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Lube 101: The Basics

Curious about lube but not sure where to start? Here is the Lovers guide to help you understand the essentials of intimate lubricants, your new best friend in the bedroom

Lube has been a taboo subject for too long. Instead of being celebrated as a fantastic addition to sex, it’s treated as a bit of a secret. I find it really sad that we can’t talk about lube in the same way we talk about vibrators, because I believe that lube always makes sex better.

Lube adds slip, makes things wetter, slipperier and sexier. There’s no such thing as ‘too much’ or ‘too wet’ when it comes to sex, whether you’re with a partner or by yourself. I know some women can feel shy about using lube. And the range of lubes out there can seem intimidating. So this is my guide to the basics: everything you need to know about lube but were afraid to ask.

What is lube?

If it’s wet, slippery and makes sex smoother, then it’s a lube. A lot of different things have been used as lubricants over time. In Ancient Greece they used olive oil. As did the Romans, who also thought it was a contraceptive. It isn’t – in fact, olive oil will wreck latex condoms, so save it for your salads.

In Ancient China carrageenan made from boiling seaweed helped reduce friction in the bedroom, while in Japan during the Edo Period (1603-1868) a mash made by grating yams was popular with couples. More recently, in the early 20thcentury, medical lubricants like KY Jelly and petroleum jelly made their way out of the doctor’s surgery and into our beds. However, these lubes weren’t designed for sex and they can cause skin irritations and yeast infections, so not the greatest choice for women seeking sexual pleasure.

The first modern lubes, created especially for sex, were marketed in women’s health magazines in the 1970s. It took another 30 years before lubes appeared in shops.

Three Main Types of Lube

Most lubes are either water-, silicone- or oil-based, and they all have their pros and cons:

Water-based lube

  • Versatile and hydrating
  • Most similar to your natural wetness
  • Good for vaginal and anal sex, as well as for using with toys
  • Compatible with all condoms
  • Easy to wash off and doesn’t stain
  • Absorbed easily, so you may have to reapply it during longer sessions.

Silicone-based lube

  • Silky, slippery texture
  • Long-lasting, so you won’t need to reapply it
  • Great for anal sex
  • Suitable for vaginal sex and can be used with condoms
  • Not suitable for use with silicone toys, as it degrades the silicone and encourages bacterial growth
  • Can be messy and cause stains.

Oil-based lubes

There are also some hybrid lubes that mix water and silicone to create a creamy texture. Your best guide to the right base for you is the kind of sex you’re having. Water is a great all-rounder, but if you want something long-lasting or for anal sex, opt for silicone.

Things to look for in a good lube

Using lube should always be enjoyable, and there a couple of things I recommend looking for to make sure you have a good experience.

Firstly, when buying water-based lubes, check the pH. A healthy vagina typically has a pH balance of 3.8 and 4.5, so look for a lube with a similar pH balance to help prevent irritation. All of our formulae have a pH of 4.5 An unscented lube is also a good choice for women with sensitive skin.

If you’re ready to experiment, our range of Lovers have added ingredients that can enhance your experience. Try different formulas, and have fun. Lube is an adventure, and once you add it to your sex life you’ll wonder why you ever waited so long.