From shower sex to oral play, we have the best water-based, flavored, and other lubricants for your most amazing sex yet
The Best Lube for: Shower Sex
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Silicone-based lube is your best bet for sex in a wet environment, explains Debby Herbenick, Ph.D., associate professor at Indiana University and author of The Coregasm Workout. Reach for a brand that’s long lasting and won't absorb easily into the skin, like Uberlube ($18; uberlube.com). (Learn Everything You Need to Know About Lube to figure out which type of lubricant will suit your sex needs.)
The Best Lube for: Flavor
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For the couple that likes to take a break mid-penetration to enjoy some oral play, you’re going to want a lubricant that doesn’t taste like you’re ingesting chemicals. “Flavored lubes from Sliquid are not only glycerin-, propylene glycol-, and paraben-free—they also come in all sorts of fun flavors like piña colada and pink lemonade,” says Erin Basler-Francis, content and brand manager at The Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health, a non-profit sexuality education and advocacy organization in Rhode Island ($13; sliquid.com).
The Best Lube for: Sex Toys
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“Water/silicone hybrid lubes are the safest bet for silicone sex toys,” says Basler-Francis. Straight silicone lube breaks down the silicone of your sex toys (annoying since most gadgets aren’t cheap!). In a hybrid lube, though, there are extra molecules in the mix to bond with, making the silicone less likely to bond with itself and safe, she explains. Water-based will work too. Check out one of Basler-Francis’s favorites: Pink Unity ($15;pinkforus.com).
The Best Lube for: Sex with a Condom
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Never use an oil-based lube—it’ll tear away at the condom’s material, making your protection moot, says Herbenick. Silicone-based lube can be used here, but Hebernick recommends a water-base. “Water-based lube is good for anything and everything except sex in a shower or bath tub,” says Herbenick. Try Good Clean Love’s Almost Naked, a water-based lube that includes aloe ($15; goodcleanlove.com). (Using water-based lubes is one our recommended 5 Masturbation Tips for a Mind-Blowing Solo Session.)
The Best Lube for: Her Pleasure
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“It’s a trend for many lubricants to include ingredients like L-arginine, which is an amino acid that heightens arousal when applied to your clitoris or your vagina,” says Emily Morse, sexologist, and host of the Sex With Emily podcast. A popular product that Morse recommends is the LifeStyles’ Excite Stimulating Sensual Gel ($7; drugstore.com). This gives you a tingling, warming sensation as the stimulating gel increases blood flow to your genitals and can increases your likelihood of orgasm, Morse says.
The Best Lube for: Sensitivities
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For those with sensitive vaginas—meaning prone to yeast infections or vaginitis—having a lube that’s glycerin-, propylene glycol-, and paraben-free can be a game changer, says Basler-Francis. You can’t go wrong with Sliquid’s Organic line, which contains both water-based and water/silicone hybrid options ($13; sliquid.com).
The Best Lube for: Short Notice
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Sometimes you need lube and can’t make it to a sex shop to buy it. Luckily, if your drugstore carries condoms they will also carry the quality lube made by ONE. The condom company offers both a silicone called MOVE ($20; onecondoms.com) and water-based formula OASIS ($14; onecondoms.com), says Basler-Francis. Astroglide, another popular brand that can be picked up on the fly, has just come out with sensitive skin and natural formulas that are paraben and glycerin free, she adds.
The Best Lube for: Vaginal Dryness
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Water-based lubricants are the most commonly used in this case because they’re totally body safe (as long as they are glycerin-free), says Morse. Check out one of Morse’s favorites: JO For Women H2O Water Based Lubricant ($10; systemjo.com) (FYI your vaginal dryness could be a result of one of these 6 Culprits of "Down There" Dryness.)
Photo: System Jo
The Best Lube for: Sex Without a Condom
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The only rule of thumb for condom-less sex is to steer clear of oil-based lubes, which aren’t great for vaginal sex (they can irritate the walls of your vagina). Silicone is hypoallergenic, and most water-based lubes are body-safe, so this really boils down to personal preference, says Basler-Francis. That means any of the other best lubes listed will work, or try Wet Platinum Premium Concentrated Lubricant Serum—the silicone-based formula has the added bonus of helping with vaginal dryness, which can slow down your satisfaction ($15; wetplatinum.com).
Photo: Wet Platinum
The Best Lube for: Getting Pregnant
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Lube does more than just keep things slick—it actually prevents your man’s swimmers from, well, swimming. If you’re trying to conceive, don’t fret: Researchers at the State University of New York Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse determined that Pre-Seed was the only brand tested that didn’t impair sperms’ ability to move forward ($24; walgreens.com).
The Best Lube for: Anal Sex
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The anus, unlike the vagina, does not self-lubricate when aroused. So you really can’t go wrong with using a lot of lube when trying this out with your guy. And since silicone-based lubricants tend to last longer, your best bet is having a bottle of that on hand, explains Morse. What’s more, Morse says there are certain lubricants that are made solely for anal sex, such as Pjur’s relaxing silicone anal glide ($65; pjurusa.com). But since that comes with a steep price tag, a brand such as Uberlube would suffice here too.