Have you ever checked out the local Walgreens’ “sexual wellness” section? It exhibits condoms, vibrators, and LUBE galore! I’ve never seen such an amazing display at other regular stores. While I was expressing my amazement that they sold Reality condoms, my friend was voicing her share of astonishment in the lubricant section, asking what’s up with all the different kind of lubes. How do you pick one?!
I can confidently say that there is a lube for everyone. Water-based, silicone-based, oil-based, warming, cooling, menthol, vegan, organic, pareben-free, flavored, long-lasting, silky, etc. You name it! Multiply it by dozens of different brands, and you have an overwhelming selection. So which lube is the right one?
Some lube rules to live by:
- Do not use oil-based lube with condoms! They will break. Use water-based or silicone-based lube with condoms.
- Do not use silicone-based lube with silicone toys. It can disintegrate the toy over time by dissolving the surface each time silicone-based lube is applied.
- Lubricants with glycerin are not recommended for women with sensitive vaginas and chronic yeast infections.
- Lubricants containing anesthetics, like benzocaine, are not recommended for anal penetration because the lack of sensation can increase the risk of accidental injury.
Below is a rundown of the basic kinds of lube you can find on the market, specifically at your local store in Chapel Hill.
- K-Y Natural Feeling Liquid Personal Lubricant: I see this bottle everywhere! I’m pretty sure they even sell it at gas stations. It’s a water-based lubricant. Typically, water-based lubricants are cheaper, but they don’t last as long as silicone-based lubricants because they are absorbed by the skin faster. Many water-based lubricants contain glycerin. Some lubes, like ID Moments Hypoallergenic Personal Lubricant, are glycerin free and sold locally (they may not last as long as the water-based lube formulas with glycerin).
- Wet Platinum Premium Lubricant and other silicone based lubricants: some are a little pricey but silicone based lubricants are popular because they will not dry prematurely or get sticky. They also work great under water! Remember Rule #2, though.
- K-Y Yours+Mine Couples Lubricant and similar partner lubricants: besides being incredibly heterosexist, this lubricant contains lots of ingredients, including glycerin, honey, menthol, and fragrance. They are supposed to have a cooling sensation for one partner and a warming sensation for the other. Victim of marketing? Some report that their sexual experience was enhanced with this lube.
- K-Y Intense Arousal Gel for Her and other pleasure lubricants: they supposedly heighten arousal, pleasure, and sensitivity by warming up areas of the vulva. There are lots of mixed reviews about these lubricants. I would suggest trying it to decide if it’s worth it.
- Flavored lubricants: they are manufactured for their scent and taste. All flavored lubes are harmless if ingested. However, some have a pretty rough aftertaste, so you may need to try a few. Also, they are not recommended for internal use (i.e. in the vagina or anus).
- Almond oil and other oil-based lubricants: if condoms are NOT used, they can be a great addition to sex and sensual massage. They can be used internally and externally.
If you’re looking for vegan or organic lubricants, you’ll usually find them in feminist sex shops or online. They tend to be a little bit more expensive.
We also offer free lubricant at Student Wellness. You can call and ask for one of the CHECS or email firstname.lastname@example.org; we’ll put some lube aside for you to pick up at our Campus Health Services location. We offer water-based lubricant and flavored lubricant.