The world of lubricants can be overwhelming. So many options, so many benefits, and so much to learn. Many people just stick with the basics—or don’t even consider them at all! But lubricants are the unsung heroes of sex. Knowing the right lubricant won’t just take a moment from mild to wild but has the potential to take your sex life to another level.

So, here’s your chance to learn the ins and outs to make sex better and wetter! Below, we’re going to discuss several different types of lubricants, their pros, their cons, and the best times to use them.

But before we dive in, let’s go over some lubricant basics:

Lubricants are for everyone

Some may think that lubricants are just for those who suffer from vaginal dryness, but that’s far from the truth. Many women find sex more pleasurable when they introduce lubricants into the mix (it’s all backed by science). And if we’re talking about anal sex, lubricants are absolutely essential.

There is ZERO shame in needing—or just wanting—a little extra glide to your ride.

Make sure pH is balanced

One of the most important factors when it comes to vaginal health is pH level. A healthy pH will protect you from bad bacteria and yeast. Introducing something that throws your levels out of wack isn’t good. Always check to make sure a lubricant is pH-balanced (like all Pure Romance lubricants) before you introduce something new to your bedroom routine.

It’s all about the moment

Finally, it’s not about “what’s the best lubricant?” but “what’s the best lubricant for the moment?” Some scenarios are best served by different types of lubricants. That’s why many prefer to have a collection on-hand so that they’re ready for any situation.

With all that said, it’s time to learn about lubes.

Let’s slide right in!

Water-based lubricants

If you’re just beginning to explore the world of lubricants, water-based is the best place to start. Water-based lubricants are gentle, lightweight, don’t stain, and clean up easily. They provide a natural feel and are great for vaginal sex, masturbation, and anal play. Condoms, toys, and masturbation sleeves are all safe to use with water-based lubricants for a versatility that’s unmatched within the world of lubes.

But just because it’s a smooth ride doesn’t mean there may not be a few bumps in the road. Water-based lubricants can soak into the skin, so you may need to reapply more regularly than other lubricants. They also wash away more easily than other varieties, so while clean-up is easy, shower time fun likely isn’t in the cards.

However, water-based lubes are the closest you can get to an “all-around” lubricant, so always make sure to have a little shelf space reserved for your favorite (like one of these!)

Silicone-based lubricants

Silicone-based lubricants are great for situations where you need something that’s long-lasting. They’re safe to use with condoms and provide a silky-smooth lubrication, so you won’t need to reapply as often during those all-night sessions. They’re also water-resistant, so they are perfect for shower sex or some cozy you-time in the tub. While great for vaginal sex and masturbation, silicone-based lubricants are a great choice for anal sex, as their consistency and longevity provide a safe and comfortable experience. Here’s a link so you can buy your own silicone lubricant!

There are, however, a few places where silicone-based lubricants fall short. They can stain fabrics, sheets, and clothing, so they may not always be the best go-to in every situation. Also, their water-resistant nature means it takes a little bit of extra effort (and soap!) to clean up afterwards.

One last thing: there’s a broad misconception out there that silicone-based lubricants and silicone toys don’t mix. This idea stems from bad reactions between silicone-based lubricants and lesser quality, silicone-like toys. There should be no adverse effects from using silicone-based lube with 100% silicone toys from reputable companies.

To that end, any Pure Romance toy that says it’s made of silicone is made with 100% medical-grade silicone and will not suffer any damage from being paired with a silicone-based lubricant.

However, if you have any doubts about a toy, always err on the side of caution and stick with water-based lubricants.

Oil-based lubricants

Oil-based lubricants are the longest lasting – and a little can go a long way! For this reason, they are a popular choice for anal sex. They are also a great option for male masturbation, whether you’re doing it yourself or someone’s lending you a hand.

While many women have had great, problem-free sexual experiences with oil-based lubricants, there is some evidence out there that they may lead to increased vaginal infections, so it may be best to avoid this type if you’re looking for a vaginal lubricant.

Important: do not use oil-based lubricants with latex condoms, as it can cause the condoms to break.

Hybrid Lubricants

Hybrid lubricants are a blend of two lubricant bases—either water and silicone, or water and oil—that combine the benefits of both. These slick combos provide the versatility and glide of a water-based lubricant with the longevity of a silicone- or oil-based lubricant.

While hybrids are easier to clean compared to their non-water parents, some of the other watch-outs still apply: use caution with latex condoms when using a hybrid water and oil lubricant, and lesser-quality toys may not mix well with a water and silicone lube.

Emollient-based Lubricants

Emollient-based lubricants have a smooth, lotion-like consistency that provides a sensual feel. These creamy lubricants don’t soak into the skin as quickly as other water-based lubricants, so they tend to last longer. While they work great for toys and penetrative sex, these lubricants are ideal for c-rings, pleasure sleeves, and oral favors as they provide a great glide as well as fun and delicious flavors that can enhance foreplay.

Playful Lubricants

Speaking of flavors, ready to get a little wild? Playful lubricants are a perfect way to add something new into the mix. Flavored lubricants can make oral an even sweeter treat, while warming or cooling lubes add a whole new sensation to sex.

All the same pros and cons that we’ve already discussed still apply to these lubricants, but always make sure to patch test before diving into something new to check to see if you’re allergic to any ingredients.

The Wetter the Better

At Pure Romance, we strongly believe in encouraging the curious, so hopefully we’ve piqued your interest in exploring the world of lubricants. As it goes with anything you put in your body: quality is key. Do your research, seek out reputable sources for both info and products, and – most importantly – have fun!

Check out Pure Romance’s line of great lubricants.

Trey Zink
Trey Zink (He/Him/His) is a writer at Pure Romance. With a degree in Graphic Design from the University of Cincinnati, Trey floated around the packaging and branding world for 10+ years, designing and writing for brands such as Tide, Welch’s, and Miracle-Gro. He eventually pivoted careers, trading packaging, logos, and signage for rhymes, puns, and alliteration. Outside of work, Trey enjoys video games, soccer, and melancholy songs.