Need a little lube? How sex lubricants can boost pleasure

Lubricant can be the secret ingredient to take your sex life from ‘meh’ to mind-blowing, according to experts. Here’s how to pick the perfect one.

Personal lubricant – aka “lube” – can bring a whole new level of pleasure to the table (or bed if that’s where you prefer to get busy).

You can use it flying solo, with a partner, or playing with sex toys, says Australian Institute of Sexology and Sexual Medicine director Chantelle Otten.

“By reducing friction, lube can make sexual activities more comfortable, pleasurable, and enjoyable for everyone,” Chantelle says.

Here’s why lube deserves prime position in your bedside drawer.

How lubricant can boost your sexual pleasure

Couples therapist and sexologist Isiah McKimmie says using lube doesn’t mean you’re not turned on or not doing it right.

“While some people feel embarrassed or inadequate when using lube, there’s really no need to,” Isiah says.

“There are several factors that can impact a woman’s lubrication including stress, hormonal changes and dehydration.”

But if you think lube is only for people experiencing dryness down under, think again.

Even scientists agree sex is better with lube.

“Lube can be an exciting addition to your sexual repertoire, regardless of your age, level of arousal, or natural lubrication,” Chantelle says.

How to choose the right lube

Choosing the perfect lube largely comes down to preference, but be aware some are not condom or sex-toy safe, says Chantelle.

“You should also consider allergies or sensitivities and the requirements of your chosen sexual activities,” she says.

Flavoured, warming and tingling varieties may sound like fun, but Isiah urges caution.

“Stay away from lubes containing glycerin, spermicide, petroleum, parabens or those with a warming/tingling action as these increase the risk of yeast infections,” she says.

Popular lube types to consider

Water-based lubricants

Water-based lubes are versatile and popular, but can dry out faster than other varieties, says Chantelle.

Pros: good all-rounder, set toy and condom safe, washes off easily, good for sensitive skin.

Cons: thinner texture, can feel sticky, evaporates.

Silicone-based lubricants

“Silicone-based lubricants are popular due to their ‘silky’ feel and long-lasting nature,” Isiah says.

Pros: great texture, condom safe, hypoallergenic, water resistant, long-lasting.

Cons: requires soap to wash off, can stain sheets.

Oil-based lubricants

There are two types of oil-based lubricants – natural and synthetics such as mineral oils and Vaseline – and Isiah recommends opting for natural varieties.

Pros: silky texture, safe for sex toys, long-lasting, doubles as massage oil.

Cons: not condom safe, can cause irritation or yeast infections, requires soap to wash off, can stain sheets.

Hybrid lubes

Want the best of both worlds? Try hybrid lube.

“The fusion of silicone and water provides silky longevity with no-fuss clean up,” Isiah says.

Pros: condom safe, versatile.

Cons: can damage sex toys, potential for allergies.

Anal lubes

Isiah says you need specialised lube for anal sex due to the delicate nature of the rectal lining and because the anus doesn’t produce its own lubrication.

Pros: condom safe, fit-for-purpose.

Cons: will damage silicone sex toys.

Chantelle’s top tips for using lube

  • Start with a small amount and reapply as needed.
  • Always patch-test new lubes before use.
  • Experiment and have fun.

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Written by Dimity Barber