) to desensitize the region, which can help tops last longer and bottoms experience less pain and discomfort about 10 to 15 minutes after application.
The problem with this is that pain is our body’s way of warning us to stop, and by ridding ourselves of that sensation, we could be doing serious harm without even knowing it. Not to mention, these anesthetics can cause irritation, itching and/or burning. For these reasons, it’s wise to steer clear of these lubes.
Heating/cooling lubes
Similar to numbing lubes, these added sensations contain chemicals that can cause unnecessary irritation to the area and are best avoided, especially for anal sex. If you want to give them a try, proceed with caution.
Ingredients to avoid
To make sure what you’re putting on or in your body is safe, read the label before you buy, steering clear of ingredients like: propylene glycol (it can cause tissue irritation), parabens (they mimic the effects of estrogen in the body), polyquaternium (it may enhance HIV-1 replication in vitro), nonoxynol-9 (it can cause irritation and inflammation), petroleum oils (they coat the skin and can interfere with regular function), sugar alcohols, glycerin (both can cause vaginal yeast infections), acetate, and citric acid (can burn or itch the area).
When it comes to lube, you generally get what you pay for. Reaching for a cheap lube could cost your body much more in the long run. So make sure you read the labels, experiment with what different types and brands of lube, and decide which has earned its keep in your nightstand.
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