How Should You Choose Lube? – Silicone vs. Water vs. Oil-based Lubricants

Does the type of lube really matter?

In short, yes.

Different types of lubricants are better for different things, each with their own strengths and weaknesses.

Let's discuss the advantages and disadvantages of silicone based, oil based, and water based lubricants, so you can make an informed decision on which lube is best for you. 

Finding the best lube for personal use during sex is based on your experiences and preferences.

This is why most people try several different lubricants before finally settling on one that gives them maximum pleasure. 

In this article, we'll be highlighting three different styles of lubricants and discussing their pros and cons.

Silicone-based Lubricants

Silicon-based lubricants are created using a synthetic, silicone polymer as the base.

It is important to note that they are manufactured, and some people have silicone allergies, so they are not ideal for everyone.

However, the major advantage of silicone-based lubes is that they last a long time without getting sticky for hours of uninterrupted fun. 

These lubes are very popular because they stay smooth and slick, even after an extended period of time.

As a result though, they tend to be a little harder to wash away.

If you love a good silicone lube, you'll want to be careful about getting it on your clothing or bedding as it can be difficult to get out.

Silicone based lubricants are high in quality, but can also be high in price as compared to their water based counterparts. 

Pros of Silicone-based Lubricants

  • They last long: Because silicone lubes are not made up of water, they do not dry up as quickly. Additionally, they combine well with the natural lubrication of the body to create extra fun as things heat up.
  • Can be used for aquatic play: Silicone lubes stay slick, even when they come in contact with water, so if you love sex in the shower, tub, Jacuzzi or anywhere in between, silicone-based lubricants are the best.

Cons of Silicone-based Lubricants

  • Can destroy latex and certain toys: The silicone contained inside these lubricants is not compatible with sex toys or condoms that are made of latex or silicone.
  • Difficult to clean after sex: Silicone based lubricants can leave behind stains on your clothing and sheets. While they can also be somewhat tricky to get off of your body, with the help of some soap and water, you should be good to go. 

Top 3 Silicone-based Lubricants

  1. Pjur Original Bodyglide Silicone Lubricant
  2. Sliquid Silver Silicone Lubricant
  3. Wicked Ultra Fragrance Free Silicone Lubricant

Water-based Lubricants

Water based lubes tend to be among the most popular out there.

Because they are silicone-free, they can be safely used with latex condoms and other sex toys, and can also be easily cleaned.

With their natural composition, water based lubes give a very natural feeling of wetness.

You may want to be a little cautious, though, because some water based lubricants contain glycerin that can cause yeast infections.

Many complain that water based lubes require frequent reapplication because they dry up quickly.

However, you can easily reactivate the lube by adding a couple drops of water or saliva. 

Pros of Water-based Lubricants

  • Give a natural feeling of wetness: These lubes are loved by so many because of their ability create a very natural feeling of lubrication. 
  • Can be easily cleaned: They can be washed away with warm water and soap and do not leave behind stains.
  • Do not become thick and sticky: Water based lubricants remain wet and slippery and they do not thicken.

Cons of Water-based Lubricants

  • Get absorbed in the skin: Water based lubricants are easily absorbed by the skin. This why people experience the sensation of the lube drying out and why it requires reapplication.
  • Cannot be used for aquatic play: As they are water based, they get washed away easily when you are having sex in any sort of underwater environment.

Top 3 Water-based Lubricants

  1. Sliquid Naturals H2O Water Based Lubricant
  2. Wicked Aqua Sensitive Water Based Lubricant
  3. Aloe Cadabra Organic Water Based Natural Lubricant

Oil-based Lubricants

Let's chat about oil based lubes. They used by some to enhance pleasure during foreplay, oral, vaginal, and anal sex.

However, many experts discourage their use with latex condoms due to their tendency to break down the material and cause tearing.

These lubricants are thick and can create a bit of a mess if they get on clothing or bedding. 

In order to find out if you like oil based lubes, its important to experiment and try different brands because they vary in their quality and efficacy.

Regardless, there is something to be said for a sensual oil massage.  

Pros of Oil-based Lubes

  • Good for people with sensitive skin: Because most oil based lubes don't contain certain additives found in water and silicone lubes, they can be a good alternative for those with easily irritated skin.
  • Great for aquatic play: Oil naturally repels water, so oil based lubes are a good alternative for fun in the water. 

Cons of Oil-based Lubes

  • Can't be used with latex condoms: Oil and latex do not mix well. Oil base lubes can break down condoms, which we all know, is not a good thing. 
  • May cause infection: Certain oils may put you at an increased risk for a vaginal or urinary tract infection. 

Top 3 Oil-based Lubes

  1. Exsens of Paris Organic Coco Shea Intimate Moisturizer
  2. Sliquid Soul Coconut Oil Moisturizer
  3. Coconu Coconut Oil Based Personal Lubricant


In conclusion, water based lubricants are usually a safe-way to go if you're looking for a versatile lube to be used for solo play or intercourse.

They are also safe to be used with condoms and sex toys and can be easily washed off.

On the other hand, silicone lubes are ideal for underwater play or if you're looking for something that will outlast even your longest afternoon delights.

Oil-based lubes should be reserved for those who are willing to do some clean-up and know the associated downsides.

At the end of the day, the best lube depends on your specific wants and needs.

No matter what you choose, we hope this article has been helpful as you search for the perfect lubricant to add to your collection. As always, please make sure you are making safe choices when using lube. Thanks for reading!

For a large selection of high quality personal lubricants, we recommend the folks at Betty's Toy Box.

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