How do I choose my personal lubricant?

It’s not easy to choose your lubricant 🦊 at least it’s been a bit of a journey for me. Starting with: “Bah it’s only lube” to “eurk this one it’s all sticky” “No but this one it dries too fast”…. So how do you choose?

It’s a combination of what you want to do with it, where you want to do it and what you want to use it with. Because not all lubricants can be used for every occasion. But lubrication, whatever the activity, is basic! But let’s demystify it together.

Why use lubricant?

Basically, the use of a lubricant is not compulsory. However, there may be good reasons for using them. It may be to help

  • natural lubrication
  • reduce friction
  • increase sensations
  • reduce the discomfort or pain of penetration.
  • relieve vaginal dryness, although this is only a short-term solution.

First choices

We’re not going to lie, generally the choice of a first lubricant is made at random. There’s a 95% chance that you’ll choose a water-based lubricant. It’s the most common and (almost) compatible with everything.

You can find them in supermarkets, some with funky tastes, different textures… Why not? And you’re going to buy this water-based lubricant and then test it and, potentially, you’ll be happy with it.

For me, that hasn’t really been the case, or at least not with all of them. But will it really meet your needs? Is it safe to use this lubricant for the purpose you have in mind?

My first purchases

I started with a trio of lubes from Kiiroo🦊: Aqua Spark and Artic. All three lubricants worked well for me. The water-based one isn’t slimy or sticky and lasted long enough compared to the sessions I was having. The Spark lube felt slightly warm… In winter it was a bit nice but nothing more. The artic, on the other hand, was very cool!

Then I quickly ran out of these ridiculously large doses and had to buy more. I tried Easyglide’s water-based lubricant… A horror without a name. I was happy when the bottle was completely empty. The lube was all slimy, really not what I’d consider pleasant. Then I tried Lovense when I bought my Edge2. It was better but the container was far too stiff for me to use properly.

I tried yet another one whose name I’ve forgotten. However, I remember very well that im dried out in no time. I kept having to put more on… In short, it bored me to come across so many different lubricants. If I didn’t write them down and keep a record of them somewhere, I was bound to buy another one that wasn’t any good. So I told myself I had to do something. Figure out how to choose the right lube.

Some research

Apart from the water-based lube I’d bought, perhaps I could have used an oil-based lube? Or a silicone-based one? But what’s the difference?

So already no. I couldn’t use any lubricants other than water-based ones. At the time, this choice was solely for solitary pleasure… but to go with a sextoy. What’s more, a TPE🦊 sextoy…. And TPE isn’t always the most stable material in the world. It really depends on the manufacturer.

So how do you choose your lubricant? As I said, it all depends on how you want to use it. Is it for oral sex? Vaginal? Anal? Protected or not with a condom? For use with a sextoy? Or in the jacuzzi?

In short, lots of options (and certainly more than I’ve listed). However, each one is important in finding the right type of lubricant.

How to choose lubricant by the activity targeted
How to choose lubricant by the activity targeted

As a result, there are a few explanations to be made for this table and I’ll come back to them when I detail each lubricant base.

Choosing a water-based lubricant

Examples of water-based lubricants. Please note, this does not mean that they are all recommended!

As I explained, the composition of a water-based lubricant will affect its viscosity (more or less liquid, more or less solid). But it will also affect how long it lasts (lubricant drying time). The cool thing about water-based lubricants is that they’re the closest thing to natural lubrication. What’s not so cool is that you have to reapply it regularly and that it can be viscous and sticky as it dries.

It’s easy to clean! Well, it’s so easy to clean that it’s not compatible with aquatic activity. If you want to do dirty things in the jacuzzi, it’s not the right ally.

Apart from the ingredients, which I’ll talk about later, there are two things you need to be careful about. I’d say almost especially if it’s to be applied to a vagina. These are the notions of pH andosmolality. Water-based lubricants require the use of thickeners and preservatives. The problem is that the wrong products, or the wrong quantities, can damage your cell membranes and/or upset the pH of your flora.

If you’d like to take a closer look at what I’m going to say, here’s some additional reading in English. These are WHO reports, the first dating from 2012 and the second from 2018.


Choosing the right water-based lubricant for the area to be lubricated and its pH level

Normally, I think you already know what pH is. It’s short for hydrogen potential. It’s a scale used to measure the acidity or alkalinity of a solution or medium.

And whether we’re talking about a vagina or an anus, both have an environment with its own pH level. In the former case, it ranges from 3.8 to 4.5. In the second case, it’s around 7. So, since these measurements don’t coincide, this means that you should use a lubricant with a different pH for an anal act (from 5.5 to 7) or a vaginal act (around 4.5).

If the pH levels do not match, there is an increased risk of infection and also of transmission of sexually transmitted diseases. The disruption caused by the lubricant will attack your natural flora. Lubricants with a pH higher than 7 are not recommended.

After that, even if the pH isn’t quite right, it may not have that much impact… Depending on the “buffering” effect of the lubricant. This is still a bit vague for me, but from what I’ve read, here’s how it could be defined. It’s the time it takes for the vagina or rectum to return to its natural pH. And not all lubricants are created equal. But today, it’s already complicated to obtain the pH of a lubricant. So knowing how long it will affect the pH of the area where it is applied…


What’s this?

Osmolality is the measurement of particles dissolved per unit of water in a solution or plasma. The osmolality of a lubricant is important. The epithelial (outer) layer of the skin is constantly trying to maintain a balance of osmolality between the cells and the lubricant.

Unbalanced osmolality can cause damage to the vaginal and anal epithelium. It also increases the risk of infection and transmission of STDs, particularly when condoms are not used for every act of intercourse.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) suggests that an ideal lubricant should have an osmolality of less than 380 mOsm/Kg. For reference, vaginal secretions have a value of between 260-290 and sperm between 250-380.

The problem is that, even today, most brands selling lubricants are not really aware of this… Or when they are aware of it, it’s not necessarily possible for them to change their formula from one day to the next. And in order to limit the number of cases “outside the recommendation”, the WHO set a limit value of 1200 mOsm/Kg… in 2012. 12 years on, I feel that there could have been stricter requirements, but that’s just my opinion.

Hypo, iso, hyper

Hypo-osmolality (less than 32 mOsm/Kg) : the cells swell due to the high water content of the lubricant and the cell membrane can rupture. Fortunately, this type of lubricant is not widely available on the market.

Hyper-osmolality (above 380 mOsm/Kg) : the lubricant will dry out your cells, capturing their water. Your mucosa will become dehydrated and irritated, inviting bacterial infections to take hold. Most lubricants on the market are hyper-osmotic.

Iso-osmolality (between 32 and 380 mOsm/Kg) : exchange is reduced, not very necessary and equivalent – everything’s fine!

Why are most water-based lubricants hyper-osmotic?

This is because lubricant manufacturers ensure that the lubricant does not dry out too quickly. So it has to retain water.

To do this, they use glycols such as glycerol and propylene glycol. Ultimately, the osmolality of a lubricant depends almost exclusively on the concentration of these molecules, so the solution to lowering this level would be to reduce the concentration of glycol.

Ingredients to avoid in water-based lubricants

“But why is this guy, or fox whatever, only now talking about this when it should be the most important thing?”

There is a plethora of references on ingredients to avoid, and I don’t want to offer you content that you can find everywhere. However, Felicity, from PhallophileReviews, wrote an extended article last year which you can read: Personal Lubricant Ingredients Lists: Be Aware.

In short, here are the three things I always try to avoid now : paraben, glycerine and synthetic flavouring.

Choosing a silicone-based lubricant

Silicone based lubricant
Examples of silicone-based lubricants

For me, silicone-based lubricants are magic. And here’s why you might want to choose this base lube.

  • No pH
  • no osmolality
  • some leave stains on the sheets (this is not the case with Überlube🦊)
  • can be used for oral, vaginal and anal sex
  • last a long time
  • are generally not fatty
  • are compatible with all condoms.

So it’s the ultimate lubricant, isn’t it? In fact, that’s the question I asked myself when testing Überlube.

A few recommendations

Well, no. Unfortunately, it’s not always recommended to use a silicone-based lubricant when using sex toys. Or at least, depending on the material of the sextoy. And apart from that, there are doubts about how long the vagina needs to free itself from this lubricant. What’s more, when it comes to cleaning, a splash of water isn’t enough – you need to use soap. Finally, if you are pregnant or breast-feeding, it is not recommended to use a silicone-based lubricant, as a precaution.

If your sextoy is made of stainless steel🦊(such as a Njoy Pure Wand), glass🦊 or wood, ABS🦊, there are no particular contraindications.

On the other hand, if it’s a TPE penis sleeve (like a FeelStroker🦊), depending on the quality of the TPE, the material can degrade quite quickly. I’ve used hybrid lubricants before, water-based with silicone, with no worries…. But only silicone-based, I prefer to avoid “just in case”.

And for sex toys made of silicone… This is absolutely forbidden. The silicone in the lubricant will react with the silicone in your toy and degrade it. Well, I was talking about an almost absolute ban, because Love-Not-War🛒 has come up trumps with its “neo-silicone”.

Choosing an oil-based lubricant

Oil based lubricants
Example of an oil-based lubricant. The only one I have, in fact.

Unfortunately I have a lot less personal experience of this… I’ve never really been too interested in this type of lubricant and have only tested one. Generally speaking, these lubricants have :

  • longer application time
  • moisturise well
  • are top for anal sex
  • to avoid friction.

Like silicone-based lubricant, you have to go through the soaping process to get rid of it. And you have to be very careful when you use it, because it’s guaranteed to stain your sheets. However, it’s easy to place a towel underneath or even a waterproof blanket. Finally, this type of lubricant should not be used with latex or polyisoprene condoms because it makes them porous!

There is also some doubt about the relationship between the use of this type of lubricant and the risk of vaginal infection. However, no study has formally demonstrated this.

What to choose

Basically, I wanted to help you choose a lubricant. I’ve given you a number of guidelines to help you decide which base would suit you best, depending on your intended use.

The easiest way is, and always will be, to go for a water-based lubricant. Provided it has the right pH and osmolality, it can be used for everything! Well, except for aquatic romps. In that case, you should opt for an oil- or silicone-based lubricant.

My favourite part is the silicone-based lubricant. I love the way it glides on and reduces friction. You don’t have to keep reapplying it… But Madame likes it less because it’s more of a hassle to wash off.

In any case, I hope you’ve learned something interesting from reading this. But what about you? Do you have something to teach me? Do you have a question for me?
Don’t hesitate to comment!

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