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Lubricant can be used in the bedroom to reduce friction and enhance sexual pleasure. When shopping at an online sex shop, it can be tricky to decide which lubricant to choose, as there are so many different types available.
When practicing safe sex and using a condom, the best lubricant to use are water-based lubricants. Maybe you’re in a relationship and using a different kind of contraception? If this is the case, and you have decided not to use barrier protection, you won't need your lubricant to be condom compatible. This gives you the freedom to use oil-based lubricants as an option.
The fundamental differences come from the ingredients in the lubricants. Water-based lubes contain xanthan gum or agar, which are natural thickeners found in plants which give the lube a smooth texture. Oil-based lubes can contain plant-based oils such as sunflower sweet almond oil, seed oil, or coconut oil. Some also contain synthetic oils.
Oil-based lubricants have the ability to nourish dry skin, they can't alleviate underlying skin dehydration because the oil only soothes the surface, and can't penetrate the deeper levels of the skin tissue. Oil-based lubes can trap bacteria creating an environment for possible infections and reactions in the days following. Water-based lubricants are generally kinder to the body because they are more natural and have fewer chemicals. Water-based lubricants are used at gynecology clinics to minimise discomfort when women get their pap smear tests.
Unlike water-based lubricants, oil-based lubricants can also be used as sensual oils. They can be used during massage and as a part of foreplay, which leads to sexual stimulation for many. Oil-based lubes are easier to spread on your skin, and you can cover more surface area with them. They are also much messier than water-based lubes and can stain sheets and clothing. Water-based lube on the other hand is much easier to clean than oil-based, which makes cleaning sheets far easier and they leave less residue on the skin. They feel more natural, as the texture resembles that of natural bodily lubricant.
Both water-based and oil-based lubes can be used with sex toys, although it is more challenging to wash oil-based lubes off your sex toys and sexual wellness products like pelvic floor trainers. Oil also traps bacteria, and you need to be careful to ensure you’re washing your toys out thoroughly, otherwise, they can become breeding grounds for bacteria. This can make both partners susceptible to infections. Water-based lube is very easy to wash off, and they don’t encourage bacteria growth.
Oil-based lube does last longer than water-based as it doesn’t dry up as quickly and get absorbed by the skin. Applying oil-based lube is generally easier than a water-based lubricant, however, the after-care and clean-up necessary to remove the oil may mean you’re better off using water-based lube and reapplying when needed.