What kind of lubricant should I use for anal sex?

Ducky Doolittle
Profile Picture of Ducky Doolittle Ducky DooLittle is a sex educator from NYC. She is also the author of "Sex with the Lights On: 200 Illuminating Sex Questions Answered". Ducky has appeared in the New York Times, HBO's "Real Sex", "The Morning Show", MTV, NPR, "The Howard Stern Show" and Playboy TV, to name a few.  Full Bio
Q:

Are some lubes better than others when it comes to anal sex? What kind of lube should I use?

A:

An online poll of my friends and fans showed the anal sex favorites to be Sliquid Sassy and Maximus. But please note that lube is a personal product like shampoo, lotion or deodorant. A brand that works for your best friend may not work for you. Even so, there are a few basic things to know about lubricants for anal sex.

The Base
There are four kinds of lube in the world:

  • Water-BasedWater-Based: These lubes tend to be thicker, but they also can have a sticky feeling and dissipate faster. With water-based lubes sometimes you need to stop and apply more.
  • Silicone: Silicone lubes are thinner but last longer. They are very smooth and sensual.
  • Hybrid: Hybrid is a mix of water-based and silicone lubricants.
  • Oil: Oil should not be used with latex condoms, gloves or any other barrier. Anal sex leaves the receiver very vulnerable to sexually transmitted infections and for this reason I don’t recommend oil lubricants for anal play.

The Fine Print
Be a smart consumer and read the ingredients lists. Beyond the bases listed above, there can be lots of additives that may or may not benefit you. For example, some lubes have menthol or peppermint in them. These ingredients cause warm/cooling effects. Menthol may feel great or it may feel horrific depending upon how your body reacts. It's fine to give it a try; just don't buy the extra-large bottle until you know what you like. (Read: Are Your Lubricants Hurting You?)

Another common additive to anal sex lubricants in particular is benzocaine, which causes a numbing sensation. Some people gravitate toward these numbing products because they have experienced pain or fear pain during anal play. The problem is that anal sex should never be painful. If there is pain, I want you to feel it. Pain is an indicator that something is wrong and you need to stop and change how you are playing.

The Bottle
I love lube in a pump bottle as opposed to squeeze bottle. Pump bottles make it very easy to use one hand to grab more lube without interrupting your fun. I know I'm a sex educator, but I am also shy. For this reason, I avoid bottles that are very explicit in nature. If the label says "anal," "backdoor," or anything really sexually explicit then I shy away from it. I just don’t want any construction workers or family members who may be in my home to stumble onto anything overtly sexual. I look for a product that is packaged like a lotion or shampoo. You may not have that same concern.

The best way to find the right lube for you and your partner is to go to a quality retailer that has tester bottles where you can feel the difference on your fingertips. Or go to your favorite online retailer and order small sample pillow packs of various brands and bases. Then play until you find the one that makes your butt happy!

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