What Is Lube? Everything You Need To Know About Personal Lubricants

Men and women can find themselves needing a personal lubricant for a wide variety of reasons. Whatever your reason for wanting to add a personal lubricant to your encounters, you need to find the right lube for you. You may think that you can just buy one, slather it on, and away you go. Nothing could be further from the truth. There are multiple base materials used to create different feelings and amounts of slipperiness. Then there are flavored lubes, desensitizers, etc. To help you narrow your search a little bit, we have defined the different types of lube bases and what each offers compared to the others.

Water Based Lubes

Water based lubes are, well, water based. They are easily absorbed by your skin and can be used internally or externally. A water based lube will not degrade your rubber or silicone toys, nor will it stain your sheets or outfits as long as it is glycerin and pigment free. The majority of them are tasteless and odor free, so oral sex is not off the table after application. These lubes do not affect the integrity of latex condoms. Most physicians will recommend a water based lubricant for women who suffer daily dryness and chafing, so they are not just for sex. One word of caution, though. Since water based lubes are readily absorbed by your body, you can expect to apply them more than once during each encounter. Some water based lubes offer a desensitizer to help your partner last longer or reduce the pain during anal sex.

Related: What’s the best lube for sex ?

Silicone Based Lubes

Silicone based lubes contain a small amount of silicone in order to offer a more slippery ride, if you will pardon the pun. One application will last longer than your partner, so you need only apply once per encounter. Silicone will degrade rubber, gel, and silicone toys, limiting you to glass or metal. Additionally, silicone lubes breakdown most condoms. Silicone lubes will allow the proliferation of yeast, so if you are prone to yeast infections, you should avoid a silicone based lube. A few final words of caution, silicone based lubricants are more difficult to clean up than water based lubes and often have a bitter taste. Silicone based lubes can have desensitizers as well. Anal-Eze is probably the best known.

Related: What is the best anal lube ?

Oil Based Lubes

Oil based lubes often use all natural materials like coconut oil or olive oil to create a uber-slippery coating. Other than a super slick lubrication, they are not as good an option as water or silicone based lubes. They are often hard to clean up, taste terrible, and stain most fabrics. Even worse, oil based lubes can promote yeast infections; even in women who are not prone to them. Most flavored lubes are oil based. Flavored lubes are never recommended for internal use, but can add a great spark during oral sex.


As you can see, there is a confusing array of personal lubricants available. Hopefully, the information provided is enough to allow you to narrow your search to just a few products and answer the question about: What is lube?.

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