There are four main categories of lubricant: water-based, silicone, silicone and water-based hybrids, and oil-based lubricants (those are usually creamy).
So, how do you choose which lube to use?
If you’re having sex with someone who has a vagina, or if you have a vagina, start with a water-based. Even if you lubricate just fine, a water-based lubricant is a great addition to your playtime.
Silicone molecules are too big to be absorbed by your skin. Most pre-lubricated condoms use silicone as the lubrication. Silicone is really awesome for waterplay, because it won’t get instantly washed off. If you’ve ever tried to have sex in a hot tub or shower, you know that the water that you’re playing in doesn’t do anything to help you lubricate. So, adding a lubricant that’s silicone-based will help make that playtime more fun.
Silicone is also really awesome for anal play. A healthy anus does not self-lubricate, so you want to give it a little help.
One of the drawbacks of silicone lube is that it lasts and lasts and lasts and lasts, and that might not sound like a drawback, but it can get kind of messy, and some people complain that they have to get in the shower and use soap and water to get it off. A hybrid is great, because it last longer than a water-based, but not quite as long as a silicone-based.
Oil-based lubricants are not safe for all condoms. If you and your partner are fluid bonded, and you want to play with oil based lube, it’s really amazing. You always want to use plant-based oils like shay, grapeseed, avocado, or coconut oil. Do not use Vaseline, Jergens, or Crisco. Seriously, stop using Crisco!
Oil based lubricants also make really excellent masturbation creams for folks who have a penis.
Folks with vaginas maybe don’t like them so much, because it takes the body a little while to get rid of that oil base and sometimes it can give you yeast infections.
What Lubes to Avoid
You want to watch out for glycerin, artificial sweeteners and sugars. All of those things can be found in flavored and warming lubricants. Any lubricant that feels sticky or sweet, those can be really great playtime lubricants, but they are not the kind of thing you want to use every day. Those things will promote the growth of yeast, mold and bacteria, and make it problematic for you to play for a long time.
You also want to watch out for anything that has a lidocaine in the ingredients. Lidocaine and benzocaine are numbing agents, and they’re often sold in creams that prolong erections or are used in products like Anal Eaze or Booty Eaze that help “ease the pain” of anal sex. Pain is your body’s way of telling you that something’s wrong, and if you numb that feeling you could do long-term damage. So, if using a product that has a ton of lidocaine or benzocaine in it just be really careful and go slow.