Water-Based Lubes 101: Your Complete Guide

In my recent big guide to sex lubes, I provided an overview of the many different types of sexual lubricants. Here, I’d like to talk a little more about water-based lubricants in particular – explaining their use, differences and my top recommendations. Welcome to my water-based lubes 101: your complete guide!

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Water-Based Lubes 101 Complete Guide To Water Lubricants

Main Features

Water-based lubes are sexual lubricants with a formulation that has water as its main or ‘base’ ingredient. There may be various other components to the formulation, but water is the main one. As well as a descriptor of the main ingredient of these lubricants, the label ‘water-based’ helps to quickly and easily differentiate them from the various other types of lubes: silicone, oil-based, hybrid etc.

Best For… 

Water-Based Lubes 101 Complete Guide To Water LubricantsAnything you like. Because the main component is water, water-based lubes are known as the ‘all-rounder’ of sexual lubricants. You can use them for any sexual pleasure adventures you desire, with no worries about whether they’ll damage your condoms or sex toys, or stain your clothing, sheets or furniture (though it’s a great idea to use a Cumpanion sex towel anyway, to avoid sticky wet spots).

Lubricants with a water base may have various other elements to their overall formulation, as I’ve already said. It’s worth taking a good look at the rest of the ingredients to make sure you don’t have any sensitivities to them. Glycerol/glycerin and parabens are the usual suspects, causing extra sensitivity and irritation to the vagina especially.

Because they have water as their main ingredient, water-based lubes wash off easily after playtime, whether from your hands, body or sex toys.

Not Great For… 

Water-Based Lubes 101 Complete Guide To Water LubricantsSex in the shower. Because water is the main ingredient, these lubricants wash off easily. I know I just said that, and touted it as a pro feature when it comes to cleaning up after pleasure sessions, but what if your pleasure session is in a watery environment? Water-based lubes just aren’t the best for aquatic sensual adventures, as they pretty much instantly wash away.

Another thing to remember about water is that it evaporates over time and with heat. Therefore, if you’re planning a lengthy masturbation or sex session, water lubricants probably aren’t the best choice. And if playtime just happens to carry on longer than you imagined, perhaps reach for a different type of lubricant to reapply than your water-based fave. Silicone lube won’t evaporate, meaning you can enjoy that pleasurable slip and slide for as long as you like.

Due to the fact water lubricants eventually evaporate through the heat from friction, they are not the best choice for anal sex and to use with anal sex toys. There’s nothing especially bad or dangerous about using a standard water-based lube for your pleasurable anal adventures, but you might find you need to reapply the lube often, causing annoyance at the regular interruption.

Standard water lubes can also be a little thin for the type of lubricant cushioning anal stimulation requires – remember that this area doesn’t provide its own natural lubricant, plus you definitely need to lubricate the area with its thin, sensitive skin. Specialised anal lubes may be water-based or silicone – but are thicker than regular sex lubricants, to provide that necessary, extra layer of cushioned lubrication as well as helping the lube stay wherever it’s applied.

Top Tips

Give some thought to how much lube you’ll need, before you buy, as well as the type of dispensing method that’s right for you.

biggest bottle of water based lubeIt may seem economical to buy that enormous flagon of lube… but do you really want the same type of lube for every sexual adventure? Even if you do, lube has an expiry date. Are you definitely going to use the whole lot before it becomes unfit & perhaps unsafe for intimate use? A large bottle means the lubricant inside might not be as easy and comfortable to dispense either, especially in the heat of the passionate moment.

Speaking of dispensing, think about what sort of container will provide the easiest, hassle-free way to access your lube during your intimate pleasure sessions. Remember that you might not have both of your hands available!

ann summers sachets of sex lubeSachets usually require both hands, or scissors to open – and don’t tear easily (or safely) with your teeth.

Twist-off tops also need both hands, and the open top once the lid is removed risks spillage if you miss the bedside table when putting it back on the side, or if you try to balance it on the bed. The lube may also run out too quickly, dispensing more than you need – especially with thinner water-based lubes.

A flip top cap on a tube is easier, whereas a pump style dispenser on a bottle is my favourite type of all. I can reach over to the side table, and with one hand dispense a blob of lubricant without needing to pick the container up, twist a lid back on, worry about spilling it or interrupting the session.

My Favourites

My all-time favourite water-based lubricants are safe for every kind of sexual adventure I wish to embark on, provide an effective, sensual glide, are easy to dispense and available at a value-for-money price. My top recommendations are:

YES Organic Water Based Lubricant

Water-Based Lubes 101 Complete Guide To Water Lubricants

Our YES Lubricants reviews

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Sliquid Organics Natural Sensation Lubricant

Water-Based Lubes 101 Complete Guide To Water Lubricants

My review… and all our Sliquid reviews

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System JO Agapé Glycerine Free Water Based Lube

Water-Based Lubes 101 Complete Guide To Water Lubricants

My review… and all our System JO reviews

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Lovehoney Delight Extra Silky Water Based Lube

Water-Based Lubes 101 Complete Guide To Water Lubricants

My review… and all our Lovehoney reviews

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