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The Ultimate Guide
on How to Use Lube

What is Lube?
Lube is the short colloquial word for ‘lubricant’ or ‘lubrication’ and exists not just in the world of sex and masturbation but also is an important material used to help machines run more smoothly. In the world of sex, lube is something that helps people to move more freely and to ease friction which can sometimes cause discomfort or injury. Lube is also used to gain access to entries that generally would be tight and would require some assistance to access such as penetrating the anus for example. In terms of misconceptions on lube use for women, it’s incorrectly thought that that younger women don’t need to use lube and if they do, there’s something wrong with them… this is incorrect because lube can add great depth to your sex sessions no matter your age! And for men, lube will also help improve their sex sessions…
65% of women
have used lubricant to make sex more comfortable, more pleasurable, or both.
89% of gay men
surveyed in San Francisco who have anal intercourse, said they always use lubricant during sex.
[Source: Indiana University 2014]
10 Reasons Why You Should Use Lube
Vaginal secretion levels vary between women and affects on its levels can be caused by:
  • Stress and anxiety including relationship issues
  • Hormonal changes arising from contraception, pregnancy, breastfeeding and periods
  • Specific medical conditions, for example diabetes, chemotherapy side effects, full hysterectomy or immune disorders
  • Irritations caused by chemical products such as washing powders, highly perfumed soaps, feminine sprays/washes and perfumed toilet roll
  • Not enough or lack of foreplay – women require more stimulation than men
...And that’s where lube can really help!

Types of Lube Explained

Water Based Lubricant
Water Based Lubricant
Water based lubes are by far the most commonly used and versatile lubricants. Obviously because they’re water-based, they are easy to clean up - they wash easily out of clothing and/or sheets. With water as the main ingredient, it’s also no surprise that these lubes can also be gentle and non irritating on the skin. Take care to fully check what your chosen water based lube contains especially if you are prone to yeast infections because some water based versions contain glycerin, which can cause those nasty infections. Water based lubes are safe to use with sex toys and latex contraceptives like condoms, diaphragms, and sponges. The downside of water based lubes is that while they’re easy to clean up, they’re equally easily washed away in the throes of passion or if you’re using them in the bath or shower.
Silicone Based Lubricant
Silicone Based Lubricant
Silicone is made from alternate chains of silicon (which is a natural element) and oxygen atoms. It can come in many forms including rubber, resin and oil but it is the liquid form that is effective when used as the main ingredient in the lubes we are covering here. Silicone lubricants last longer than water-based ones in terms of staying put while “in use” and as a result need to be reapplied less often. Take care not to use silicone lube with silicone sex toys because of silicone-on-silicone reactions which might cause damage to your silicone based toy over time. They can however be safely used with latex contraceptives and sex toys and vibrators not made of silicone. Silicone is hypoallergenic, so it’s a good choice for lube users with sensitive skin or allergies. Keep in mind however that like everything you haven’t tried before, some people might develop an irritation from the liquid, so it’s safer to test it out first. Also, silicone-based lubricants are harder to wash off bedding and clothing and are more expensive in general than water-based ones. People like silicone lube because it has a lovely silky feel that is soothing to the skin, leaving it feeling soft and smooth. The best thing about this type of lube is that it’s perfect for water play. Water based lubes are quickly washed away in the shower or bath but silicone based lube (especially when it’s the gel formula) tends to stay in place as you enjoy some slippery fun.
Oil Based Lubricant
Oil Based Lubricant
If you’re looking for a lube with a thick consistency, oil-based lube is an option to consider. Common oil-based lubes include Vaseline and vitamin E oil. Some people prefer the sensation of an oil against their skin and oil-based products do tend to be kinder on skin that is easily irritated. However if you want to try vitamin E oil as your oil based lube, check with your partner first, as people can be allergic to it. If you decide to choose an oil-based lube, there are a few very important things you must keep in mind. Firstly, oil-based lubricants aren’t safe to use with latex condoms because they can make the latex porous; they can cause the condom to rip and tear, which can contribute to increasing your risks of pregnancy if in a hetero’ relationship or contracting STIs (all sexual orientations). Furthermore, oil-based lubes tend to be more difficult to clean off of sex toys and the skin, so might require extra cleaning vigour after use. While many people still prefer to use oil based lube, they are best used only for non-penetrative sex or if you don’t use condoms during sex or for solo play.
Hybrid Lubricant
Hybrid Lubricant
Hybrid lubes are mostly made up of water based lubricant (90%) with some silicone lube ingredients added in. Their purpose is to provide friction free sex and are body safe (unless of course you have an allergy to silicone). Hybrid lubes often come in gel or cream format; the main advantage of a hybrid lube is that you get to enjoy the natural feeling of a water based lubricant while also getting the benefits of a longer lasting silicone formula.Therefore they’re great for play in the bath or shower. These hybrid lubes are also safe to use with your silicone sex toys as the percentage of silicone in the product is unlikely to cause damage - however, it’s important to double check the ingredients of each brand just to verify the percentage of silicone included.

How Much Lube to Use?

To use your chosen lube, squirt a dollop of around one inch in diameter into your palm and rub your hands together to warm it up. If you’re using it with your male partner, slowly spread it over the tip of the penis and work it down the shaft… this can all be part of your foreplay so try doing it slowly to drive him wild! For all types of sex, women can smooth around the same amount over your own female hot spots and you’re ready to go. Depending on how active you get at the foreplay stage, you might need to reapply before penetration. If you’re using a condom, also apply some over that (ensuring it’s a latex friendly lube of course!). Another good tip to enhance sensation for guys is to add a drop of lube into the tip of the condom before it’s rolled on...and away you go!

How to Use Lube with a Sex Toy

Sex toys can, of course be used without lube but incorporating lube as part of your play has a number of benefits: it can help improve your overall experience with the toy thereby increasing your fun; it can help to protect the toys from damage and it can also help to increase the lifespan of your toys… that all sounds like a major thumbs up for lube, right? Yes definitely but it is very important that you choose the right lube which is outlined fully in another section on this page. You can also read through our ‘How to Use a Vibrator Guide’ which might be helpful. So if you have chosen your lube for your sex toy play, next you should apply a portion of it (approximately an inch in diameter) to your toy of choice and also to the body area you’re going to be using the toy on; add more lube as you need it. So for example, if you’re planning on using an anal vibe, you should apply lube to the anal area and to the vibe, coating both surfaces and reapplying as and when it’s needed i.e. when the area dries. Once you’ve had your fun, it is important to clean your toy to prolong its life and also to prevent unpleasant bacteria forming. You can buy dedicated sex toy cleaner which will help to ensure all those nasties are taken away. Water based lube easily washes off but other lubes like silicone based can be a little stickier and will likely require more effort. Warm, soapy water should do the trick and dry off with a clean towel. Do the same with your toy (check if it’s waterproof!) and finish with the sex toy cleaner.

What is the Best Lube for my Needs?

How to Choose Lube
As outlined, there are a number of different types of lube on the market. Obviously there will be different brands and prices but there are also a number of flavours, colours and varying sensations of lube available. There are even lubes with different functions. You might find it takes you some time to figure out which one is for you depending on what you want it for. Experiment and see what works best for your needs and where relevant, the needs of your partner. It could be the case that you enjoy using tingle lube during sex but your partner hates the sensation or vice versa. The fun is in the experimentation and anyway, with lube in general being inexpensive, it’s easy to try out lots of different types; you could even have one for different occasions...Yay!
Best lube with sex toys
Silicone based lube is not advisable to use with silicone sex toys as this silicone on silicone action can break down the material on your toy over time. The best option is water based lube which won’t damage your toy and will allow for easy clean up afterwards, from the toy, from your sheets etc. You could also choose a hybrid lube which is a mix of water based lube but it has some silicone which will mean it will have a more luxurious feel on the skin. The lower volume of silicone in the hybrid will mean your toy won’t suffer damage but always check the percentage silicone in the lubricant ingredients to be certain.
Best lube for sex
As already outlined, for hetero’ sex and lesbian sex, sometimes a woman’s own natural lubrication isn’t enough and that can be due to a number of reasons so adding lube will help that and make sex more pleasurable. But lube isn’t just for dryness issues! It can improve and heighten sensation during sex and for all orientations, it allows the guy to thrust longer and harder without causing anyone any discomfort. Sounds good to me! Though there are a number of choices, it is probably best to stick to water based lube if you’re having penetrative sex and especially so if there’s a condom at play as the water based lube won’t damage it. It’s also easy to clean up after your session of fun and frolics!
Best lube for masturbation without a sex toy
How to use lube - masturbation
Men: When a man masturbates, it involves the stroking of the penis up and down repeatedly until ejaculation and orgasm are reached. The penis has some of the thinnest skin on the male body and because masturbating often means making two strokes in either direction each second, the possibility does exist that a man will cause a burn on his penis at some point...ouch! Also, for many men, the head (glans area) of the penis is extremely sensitive to touch. Applying a lubricant to the penis can help to solve both of these problems! With the addition of lube, the penis can stand to be stroked for a longer time without the possibility of getting burned or chafed, and with lube, the head of the penis can be touched. If you’re not using a sex toy, then you can use any type of lube, why not change things up a little and amp up the sensation by using a tingle lube?

Women: While the vagina is a self lubricating mecca, a little lube can help move things along. It can also help those that experience vaginal dryness and for a solo play session, adding in lube will make things more comfortable a lot quicker. Any type of lube will do as long as a person doesn’t have a specific allergy of course.
Best lube for anal play
How to use lube - anal
For anal sex, whether it’s fingering or full on penetration, lube is an absolute essential. In women, the anus or the rectal tissues don’t self lubricate (neither do they in the male incidentally) unlike the vagina so that’s reason enough to add lube! If you’re a lesbian couple using a strapon, you’ll need to lube up the dildo on the strapon as well as your anal area. Also even just viewing the GIF above will underline the importance of lubricant to the activity. When using lube for the purpose of anal play, it’s best to stay on the side of caution and add lots of it because a tear or fissure in this area of the body would obviously not be pleasant. It’s also important to highlight that a tear in the anal area without the use of a condom (when there’s a real penis - not a dildo involved obviously!) may also have STI repercussions so keep that element in mind also i.e. condom use for anal.
Best lube for water play
When you think about sex in the bath or shower, you would think you would have all the lube you need with water involved… that’s actually not the case and is in fact, the opposite of what occurs. Warm and hot water in the shower and bath will actually cause the skin to dry out so lube is a much needed addition for some sex play in those quarters! The best lube option to use in this situation should be silicone based. This has the ability to last longer in comparison to water based lube in a shower or bath which can be washed away easily; choose a silicone lube that is long lasting but doesn’t absorb easily into the skin.
Best lube for getting pregnant
While most mainstream brands of lube no longer actively “kill off” sperm, it’s still important to change your lube tactics if conception is your goal. When you’re actively trying to concieve, you’re probably having a lot of “scheduled” sex to take advantage of your most fertile time of the month. That alone will mean your necessary body parts will be in a lot of use so lube will certainly help with issues of “overuse”. Standard lubes will sometimes hinder the progress of sperm on its journey due to the existence of particles in the thick lube formula. Help is at hand though because you can get lube that mimics the natural chemical environment of the vagina during your most fertile time - isn’t science wonderful?

Are All Types of Lube Safe?

When people think lubes, they think less friction, more comfortable sex without the worry of causing tears or burns to sensitive body parts. Tears, cuts or similar damage to the skin in those areas of the body would make transmission of sexually transmitted diseases obviously more possible so conventional thinking would be to introduce lube and eliminate that concern. However, a study released in 2012 in the journal of Sexually Transmitted Diseases found that men and women who used lube during anal intercourse in that previous month were more likely to test positive for STIs like gonorrhea or chlamydia… why? The authors of the study propose that the reason for this is likely because the lubricants used caused inflammation of the anus and rectum, making it easier for organisms to spread.

So what does this mean? First and foremost, it highlights the absolute necessity and importance of wearing a condom with a partner if you don’t know their sexual history. It also means that you should always be aware of the ingredients of the lube you are using and also test that you aren’t allergic to it. Regular personal lubes are generally safe for use if you use as directed. As with anything you use on your body, take the necessary precautions and you’ll get the benefits the lube is meant to give!

How do I test if I am allergic to a lube? Dab a bit on the inside of your elbow and wait a day to make sure no redness/irritation occurs. If you have an unusual reaction to a new lubricant, stop using it; if the problem persists, visit your doctor.

Storing Your Lube: Best Practice

Storing Lubes
While lube wouldn’t be as resistant to damage as something like medications would, it is still important to store your lube in the correct way in order to keep its efficacy and to also ensure it lasts longer. Keep them away from direct heat and sunlight and also out of the reach of children and animals. Most lubes are non-toxic but of course it might be an issue if a kid spots something like a chocolate flavoured lube and squeezes a lot of it down their throat so it’s best to keep it out of their sight and reach. Furthermore, it could also make a mess if it’s squirted all over your room, your sheets, your clothes, the carpet etc… who wants to clean up a lube mess when there was no fun involved in using it?!

At Carvaka, we simply adore lube and because we like to promote a better sex experience for all, we think you need to add some into your play if you haven’t already. We stock lots of great lube including a fantastic selection from Playboy, Durex, ID, and more which would all look and feel amazing in your collection. Take a browse through our full sex gel and lube choices right now and get ready for some lubed-up action!