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Sex & Love A beginner’s guide to lube

Oct. 13, 2021
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Are you tired of using your spit to do lube’s job? So was I—but I’ve since discovered that lube is a magical substance that both helps sex last longer and gives more pleasure all around. For someone who loves trying new things in the bedroom, it’s a lifesaver. 

When I started looking into lube, I didn’t even know there were different types—or that there were things I needed to keep in mind.

For starters, lube can expire. So if you’re still using that lube from high school, it’s time to replace it. A 2013 study showed that women who used lubes with harsh ingredients had higher rates of bacterial infections, which affected their pH levels. So not only is checking the ingredients for lubes a must, but so is picking the right type of lube.



The most common of the bunch, and my favorite, is water-based lube. Obviously, the key ingredient is water, which means it has no smell or taste. This is good for any experience you want in the bedroom, whether it be standard missionary or playing around with a toy. It’s a favorite because it’s easy to wash off—and after a rough, passionate night, that’s really all you can ask for.



  • Easy to wash off

  • No fragrance, smell, or taste

  • Can be used with toys and condoms



  • Can’t be used for anything in the shower or hot tub

  • Need to reapply a lot


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This type contains no water at all and takes an eternity to dry. Since it’s silicone, it doesn’t blend with water, so it’s the perfect addition to a sexy shower session. Also, it’s perfect for anal sex, as it helps lubricate the anus. The anus absorbs a bunch of water, so anything other than silicone won’t work effectively.

There are a lot of ingredients in silicon-based lubes, and a lot of them aren’t so good for your body. While glycerin is a great ingredient for a face primer, it can cause an overgrowth of yeast in the body; petroleum-based ingredients can alter the pH in the vagina; propylene glycol, parabens, and chlorhexidine gluconate can cause irritation in the vagina.



  • Perfect for shower sex, hot tub sex, and anything aquatic 

  • Can help with extra dry areas



  • Potential harsh ingredients

  • Can’t use with silicone-based sex toys


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If longevity is your biggest concern, look no further than an oil-based lubricant. These can break down condoms, so they’re best for hand jobs, fingering, and unprotected sex. Since they break down condoms, these are a go-to for third-base activities. They last longer than silicone-based lubricants and require fewer applications. Also, they can soothe the driest of tissue and skin. Now, oil-based lubes today have the primary ingredient of oil. Big shocker, I know, but the cool thing is that most oils in the lube are derived from plants. Also, oil-based lubes aren’t a new concept. Back in 350 B.C., people used olive oil as lube. Luckily, we’re in the 21st century and medically approved oil-based lubes exist.



  • Can also work as massage oil

  • Long-lasting

  • Contain natural ingredients like vitamin E



  • Can stain fabric

  • Breaks down condoms

  • Isn’t great for conceiving

  • Includes glycerin, parabens, and fragrance like silicone lube


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You’ve heard of protein powders, but have you heard of lube powders? As you can imagine, this comes as a powder, which needs to be mixed with water to create the lube. For people who are the Goldilocks of the lube world, powder lube is for people who want it just right—you can tailor it to be however thin or thick as you want.



  • Can get your preferred consistency

  • Good more almost all sex acts, from anal to missionary



  • A lot of work and extra steps

  • Very few options

  • Quite expensive


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This is the least common type of lube on the market, with very few products available. Cream-based products are primarily used for anal play and pegging. Since cream-based products are so moisturizing, they’re perfect for anything to do with anal play! 



  • Often, they’re a hybrid, which means they’re like a mixture between cream and another type of lube. So you get two in one.

  • Easy to apply



  • Very few options

  • Only good for anus area


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