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Water-Based vs. Silicone-Based Lube: Which One Is Better?

Even though we’re living in a modern era, there is still some stigma associated with using sex lube. Just because a person uses one, certainly doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong. In fact, using a lubricant can greatly improve sex. There is a lot of friction involved in the act, and some lube could help ease that, increasing the pleasure factor.

If you feel you should try it, go ahead! If a lubricant can make you have more fun, have more sex, and have less discomfort, I see no reason not to use it. It’s a common belief that a woman is always wet when she’s sexually aroused. While this certainly can be true, there are many factors that may result in an aroused women experiencing vaginal dryness. Studies have shown that women with busy and stressful lifestyles tend to have higher chances of vaginal dryness, which can affect their sex life. That said, additional lubrication can definitely make the act more comfortable, pleasurable and natural.

Many ask if they can use essential oils as a personal lubricant. Not really. It’s best to keep your essential oils for sleep use. The same applies to coconut oil, vaseline and other DIY solutions. In addition to increasing the risk of infection, you could also run the risk of condom breakage by using such oil-based alternatives. Instead, use a specialised lube.

There are lots of specialised lubes available on the market, including flavoured sex lubes and some that help you feel slightly different sensations. However, most of them fall into two main categories: water-based lubes and silicone-based lubes. Let’s see how both types compare.

Water-Based Lubes

Despite its name, water-based lube isn’t made of water – it is made of elements that can easily be dissolved with water. This type of lube tends to be easier to remove from your body and many claims that they feel more natural than a silicone-based lube. Also, when using a sex toy, you will want a water-based lubricant instead of a silicone-based lubricant. That is because sex toys are usually made of solid silicone and silicone-based lubes will start to pull silicone particles from the surface of the toy, making it less smooth to the touch, and more prone to bacterial growth. Being water-soluble, water-based lubricants tend to break down and wear off faster. This means you may need to reapply midway through if it’s a particularly long session.

Silicone-Based Lubes

While not suitable for use with sex toys, a silicone-based lube is great for long sessions (either solo or with a partner) as it doesn’t break down as easily and lasts longer. You can even use a silicone formula for sex in the shower, bathtub or tropical waterfall, and it won’t wash away during intercourse. This formula is also the preferred choice for body glide activities and anal sex.

And while this type of lubricant may take a bit more time to remove than a water-based option, it’s extra proof of their staying power. If it happens to get into your bed, here is how to get silicone lube off sheets.

What to Avoid in Lube?

There’s a lot of controversy about the ingredients in lubes – some could be irritating or even potentially affect your health. If you’ve experienced discomfort or just want to play it ultra-safe, here are the ingredients you should avoid.

Glycerin

girl puting lube on her hands

Glycerin is a humectant found in lots of lubricants, especially those that are warming or flavoured. Although these special effects can be intriguing, your vagina might struggle when it comes into contact with glycerin. Particularly, glycerin is known to contribute to an overgrowth of yeast, which can result in yeast infections. While this doesn’t mean that if you use a glycerin-containing lubricant you are going to get a yeast infection, if you are prone to them, glycerin is an ingredient you may want to stay away from.

Parabens

There’s a ton of debate about this ingredient. There’s the worry that parabens may be endocrine disruptions and act in an estrogen-like way, potentially messing with people’s hormones or even increasing their chances of getting breast cancer. For this reason, you may want to stay away from any parabens in your personal care products.

Chlorhexidine Gluconate

This antibacterial ingredient can be a little caustic, making some people experience irritation or inflammation. Keep this in mind if you have experienced problems with a certain lubricant or have a sensitive vagina and are in the market for a new lubricant.

Is Lube Safe to Use When Trying to Conceive?

oil based lubeThis is a common question among women trying to get pregnant. If you’re trying to conceive know that using the wrong lubricant can jeopardize the success of conception. Lubes that aren’t specially formulated for fertility may contain ingredients and/or have pH that is harmful to sperm. For this reason, always look for a lubricant designed specifically to be fertility-friendly. In addition to providing a protective environment for sperm, these lubricants also mimic the consistency and viscosity of cervical mucus, making it a great match for sperm.