One drum we will continue to beat till the end of time is the You Should Absolutely Be Using Lube and If You’re Already Using Lube You Should Probably Be Using Even MORE Lube drum. Why? Because lube makes everything better—and by “everything,” we of course mean sex. Seriously, if you’ve somehow yet to hop on board the lube train, the stuff is a total sex life game-changer.
Not only does a little (or a lot of) lube majorly increase pleasure and comfort, but it’s also beneficial from a safety perspective. While we tend to think of barrier methods like condoms and dental dams when we think safe sex, lube can also help prevent infections, explains Laurie Mintz, Ph.D., Lelo sexpert and author of Becoming Cliterate and A Tired Woman’s Guide to Passionate Sex. “If there is not enough lubrication, the friction of penis-in-vagina sex can cause tears, cuts, and irritation in the vaginal wall, making it easier for viruses to permeate,” says Mintz. So yeah, lube is your friend!
That said, lube isn’t just for penetrative sex. In fact, pretty much every form of play—whether partnered or solo, intercourse or outercourse—can benefit from some extra lubrication. The sky’s the limit when it comes to creative ways to incorporate lube into your sex life, and there are almost as many different kinds of lube as there are ways to use it. So before we go any further, let’s quickly break down the most common varieties: There’s water, oil, petroleum, silicone, and hybrid lubes (which are normally a combo of silicone and water-based lubes), says sexuality educator Tanya Bass.
Generally, you should use water-based lube with latex condoms (since oil-based lubes can actually break down the latex), and silicone lube is great for when you’re getting it on in the water or having anal sex since it stays stickier for longer and won’t wash away. You’ll want to avoid using silicone-based lubes with silicone sex toys, though, as it can degrade your precious (and often pricey!) vibrators, adds sexologist Lucy Rowett, a sex and intimacy coach.
“Rule of thumb, water-based lube is compatible with all kinds of sex toys, so I recommend always having some on hand,” says Rowett. “It also washes off easily and doesn’t leave residue, so no stained sheets or spending ages in the shower trying to scrub it off.” (More details on when to use every kind of lube right this way).
Once you’ve picked out your lube of choice, it’s time to figure out when and how to use it. Might we suggest, uh, all the time forever? In case you’re in need of a little inspiration, here are 20—yes, 20—different wet and wild ways to use lube. Have fun!
1. Use it in the hot tub and/or shower
You might not think to bring your lube with you into the shower or tub, but certified sex therapist and resident sexologist for Adam & Eve, Jenni Skyler, PhD, highly advises it. Water is not a natural lubricant (and could actually make things more dry), which is why it’s The Move in the shower.
Keep in mind you’ll want to use a silicone lube since it won’t wash away, but not an oil-based lube since it can break down condoms. And don’t be afraid to reapply frequently since the body’s natural lubricant tends to gets washed away with the motion of the… well, you get it.
“Many people feel shame or embarrassment for needing lube in the first place. If they get over that hump and use it, they may still not feel comfortable with a re-apply,” says Dr. Skyler. “I think lube should be your bedroom [or hot tub. Or shower. Or wherever] best friend and re-applied with great generosity.”
2. Use a lube launcher
Exactly as it sounds, a lube launcher literally launches lube high up into the vagina or anus (as opposed to just putting some on your fingers and getting it knuckle deep). Erotic educator and founder of Organic Loven Taylor Sparks suggests using a launcher to actually pre-lube before sex.
The lube slowly works its way down so by the time you’re getting frisky, you’ll already be ready to go. Sparks also notes a lube launcher is great for anal sex since you’re “able to insert a good amount of lube to reduce the friction and make for a smoother entry.”
3. Give the most delicious blow job of your life
In the immortal words of Samantha Jones, “Honey, they don’t call it a job for nothing.” One way to make blow jobs feel like less work and more play? Treat yourself to the delicious flavored lube of your choice. (And these days, you have a ton of options. Prosecco-flavored lube, anyone?)
Incorporating flavored lube into your sex life can be tricky, as many options (even ones that claim to be sugar-free and body-safe) contain ingredients that can throw off the delicate ecosystem that is le vagine and cause issues like BV and yeast infections, explains sexologist Gigi Engle, a sexpert for 3Fun. Blow jobs, on the other hand, are the perfect opportunity to get your flavored lube fix without risking any un-fun infections. (Just be careful if you plan on engaging in any penetrative play post-BJ.)
“Be sure you use a post-play, scent-free wipe (or hop in the shower for a quick rinse) before you have intercourse,” says Engle. “Using a condom after using a lube with sugar in it is also a good idea, as it provides a barrier.”
4. Use it for any type of anal play (penetration or not!)
Lube is pretty much a necessity when attempting any sort of anal penetration for obvious reasons, but it should also be used for anal play in general (think: fingering, rimming, massaging the anus, etc.), recommends Krysta Monet, sexpert and founder of The Feminine Truth. “Adding a little lube onto your favorite butt plug for yourself or partner makes the glide-in a lot easier,” she says.
Plus, if your partner has a prostate, this is like a ~bonus~ pleasure for them.
5. Use a CBD lube
If you want to take your sex to new heights, get your hands on some CBD lube. Since CBD acts as a vasodilator, it opens up the blood vessels and brings more blood to the area, thus increasing arousal and decreasing discomfort. “It can also be used on those with penises after sex or a bath to moisturize their penises too,” explains Sparks.
6. Use a lube warmer
New in Things You Didn’t Know You Needed: This warming lube dispenser from Pulse—aka the ultimate nightstand flex. When you’re in the heat of the moment, the last thing you want to do is fumble around with a (probably slippery) bottle of lube. Hence, this handy lube dispenser that also warms it up for ya. Sure, you could warm your lube the old-fashioned way (i.e. kindly rubbing it between your hands before you make contact with any genitals), but if your sex life could use a little more luxury (and TBH, whose couldn’t?) then get thee a lube dispenser!
7. Incorporate it into your hand jobs and/or fingering game
Real talk: if the idea of rubbing your dry palms on your partner’s penis—or alternatively, spitting into your hands every few minutes—seems meh, have I got news for you! A generous helping of lube will make even the most awkward hand job giver look like a bona fide handy expert. Lubing up your partner’s penis and your hand will ensure that any movement feels heavenly, and gives you more room to experiment with new techniques.
Same with fingering. Is there anything worse than a clammy finger exploring underneath your underwear when you’re not wet? Nope. Make things easier for both the fingerer and the fingeree by applying some lube to both the receiver’s vulva and clitoris and the giver’s fingertips for maximum sensation sans uncomfy friction.
8. Use it during cunnilingus.
Look, dry mouth happens to the best of us. Whether you’re on certain medications that give you cotton-mouth or you’re just, like, straight-up dehydrated, giving and receiving head with a sandpaper tongue is an uncomfortable experience for everyone involved. Add a bit of unflavored (flavored lubes could cause irritation) lube to the receiver’s vulva before diving in, and everyone will be a little bit happier.
Oh, and btw: “This can definitely be beneficial when a barrier such as a dental dam is used to enhance the pleasure for the receiver,” confirms Bass.
9. Use it pre dry-hump sesh
Using lube during an act called dry humping might seem counterintuitive, but bear with me. If you can excuse yourself and sneak off into your bathroom for a second before things get hot and heavy, try applying a little bit of lube to your vulva and clitoris before any dry humping commences. (Pro Tip: If you feel uncomfy about applying lube during sex in front of your partner, perhaps your partner can apply the lube prior to dry humping if the comfort level is reasonable, suggests Bass).
The vagina responds more to pressure rather than friction, sex therapist Cyndi Darnell previously explained to Cosmopolitan. This is but one reason dry humping is considered better than sex to some. By lubing yourself up, you have more room to amp up the pleasure-inducing pressure without the potential of an underwear rug-burn.
10. Break it out before penetrative sex even happens
Lube has this reputation as being something you pull in off the bench during penetrative sex when a partner is having a harder time maintaining their own lubrication, and this is total BS. Help break this taboo by bringing your new slick friend out during foreplay. Have a partner place some in their palm and grind your vulva and labia against it for a new twist on a hand job for women.
11. Use it for a warming massage
The first rule of using warming lube (it heats up with any body-to-body contact or friction) is to never use it without telling your partner first (unless you want them thinking you’ve just put Icy Hot in their private parts). Definitely do a skin test first, too. Other than that, there really are no rules–go forth and heat things up! One suggestion? Use a few dollops on your partner’s (or your own) nipples for nipple stimulation that’s literally hotter than ever.
If you don’t feel like splurging on warming lube, international sex educator Kenneth Play suggests putting the lube in a massage oil warmer. You’ll want to do a skin test to make sure it’s not too hot, but this is a great way to (literally) turn up the heat on your favorite lube.
12. Use it to amp up the orgasms
During sex with a male partner, dab a few little droplets of lube onto his perineum—aka the extra-sensitive spot between his scrotum and anus. Just before he orgasms, lightly tap your finger on the lubed-up spot to change the whole damn game and send him over the edge. “Additionally, lube can add a pleasurable if feeling if the testicles are being stimulated or stroked,” says Bass.
13. Use it when you masturbate
Yes, even sex with yourself can be improved with lube. If you have dry hands, no need to use a moisturizing lotion that could contain unwanted chemicals, especially because you don’t want those ingredients inside you. Just apply a few drops of a lube of your choice to your finger before touching yourself for a smoother feel, recommends Bass.
14. Use it on your period
Yes, lube makes sex better, but it can also improve the experience of pretty much anything coming into contact with your vagina—including, yes, tampons.
“Sometimes particularly during the last few days of our period, it’s really dry down there and placing a tampon can hurt,” says Dr. Shayma Mathews, a medical advisor for Playground. “Apply a little lubricant to the tip of the tampon applicator so you get a smooth glide in.”
15. Use it when you masturbate with a sex toy
Imagine the electrifying pulse of your favorite vibrator hitting all the right spots. Now imagine using that same toy to gently glide over your clitoris with the same power, but a totally different, more fluid sensation. A dab of lube on a vibrator is a total game-changer. Just be careful: If your sex toy is made of silicone, you’ll definitely want to use a water-based lube, since silicone lubes can deteriorate soft rubber.
16. Use it during vaginal intercourse
There’s no wrong way to use lube during intercourse. You can apply it directly to your body, their body, a toy, or a condom itself. Our advice? Start with a dime-size dollop and work up from there. Sure, you may encounter a point at which it’s too much (they’re slipping everywhere, it’s dripping excessively on the sheets, etc.), but that’s easily remedied with a towel. You don’t want to reduce all the friction, but that threshold is personal for everyone and you’ll know it when you feel it.
17. Use it inside the condom
If your partner is looking for more ways to increase feeling while using protection, Eric Garrison, sexologist and author of Mastering Multiple-Position Sex, has a suggestion. “Many guys complain that a condom diminishes the sensation,” Garrison previously told Cosmopolitan. “Adding a little lube ups the sensitivity he feels inside the latex.” If you put a drop or two inside the rubber before you unroll it, that might unlock a world of feeling.
18. Use during anal penetration
While you might hit a limit of “yeah, too much” during vaginal intercourse, that threshold will be much lower with anal sex, because unlike your vagina, your booty does not create its own lubricant to make things slidey and glidey. SO LOAD IT ON THERE! When it comes to any butt stuff, too much lube and precaution are never enough.
19. Use it for a sexy massage
Why not try a body-safe lube during nonsexual foreplay? A few squirts can turn a back massage from relaxing to “holy hell, your touch is electrifying, can we please have sex right now?” In fact, lube is a great addition when exploring erogenous zones.”Adding a few drops to nipples can greatly enhance nipple/breast play,” says certified sex educator Irma L. Garcia.
20. Use it for… not sex
Yes, lube is great for sex, but it’s actually good for ordinary, non-sex things too. “A good silicone-based lubricant can actually be used to tame frizzy hair and prevent thigh chafing,” says Velvet Co. sexpert Julieta Chiara. “If you’re traveling somewhere humid, keep some silicone lube on you to rub between your thighs, or in between your palms to run through your hair for shine and a silky feel.” As if you needed another reason to pack some lube in your carry-on…