Types of Lube
There are several types of lube with different substances as bases. The most popular type is water-based lube, but it's not the only type that exists, and water-based lubes sometimes won't do in certain situations. Let me explain.
Water-based lube: Water-based lube is popular for several reasons. First, it's the easiest type to clean up. Literally all you need is water - a damp wash cloth or a baby wipe - to clean up water-based lube. In addition to being easy to clean up, water-based lubes don't stain fabrics and materials - like your sheets, for example. Second, a water-based lube is often the least tacky or sticky option. If water-based lube dries up during the course of your lovemaking, you can reactivate it with either water or saliva to make it slippery again. Therefore, it's rather long-lasting. Finally, water-based lubes are safe to use with condoms and sex toys because they won't break down the materials and either cause condoms to break or sex toys to degrade.
Silicone-based lube: Silicone-based lube is probably next in line when it comes to popularity. That's because silicone-based lubes can pick up the slack where water-based lubes fall short - in water, for example. Because water-based lubes easily wash off with water, as I said above, they're not ideal for use in the tub or shower or in a hot tub where the water will make them less effective. Instead, a silicone-based lube is best for shower sex or sex in water because the water is not enough to clean up silicone-based lubes. To wash off a silicone-based lube, you will likely need a little bit of soap to feel completely clean. Silicone-based lubes, for this reason and because they can stain fabrics, are slightly more high-maintenance to use than water-based lubes, but they are long-lasting in water and are popular among people who enjoy anal sex. Silicone-based lubes can be thinner or runnier but still slicker than water-based lubes, which makes a silicone-based lube great for anal play because the anus does not self-lubricate the way the vagina does. One downfall when it comes to using silicone-based lubes is that they're not safe to use with all condoms and sex toys - especially silicone sex toys - because silicone-based lubes can degrade the material, ruining your toy. Unless you're using a glass or stainless steel toy, both of which are made of materials that will not degrade, do not choose to use a silicone-based lube.
Hybrid lubes: After reading and responding to gonewild's comment below, I wanted to come back and say a few words about hybrid lubes. Hybrid lubes are the newest type of lube on the market. A hybrid lube is a combination of a water-based lube with a touch of silicone. Hybrid lubes are not clear like water- and silicone-based lubes; instead, they are white or milky and look like lotion. Liquid Silk, a lube by Bodywise, is an example of a hybrid lube. Hybrid lubricants are easy to clean up like a water-based lube but have the long-lasting staying power and slickness of a silicone-based lube - the best of both worlds.
Oil- and petroleum-based lubes: Oil- and petroleum-based lubes may not be as popular as water- and silicone-based lubes but still have their place. Petroleum jelly - or Vaseline - and vegetable oil are examples of these types of lubes. These types of lubes do not contain many of the chemical ingredients in water- and silicone-based lubes, so anyone who is interested in avoiding certain additives and preservatives should use an oil- or petroleum-based lube. However, there are drawbacks to using oil- and petroleum-based lubes. First, many people - especially women - have concerns about these types of lubes causing bladder or yeast infections. While there's not necessarily any medical evidence that says all oil- and petroleum-based lubes cause infection, care should be taken when using oil- and petroleum-based lubes because oil-based lubes especially - such as vegetable oil - can spoil or expire and provide an environment for the growth of bacteria, which can lead to infection. Another drawback to using oil-based lubricants is that they are not compatible with latex condoms. An oil-based lubricant will weaken the latex and can cause a condom to break. Instead, you must use polyurethane condoms, which are made of plastic, with oil-based lubes.
In addition to these types of lubes, some lubricants are specially-formulated to provide additional sensation. I will discuss those lube formulas here.
Warming, cooling, stimulating/tingling, and desensitizing lubes: These types, along with adding some slickness to your lovemaking, provide titillating sensations when they come into contact with your skin or - in the case of desensitizing lubes - can prolong your lovemaking. Warming and cooling lubes will either heat up or cool down the area that is lubricated, and these sensations can be intensified by gently blowing on skin. An example is KY Yours + Mine lubes. You get two lubricants when you buy this product - a male lube and a female lube. The male lube is a warming lube, and the female lube is a cooling lube, and when you combine them, you're supposed to feel something special. I have seen mixed reviews about KY Yours + Mine and personally didn't get what all the fuss was about when Mr._C. and I tried them, but you may have a different experience. Stimulating/tingling lubes are meant to arouse, which means they can stimulate the skin - usually the nipples or the clitoris - and provide intensified sensation. A stimulating lube should be used if you want the lubricated body part to become more sensitive. On the other hand, desensitizing lubes can enhance sex by prolonging it. Men can use a desensitizing lube to delay climax, and desensitizing lubes can be used for anal sex to reduce discomfort. However, a word of warning about desensitizing lubes before I proceed. If you're using a desensitizing lube for anal sex, you should not feel numbness or complete loss of sensation. This can be dangerous because you could sustain an injury without realizing it. In addition, it's a good idea to avoid using a desensitizing lube on the clitoris.
Flavored lubes: Flavored lubes are water-based lubricants that are sweetened and artificially flavored. Flavored lubes are best used for oral sex. If you have trouble performing oral sex because of the tastes or smells involved or because you use condoms or a dental dam for oral sex, then you should use a flavored lube to make the experience of giving oral more pleasurable. Flavored lubes come in a wide variety from fruity to savory - cherry, strawberry, mint, and chocolate are some of the most popular flavors. I've even seen bacon-flavored lube.
Finally, lubricants can vary in their consistencies.
Liquid lubes: Most lubes are liquid lubes - water-based, silicone-based, and oil-based lubes. Liquid lubes have a thinner consistency and feel very silky to the touch. This type of lube may not be great for anal sex because they don't always stay in place.
Gel lubes: Gel lubes are water-based lubes that are formulated to be thicker than liquid lubes. Because they are thicker, gel lubes provide maximum comfort. They will stay in place better than liquid lubes, which makes them more effective for use during anal sex. Gel lubes may also be used for medical vaginal and rectal examinations. KY Jelly is an example of a gel lubricant.
Now that you have more information about different types of sex lubes, I want to know what your favorites are. Click here to vote in my lube poll. You may choose several answers.
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