Alright, part 1 of our “Anal Sex for Beginners” series took a look at anal anatomy and using enemas safely. Part 2 covered what to look for when buying your first anal sex toy.
In this installment of our series, we’re going to look at the different kind of lubes and how to pick the best lube for anal sex.
What to Consider in an Anal Sex Lube
There are 3 main types of lube that you can use safely for anal sex: water-based, silicone-based, hybrid lubes, and oil-based. We’ll go in-depth on these shortly, but here’s a quick overview:
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Water Based Lube: Best for Toys & Best All-Around
Probably the most common type of lube is water-based, because it can be used with pretty much any type of toy, and for all kinds of sex. Water-base lubes are a real “jack of all trades, master of none” type of lube.
Water based lubricants are great for vaginal sex, anal sex, use with all kinds of sex toys, and can be used with condoms. They wash off and clean up easily, which is both a pro and a con. It makes for easy cleanup, but it also makes water-based lube bad for sex in the shower.
In that vein, it’s also the shortest lasting type of lubricant, often drying out after just several minutes of contact with air. This means you might have to reapply often – even in the middle of sex.
If you do opt for a water based lubricant for anal, make sure to get a thicker, gel-like one. It’ll feel smoother and help things slide in easier, as opposed to a thinner consistency lube which is preferable for vaginal intercourse.
Our Favorite Water-Based anal lubricants:
- Aloe Cadabra – This is an extremely hydrating, yet silky smooth like any other high-end lubricant. The aloe vera can help moisturize inflamed or dry tissues that comes with sex, leaving you feeling great during and after your session!
- Pjur backdoor aqua – we use this one a lot personally. It’s thick enough to make it an ideal choice for anal, but still cleans up easily. The only downside is the thin, tall bottle has a tendency to roll off the nightstand in the heat of the moment!
- Passion Lubes water-based – Available in everything from a tiny 2 oz container to a 55-gallon barrel. The 16 oz-34 oz should be the right “goldilocks” size here.
- Shibari Personal Lubricant – it’s a little thinner and is more of an all-purpose sexual lubricant than a pure anal choice, but you don’t get to be the #1 best seller on Amazon without a reason.
- Sliquid H2O – all of Sliquid’s lubes are great, either water-based or silicone. just make sure you get the right one for your intended use!
Silicone Based Lube: Best for Sex
Silicone based lubricants is the highest performing and most specialized type of lube out there. They are silky smooth and can last for an hour or more without drying out. This makes them great for long-term anal play or extended butt plug wear.
Unfortunately, silicone lube can’t be used with silicone toys. Using silicone lube with silicone toys causes the lube to bond with the toy, which can cause pieces of it to break and flake off inside you.
This is bad for the toy, bad for your budget, and ultimately bad for your health. And given that the majority of toys out there are silicone, this kind of puts these lubricants in an awkward spot for toy use.
In short, there are two main uses where silicone lube shines:
- For vaginal or anal sex (with or without a condom)
- For use with metal or glass sex toys
Our Favorite Silicone-Based anal lubricants:
- Uberlube – A higher end lube that comes in a luxurious hand-pump dispenser. Extremely silky and long lasting, even for a silicone lube.
- Gun Oil – It’s not cheap, and the packaging is a bit aggressive, but it’s a high quality silicone lube that’s hick and smooth with vitamin E and aloe to moisturize and heal.
- Pjur silicone personal lubricant – same good stuff with their water-based lube, just in a silicone option for longer-lasting lubrication
- Sliquid silicone or water/silicone hybrid – same as above, another great option from Sliquid that’s even smoother, although it is a little thinner than the other lubes on this list.
Oil-Based Lubricants: Best for Extended Use
For those more traditionally or “DIY” inclined, oil-based lubricants present a cheaper and more natural solution to water and silicone lube. There are lots of oil-based lubricants out there – vaseline and petroleum jelly, mineral oil, baby oil, and vegetable oils.
These various oils should all generally be avoided (more on this below). Instead, we recommend coconut oil as a low-cost, household oil that also has anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties.
Coconut oil can last even longer than silicone lube without re-application. It can also be used with silicone toys and is soothing on the skin, making it an ideal option for extended anal toy use and plugging.
There are two major (and one minor) downsides to oil-based lube for anal sex:
- Oil-based lubricants cannot be used with a condom. If you’re trying to stay safe or clean, oil-based lube will cause tears in the latex, making it impossible to use with condoms.
- Mess – oil lubes last so long, they’re hard to clean off without making a mess. They’re not water-soluble either, so you also have to be careful of getting oil on cloth like bedding or clothing.
- Not as smooth – this one isn’t as big of a deal, but coconut oil doesn’t feel as silky smooth as water or silicone based lubes do. It still gets the job done though.
Our Favorite Oil-Based anal lubricants:
For this purpose we pretty much just like coconut oil. Not only is it not harmful to your skin, it’s got micro nutrients that help moisturize and prevent inflammation.
Coconut oil is also a fairly common household item, so it won’t raise any eyebrows if found around the household.
Anal Lubricants to Avoid
Keep in mind there are many kinds of additives in lubes: scents, colors, flavors, numbing agents, and more. They should all generally be avoided – some more than others. In general, additives to lube are going to compromise the product in some way. We’ve found scented, colored, and flavored lubes to be incredibly messy and sticky and just not worth the hassle.
Numbing agents and other “special sensation” formulas are even worse, because they don’t let you get in tune with what your body is telling you. You always need to be able to feel 100% of what is going on in your ass because pain is a warning sign that something is going wrong.
Numbing the pain doesn’t prevent you from hurting yourself – it actually increases the chance since your normal body feedback isn’t there.
Heating / Cooling Lube
This is a matter of opinion, as these are generally safe for sex. We’ve tried 4 or 5 different “heating”, “cooling”, “tingling”, and “titillating” lubes over the years, and the strongest reaction we ever got was “….huh”. We could always feel something happening when using these products, but it was never something we really felt needed to be added to the experience of sex.
At best you get a mild positive sensation, at worst you set your genitals on fire. Some users have reported that various warming lubes feel more like a sharp burning, while others have reported that various cooling lubes that also feel like a sharp burning.
Cooling lubes typically use menthol to give that minty-fresh feeling, while warming lubes usually use glycerol to create the heating sensation. Combined with the added friction of sex and the sensitivity of your private parts, and you have a recipe for some painful experiences.
The membranes in your private parts are thinner and more sensitive than skin on the rest of your body. So if you do want to try these lubes, we recommend testing them on a safer, thicker patch of skin first, and judging from there.
Petroleum Jelly / Vaseline
Anything petroleum-based is not ideal because it doesn’t play well with toys. It can degrade all kinds of rubbers and plastics, including silicone toys. Vaseline is also not as soft as real sexual lubricants, and can be incredibly messy and ruin fabrics with the sticky, oily material.
Petroleum-based lubricants like Vaseline may be cheap and relatively common, but they share all of the downside of silicone lube combined with those of thicker oil-based lubes.
Mineral Oil / Baby Oil
Mineral oils are another problematic petroleum-based lube that may be tempting because it’s so commonplace. I has also been shown to promote yeast infections in the vagina, so it’s not a good choice for regular sex.
And it’s still not great for use with toys. Or safe with condoms. Just skip it and use a safe, cleaner lube. If you want something cheap and oil-based (and not obviously a sexual lubricant to prying eyes), use coconut oil instead.
Contrary to what pornos may demonstrate, spit is NOT lube. It may feel slippery, but it simply doesn’t do the job that real lubricants can do.
Saliva is okay for lubing up a finger in the shower and doing a bit of exploring on your own asshole, but that’s it. Any other circumstance and you’d be better served with a real lube meant for that purpose.
What’s the Right Amount of Lube for Anal Sex?
Despite what you may have heard, you can definitely have too much lube for anal sex. You’ll want to use enough lube to keep everything sliding smoothly, but not so much that it makes a huge mess when you pull out. More lube means smoother penetration, but it also means more cleanup!
For starters, get a drop (between the size of a dime and quarter) on your finger and use that just to get the asshole and sphincters lubed up. Make sure this is nice and evenly distributed, and work it up inside with a finger or two.
From there, you want enough lube to evenly cover the surface of your toy – probably another quarter-sized drop or so for most medium toys. From there, just reapply small drops as necessary or as you switch toys. Often there’s plenty of lube, you just need to move the toy around a bit and re-coat it.
Alright, you’ve cleaned out with an enema. You have your perfect first anal toy. And you have the right lube for your needs. Let’s move on to the big show, and learn how to warm up for anal sex the right way.