The Best Lube To Use For Your Favorite Kind Of Sex

Photographed by Megan Madden.
Most people probably don't spend a lot of time thinking about lube. But hopefully, most of us know that there are two main types: silicone-based and water-based. Silicone tends to be thicker and stickier, and water-based tends to be thinner and dries out quicker. But other than knowing that there are different types, you may not have considered that one might be better than the other for a specific sexual adventure. If you're a fan of switching up your sex positions, for example, should you also be switching up your lubes?
Maybe, but using a different lube isn't absolutely essential depending on sex position alone. Sometimes, the choice between silicone or water-based (or something like a flavored or stimulating lube) could make certain positions feel better, says Lisa Finn, a sex educator at Babeland. But it's also totally fine to find a lube you like and stick with it. "It's like saying that your best experience at an ice cream shop is to get all the toppings. Some people just like their plain ice cream or their sprinkles and that's chill," she says. "If you find a lube that works for you no matter how you're using it, as long as it's safe to use, keep on using it."
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But if you are looking to get a little more knowledgeable about your lube selection, then there are plenty of options, some of which are better depending on the sex position or situation (like if you're having sex in the shower). Ahead, Finn explains how to choose the best lube for the sex you're planning to have.
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If you're having missionary sex.

...or doing any other other sex position that involves a lot of rubbing or pubic bone-to-pubic bone contact (like scissoring or any of these positions). For sex positions that could result in a "rug burn"-type injury, especially if you or your partner has pubic hair, a thin lube is best, Finn says. "A thinner lube will sort of 'escape' across the area and spread quicker," she says. So it'll provide some cushion for all the friction that's happening as it spreads with the motion of your bodies.

Try: Uberlube
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If you're having doggy-style sex.

...or doing any other position from behind. When you have gravity working against you, you'll want a thicker lube that won't drip everywhere, Finn says. "A gel lube is really good for that just because it stays on and it stays in one place," she says.

Try: Babelube Silk
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If you're having anal sex.

Lube isn't just nice for anal sex, it's 100% necessary. Because unlike vaginas, butts don't self-lubricate. Since everything starts out so dry, a lot of people who are into anal sex like using a thicker and longer-lasting lube. One that's almost oily (but not actually oil) can be especially fun. "People like the idea of oils because it can look really sexy, especially in the butt cheeks because it gives it that fitness model shine," Finn says.

If you're not able to use silicone, or don't like silicone lubes, there are also some thick water-based lubes, Finn says. Just make sure that the one you're getting is actually good for anal play. "You want something thicker so it gives a little bit more padding," she says. "Folks tend to feel more comfortable with that because the butt is a pretty sensitive area."

Try: Sliquid Sassy
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If you're rubbing someone's clit or penis.

If your sexy plans for the night involve fingering someone's clitoris or giving someone a hand job, consider using a lube with a little something extra, like a warming lube or a stimulating lube. "We have one at Babeland that has horny goat weed in it, which actually helps draw blood flow to the area," Finn says. "Using that against any erectile tissue, whether it's a penis or a clit, can feel really nice." Just note that stimulating lubes can be really intense when they're inside a vagina or anus. So consider cleaning up before you switch to penetrative sex.

Try: Clitoral Jolt Gel
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If you're having oral sex.

Some people really love flavored lubes, and use them all the time. But Finn suggests using them only during oral sex. And there's a good reason for that. For some people, especially people who have vulvas, flavored lubes can cause irritation. "So if you're a person who's prone to infections, especially yeast infections, I wouldn't go down that alley, and I'd keep flavored lube for the mouth only," Finn says.

If you're going down on someone using flavored lube and then later decide to switch to penetration, it's best to wash up before you get started, she says. Maybe that sounds like it'd ruin the mood, but it doesn't have to. "You can actually make that fun by putting some soap and water on your hands and giving the person a hand job while you're washing them off," she says. Once you're done, switch to a flavorless and odorless silicone or water-based lube to keep the fun going.

Try: Sliquid Swirl
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If you're having sex in the shower.

...or the bathtub, or a hot tub, or a pool, or any other water. No matter what position you're trying to attempt in or under water, silicone lube will be your friend. "It's slicker and it tends to not absorb into the body as quickly and it won't wash away under the water," Finn says. A water-based lube will wash away easily, and not using any lube at all can be uncomfortable because water also washes away any natural lubricant you produce.

Try: Fuck Water.
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If you're having sex with condoms or dental dams.

Using oils, like coconut oil or avocado oil, may seem Earthy-crunchy and organic, but steer clear of any oil (even oil-based lubes) if you're using condoms or dental dams. Because oil will wear down the latex or polyethylene, Finn says. "Oils will defeat the purpose of latex," she says. "It can either make them porous to the point where you can't even tell that there are tiny holes in them. Or it could be to the point where the barrier just straight up snaps." So if you want your safe sex to stay safe, use a water-based or silicone lube that has no oil whatsoever.

Try: Sustain Unscented Personal Lubricant
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If you're having sex with silicone sex toys.

Sex toys are lots of fun to add to any position you're trying to accomplish, but if you're using one made of silicone, then avoid silicone lubes. The thing that's used to make silicone lubes stay liquid breaks down the surface of silicone sex toys, Finn says. "It doesn't make it into a dangerous science experiment or anything that's going to be harmful to the body," she says. "You just don't want to ruin a nice silicone toy." Chances are, if you bought a toy made of 100% silicone, it cost you a decent amount of money. So be kind to your toys and opt for either a water-based lube or a hybrid water and silicone-based solution (which don't have enough silicone to ruin toys).

Try: Better Sex Essentials Liquid Lubricant
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