How To Pick The Best Lube for Sex Toys | The Do’s & Don’ts

Quick links: Sex Toy Material & Lube | How To Pick The Safest Lube | What To Avoid | FAQs

Using a sex toy with lube makes the whole experience unquestionably better. There’s no doubt about that.

But, with the numerous available options, how do you choose the best lube for sex toys?

I’ve used different types of lubes, liked some, and hated some. In this article, I’ll share my experience with you, hoping you’ll find one that’ll take your experience to a whole new level.

This article is co-written by Sexologist Robert Thomas.

Key Takeaways

  • Safest lube to use: water-based lube.
  • Unsafe lube ingredients: Nonoxynol-9, propylene glycol, glycerine, and petroleum products.
  • Any oil-based lube isn’t safe to use with a latex condom.
  • Safety is the most important thing to consider when looking for the best lube for sex toys.

Sex Toy Material and Lube Relationship

Sex toys come in different sizes, shapes, textures, and materials. The kind of lube you choose will depend on all these factors, but mostly the materials.

But before I begin to discuss the different types of lube available, ask yourself one question: why use lube in the first place?

The whole point of using lube is to reduce friction caused by dryness during penetration. And when sex toys are involved, the right lube makes everything even better.

Remember, the keyword here is the right lube.

That said, let’s discuss some of the most popular types of lube in the market. 

Water-Based Lube

Let’s start with my favorite — the water-based lube. This lube works with different sex toys, regardless of their materials. But that’s not the only reason it’s my favorite.

Pros of Water-Based Lube

  • Easy to clean out of sheets.
  • Does not stain fabric, such as bedsheets, keeping your bed cleaner even after the steamy sessions. 
  • Ideal for individuals with sensitive skin or vaginal irritation because it doesn’t contain harmful ingredients. 
  • Compatible with latex condoms – it doesn’t rip them apart due to melting caused by friction.

“When using latex condoms, however, do not use oil-based lubricants such as petroleum jelly, mineral oil, vegetable oils, massage oils, and body lotions, which can weaken the latex.”

by Jeff Housman, Mary Odum; Jones & Bartlett Learning, LLC, 2015
from Alters and Schiff Essential Concepts for Healthy Living

Cons of Water-Based Lube

  • You won’t enjoy using this lube during shower sex — it tends to wash away
  • You’ll need to constantly reapply it because it tends to dry too fast, which means spending even more money on lube. 

I’ve been using water-based lube for years, and I feel like it’s the closest to perfection in the world of lubricants.

It works with some of my favorite fantasy dildos, such as the Alien Breeder Dildo from Mr. Hankey Toys, making it one of the must-haves in my collection of sex paraphernalia. 

Silicone-Based Lube

There’s one important thing you need to know about silicone-based lube; they are not designed for use with silicone toys. Unfortunately, I learned this the hard way. 

In fact, using silicone lube with a silicone toy is one of the easiest ways to ruin the toy. But, naturally, you’d think that silicone lube is automatically compatible with a silicone toy. 

That’s not how it works.

To put things into perspective, let’s discuss the pros and cons of silicone lubes

Pros of Silicone Lubes

  • Like water and oil-based lube, silicone lube cannot be absorbed into the skin. So if you have sensitive skin, you’ll probably want to use this lube.
  • Silicone lube is also hypoallergenic, meaning it does not cause allergies and any irritation, which is also perfect for individuals with sensitive skin.
  • Then here comes the biggest advantage of using this lube — it tends to last longer, which makes it cost-effective. Besides, when a lube lasts longer, you don’t have to constantly reapply it. And if you’ve ever fucked a good dong, you know the fewer the interruptions, the better the experience. 
  • Lastly, this lube also works with most types of condoms.

Cons of Silicone Lube

  • Because the lube does not dry that quickly and can’t be absorbed into the skin, it gives you this weird feeling when sitting on your skin, especially after sex. 
  • In addition, when you use silicone lube on a silicone toy, it will leave a sticky residue on the toy, which in turn damages it. This mostly happens if you don’t clean the toy properly. 

Our sexologist Robert Thomas recently shared some useful tips on how to clean sex toys worth reading about. 

Oil-Based Lube

Oil-based lube is my least favorite. Don’t get me wrong, it works but not for me. Here’s why:

Pros of Oil-Based Lube

  • With oil-based lube, you’ll never have to worry about reapplying it. This lube can last longer than your relationship. 
  • One of the biggest advantages of a lube that doesn’t need constantly reapplying is that you can enjoy long, interrupted sex or solo play with your toy. This also means uninterrupted orgasms. 
  • Oil-based lube is also great for a massage before or after sex. It’s even better when you’re using a sex toy with your partner; a massage is a great way to heat things up before the real action begins. It’s the kind of lube that will fix your back pain and horniness simultaneously. 
  • Lastly, oil-based lubricant is ideal for people in long-term, serious relationships. I’ll explain this even more below.

Cons of Oil-Based Lube

  • As mentioned earlier, this lube is great for individuals in long-term relationships because it’s not the best lube to use with latex condoms — it will simply tear the condom apart, increasing the risk of exposure to STIs and also pregnancy. If you use this lube on a toy without a condom and your partner is involved, ensure you know their health status.
  • My least favorite thing about this lube is that it tends to stain fabrics. Such stains are difficult to remove even after throwing the fabric in the washer machine.

Mix (Water / Silicone / Oil) Lube

Also known as hybrid lubes, these are the kind of lubes that contain water, silicone, oil, and other materials to bring out the best from both worlds.

The first time I used this lube was around two years ago with the Vixen Maverick VixSkin Realistic Dildo 7.5 Inch from Lovehoney. I wanted to find out whether the presence of silicone in the lube, although a tiny percentage, would ruin the phallus. 

Here’s what I learned: 

Pros of Mix Lube

  • I found that they feel smoother and creamier than other traditional lubes.
  • They tend to last longer than most lubes, which saves you money and also eliminates the need for constant reapplying.
  • Hybrid lubes are also easier to clean, while others are completely stain-resistant.
  • And the best part is that the small percentage of the silicone in the lube does not ruin the dildo.

Cons of Mix Lube

  • I didn’t like this lube because it has a sticky feeling, especially when not properly cleaned. 
  • It also doesn’t feel as natural as other lubes I’ve used, such as the water-based version. Again, this is just my personal opinion; feel free to share yours in the comment section below. 

Natural Lube 

When a lubricant is described as ‘natural,’ it doesn’t contain harmful substances. In most cases, natural lubricants have plant-based products such as coconut, avocado, olive oils, etc.

“I always recommend organic coconut oil, a phenomenal lubricant that’s all natural and wonderful for your body and skin.”

by Laura Berman, Ph.D.; Hay House, 2016
from Quantum Love: Use Your Body’s Atomic Energy to Create the Relationship You Desire

Pros of Natural Lube

  • You can use natural lubricants with sex toys and for a massage before or after sex.
  • Natural lubricants are also safe for your vagina, penis, or anus. 

Cons of Natural Lube

  • Because natural lube contains oil derived from natural products, it tends to break latex condoms. So it’s probably not a good idea to use the toy with someone whose sexual health status you don’t know.
  • Natural lubricants also tend to stain fabric and are difficult to clean. 

How Do We Pick the Best Lubes?

At Sextopedia, we don’t just pick random lubes available on the market. Instead, we consider certain important factors when choosing the right lube. 

Safety comes first. You won’t be horny forever; using an unsafe lube will likely keep your vagina, butthole, or penis out of service until further notice.

For example, lubricants that contain glycerin can irritate your vagina, kill good bacteria, and lead to yeast infections.

Still, on safety matters, water-based lube is the best I’ve used so far. Because it doesn’t break latex condoms, it is not a high risk for transmitting STIs. 

We also consider how and where you plan to use the lube. The last thing you want is to worry about cleaning your squirt and that one lube stain that won’t just go away.

Lastly, we consider the type of material the sex toy is made of. As mentioned before, if you have a silicone sex toy, such as a dildo, you shouldn’t use it with silicone lube.

Lube Ingredients to Avoid and Why?

Now that you know that not every lube you come across on the market will work for you, let’s discuss the specific ingredients you need to avoid. 

Glycerine

When I first had a yeast infection, I wasn’t sure what caused it. My doctor prescribed some antifungal cream, and I was back in action in less than a week. A few days later, the itchy and burning sensation was back like it never left. 

That’s when my doctor asked if I used any lube during sex. I told him about the lube I was using at that time, and it didn’t even take him a minute to figure out where the problem was. 

Glycerine is a by-product of sugar, and most fungi thrive in such an environment. So when you use lube containing glycerine, your vagina basically turns into a breeding ground for yeast. 

Propylene Glycol

This ingredient isn’t as dangerous, but it can be depending on how your body reacts to it. Mostly used as a preservative, propylene glycol can harm your sexual organs if you use it in large amounts.

Petroleum Products

It might be tempting to use petroleum products such as Vaseline as lube. Although some good petroleum products can improve your sexual experience by eliminating fiction and promoting painless penetration, they tend to hang around your vagina or anus longer than they should. As a result, you risk developing infections such as bacterial vaginosis.

“Currently, it is believed that bacterial vaginosis is not an infection by a single organism, but rather an overgrowth of multiple colonizing bacteria including Gardnerella and a variety of anaerobes.”

by Robert J. Kurman; Springer New York, 2013
from Blaustein’s Pathology of the Female Genital Tract

Nonoxynol-9

This organic compound is well known for its role in birth control; it helps kill sperm. However, certain lubes contain this ingredient, which also destroys both good and bad bacteria. And when that happens, it may pave the way for vaginal infections.

Best Sex Toy Lubes FAQs

What Are Petroleum-based Lubes?

Petroleum-based lubes are the kind of lubes that contain petroleum products. Petroleum-based lubes are unsafe because they tend to stick around the vagina or anus, leading to infections. 

Which Type of Lube to Choose For Sex Toys?

The type of lube to choose will depend on various factors, including but not limited to:

  • The material of the sex toy you intend to use with the lube — for example, silicone lube doesn’t work well with silicone dildos. 
  • Where you intend to use the lube — if it is oil-based, you should keep it away from fabric such as your couch, bedsheets, or even your own clothes.
  • The ingredients of the lube — don’t use it if it contains harmful ingredients such as glycerine, propylene glycol, petroleum products, nonoxynol-9, etc. 

Why Doesn’t Silicone Lube Work With Silicone Toys?

Silicone lube doesn’t work with silicone sex toys because silicone reacts aggressively with silicone, which eventually breaks down the toys, making them seem gummy. 

Why is Water-Based Lube Compatible With So Many Sex Toy Materials?

Water-based lube is compatible with so many sex toy materials because this lube usually contains harmless ingredients, such as water. 

Why is Oil-Based Lube Unsafe to Use With Latex Condoms?

Oil-based lube isn’t safe to use with latex condoms because oil heats and breaks down latex. As a result, it increases the risk of contracting STDs. 

Can I Use Baby Oil With Sex Toys?

It’s not advisable to use baby oil with sex toys. This is because baby oil is usually made from petroleum products, which stick inside your vagina or anus, potentially leading to infections. 

Can I Use Coconut Oil With Sex Toys?

Yes, you can use coconut oil with sex toys. However, it’s important to remember that oil-based products usually break latex condoms.

So if you’re unsure of your partner’s sexual health status, coconut oil isn’t the best choice if you plan on sharing the sex toy.

Our sex expert Robert Thomas explains everything you need to know about homemade anal lube in this article.

Can I Use Shea Butter With Sex Toys?

Yes, you can use shea butter with sex toys. However, this option comes with some risks. Shea butter can break latex condoms and expose you to STIs. It’s also unsafe unless it is 100% pure. In some cases, it causes allergic reactions and skin irritation. 

Authors

  • I love all “things” that can be played with, especially sex toys that are curvey and realistic at the same time. Jokes aside, I have great instincts when it comes to picking out a new dildo or vibrator or any other sex toy that can actually make you orgasm. Sextopedia has been my sweet-sweet home for about 3 years and I absolutely ENJOY TESTING & reviewing new sex toys. In my reviews, I’ll always tell you what I think, and how it feels, and I don’t sugarcoat anything. Learn more.

  • Robert Thomas is a sexologist, researcher, and writer who loves to explore and investigate everything that is related to bedroom action. He strives to improve couples' sex life by challenging the advice given in research papers, books, magazines, and on the internet in general. Robert loves to write about sex, BDSM, as well as tips & tricks on how couples can introduce new sex toys to their relationship. He has been proudly featured in Healthline, Bustle, Cosmopolitan, Self, AskMen, MelMagazine, Kinkly, Jack&Jill Adult, and in many other publications. Learn more. LinkedIn