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Types of Lubes and How to Use Them

There’s often a stigma when it comes to using lube. You don’t have to be a certain age to need it. Lubricants are a great sex aid as they boost the arousal and pleasure you get from sex or masturbation. 

For a lot of women who find sex uncomfortable or painful, it might be that they need extra lubrication to ease the friction caused by penetration. Especially with women who suffer from vaginal dryness due to the menopause, lube can be your next best friend.  

Types of lube  

Which types of lubes should you be using? It can be confusing at first as there are many types. All lubes can generally be categorised into 5 categories; water-based, silicone-based, oil-based, natural, and hybrid. Try some out and see what you like. Ultimately the choice is up to you. You might find that you may have more than one to use for different situations. For you ladies who suffer from vaginal dryness or irritation, I would advise you to stay away from lubricants that contain glycerine or any “warming” ingredients.

These can cause your vagina to become drier in the long-run. Glycerine can also make yeast infections much more likely, so approach any flavoured lubricants with caution. When in doubt, look for any of these ingredients on the bottle as they can make irritation more likely: 

  • Glycerine 
  • Nonoxynol-9 
  • Propylene glycol 
  • Chlorhexidine gluconate 


For people who are new to using lube, I would recommend using a water-based lubricant as it is the most versatile out of all of the lubricants. A water-based lube can be used for most kinds of sex and can even be used with toys. The biggest advantage to water-based lubes would be that they are the safest lubricants to use with condoms (latex or non-latex.)

It’s a popular choice as it won’t stain your sheets, it’s easy on the skin (especially those with vaginal dryness) and it washes off easily in water. This being said, water-based lubes cannot be used when having sex or masturbating in the shower or bathtub.  

Another downside of this type of lubricant is that it doesn’t last long. Your skin tends to absorb the moisture from it quickly. If this is the case for you, don’t worry. Just re-apply when you need to and keep going, as this common when using water-based lubes.   


Silicone-based lubes probably feel the most luxurious on your skin. Many people describe it as feeling ‘silky.’ It’s also great if you have sensitive skin as the silicone is hypoallergenic. Unlike water-based lubricants, silicone lasts a lot longer. You might find yourself re-applying it less or even at all. It’s especially good if you like to have shower or bathtub sex as it won’t wash away with water. This makes it a plus for any water-type fun you might be having, but is a downside for any sheets as they might stain. One major thing to bear in mind however is that silicone is not compatible with any silicone sex toys. This is because it can deteriorate the top layer of the sex toy and can lead to bacteria forming in the micro-abrasions. However, using silicone with condoms is not a problem.  


If you want something extremely long lasting then I would suggest looking into getting a good oil-based lube. Believe me when I say that a little goes a long way with these kinds of lubricants. You could even use them as a massage oil for you and your partner to get into the mood before sex.

However, there are two downsides to using this lube. The first is that they cannot be used with latex condoms. The oil can degrade the latex and make it much more likely to rip and break. So before using an oil-based lubricant talk to your partner about if this is something that will be suitable for the both of you. Another consideration to take is that the oil can stain your sheets and clothes. So try to be a little more careful when using as the clean-up can be difficult.  

Another factor to bear in mind is that oil-based lubricants can be more likely to cause infection such as bacterial vaginosis. This is because the oil can be harder to clean out of your vagina, causing bacteria to grow. Ensure that you clean yourself well when using oil-based lubes or try to keep focus the lubricant on your labia, vulva and clitoris instead of inside your vagina.  


Natural lubes have risen in popularity. These are lubricants that are usually made with organic or vegan ingredients. The main pro of these lubricants is that most are paraben free. If you don’t know what parabens are, they are a chemical preservative which are commonly used in cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. Parabens have been shown to carry some risks heightening breast cancer. While studies are still inconclusive many people are still opting for paraben free products. A con for these products of course is that the shelf-life for them are much shorter. So keep an eye on the expiry dates if you do decide to give these a try.  

Hybrid Lubes 

Hybrid lubes most often a combination of water-based lubricants and silicone, giving you the best of both worlds. There are many different formulations of this so be sure to read the fine print if it is compatible with condoms and sex toys. 

How can you use it 

There’s really no right or wrong way to use lubricant. Apply it to any part of your vagina that you think could use some extra moisture. Try putting a few drops on your fingertips and warm it up slightly. Rub it into your vulva, clitoris and inside of your vagina. You can also put a few drops on the tip of the penis or sex toy. You could try to incorporate lubricant as part of foreplay. This can boost you and your partners arousal.

 You can use lubes in any way you want really. You can use them when masturbating with your fingers or with toys. You can even use them for oral sex with your partner.  

Where can you buy it 

Lubricants are readily available in any drugstore or pharmacy. You could probably even find them in most supermarkets. I’ve even seen some sold in public bathrooms next to the tampons. I’ve recently come out with my own MegsMenopause lubes called “Motion Lotion.” They come as a water-based and an oil-based lubricant. They can currently be found on my website or on in-store and online at Superdrug. I created them as part of my line as now that I’m going through menopause, I’ve felt that a lot of the lubes available just aren’t appropriate for me. For me, a lot of the brands out there just don’t fit the right kind of vibe for someone my age. I have a house filled with teenagers so for me something more discreet was preferable. So my Motion Lotions are available now in Superdrug, Boots UK and Ireland and on my MegsMenopause Shop. So just look out for those pink bottles! 

Author: Erica Fraser

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