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Everything You Need To Know About Different Types Of Lube

Should it be water-based or oil? 
Do I need a numbing, warming or edible one? 
Is natural better than organic? 
What am I talking about? 

If you said “lube,” you guessed it right! 

There are many types of lube or personal lubricants in the market, but when you are looking for that extra “wetness” in bed, getting your hands on the right type of lube can make all the difference.

In this post, I’ll explain what the different types of lube are and how to select the best lubricant for your needs. I’ll also explain which ingredients to avoid when buying your favorite nightstand companion.

Here’s what I’ll cover:

What Is A Lubricant?

A personal lubricant is a gel-like substance that mimics the body’s natural arousal fluid and enables you to enjoy frictionless penetrative sex. There are water-based, oil-based, silicone-based and other hybrid lubricants that you can use to heighten your sexual pleasure.

You already know that lubrication can heighten the ecstasy of any erotic activity - be it solo play, sex toy play, or with a partner.

But let me explain a bit more.

Why Do You Need Lubricants?

The vagina is naturally self-lubricating - meaning when you are aroused, it secretes a fluid to reduce friction during penetrative sex. 

Sometimes, however, even with sufficient natural lubrication, women can experience discomfort or pain during intercourse.

Moreover, the levels of natural lubrication fluctuate with a woman’s menstrual cycle, age, stress levels, and whether you take medications (some cold medications and antidepressants can affect the amount of vaginal fluids produced during arousal).

That’s where a personal lubricant can come in handy.

Lubricants prevent vaginal dryness, reduce friction and pain during vaginal sex, improve vaginal lubrication, and also enable smoother penetration. 

A personal lubricant can allow you to enjoy sex - whenever and wherever you want! Even when using  lubricated condoms, you must keep a tube of lube nearby to improve your sexual pleasure.

Also, when engaging in anal massage, fisting or any other anal play, a personal lube is the ultimate bedside companion. 

Why is that?

The anus does not self lubricate when aroused. The anal region has sensitive skin which is more likely to tear or bleed during penetration. 

However, with a lubricant, your sexual experience with this highly erogenous area can be more stimulating, pleasurable, and deeply satisfying.

Need some anal lube options? Read this article for the The 5 Best Anal Lubes for 2020 (With Features & Pricing)

What’s more?

Nothing beats an edible lube when gearing for some oral play.

If you want to explore some tasty edible lube options, check out this detailed post on Edible Lube: 10 Of The Best Oral Sex Lubes.

What Are The Types Of Lubricants?

There are three main types of lubricants: water-based, oil-based, and silicone-based. 

There’s also the hybrid lube that’s usually a combination of water, oil and/or silicone. 

You’ll also come across edible or flavored lube as well as numbing, and warming ones - these are also made with either water, oil or silicone as base, along with some ingredients that create the numbness or warmth. 

I’ll explain all these varieties of personal lubricants in detail.

Ready? Let’s start!

1. Water-based Lubricants

Water-based lubricant is the most common type of lube. It is made with a water base. For example, Coconu’s water-based personal lube is made with organic coconut water.

Water-based lubes are easy to find and feel more like your body’s natural lubrication. These are also great at rehydrating sensitive vaginal skin and don’t irritate the genital region or cause infections. 

Pros

Water-based lubes are safe to use with natural rubber, latex and polyisoprene condoms, and compatible with silicone toys and other sex barriers, like dental dams. They are free of harsh chemicals and ingredients like glycerin and parabens. They are also easy to clean up and don’t stain clothes or sheets. 

Cons

It dries out quickly, so it needs frequent reapplication.

Ready to find the best water based lube for your sensual interests? Read my detailed post on The Best Water Based Lube for 2020 (Plus How to Use Lubricants)

2. Oil-based Lubricants

Oil-based lubricants are made with plant oils and other natural oils. They provide a great glide factor and last longer than water-based lubricants.

You can use oil based lube like Coconu’s coconut oil-based personal lubricant as a massage oil during foreplay. They are perfect for anal sex as they don’t need reapplication even during long sessions.

Pros

Oil-based lubricants don’t wash away with water or saliva, so you can use them during shower sex. They are also perfectly safe with most sex toys, including the silicone toy.

Cons

They are not compatible with the latex condom, so you can use it only if you don’t need protection. They can stain your best sheets and take a long time to wash off your skin and adult toys. 

3. Silicone Lubricants

Silicone lube is an excellent option if you want a long-lasting, hypoallergenic lube that remains slippery and smooth forever. Since silicone lube do not wash off with water, it’s good for shower sex.

For people with sensitive skin, silicone lube works very well as it is least likely to cause any allergic reactions. 

Pros

A silicone lubricant can be used with all types of condoms and sex barriers. Non-silicone based sex toys can also be used with these lubricants.

Cons

Silicone tends to damage the silicone sex toy, so you need to be careful about your silicone vibrator. It is also more difficult to clean and takes some scrubbing to wash off the residue with soap and water.

4. Natural Lubricants

Natural lubricants are made with ingredients that are organic and wouldn’t disturb your body’s natural pH balance. They are made with either water or natural oil as the base. They are also known as organic lube.

Pros

Natural lubricants are free of preservatives like parabens, petroleum jelly, and propylene glycol. They also use organic ingredients, which are better for the environment and safe for your vagina.

Cons

They may have a shorter shelf life and can be more expensive than other types of lubricants.

5. Edible Lubricants 

Edible lubes are fun when indulging in oral sex. They are safe to ingest as food-grade ingredients are used. Edible lubes can be flavorless like Coconu’s coconut water-based personal lubricant, or they can be flavored, giving your erotic pleasures a tasty twist!

Pros

Edible lubes that are flavored can make oral sex taste and smell better.

Cons

A common ingredient in many flavoured lube is glycerin which is a metabolic byproduct of sugar. If you intend to use a lube for more than just oral play, you should avoid the edible varieties that contain glycerin. The ingredient can irritate your vagina and cause yeast infections. 

6. Numbing Lubricants

Numbing lubes use mild topical anesthetics to desensitize the region where it is applied. Most numbing lubes are water-based and are usually used for anal sex.

Two of the most common desensitizers used in a numbing lubricant are benzocaine or lidocaine. When these get absorbed in the skin, it numbs the entrance of the anus to decrease sensitivity and allow pain-free anal penetration.

Pros 

Since most numbing lubes are water based lube, you can use them with a latex condom and any sex toy or anal toy, including the silicone toy or butt plug. 

Cons

If your anal region is numbed, you may not feel any pain or intense sensations until the lube has worn off. This may cause potential long term injury as pain is an indicator that you are going too strong and need to stop.

The ingredients usually used in numbing lubes may cause tingling, irritation, itching, or burning sensations.

For more details, read Is Numbing Lube Safe For Anal Sex? What Is The Alternative? 

7. Warming Lubricants

Warming lubricants use glycerol and glycerin to create a gentle warming or tingling sensation on your vaginal or anal skin. Such warming sensations can enhance arousal and make orgasms feel more intense. For some people, temperature play can also amplify intimacy during sexual intercourse.

Pros

While most warming lubes are water-based, there are some made with a silicone base or oil-based. Water based lubricants are the best, as they are made with ingredients that don’t usually cause allergic reactions or any yeast infection. Moreover, they are easier to clean and compatible with all types of condoms and sex toys.

Cons

The glycerin used in warming lubes can cause yeast infections and vaginal irritation. Glycerin is also known to increase the possibility of transmission of genital herpes.

Another active ingredient that is commonly found in warming lubes is propylene glycol, which can cause vaginal irritation if you are sensitive to the product.

Wondering if a warming lube is your best bet? Check out my detailed post on What Is Warming Lube And Do You Need One For Better Sex?

Can You DIY Lubricants?

Looking for a reliable alternative to a store-bought personal lubricant?

For all practical purposes, you can mix natural oils with bees wax to concoct a homemade gel-like substance that improves slipperiness during sex. 

Many household staples that you use for cooking or as a moisturizer (like olive oil) can be used as an alternative to a vaginal lubricant. 

If you want some recipes for homemade lubricants or want to learn more about DIY lube, check out this post on Everything You Need To Know About Homemade Lube.

A word of caution:

Some kitchen staples or common household ingredients are a strict no-no when it comes to using them as a lubricant. 

Here’s a list of few ingredients that you must avoid when making your own personal lubricant:

  • Baby oil or anything with mineral oil - it can increase your chances of getting bacterial vaginosis
  • Petroleum jelly - it’s not safe with condoms, and can cause bacterial vaginosis
  • Glycerin - it may increase transmission of genital herpes
  • Vegetable oil - these are treated with chemicals, they can cause a buildup in the vagina, and can increase the risk of yeast related infection
  • Chocolate, shortening, cream - while they may seem like a great substitute for edible lubricants, anything that contains sugar will cause yeast infections.

While some kitchen essentials like coconut oil, olive oil or flaxseeds mixed with aloe vera gel can also double-up as a sex lube, it is always better to opt for a store-bought lube. 

These are tested for safety and made from certified natural and organic ingredients.

Shouldn’t you only use what’s safe and organic for your most sensitive parts?

What about coconut oil? Can you use it as a lubricant?

This is a very common question that many personal lubricant users frequently ask. 

While natural coconut oil may work great as a massage oil or makeup remover, I wouldn't recommend it as a personal lubricant.

Any type of oil, including coconut oil can cause condom breakage. Moreover, applying direct coconut oil to your vagina can disrupt its ph balance, increasing the chances of yeast infections.

If you want an in-depth answer to the whys and the wherefores, read this post on Coconut Oil As Lube: Is It Safe? What Is The Alternative?

Still want to use coconut oil as lubricant? Then, opt for the organic and body-safe personal lubricant range from Coconu.

Coconu uses organic coconut oil for its oil-based lubricant. This sexual lubricant can be used without worry of infections in and around the sensitive skin of your vagina and anus.

In case you want to know whether coconut oil can work as a anal lubricant, check put my detailed post on Can You Use Coconut Oil as Anal Lube? (Pros, Cons & an Alternative).

What To Avoid When Lubricant Shopping? 

When buying a lube, you’ll come across many intriguing options.

There are edible, flavored, numbing, tingling and warming lubricants, apart from the usual water, oil and silicone-based. 

While these may seem fun, you need to be careful about the ingredients and pH value of your lube to ensure it doesn’t cause any adverse reactions or irritate your genitals.

The pH level of a healthy vagina ranges between 3.5 to 4.5. This is maintained by an army of good bacteria that help fend off infections.

Your personal lubricant should also have the same pH balance so that it doesn’t disrupt your vagina’s natural balance. 

In essence, you must avoid lubricants with chemicals, petroleum jelly, glycerin, paraben, benzyl alcohol, petrochemicals like propylene glycol and polyethylene glycol, and benzocaine glycol and fragrances. 

Many of these ingredients can damage the mucous membrane of both the vagina and anus. They can also increase the likelihood of bacterial infections, yeast infections, and STI transmission.

When lubricant shopping, remember this simple rule of thumb:

Stick to lubes that have a small and simple ingredient list with natural and familiar ingredient names.

This article on The 6 Best Natural Lubricants for 2020 gives you some great lube options that won’t disturb your body’s natural pH balance.

How Do You Use A Lube?

As liberally as you want!

Squirt as much as you want and apply it to your vagina, anus and/or the penis. You can even apply it on your sex toys and over a latex condom (only if it’s water-based). 

Even if you use lubricated condoms, the amount of lubrication is not always sufficient to provide adequate slipperiness. Therefore, you may need to apply a vaginal lubricant over the outside of the entire condom to make safe sex even better.

Re-apply as much, or as many times as necessary during sex to maintain adequate slipperyness. There is no hard and fast rule here! 

All you need to remember is: 

  • Some types of lube, like silicone based lube, lasts longer than others like water based lube. 
  • Some lubes are a better option when indulging in certain specific erotic activity (like silicone based lubricant for shower sex or flavored lube for oral sex).

Another thing to keep in mind when using any type of lube:Thoroughly clean your genitals afterwards to avoid any infection and growth of unhealthy bacteria.

How To Select The Best Lubricant?

Before we explore this question, I want to let you in on a secret: Personal lubricants have a shelf life.

So, once you open a tube or bottle of lube, you must use it within a year (or replace it). You must also see to it that your lubricant is stored in a cool, dry place and at room temperature (between 5 to 30-degree celsius).  Moreover, the cap of the tube should also always be closed after use.

This article on Does Lube Expire: How To Tell If Your Sex Lubricant Is Old? explains everything in detail.

Now:What’s the best lubricant for you?

Short answer: It depends on your needs.

Your personal lubricant should be body-safe and reliable. It should be tested for compatibility with condoms and adult toys. Most importantly, you should be sure that it will not give you infections or allergic reactions.

Few basics to remember:

  • When using condoms, go with water-based or silicone lubricants.
  • Oil-based lubricants damage and break condoms, so they can’t be used with any sex barriers or condoms.
  • Water based lubricants are best if sex toys are going to be part of your intimate session.

Easiest way to know which is your best lube for bedtime adventures is to try a few options. Just remember to check the ingredients list and opt for brands that use natural and organic products.

Or, you could give Coconu personal lubricants a shot.

Lube Perfect

Coconu has two varieties of personal lubricants - a coconut water-based lubricant, and a coconut oil-based lubricant.

Both the lubricants are made with organic and natural ingredients that are tested for compatibility with sex barriers and adult toys.

Coconu’s water based lubricant 

The water based lubricant is a great option when you want to use sex barriers like latex condoms, and dental dams, or have a playful session with silicone toys.

The silky smoothness of this lube moisturizes vaginal tissue while preserving its pH balance. 

This hypoallergenic lube is also long-lasting - an important consideration when you don’t want to take a break during your most intimate moments to reapply  lube.

What’s even better?

You don’t have to worry about stains on your best sheets or any sticky residue in your anal or vaginal region.

Coconu’s oil based lubricant

Coconu’s oil-based personal lubricant is one of the only USDA Certified Organic lubes on the market. It is made from a blend of natural oils, including almond oil and other natural ingredients like cocoa butter and beeswax. 

It is also a good companion when indulging in foreplay and as an effective remedy for vaginal dryness.

While you cannot use Coconu oil-based personal lubricant with a latex condom, it does work with polyurethane condoms. The lube is also body-safe and can be used without worry of infections in your vagina and anus.

Both the lubes stimulate your body’s natural lubrication, so you can enjoy intercourse or masturbation with abandon.

Coconu lubricants are 100% natural and free from genetically modified organisms, alcohol, petroleum, paraben, gluten, phylates, fragrances, and dyes.

Ready to order your Coconu personal lubricant?

Don’t wait too long to lube up!