Different Types of Lube: Oil, Water, and Silicone-Based

Lube. We wish we could sing its praises from the mountaintop. If it were a person, we’d be writing love letters to it. 

We love lube at Foria and want everyone to experience it for themselves, so they understand why we’re always repping so hard for it. Each type of lube has its own superpowers, and knowing which aligns best with your needs is crucial. 

Think of it like an artist’s paints — watercolor, acrylic, and oil paints can all make a beautiful painting; it just depends on the type of art you’re trying to create. Let’s talk about the different types of lube and help you find the best one for the next time you head to the bedroom.

What Is Lube?

Lube is short for personal lubricant, a sexual aid that reduces friction during intimacy. It is designed to mimic the natural lubrication created by the vagina when aroused. 

However, that doesn’t mean that lube is a one-size-fits-all proposition. While we think of lube as just being that big name-brand option we see all over the place, lube options have expanded in the last few decades.

Yes, we said decades! You may think of lube as a new concept, but some believe that people have used some form of personal lubricant for sex as far back as 350 BC (olive oil, likely). That big brand we mentioned earlier was invented in 1904, although initially meant for use in healthcare. 

We may not have always talked about it openly, but lube has been around for a long, long time. Lube is an excellent way to increase your sexual health and wellness. It’s also perfect for helping to counteract vaginal dryness, especially during and after menopause. 

People use lube for all kinds of sexual activity — vaginal and anal sex, handjobs, masturbation; you name it! It’s incredibly multifaceted, and everyone can benefit from adding it to their repertoire. 

What Are the Different Types of Lube?

There are three different types of lubricants — oil-based lubricants, water-based lubricants, and silicone-based lubricants. We’ll give you the basics and a few of our favorite pros and cons.

Oil-Based

We’ll start with oil-based lubes because we know them the best — oil-based lubes are what we do at Foria! If you’re looking for the longest-lasting of the different types of lube, look no further than oil-based. 

Pros and Cons

  • Pro: All natural
  • Pro: Super slippery
  • Pro: Extremely long-lasting, making them great for marathon sex sessions
  • Pro: Don’t dissolve easily in water so that you can take your fun into the shower or hot tub
  • Pro: Good for all types of sex — penetrative (anal or vaginal sex), self-love, hand jobs, etc.
  • Con: Can be difficult to get out of bedding (pro tip: put a towel down first)
  • Con: Can contribute to latex condom breakage (safe to use with nitrile and polyurethane condoms, though!)

Water-Based

People often try water-based lubes because they tend to be more readily available at the grocery store (that well-known name brand lube? Water-based). These lubes are formulated with water as their primary ingredient; most have no taste (we recommend staying away from flavored lube anyway). 

Pros and Cons

  • Pro: Good for people with sensitive skin
  • Pro: Latex condom-safe
  • Pro: Some contain moisturizing agents, like aloe vera
  • Con: Washes away quickly during tub or shower sex
  • Con: Not very long-lasting, so needs to be reapplied frequently
  • Con: Tends to get sticky as they dry out
  • Con: May contain glycerin, trigger yeast infections

Silicone-Based

And finally, we have silicone-based lubes. Unlike water-based lubes, silicone-based lubes don’t contain any water. 

Pros and Cons

  • Pro: Also very long-lasting, so less reapplication is needed
  • Pro: Very slippery and don’t dissolve in water (so they’re also great for sexy shower time)
  • Con: Harder to wash off
  • Con: Can’t be used with silicone sex toys, as they can cause the material to break down more quickly
  • Con: Can stain sheets and hardwood floors
  • Con: Artificial, whereas other options are all-natural 

Which Lube Is Best?

There’s no one “best lube” because it depends on your body and how you plan to use it. However, if you’re having trouble deciding, we have a few pointers to help guide you in the right direction.

Oil-based lube may be right for you if:

  • Are in a monogamous relationship and don’t depend on condoms for birth control or STI prevention
  • Like involving sex toys in your bedroom sessions
  • Enjoy anal sex
  • Have sex in the shower frequently
  • Plan to use your lube for masturbation or foreplay (try combining it with Awaken Arousal Oil with CBD for even more fun)
  • Safe to use with oral sex
  • Want a lube that can double as a massage oil
  • Are looking for additional vaginal lubrication

Water-based lube may be right for you if:

  • Don’t mind reapplying frequently
  • Have sensitive skin
  • Use latex condoms for birth control or STI prevention
  • Have regular penis-in-vagina intercourse
  • Don’t plan on having shower or tub sex
  • Like using lube on sex toys

Silicone-based lube may be right for you if:

  • Have penis-in-vagina penetrative sex
  • Want something hypoallergenic
  • Want your sex to last for hours
  • Love banging in the shower 
  • Don’t plan on using lube on your sex toys

Another thing to remember when talking about lube is the recent uptick in natural lube popularity. Instead of relying on store-based lubes, people try other options like coconut oil, petroleum jelly (Vaseline), or baby oil. 

While we totally understand the impulse, it’s best to stick with lube designed specifically for sexual contact. Using products outside their intended use can cause unwanted side effects, including vaginal irritation or infection. Not worth it.

How Do I Use Lube?

Different types of lube may be used in multiple ways, but we have a few tips for helping you use them more successfully. Our top tip is to ensure you don’t go in cold. While using ice cubes in the bedroom may be sexy every once in a while, there’s nothing sexy about trying to use cold lube. 

Think about it; the inside of your body is usually about 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, right? Unless you’re living in a sauna, your home is likely much cooler than that. Before applying lube, hold it in your hands for a bit to bring it up to body temp before using it. 

After that, all you need to do is apply it! We recommend placing it directly on the area you’re focusing on (the vulva, penis, anus, etc.) and on the area (or sex toy) you’re using to touch it! Double your pleasure, double your fun! 

Use them for quickies, marathon sessions, self-love, whatever. You can even use silicone-based lube as a massage oil for a sexy form of foreplay. Using lube is especially crucial if you plan on engaging in anal sex. 

Most people with vaginas will make at least some lubrication (although it may be less than needed, especially during certain points of your life), but the anus can’t self-lubricate. That makes anal play, especially penetration, very uncomfortable and potentially unsafe if done without lube (we like oil-based lubes here because they last super long). 

Regardless of the type of lube you choose or how you use it, always get your partner’s consent before breaking it out. Anything you do in the bedroom should be consensual, including lube, so don’t make assumptions. 

That said — lube is totally normal (and amazing), and you shouldn’t feel bad for wanting to use it! We promise that using lube says absolutely nothing about you or your partner’s sexual prowess.

Remember To Clean Up

Regardless of which kind of lube you choose, clean-up is non-negotiable. Simple soap and water will suffice for most lube, especially water-based ones, as they wash off fairly quickly.

However, if you’ve used lube on your sex toys (vibrators, dildos, etc.), you might want to do a little research and clean them appropriately. Not cleaning them every time can increase your infection risk. 

If you have any lube on your sheets or clothing (don’t worry, it happens), it’s worth tossing them into the wash immediately. Different types of lube have different impacts on fabric; some of them can stain if left too long. 

Silicone-based lubes tend to be the most problematic, so it’s best to think ahead and throw down a towel or some sheets you don’t care about if you’re using them.

The Bottom Line

While everyone’s body is different, and we all have different types of sex, one thing is the same — lube can make any sexual encounter more exciting and pleasurable. 

If you’re looking for a way to take your sex life up a notch, enjoy shower sex, and don’t need to rely on latex condoms for birth control or STI prevention, we highly recommend giving our Intimacy Sex Oil with CBD a shot! Happy lovemaking! 

Sources:

Lubricants for the promotion of sexual health and well-being: a systematic review | PubMed

Experiencing Vaginal Dryness? Here's What You Need to Know. | ACOG

5 great reasons to use lube the next time you’re getting intimate | IPPF

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