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Lube 101: lube categories explained

Photo by Jonathan Cooper on Unsplash
Photo by Jonathan Cooper on Unsplash

So you want something to make things slippery - 'cause maybe you heard that less friction feels good and makes play more safe! - but does it really have to be so hard to choose a bottle of lube?

Water-based, oil-based, silicone-based, hybrid…what do all those labels mean, and what do they mean for you?

My goal with ALL ABOUT LUBE is to take you beyond these basics, but before we go there, here's a quick summary of the 4 main lube categories with the quick pros and cons of each.

Basic lube tips

  • If you or someone you’re having sex with is prone to yeast infections or bacterial vaginosis, pay attention to the pH and concentration (a.k.a. osmolality) of your lube. You might want to avoid lube containing propylene glycol, glycerin, and PEG, as these ingredients have been linked to an increased likelihood of infection

  • When having fun with your bum (or someone else's!), always use lube, and lots of it! The anus and rectum aren't self-lubricating and anal tissues are particularly delicate.

  • The most common non-vegan lube ingredient is glycerin sourced from animal fat. If you want to avoid animal ingredients in your lube, choose a glycerin-free option or one that uses vegetable glycerin.

  • Beware of lubes with super long ingredients lists, especially if you're prone to infection or irritation.

  • If you’re not keen on lubes with synthetic preservatives and other potentially problematic chemicals, there are tons of all-natural and organic lubes for you to choose from.

Beyond the basics

Now that we've covered the basics, check out my individual posts about water-based, silicone-based, oil-based, and hybrid lubes!


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