Lubrication is an essential component of sexual pleasure. While many may associate it solely with aiding penetration, it’s important to recognize that lubricants can enhance various forms of sexual activity and masturbation. Whether you want to improve hand jobs, complement your sexual toys, or engage in anal sex (where natural lubrication is limited), selecting the right lube is crucial. To assist you in making the best choice, here’s a concise guide to some outstanding options, along with expert recommendations.
What Factors to Consider When Shopping for Lube?
Your choice of lubricant should align with your intended use. Water-based lube stands out as a versatile option suitable for most types of sexual encounters, compatible with the majority of sex toys and condoms. It typically comes in a thin, slippery liquid or gel form. One drawback is that water-based lubes may become sticky as the water evaporates during use, necessitating frequent reapplication. You can alleviate this issue by adding a few drops of water to refresh it. For individuals prone to yeast infections, it’s crucial to select a water-based lube without glycerin, as this ingredient, a byproduct of sugar, can alter vaginal pH and lead to infections.
According to experts, silicone-based lubes are ideal for anal sex and hand jobs due to their long-lasting nature and reduced need for reapplication. However, it’s essential to note that silicone-based lubes should never be used with silicone sex toys or condoms, as they can degrade these materials.
Lastly, there are oil-based lubes such as coconut oil, baby oil, and petroleum jelly, favored for their accessibility and affordability. Nevertheless, it’s essential to be aware that oil-based lubes can weaken latex condoms, and petroleum jelly may potentially contribute to vaginal infections. If you choose to use an oil-based lube, make sure to pair it with a latex-free condom for safety, such as the option offered by Skyn ($6).
The Best Lubricants
Below, we’ve compiled a list of top-rated lubricants based on expert insights and user reviews.
Please note that all products featured on SELF are independently selected by our editors. When you make a purchase through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
1. Best Overall: Slippery Stuff Gel (16 oz.)
Price Range: $16 – $31
Available at: Walmart, Amazon, Adam & Eve
Slippery Stuff Gel is a versatile water-based gel praised for its ease of cleaning and safety with toys and condoms. According to Rosara Torrisi, PhD, LCSWR, MEd, an AASECT-certified sex therapist, this lube’s gel consistency offers long-lasting slipperiness without excessive tackiness. Additionally, it features an easy-to-use pump dispenser, eliminating the hassle of dealing with caps or squeeze bottles.
Pros: Silicone-safe; long-lasting; free from flavor, fragrance, and glycerin
Cons: Relatively expensive
2. Best for Beginners: Lovehoney Enjoy Water-Based Lubricant (3.4 oz.)
Available at: Lovehoney
Lovehoney’s water-based lube is a budget-friendly option suitable for those new to using sex toys. Reviewers appreciate its convenient bottle size for experimentation, absence of unpleasant odors, slow drying time, and non-sticky texture.
Pros: Silicone-safe; free from flavor and fragrance; priced under $10
Cons: Contains glycerin
3. Best for Masturbation: Maude Shine Organic (4 fl. oz.)
Price Range: $18 – $25
Available at: Maude, Sephora, Nordstrom
Maude Shine Organic, a water-based formula, is a favored choice for masturbation. Its slightly sticky consistency, lack of distracting scents, and non-irritating properties make it an excellent option for use with vibrators or other sex toys. It is available in both a 4 oz. easy-pump bottle and a travel-friendly 2 oz. size.
Pros: Silicone-safe; long-lasting; free from flavor, fragrance, and glycerin; priced under $20
Cons: Contains aloe, which may cause irritation for some users
4. Best Silicone-Based: Überlube Silicone Lubricant (3.8 oz.)
Price Range: $30 – $32
Available at: Amazon, Anthropologie, Adam & Eve
Überlube is a silicone-based lubricant lauded for its slippery and long-lasting nature, ideal for uninterrupted pleasure. Its soft, silky, and thick consistency makes it a suitable choice for anal play, according to Jenn Mason, founder and owner of sex-toy shop WinkWink. Please note that it is not compatible with silicone sex toys or condoms.
Pros: Latex-safe; free from flavor, fragrance, and glycerin; discreet packaging
Cons: Incompatible with silicone sex toys; relatively expensive
5. Trusted Classic: K-Y Jelly
Price Range: Varies by size and retailer
Available at: Various retailers
Pros: Water-based and versatile; widely available; suitable for most sexual activities
Cons: May require occasional reapplication
6. Best for Sensitivity: Good Clean Love Bionude Ultra Sensitive Personal Lube (3 oz.)
Price Range: $11 – $15
Available at: Target, Walmart
Good Clean Love’s water-based, hypoallergenic lubes are recommended for individuals with sensitive skin. Users, including Dr. Torrisi and sex therapist Carol Queen, PhD, report that the ‘ultra sensitive’ formulation lives up to its name, offering extended lubrication compared to other water-based options.
Pros: Silicone-safe; free from flavor, fragrance, and glycerin; priced under $15
Cons: Requires more reapplication than silicone-based lubes
7. Best Luxury Pick: Sliquid Silver Luxury Silicone Lubricant (4.2 oz.)
Price Range: $26 – $34
Available at: Lovehoney, Good Vibes, Amazon
Sliquid Silver is a luxurious silicone-based lubricant suitable for exploring various pleasures, including anal play and sensual massages. Users praise its thicker consistency, which feels more natural on the body, and its enduring performance. The brand also offers other types of lubes, such as water-based and oil-based variants, catering to diverse preferences.
Pros: Free from flavor, fragrance, and glycerin
Cons: Incompatible with silicone sex toys
8. Best Anal Lube: Pjur Back Door Silicone Anal Lubricant (3.4 oz.)
Price Range: $26 – $35
Available at: Lovehoney, Amazon, Walmart
Designed specifically for anal sex, Pjur Back Door Silicone Anal Lubricant boasts a thinner consistency than other silicone-based lubes, providing a fluid and long-lasting experience. Reviewers highlight its efficiency, requiring only a few drops for sustained lubrication during anal play. Please be aware that it should not be used with silicone sex toys.
Pros: Ideal for anal sex; latex-safe; free from flavor, fragrance, and glycerin
Cons: Incompatible with silicone sex toys; relatively expensive
9. Best Oil-Based: Foria Intimacy Sex Oil with CBD (112 ml.)
Available at: Nordstrom, Ulta
Foria Intimacy Sex Oil with CBD, a coconut oil-based lubricant featuring organic coconut oil and CBD, is recommended by psychologist and AASECT-certified sex therapist Megan Fleming, PhD. Users praise its long-lasting, moisturizing properties and its suitability for sensual massages. However, it is important to note that it is not safe to use with latex-based products.
Pros: Silicone-safe; free from glycerin and flavor
Cons: Not safe with latex; may cause irritation for individuals sensitive to tree nuts; relatively expensive