Every “body” is different, has different tolerance to friction, and a different biological environment. A lubricant can be used for penetrative sex, masturbation, and therapeutically for internal treatment and relaxation. Using the proper lubricant can help maintain the proper pH of your vaginal canal. Below is an easy-to-use, informational lubricant guide to assist in choosing the best one for your body.
Water Based Lubricants PROS
Water absorbs well into the skin
Good for people with sensitive skin or skin that is easily irritated
Can be used with condoms, DILATORS (!), and sex toys
Absorbs well into the skin so may need to be reapplied
Does not work well if used in water, e.g. shower or bath
Check ingredients – some may contain propylene glycol preservative, parabens, glycerin and/or sugar
Oil Based Lubricants
Easily found around your home, e.g. olive oil, coconut oil, etc.
Good for external massage
Increases the chance of a condom breaking – the oil breaks down the latex and can create small holes in the condom
Oils are harder for the vaginal canal to clean so can be associated with higher rates of infections, bacterial vaginosis, yeast and irritation
Stains sheets and clothing
Silicone Based Lubricants PROS
Good alternative if you like the feeling of an oil-based lubricant
Slippery and long lasting, less re-application
May break down the rubber in silicone products – do NOT use with dilators, wands or sex toys
Harder to clean off self, sheets, surfaces
Lubricants that have menthol, often advertised as “cooling” or “sensation enhancement” – menthol is an alcohol that can irritate skin
Lubricants that have capsaicin, often advertised as “arousal enhancing” – capsaicin can set off pain nerves that can last longer than the intimate episode
Lubricants that contain chlorhexidine – chlorhexidine can destroy protective genital bacteria
Generally, avoid ingredients such as parabens, glycerin, and petroleum
The physiology behind lubricants and how they impact our body can be explained by the concept of OSMOLALITY. Osmolality is the concentration of particles dissolved in a unit of water. HOMEOSTASIS is the ability or tendency to maintain internal stability in an organism to compensate for environmental changes. The tissues in our body and our vagina need to maintain homeostasis.
If the osmolality is HIGH that means there are more particles per unit of water, which will cause the vaginal tissue to release its own moisture. The vaginal tissue will actually dry out trying to maintain homeostasis. Dried out tissue increases the risk of infection in the vaginal canal.
The lower the osmolality the less irritating the lubricant may be to the tissue, as the vaginal tissue will retain moisture rather than release it.
The ideal lubricant is iso-osmotic which will most closely mimic the body’s natural lubrication. The World Health Organization (WHO) suggests lubricants with an osmolality below 1200 mOsm/kg. Our recommended short list of Lubricants:
Sliquid (water based or silicone based)
Sutil Luxe (water based with hyaluronic acid)
Uberlube (silicone based)
FDA approved on latex condoms
Go LoveCBD (CBD infused and water based)
Femani Touch (silicone based)
FDA approved on latex condoms
Your take-away on lubricants
Check the ingredients in the lubrication you are using, different people respond differently to types of lube.
If something works well for a friend, it does not mean it will work well for you.
Ask your pelvic floor physical therapist or a sexual educator for a recommendation. They can help you choose the lubricant for you, guiding you towards smoother and more comfortable intimacy.