If I could make one recommendation to virtually everyone to make their sex life better, it would be this: add lube! When it comes to strap-on sex, whether you’re doing vaginal or anal play, lube is essential. Let’s look at how to choose the best kind of lube for you.
Unfortunately, lube still has something of a reputation for being something that people only use when something is “wrong” in their sex life. For example, I’ll often hear people say “I don’t need lube, I get wet enough naturally!” But using lube isn’t about fixing problems, but enhancing your body’s natural response – whatever that is.
Whether you’re solo or partnered and no matter what kinds of sex you’re engaging in, lube has the potential to decrease or eliminate any physical discomfort and help you enjoy even more pleasure.
But when it comes to strap-on sex then lube is definitely your friend!
Choosing a toy-compatible lube
You might have heard that you shouldn’t use silicone lube with silicone toys because it can damage them. Is this actually true? The answer is yes… sort of.
Your toy isn’t going to fall apart or start melting if it comes into contact with some silicone lube. But since silicone can react with itself, regularly using silicone lube with a silicone toy can degrade the material over time. Some people report using silicone lube and toys together for years, while others say that their toy was ruined after one use. There’s no clear answer and it likely depends on the type of silicone and the quality of lube.
If you’re using a silicone toy, I recommend playing it safe and sticking to a water-based or oil-based. Water-based lubes are compatible with all body-safe sex toy materials including silicone, glass, stainless steel, wood, plastic, and ceramic.
Choosing a barrier-compatible lube
Are you using barriers, such as condoms, as part of your strap-on sex? If so, you’ll want to avoid oil-based lubes, as these can degrade common barrier materials like latex. The best kind this is water-based and silicone-based, but always check the label to be sure. If your barriers break or split, they’re useless.
In general, fewer ingredients is better
Unfortunately, many commercially-available intimate lubes contain all kinds of nasty ingredients. Two common culprits are glycerin and other sugar-based ingredients, which can cause yeast infections, and parabens, which some sources have linked to hormone disruption and even cancers (though the jury is out on this one).
Another dangerous category of ingredients to watch out for is numbing agents such as benzocaine. These mask your body’s natural responses and mean that you might not be able to tell if something is wrong and causing you harm.
In general, the fewer ingredients in your lube, the better. See below for a few of our favourite body-friendly options.
The reapplication factor
Some lubes last longer than others. Water-based is versatile and easy to use, but it dries quickly and will need to be reapplied often. Silicone-based and oil-based lubes, on the other hand, tend to last for much longer.
If you’re doing anal strap-on play such as pegging, you might want to choose a longer-lasting variety… or be prepared to keep adding more as you go.
What feels good to you?
It sounds obvious, but don’t forget this very important factor when you choose a lube for strap-on sex. If it feels unpleasant on your skin, you won’t have a good experience using it. Some people like the slickness of oil-based lubes, while others hate the sensation of it on their hands. Some prefer water-based because it’s easy to wash off, but find it goes tacky after a while.
Don’t forget smell (and, if you’re doing oral sex alongside your strap-on sex, taste) as well. Some types are virtually tasteless and odourless, while others have a strong scent or unpleasant taste. Your preferences here will be highly individual, so pay attention to what works for you and your partner.
Some sex shops will have tester bottles that you can try (on your hand, not your genitals!) This means you can feel, sniff, and taste them to choose one that is most likely to work for you.
Some of our top lube picks for strap-on sex
Here are five lubes we love for all kinds of strap-on sex.
- Sliquid H2O. This water-based lube contains just a handful of natural and body-friendly ingredients and is gentle, hypoallergenic, and toy-compatible.
- YES OB. This is an organic oil-based lube that includes skin-friendly ingredients such as shea butter and almond oil, and is free from artificial colours and fragrances.
- Promescent Silicone. This three-ingredient silicone lube is slippery and long-lasting, even if you’re playing in water. It is also condom-safe and free from harmful ingredients.
- Wylde One. This is a body-safe lube made from 100% natural, vegan ingredients. It is the closest I’ve ever found to a lube that mimics the body’s own wetness.
- Sliquid Sassy. Specifically formulated for anal play, this water-based formula is thick and long-lasting and contains only natural, gentle ingredients.