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We’ve all had that moment. You’re in the pharmacy or the grocery store checking items off of your shopping list when you’ve stumbled across the selection of lube. The multiple bottles of clear liquid promising to “turn up the heat” and “get you in the mood” make you start to wonder if you should grab a bottle for home use. You wonder which magic elixir to pick and begin to panic.

The idea of squirting something into your nether regions is odd enough without pondering brand, type, and consistency. You decide to forgo the idea of a debate, figuring one is as good as the other, and hide a container in your cart under a bag of chips so that only the cashier will judge you.

wSx4RHowever, once you’ve included that supermarket lube in your lovemaking, the results are often sticky, unpleasant, and downright unhealthy for your favorite body parts, particularly if you are a woman. A vagina’s pH balance is delicate, and hard to maintain as it is, and inferior lubes can cause this number to fluctuate, which can lead to vaginal inflammation, pungent odors, irritation, and infections.

Even worse, lubes with high osmolality ratings, meaning they are filled with more sugars and salts than are found naturally in our own bodies, will actually dry out your sensitive areas rather than adding moisture. Turning your boner bone-dry leads to chafing, which can increase your susceptibility to sexually transmitted infections.

Of course, now you might be scared to use lube altogether. Not the point here, folks! In fact, according to a study done by Indiana University, a little extra wetness goes a long way. According to these sexy scientists, 70% of participants in the study strongly believed that lubricant use improves the sexual experience, saying that lubricants gave them higher levels of pleasure. Women specifically get the better end of the stick, with females who used a lubricant during sex reported about 1/3rd less sexual discomfort as those who went lube-free. Finally, according to these researchers, women who use lubricants may experience less vaginal tearing which can heighten the risk for HIV and other STIs.

So, clearly, a high-quality lube is going to spice up your sex life for sure. But we’re back to the choosing dilemma! There are so many different types and brands, and now you’re back in that aisle, reading the label on a “warming gel” to find out if it is actually going to catch your genitals on fire while your frozen pizza thaws in your cart.

Let go of the lube anxiety, because we’ve broken down the basics for you and recommending some fabulous products along the way. To start, there are three general types of lube out there: water-based, silicone, and oil lubricants.

Water-Based Lubes

This is often the more popular choice in lubes, as it is the safest lube to use with condoms and silicone toys. It has a silkier texture and feels the most “natural,” but can evaporate quickly due to the primary ingredient being water. It’s a big winner for vaginal intercourse and manual play, but not the best choice if you’re giving a hand job. Some of the best water-based lubes are even organic, which means fewer chemicals and more good times. Our most popular lube is Aloe Cadabra, which is made with 95% organic aloe vera and is 100% edible. Sliquid Organics Natural Gel, which is glycerine and paraben-free and full of certified organic botanical extracts, and Southern Butter Bliss-on Lubricant, which is infused with organic Calendula flowers to promote the healing of your most intimate parts, are also amazing options.

Silicone Lubes

This is the lube with staying power so we would recommend this selection if you plan to take your time and hate to reapply. It is also the best option for use during anal or fisting due to the lack of natural moisture during these acts. It can be difficult to remove since it is not made to evaporate easily, a shower after your playtime would be an excellent idea. Most are safe to use with condoms but make sure to check the packaging to be sure.

We really cannot say enough good things about überlube, which is made with the highest-quality ingredients available and is packaged in an elegant bottle with a single-serving pump for easy application. If you are looking for more of an adventure, you can try System Jo All-in-One Massage Glide. It can take your massage from ahh to ohh by acting as a massage oil and lubricant.

Oil-based Lubricants

Oil-based lubricants, such as Crisco, coconut oil, almond oil, and olive oil, provide useful options if you are sensitive to additives found in chemical-based products. Some people prefer their thicker texture and convenience; they tend to be readily around the house. However, you should NOT use these products with condoms, as they can break down the material and defeat the purpose wearing a glove in the first place.

Once you’ve picked your poison, remember that lube and makeup have a lot in common—start with a little because you can always apply more! The amount of natural wetness may vary from person to person, but a little grease in the cogs will always make the whole machine run smoothly.

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