Water based lube vs oil – your guide to the best lubricants for sex
Lubricant can make sex more comfortable and enjoyable — but even the biggest sex enthusiasts are still confused when it comes to water-based lube vs oil.
They're two super popular forms of lubricant. But they have some crucial differences that you should bear in mind before opting for one or the other. Read on to get the breakdown.
What is the difference between water and oil-based lube?
The difference between water and oil-based lubricants comes down to their ingredients. Water-based lubricants contain xanthan gum or other natural thickeners that are found in plants to give the lube its smooth texture, per Healthline.
On the other hand, oil-based lubricants tend to contain natural oils such as sunflower seed oil, coconut oil, and sweet almond oil. Some lubes may contain synthetic oils.
Which is better — water-based lube vs oil?
Ultimately, whether you opt for oil or water-based lubes depends on your personal preferences.
Water-based lubricants can be used for every sexual need — from penetration to sex toy play. But oil-based lube can also double as a sensual massage oil, which can be used during foreplay.
This is because they are easier to spread. While this can be a positive, it does make oil-based lubes far messier than water-based lubes, which don't tend to stain sheets or clothing.
Why are oil-based lubes bad?
Oil-based lubes should never be used with latex condoms. They can dissolve the ingredients within them and cause them to break during intercourse. You should also keep your latex diaphragms and latex sex toys far away from oil-based lubricants.
Bear in mind that non-latex condoms are also sensitive to this form of lube, so make sure you read the packaging and instructions prior to use.
Oil-based lubes can trap bacteria — in your nether regions and on your sex toys. This can create a welcome environment for infections, so make sure you wash off yourself and your toys thoroughly after use.
Finally, if you're using lube to increase moisture and tackle dehydration, oil-based lubricants aren't your best option. While they can nourish dry skin, they cannot fix any underlying dehydration as they are unable to penetrate the deeper layers of skin. Here, choose water-based lubes instead.
What other lubricants are there?
There are three main types of lubricants: oil-based, water-based, and silicone-based.
Water-based lubricants are water-soluble, and they are the most widely-used type of lube.
Silicone-based lubricants, however, don't contain any water. They're thicker and glossier than their water-based counterparts, and won't dry out as quickly either.
And as we have seen, oil-based lubricants can easily be found in the house — in products such as baby oil and petrolatum jelly. But they can damage condoms, and encourage reactions as well as the growth of bacteria.
What is the best lubricant for sex?
There are an array of different lubricant options out there for sex. But it comes down to the individual in question to decide what's best. So, bear in mind your priorities when deciding between oil, water-based, and silicone lubes.
If you're looking for a versatile lubricant that can do it all — including sex toy play — it's safer to stick to water-based.
But if you're after a long-lasting lube that doesn't need to be reapplied often, then silicone or oil-based is your best bet. The former should be used with latex condoms, and the latter if you're after a sensual massage — and are on another form of contraception.
What are the best natural lubricants?
There is a range of natural lubricants on the market. Here's our round-up of the very best for all your sexual needs...
With a "100% natural, moisturising formula", Durex Naturals Intimate Gel Lubricant is pH-friendly to help maintain balance. It also promises to increase "smoothness and comfort".
Extra virgin olive oil — £12.99
This kitchen essential doubles as a great natural lubricant. Ensure to use as pure an olive oil as possible — so perhaps opt for an organic option. Just make sure you're not using it with condoms, or on new sheets!
Extra virgin coconut oil — £6.49
If you don't fancy using olive oil, then coconut oil can be used as a similar kind of lubricant. Again, cop for as pure a coconut oil as possible.
CBD Oil — £38
CBD oils are renowned for their relaxing properties. And they can also be used as a natural lubricant. No, they won't make you high — but ensure you use a CBD oil from a reputable provider, such as Foria Wellness.
Ultimately, when it comes down to water-based lube vs oil, consider your own sexual priorities. If you are looking for a natural based lubricant, however, you can't go wrong with some of the lubricants listed above...