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Lube: Guide to KY Jelly, Astroglide, and more

Lube It Up Right

Back in the day, when it came time to do the deed, folks had a choice of Vaseline or KY Jelly in their nightstand drawer. Now the market is literally saturated with slippery stuff. So what's the right juice to grease your groove?

Choose your lube
There are three main things to consider when picking a lube: What are the ingredients? What are you using it for? And how will the lube react chemically with you, your toys, and your safer sex supplies?

Water-based lubes: (KY Jelly, Astroglide)
Most popular lubes these days are water or glycerin based. These lubes clean up easily and have a non-greasy feel, making them a favorite of many. If they get dry during use, they can be "reactivated" with the addition of some saliva or water. Most won't stain your sheets or clothing if they don't contain any added colors. And unlike oil- or petroleum-based lubes, they are safe to use with latex condoms or gloves and rubber sex toys. Oil-base lubes will react with latex and rubber and cause them to break down.) These lubes vary in consistency, from light, slick liquids (good for basic fucking) to heavy, slippery gels (for anal sex and fisting).

Water and glycerin-based lubes include such popular brands as Astroglide, KY Jelly, Probe, ID, Moist, Slippery Stuff, and Wet. Some women react to glycerin and get vaginal infections, in which case you would want to look for a water-based lube without glycerin, such as Liquid Silk or Maximus.

Silicone-based lubes (Eros, ID Millenium)
These are the space-age wonders of the lube world: they seem to stay slippery forever. Because they're not water based, they don't dry out, and a little bit goes a long way. Popular brands include Eros, ID Millennium, Wet Platinum The drawbacks: a lot of sex toys are made of silicone, and using silicone lubes will damage them (although you can put a condom on them). Also, silicone lubes can be difficult to clean up, and some women find they cause vaginal irritation or infections.

Oil-based lubes (Vaseline)
Oil or petroleum-based lubes have become less common for several reasons. They're harder to clean up, they're not good for vaginal use, and they can damage rubber sex toys and latex condoms and gloves. But sometimes you just want some good old-fashioned grease. Vaseline, of course, is the granddaddy of them all, and some folks still swear by Crisco for fisting and anal toy work. Most of the oil-based lubes on the market are intended for male masturbation, apparent from brand names like Elbow Grease and Instant Hand Job.

Anal lubes
There are several products on the market that are promoted for use in anal sex. Some lubes, like Maximus, Slippery Stuff Gel, Astroglide Gel, and Doc's Anal Lube are more heavy and viscous, to stay put during anal activities and hold up under the additional friction.

Other anal lubes contain a mild desensitizing agent, usually benzocaine or a similar topical anesthetic. These products can be helpful in overcoming discomfort and apprehension for anal initiates, but we recommend exercising caution when using them. Because they decrease sensation, they may increase the possibility of minor injuries occurring in the anal area if things get too wild. Obviously, if you split your asshole wide open, you will notice it no matter what, but if the area is numbed, the chance for minor tears in the anal membrane may increase. Just keep in mind that using a numbing lube does not give carte blanche to jackhammer someone's ass, shove a monster dildo up your butt, or take a fist on the first try, even if you can get away with it. Believe us, you will be sorry, especially the next morning when your sphincter is still sore. Although we suppose the numbing lube could come in handy then to ease the pain.

Some lubes for anal use come in squeeze containers with a nozzle, to get the lube further up in the rectum. While this may be a sexier way to apply lube, we think it is mostly for effect, and the results may be messy (namely lube splooging out of your butt during or after sex). It's also likely that you'll use more lube than you really need. You can get enough lube to the right places by just applying generously and repeatedly to your fingers, toys or penis.

Erection maintaining lubes
These lubes and lotions promise to help keep you hard or increase your stamina during sex. What most do is delay ejaculation by numbing the penis. They contain the same desensitizing agents in the anal lubes previously mentioned, so if you have already have some Anal Eze or Rear Entry, you can use that to desensitize your cock.

Flavored lubes
Most plain lubes don't have much discernable flavor other than mildly chemical or slightly bitter. Those that have added flavor and sweeteners may still be mildly chemical, slightly bitter, and cloying to boot. However, if you're combining oral sex with other activities, a flavored lube may taste better than the alternative. These products usually come in fruit flavors and are often scented as well. Because they must be edible, they are either water or glycerin based. They tend to be lighter weight and more watery, so if you want flavor but need a thicker lube, try mixing a heavier, unflavored lube with some of your favorite flavored lube.

Flavored lubes may contain sugar, which can lead to yeast infections if used vaginally. It's also sticky. For that reason, you may want to choose a flavored lube that's artificially sweetened. Wet brand flavored lubes contain no sugar and have relatively little bitter aftertaste. ForPlay is another line of artificially sweetened lubes that come in a wide variety of tasty flavors.

Warming and cooling lubes
Looking for extra sensations? These lubes will give you tingly chills or hot flashes, but not at the same time. Warming lubes contain an ingredient to increase blood flow to the skin, producing the feeling of heat. The increased circulation may also heighten arousal and sensitivity. Cooling lubes contain menthol or a similar ingredient to produce a unique icy sensation that is pleasurable for both men and women. Because of their chemical ingredients, these lubes should be used with caution if they are coming in contact with mucous membranes (inside the vagina or ass). Test them first, whether you are using them internally or externally, to make sure they don't cause any serious irritation. If you get a burning sensation that actually hurts, flush the area with water.

Toy and condom compatibility
As we mentioned earlier, some lubes should not be combined with certain materials because they can cause damage. In general, water-based lubes can be used with anything. Oil-based lubes (Vaseline, etc) can cause damage to rubber toys, latex condoms or latex gloves (they are OK to use with silicone toys, polyurethane condoms, and vinyl gloves). Silicone lubes can damage silicone toys, but are fine to use with rubber or vinyl (cover a silicone toy with a condom to protect it if using silicone lube).


  • Use lube liberally. A little too much is better than not enough.
  • Test a small quantity of lube first for adverse reactions, especially if using for vaginal intercourse.
  • Use heavier lubes for anal sex.
  • Exercise caution when using desensitizing lubes to avoid injury.
  • Desensitizing lubes for anal sex and for prolonging erection contain the same numbing ingredients, so may be interchangeable.
  • Don't use an oil-based lube with anything made of rubber (including sex toys and condoms); it can cause damage.
  • Don't use silicone lube with silicone toys for the same reason.
  • Use sugar-free flavored lubes to avoid risk of vaginal yeast infections.
  • Mix flavored lube with a thicker water-based lube if you want taste with a denser texture.
  • To make your own cooling lube, add a drop of eucalyptus or peppermint oil to some of your favorite water-based lube. Test a small amount of the mixture first to make sure it's not too strong.



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