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There are many benefits of using lube during sex. It can make sex more pleasurable for all parties, it can increase the sensation when using barriers such as condoms or dams and it decreases friction during sex which means that condoms are less likely to break. There are an overwhelming number of lubes available though, so here is a handy guide to help you pick the right one for you.
The best lubes for use with most condoms are water-based and silicone. Water-based lubes are great for use with most barriers and toys. They’re also usually pretty cheap and easily available at most supermarkets. The problem with these lubes though is that they can often contain glycerin and other sugars. These ingredients can throw off the natural bacterial balance of the vagina or anus so, although they’re better than no lube, it’s best to stay away from water-based lubes with these additives. Being water-based, they also tend to dry out quickly and get really sticky so may need to be reapplied during sex. If not, it can be uncomfortable and lead to breakages or irritation.
If you’re using lubricants around pools or showers – water-based lubes will get washed away. This, however, makes them super easy to clean up.
Silicone lubes don’t dry out the same way water-based lubes do, so they will stay slippery for longer! Silicone is better than water-based lubes during anal sex, as the anus can be more susceptible to tears/infections and does not self lubricate the way the vagina does. Silicone lubes also don’t dissolve in water so are more effective for sex in wet situations. They’re body safe and are becoming easier to find, with Coles and Woolworths now stocking them.
The downside to silicone-based lubes is that they are trickier to clean up and because silicon degrades silicone (weird right) you cant use them with toys that have silicone in them. Make sure to check your toys before using them with silicone lubes!
If you are worried about cleanup you can look at getting a hybrid silicone + water based lubricant – but these can be trickier to find.
Silicone is hypo-allergenic – however a small number of people are sensitive to silicone so be sure to test before using for the first time, like on your arm.
If you want to practice safe sex (and we strongly suggest that you do) it’s a good idea to stay clear of oil-based lubricants. Oil deteriorates latex condoms and dams which kind of defeats the purpose of using them! As we know, water and oil don’t mix, and so they are also notoriously difficult to clean up. The oils in these lubricants are also bad news for internal use as they coat the vagina/anus, making it difficult for these body parts to do their self-cleaning thing – and this can potentially cause infection.
If you want to see what happens when you use oil-based lube watch this video (warning, it’s not high quality but a great demonstration of how quickly oil can break through a condom)
The only things that should be used as lubricants are those that are designed to be used for sex. Massage oils, Vaseline, moisturiser, natural and synthetic oils, and saliva are all bad news for your genitals and can make barriers less effective.