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Best lube 2023: Improve your sex life with some extra glide

Best lube

Whether for masturbation, intercourse or with sex toys, lube is essential for good, safe sex. Here’s our pick of the best lubricants

The best lube is important for a satisfying and safe sex life. Personal lubricant, or “lube” as it’s commonly known, is a gel that’s intended to reduce friction and discomfort during sex. It also lessens your risk of injury. If you’re using a condom, lube also makes it less likely that it will break or slip off, therefore increasing your protection against STIs including HIV.

The vagina naturally produces lubrication that helps facilitate sexual activity. If natural lubrication is not enough, which can be due to hormonal fluctuations or the menopause, then lube can really help. With anal penetration, it is a must, given that the anus is not self-lubricating.

Not only does lubricant reduce discomfort and potential infection, it feels really good, too. Using it can greatly enhance your and your partner’s pleasure. No wonder it’s considered a bedroom essential. Read on for our buying guide and roundup of the best lube to buy.

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How to choose the best lube for you

Basic lessons in lube

Although there are many lubricants on the market, not just any lube will do. This is because not all lubes suit all sexual practices. In addition, using the wrong lube can have dire consequences.

There are some basic lessons to learn when it comes to lubricant. They might not have taught you this during sex education class at school, but luckily we are here to rectify that.

The basic rules are:

  • Do not use oil-based lubricants such as baby oil, coconut oil or petroleum jelly with condoms as it can cause condom breakage.
  • Silicone-based lubricants last longer and are ideal for anal sex.
  • Do not use silicone lube with silicone sex toys as it can degrade the material of the toy.
  • Water-based lubricant is by far the most versatile option. It can be used with any sex toy material and is condom-compatible.

Which lube should I buy?

Don’t go for the cheapest options as they will inevitably contain the cheapest ingredients. Most high-quality lubricants highlight the fact that they’re glycerin-free. Glycerin has been associated with a higher risk of yeast infections according to one 2013 study, and many experts advise that it should also be avoided if you’re prone to frequent yeast infections. If this is the case for you, don’t worry: all of our suggested lubricants are glycerin-free.

If you’re fluid-bonded with your partner – that is to say you don’t use a barrier method such as condoms during sex and that you are happy to exchange bodily fluids with your partner – then oil-based lubricants might be an option for you. They’re suitable for people who wish to use a lube with 100% natural ingredients. For those who use condoms and also want high-quality natural ingredients, then go for a water-based organic lubricant. However, in this case, the ingredients probably won’t be 100% natural.

If you enjoy anal sex then we would recommend choosing a silicone-based lubricant as they tend to last longer. Flavoured lubes may smell nice but they might also contain ingredients such as sugars that may not be vagina-friendly. Make sure you don’t end up swallowing anything more than an unintentional amount unless it’s clearly labelled as an edible lube.

For those who are concerned with hygiene or discretion, then a lubricant with a pre-filled applicator can be a great idea. The lubricant can be inserted in the vagina without being in contact with your hands. For some extra stimulating sensations such as a warming or cooling effect, then go for a stimulating lubricant. They can provide a tingling sensation to both partners and they can greatly enhance masturbation with your fingers or with a sex toy. As we’ve mentioned above, though, avoid the use of silicone-based lubricants with silicone sex toys.

If you would like to use a lubricant for a variety of different purposes then a water-based lubricant is the most versatile option. It will serve many sexual scenarios, whether it’s for solo use or with a partner.

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How much should I spend?

As we mentioned earlier, don’t go for the cheapest options as their ingredients might not be the best. Many cheaper lubes contain glycerin, which might not be desirable. Another concern is the pH of the product. Healthy vaginal pH is around 3.8-4.5. There is a concern that if the pH of the personal lubricant doesn’t match this, it could disturb the balance of the healthy vaginal flora. You can get a decent, high-quality lube for between £6 to £15. Given that it feels great and that you’ll use it many times, it will be worth every penny.

Whatever type you choose, our selection features lubricants from reputable brands that do not contain any nasties. Read on to discover which is the best one for you.

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The best lube you can buy in 2023

1. Lovehoney Enjoy Water-Based Lubricant 250ml: The best-value lube

Price: £13 | Buy now from Lovehoney

You can never have too much lube. This much-loved water-based lubricant from Lovehoney boasts over 600 positive reviews, and it’s not hard to see why. It ticks many essential boxes. For example, its body-friendly formula is glycerin-free and water-based, meaning that it’s very versatile. It can provide some extra glide for masturbation and is compatible with condoms and all sex toy materials. Presented in a transparent 250ml easy-squeeze bottle, you can see exactly how much is left and you’ll know exactly when to restock – which might not be very often thanks to its generous size. It’s worth pointing out that, due to availability issues associated with the coronavirus pandemic, it may arrive with either a pump or a cap top.

Key specs – Ingredients: Aqua (water), propylene glycol, hydroxyethylcellulose, benzoic acid, sodium hydroxide; Bottle type: Squeeze; Condom-compatible: Yes; Sex toy-compatible: Yes; Standout feature: Big bottle

Buy now from Lovehoney

2. Sliquid Organics Natural Sensation Lubricant 60ml: The most stimulating choice

Price: £9 | Buy now from Lovehoney

They say that organic is orgasmic and that’s especially true when it comes to this stimulating lubricant from Sliquid. It can provide some tingling sensations and heightened sensitivity to your clitoris, especially when combined with a clitoral stimulating sex toy or a skilled finger. It gently cools on contact and warms with friction to enhance sensation and pleasure.

Sliquid is probably the most loved lube brand in the world. Not only does it produce top-quality lubricant but the brand’s ethos makes it a pleasure industry favourite. Sliquid uses only the best, most natural ingredients in all of its products. This petroleum-free lubricant has been blended with certified organic botanical extracts that actually support the body’s natural reactions. It’s hypoallergenic, suitable for all skin types, and the small 60ml bottle is perfect for going through airport security.

Key specs – Ingredients: Organic aloe barbadensis decolourised leaf juice (reconstituted), plant cellulose (from cotton), natural tocopherols (vitamin E), cyamopis (guar) gum, organic hibiscus extract, flax, green tea and sunflower seed, organic sunflower seed extract, food grade menthol, potassium sorbate, citric acid; Bottle type: Squeeze; Condom-compatible: Yes; Sex toy-compatible: Yes; Standout feature: Stimulating cool & warming effect

Buy now from Lovehoney

3. Bijoux Indiscrets Coconut Water-Based Lubricant: The best flavoured lube

Price: £13 | Buy now from Bijoux Indiscrets

This coconut water-based lube from Bijoux Indiscrets is part of the brand’s Sex Au Naturel range, which features products made from 98% natural body-safe ingredients that are vegan and pH-optimised to match yours. It possesses a gentle coconut aroma that’s fresh and natural without being overpowering, so is ideal for those who are not quite on board with their own natural pheromones. There’s still a lot of shame and stigma when it comes to natural genital aromas, and if a scented lube can help you let go of your inhibitions and enjoy oral sex – both giving and receiving – then that has to be a good thing. Or maybe you just enjoy the smell of coconuts.

Key specs – Ingredients: Aqua, sorbitol, hydroxyethylcellulose, sodium lactate, sodium benzoate, aroma, lactic acid; Bottle type: Squeeze; Condom-compatible: Yes; Sex toy-compatible: Yes; Standout feature: Aroma

Buy now from Bijoux Indiscrets

4. YES Pre-filled Applicators: The most hygienic option

Price: £15 | Buy now from Yesyesyes

Made from organic aloe vera, YES WB is one of the finest water-based lubes on the market. Presented in applicators, it offers a convenient, clean and hygienic way of delivering a suitable amount of lubrication deeper inside the body. And the soft, clear gel will gently adhere to the walls of the vagina, providing moisture to them. 5ml of YES WB is dispensed in a sleek applicator tube with smooth contours and an easy twist-off closure.

Its discreet, travel-ready size is perfect to keep in your makeup bag. Once in place, the presence of YES WB is hardly detectable as a lubricant, as it closely simulates natural lubrication. There’s also no obvious smell or taste, making it suitable for discreet use.

Key specs – Ingredients: Organic aloe vera, organic flax extract, guar, locust bean, xantham gum, food quality preservatives, citric acid; Bottle type: Squeeze pessaries; Condom-compatible: Yes; Sex toy-compatible: Yes; Standout feature: Most hygienic and discreet option

5. pjur Back Door Relaxing Anal Glide Lubricant 30ml: The Best for Anal Sexplorations

Price: £9.99 | Buy now from Lovehoney

If you enjoy anal stimulation, pjur Back Door is an industry and consumer favourite. Made from silicone, its slippy effect lasts much longer than your average water-based lube. This also means that a little bit will go a long way. Quite literally. This convenient travel-sized bottle is perfect for overnight trips and weekends away. The long-lasting silicone formula makes anal play a breeze. And thanks to the extracts of jojoba, it has a relaxing effect on the sphincter. Within minutes of application, you should be able to feel the soothing effects. It’s also suitable for use with condoms and non-silicone sex toys, just make sure you don’t use it with silicone sex toys as it could degrade them.

Key Specs – Ingredients: Dimethicone, Dimethiconol, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Amyris Balsamifera Bark Oil; Bottle type: Squeeze; Condom Compatible: Yes; Sex Toy Compatible: Only non-silicone sex toys; Standout Feature: Desensitizing & long-lasting

Buy now from Lovehoney

Venus O’Hara is an internationally renowned sexpert who specialises in sex toy reviews, product design and user education. She has tested over 700 sex toys since 2013 and is on a mission to raise orgasmic awareness. When she’s not writing about sex toys or designing them, she can usually be found on her unmade bed, testing the latest adult novelty. You can follow Venus on Twitter and Instagram.

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