Lessons in Lube: Your complete guide to sexual lubricants

Beginner’s Guide to Lubes

guide to sexual lubricants

It’s not only squeaky wheels and creaking hinges that could do with a regular dose of lube. Sexual lubricants are your slippery saviour when it comes to making sex a ‘well oiled machine’. The fun part of sexual activity is friction, rubbing bodies against one another as well as the penetrative act. This friction can be comfortable and even more enjoyable with the addition of sexual lubricant. Avoid any unwanted pain or chafing by lubricating the skin before and during sexual enjoyment and intercourse, as well as while using a variety of sex toys alone or together.

Choosing the right lubricant for you and your partner can be an absolutely mind-boggling task. There is such a vast array of lubes to choose from, you could be stumped before you get started. Why are there so many different types? It’s just lube, right? Well, not quite. There are different lubricants for different sexual situations and different sex toys, as well as taking personal preference and skin types into account. Let’s take a look at the most common types of lubricants and the benefits they can bring to both you and your sex life.

Types of lubricants


Water based

Water based lubricant is your everyday, versatile, good all-round lube. As it is water based, this odourless, taste free, clear or viscous lubricant can be used with any material sex toy whether silicone, jelly or real feel, as well as with rigid materials such as glass or metal. They’re also compatible with all condom types. Water based lubricants won’t stain your sheets or clothing, and are easily washable after use.

For lengthy sexual sessions you may find you need to reapply your water based lubricant mid-session, as it can evaporate over a long periods of sex and friction. They are also unsuitable for use as a lubricant during aquatic adventures; for instance during sexual liaisons and exploits in the bath or shower. Back on dry land however, water based lubes will add a slick of sensuality and comfort to your every sexual endeavour.


A step up from flavourless and odourless water based lubricants, flavoured lubricants add a burst of flavour to oral sex. Flavoured lubricants are water based and are available in a variety of different flavours, such as chocolate, strawberry, cherry, banana and many, many more.

Offering all the benefits of water based lubricant, flavoured lubricants usually include the addition of glycerin in order to make them more palatable. While a few women may discover a vaginal sensitivity to the glycerin ingredient and a higher risk of irritation and infection, the majority of users report no negative side effects. Premium quality flavoured lubricants without the addition of glycerin are available for the discerning sex shopper.


Unlike water based lubricants, silicone lubes do not evaporate over time. This makes them the perfect choice when it comes to marathon sex sessions and for more intense sexual activities such as anal sex. Contrary to popular opinion, silicone lubricants are compatible with latex condoms, with no contra-indications.

If you’re planning a saucy splashtime whether solo or with your partner, silicone lubricants are your lube of choice. Silicone lube won’t dissolve in water alone, so add a dab when using sex toys in the shower or for sex in the bath.

After using silicone lubricant you will need to wash any remaining trace from your skin with soap and water. Silicone lubricants are not compatible with silicone sex toys and vibrators, and can have a negative effect on the surface of jelly and real-feel sex toys.


Hybrid lubes are a comparatively new name in the world of sexual lubricants. These clever formulations combine the best qualities of water based lube with the best of silicone. Hybrid lubricants last much longer than water based lube, and can still be used with silicone sex toys without any worry, providing a lasting glide.

Offering versatile use for activities such as rigorous sex, anal sex, massage and masturbation, hybrid lubricants deserve a wider recognition as a valuable sex essential.

Oil based

Oil based lubricants work fantastically as skin moisturisers and are ideal for skin to skin massage and foreplay. However, oil based lubes are not compatible with condoms, as the oil ingredient can disintegrate the condom material, leaving you without the protection condoms usually provide.

Oil based lubricants have a tendency to remain in a semi-solid state at room temperature and usually require a gentle warm up (either in the bottle or in your hands) to revert them to a liquid state. These lubricants are not ideal for those who suffer from vaginal dryness or for anal sex, as there is no water included to rehydrate the sensitive tissue areas and lining.

Why are sexual lubricants required?

For sexual purposes, only the mouth and the vagina produce natural lubrication. Sex isn’t limited to these areas though. Whatever the sexual orientation as well as activity preferences of the partners involved, it’s wise to make sure the necessary areas have the required lubrication to avoid pain through friction, pinching and chafing. Slip slide and glide, for comfort and ecstasy every time.

As they minimise the risk of skin tears and breakage through sex, whether vaginal or anal, sexual lubricants also help lessen the risk of transmitting sexual diseases and infections through broken skin.

When lubes are especially useful

Sexual lubricants might be particularly useful for you if you’re a woman who suffers from vaginal dryness, perhaps due to hormonal changes after childbirth, or while going through the menopause.

Male masturbation feels much more intense with the addition of lubricant, and when using anal sex toys or engaging in anal sex, lubricant is absolutely essential. There’s no natural lubrication in the anal area, so to avoid skin tears, pain or even worse, lubricant should always be used to ensure the situation stays comfortable, sexy and fun.

Alternative uses and life hacks

Although the lubricants we’ve discussed are primarily designed to ease and improve sex and foreplay, there are a few ways in which silicone lubricant can help in other areas of life. Yes that’s right – silicone lube really is that versatile! So what on earth could you use sex lubes for, other than sex? Here’s a few ideas to get you started:

Silicone Lubricant:

Calms, tames and shines frizzy hair
Conditions and adds a lustrous shine to latex clothing and items
Can be used to aid intimate shaving, particularly the legs
Helps to remove tight jewellery such as rings
Can be used to shine wooden and leather items
A light application helps to retain shine on taps and metal bathroom fixtures for longer
Quickly and easily conditions nails & cuticles

What to avoid, and why

If you ever run out of lubricant (perish the thought!) it can be tempting to use alternatives from your household. This is never a good idea and can cause all manner of intimate physical irritations and problems, as these items are not designed to be used inside the body or for sexual purposes.

There have been reports of individuals and couples using everyday store cupboard essentials in place of a good sex lube, such as WD 40, Vaseline, butter or margerine, body creams and even baby oil or cooking oil. As well as being unsuitable for the thin inner linings of the vagina or anal area, potentially causing inflammation and irritation, there are other risks that these items pose. If you use condoms, any oil based chemicals can disintegrate the latex material, removing the protection against unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections that condoms usually provide.

Don’t be tempted to substitute an inferior and potentially dangerous product in place of a body safe and tested sexual lubricant. Stock up and make sure your sex life stays smooth and sensual.

Where to get your lubes

So where can you pick up your choice of high quality, low priced sexual lubricants? Freedoms Shop is a fantastic source for all things sexy, sensual and slippery. You can read more about the ethos of Freedoms Shop in my introductory post here.

Freedoms Shop

Freedoms Shop offers a choice of water based, silicone and flavoured lubricants at the lowest prices, along with an incredible range of condoms for safe sex as well as sexy essentials packs.

– Cara Sutra

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