A Comprehensive Guide to Personal Lubricants

You can use a personal lubricant out of sheer necessity or purely for fun. Or, you may even go for a combination of these factors. The sensation and the glide are two very important factors of personal lubrication. The best of personal lubricants offer you a healthy dose of both – great sensation and genuinely good glide. When you are looking for the most effective personal lubricant there, it always helps if you have some research backing up your purchase. We thought of making the chase a little less cumbersome for you by presenting a comprehensive guide on personal lubricants.

Types of Lubes: By Composition

Water-Based Lubricant

The water-based lubricants actually imply “water-soluble” lubricants. These lubes are soluble in water and constitute the most widely used varieties of personal lubricants. Some of the earliest lubes of this category are glycerin solutions or cellulose-based ethers. While the cellulose based lubes are still widely in circulation, most noted brands have discontinued use of glycerin-based water-soluble lubes due to sensitivity issues. The viscosity or thickness of water-based lubes can easily be altered by adjusting the water-content in them. However, frequent reapplication could be a case for these lubes as they can easily be absorbed by the skin or evaporate.

Oil-based lubricants

While oil-based lubricants have seen relentless revolution vis-à-vis their composition, some of the earliest compositions are that of petroleum-based products. These often include petroleum jelly. The good thing about oil-based lubes is that they tend to last longer on the skin than their water-based counterparts. The sad thing though is their incompatibility with latex condoms. They can easily break the texture of latex and render them incompetent for use. This could also lead to more frequent cases of unwanted pregnancy. On the plus side, these lubes double up as great massage oils too.

Silicone-based lubricants   

These lubes are generally formulated with less than four elements and generally give eater a skip. The feel is different from both water-based and oil-based lubes in that the silicone lubes have a far superior texture. The silicone infusion makes the far very smooth and the feel is one to behold. The absorption of silicone lubes by membranes of the skin is near to nil and this imparts silicone lubes with their much hyped ‘longevity’. The market is full of silicone lubricants of varying types and qualities. Most of these are again not compatible with condoms and toys. Plus, silicone lubricants are best advised to couples who do not have skin sensitivity issues.

Guide to Personal Lubricants

Types by Popularity

Flavored Lubricants

The lubes that are flavored are usually divided between water and oil-based lubes. These are especially flavored for those who want the get the tongue actively involved in the proceedings. If oral sex is an indispensable part of your sexual adventures, this is what you need to throw a look at.

Now flavored lubes come with their share of baggage as well. The thing is flavoring agents do not always go down with those who have persistent issues with skin sensitivity. If that is the case with you too, be extra careful when reading the ingredients list. Avoid any chemical that is known to aggravate existing sensitivity issues.

Organic Lubricants

The organic lubricants are almost similar to natural lubricants, just that the ingredients used in organic lubes are certified organic by authorities of competence. The first certified organic lubricant in the US was created in 2004 and it was the Nude Personal Lubricant. Since then, several manufacturers and lube companies started rolling out a total beeline of organic lubes.

The good thing about organic lubes is that they are built for those who want to experience the feeling of personal lubrication, but are a little circumspect about the chemical goop that comes inadvertently. Since the ingredients are certified organic, there is minimum risk for sensitivity skin and greater safety involved.

Temperature Altering Lubricants

Most temperature-altering lubricants can be divided safely into two categories – warming lubricants and cooling lubricants. These are mostly designed for couples who want heightened sensations while using the lube. While there are several varieties of temperature-altering lubes in the market, you should only go for the ones that have been approved by relevant authorities like the FDA.

If you make the right pick, there are plenty of avenues to explore with these lubes. Some come with dual lube packs wherein one is meant for him and the other is meant for her. The temperatures are generally contradictory. The cardinal feeling is generated when you start mixing the lubes either manually or through intercourse.  

Spermicidal Lubricants

The spermicidal lubes are meant for killing or damaging sperms while having sex. This is the kind of lube that comes coated in the insides of most condoms. The function is simple – they damage, stop or kill the sperm cells should there be an ejaculation.

A healthy measure of caution needs to be observed while using spermicidal lubes. These are meant to be rough lubes that have a detrimental effect on sperm cells. Not all lubes advertised as such do the trick though. Some use the label only as a false marketing gimmick. Be very careful when you go for such lubes. Make sure to read lots of reviews on their efficacy.

Aloe Based Lubricants

The Aloe-based lubricants are actually considered a subclass of natural lubricants. These are specially designed for skin types that are too sensitive to allow other kinds of lubes on them. The aloe-based lubes are free from all harmful chemicals that could potentially cause damage to the skin.

Aloe lubes are also known for great healing and repair capabilities. These lubes can heal at will and with prolonged usage may also get you rid of overtly sensitive skin. However, in order for that to happen, you will have to be spot on with the selection of the lube in the first place. This is where most of the difference is made.

Definitions of a Great Lubricant

  • Alleviates friction: The principal function of a personal lubricant would be to reduce the friction that couples often face during intercourse. This goes both for frontal sex and anal play. If you come across a lube that does not serve this basic purpose, be sure to give it a pass. Also, the lube should be able to imitate the lubrication texture of a natural and healthy human body. That is what defines the ‘barely there’ feel for personal lubes.
  • Free from harmful ingredients: The presence of harmful ingredients with plenty of side-effects is one of the most dreaded fears of chemical lubes like the ones we found in the early 2000’s. These were the same lubes that caused some sever injury issues and seriously damaged sensitive skin. Thankfully enough, modern lubes are a lot more secure about the kind of ingredients that is contained in them. But you should be doubly cautious here. Always read through the ingredient column thoroughly to check for any anomaly out there.
  • Lasts long, really long: When you are in for an adventure, you naturally want it to last for some time before it fades away into memory lane. This is where the question of longevity of the lube becomes an important consideration. While you are at it, you will need to make sure that the lube you are using lasts for at least as long as you want it to. Calling off a session should always be a decision made by you, and not by the lube.
  • Washes down easily: There are some lubes that are genuinely difficult to wash down once their utility is over. In fact, most oil-based and hardcore silicone lubes fall into this category. Avoid these lubes if you do not want to spend another 10 minutes washing inside the shower. The water-based lubes have a healthy habit of going down the drain very easily. All you need to do is wash them down with plain water and they do not bother you anymore. Simple enough!
  • Does not leave stains: Lubes that leave stains on you and your bed sheets are a collective turn-off. If you know that the lube use by you is going to stain the sheets, that keeps playing at the back of the mind and kills half the fun right there. Again, most chemical lubes come with this negative trait of staining sheets. Avoid these lubes if you do not want more time spent washing everything around the house. Use natural lubes that are known to cause no or minimum stains.
  • Slow on the pocket: Nothing beats experience when it comes to personal lubrication; not even economy. Or does it? You would do well realize that however special that experience is, it will bit last beyond a few extended minutes. And since lube-use can turn a tad addictive, you do not want the yearly bill to snowball into something hugely unmanageable. Just be wise while calculating the cost effectiveness of the personal lubricant. Make sure the equation is something that will give you the confidence to use it through the year.

Author: Dev Gupta

I have a hyper-active professional life, and an equally exhilarating sex life. Balancing the two has been possible only because of some mind-blowing persona lubricants out there. We keep trying out different products and I update this space regularly on the latest inputs and reviews on lubes from every category. View all posts by

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