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Lube is terrific stuff – it makes all skin wetter and slicker, it reduces friction, it makes sex better. Undoubtedly, the use of natural oils and lubricants (like spit) to aid in making sex slippery goes back longer than you could imagine, but fortunately, modern lube options extend beyond olive oil (and the like) to sophisticated concoctions that use the lubricating power of water, oils, or even silicone oils to provide long lasting slipperiness.

However, with so many options, it can be confusing telling which lube is best for you. Water based lubes come in a staggering array of different formulations, because it takes quite a few ingredients to make a body safe gel out of water that also won’t become food for microbes. Although they are arguably the best choice over all, some ingredients (glycerin, parabens) found in some lubes will clash with some women. And then there’s the issue of drying out – which is inevitable when water is a key ingredient – and associated lack of longevity. Still, sometimes a water-based lube is the only thing that will do – Kama Sutra’s Love Liquid is particularly nice all around.

Silicone lubes, which are made up of mixtures of silicone oils, are generally thin and runny but amazingly long lasting. Silicone lubes aren’t compatible with silicone containing toys, which limits their usefulness somewhat. They’re excellent for use in the body, however, because they are not absorbed (silicone oil isn’t natural) and will flush out fast after sex. They’re also waterproof. Silicone lubes are also a tad more expensive, in general, but worth the luxury. Eros Bodyglide is especially worth checking out

Oil based lubes – oils – are much more specialized. Natural oils (avoid putting petroleum based oils into your body) are best, but oils in general are not recommended for use in the vagina. Oils are totally incompatible with latex, and also plastic based toys. They do, however, make for great massage – slick and highly moisturizing. Check out Kama Sutra Massage Therapy if you’re curious

When choosing a lube, it’s pretty tough to know if one is better than another, but it’s important to know that there are so many options that you can probably find a blend that works perfectly for you.