I like to think of lubricants as a bit of a sexual luxury. They're not luxurious in the way of a lot other items we call luxuries; they aren't expensive, or exclusive or something you'd show off to your friends. In fact, lubricants are affordable and increasingly available just about everywhere, probably even at your local grocery store. But lubricants are luxurious in the way they make the body feel. When used during sexual activity, they go a long way to making things more comfortable, more pleasurable and more fun.

If you aren't using lube, you might wonder why you need it. Well, there's a popular saying about lubricants: Just because the basement's flooded doesn’t mean the penthouse is wet. That points to a reality for many women, which is that sometimes, a lot of our natural lubrication happens at the opening of the vagina, and doesn't extend throughout the canal. Using a sexual lubricant is one the best, easiest ways to address the problem (and ensure that the party happens in the penthouse, and doesn't get shut down on the ground floor).

Types of Lubricants

Water-Based Lube


Lubricants come in all different textures and materials. The most common type is water based. Water-based lubricants are inexpensive, non-staining and safe for sex toys and condoms. They also absorb well in to the skin and provide a more natural wet feel. However, because they contain water, they tend to dry out relatively quickly with a tacky feel. The glycerin found in some water soluble lubes can promote yeast development when used in the vagina.

Silicone-Based Lube

In recent years, silicone-based lubricants have become much more common. Silicone-based lubes provide ultra-slippery, waterproof lubrication, and they last quite a bit longer than other lubes. This type of lube can be safely used with non-silicone sex toys and condoms. This is the lube to use if you’re into rubber sheets, all nighters, or romps in the backyard during a rainstorm. It's also recommended for anal sex. (Get more ideas for anal play in Anal Sex Toys 101.)

Oil-Based Lube

Some lubricants are oil based. These are not typically the lubricant of choice because they're messy and if used with latex condoms, they significantly increase the risk of tearing. Plus, because they leave a coating in the vagina or rectum, they can contribute to infections. They get the job done, but they should be used carefully because they aren't right for many applications.

How to Choose a Sex Lube

Vanilla Lubes


The type of lube you choose should depend on what you're up to. Most couples don’t have hang-from-the-ceiling-fan kind of fun every time they have sex. This is why lubes are often categorized as everyday lubes and special time lubes. Everyday lubes are relatively affordable and can be kept on hand for regular sexual interludes. They can be fun, but they aren't usually enough for extreme sex.

Kinkier Lubes

Other lubes are for those special times when both partners are off work the next day and have all night and day to play. These might include flavored lubricants; they may cost a bit more, but many people find they're well worth it. Heated or cooling lubricants also fall into this category because they're designed to add a little something extra. Keep in mind that the sugars and additives found in flavored/scented products can contribute to yeast infections; women who struggle with this problem may want to avoid using them internally.

Additional Concerns to Consider

If there are special health concerns to consider, these should be at the forefront of selecting a lubricant. Does either partner have sensitive skin? In that case, a water based lube with no added scents or flavors will likely be the best choice. Is the couple trying to conceive? Consult with the fertility doctor before making a selection. While some doctors will advise couples to refrain from using lubricants at all so that sperm motility and viability is not inhibited, others will suggest using natural oils such as olive, coconut or canola oil for lubricant. Cancer survivors and women who've experienced health problems that may affect their natural lubrication will also likely need lubricants formulated for sensitive skin.

An Oh-So-Affordable Luxury

Lubricant's like lipstick. You could live without it, but it's cheap enough that (thankfully) you don't have to. The world of lubricants can open up the door to encounters never before imagined. It can make getting into new positions easier and more comfortable. Plus, some of the more interesting lubes are a great way to experiment. A sensual massage with a flavored, creamy lube may be in order. Blindfold one partner and use a heated lube for a sexy treasure hunt. Lubes pave the way to more adventurous sex.


Lubricants heighten the sensuality factor of sexual interludes by creating a smooth, silky path to follow. When the luxe feel of lubricants enters the bedroom, both partners will feel like a million bucks. I call it a luxury, but like most lube fans, it's one I can't live without.