The Secret Ingredient Missing From Your Sex Life

Best Personal Lubricants for Women Round Up

Hopefully, it’s not such a secret, actually.

Do you want sex to be more fun? What about pain-free? Whichever boat you’re in (maybe both?), using a personal lubricant might be your ticket to a more comfortable (and friskier) night under the sheets. 

But don’t go using any lube — research suggests that the flashy finds lining the aisles of your local drugstore can be filled with harmful parabens and sulfates and can have a negative impact on fertility. Luckily, there are tons of natural and safe options on the market — some of which are available at your drugstore, but less advertised than others. Some formulas even have FDA approval and National Institute of Health data behind them to suggest they can prevent certain conditions, like recurring bacterial vaginosis (BV).

Gynecologist Sonia Bahlani, MD (aka New York City’s “pelvic pain doc”), recommends using lube during penetrative sex at all stages of life. “Lubricant is not something that needs to be used only as you age — that’s one of the biggest misconceptions out there. It’s like, if you’re old, you need a lubricant. If you’re young, you don’t need a lubricant,” says Dr. Bahlani. She pushes back against that. “When 20-year-olds walk into my office, we talk about lubricants. Pain or no pain.” 

Chamin Ajjan, LSCW, AASECT-certified sex therapist, echoes this sentiment. “It’s for everyone, everywhere. No matter if you’re 20 or you’re 99, it makes sex better,” she says.

So, now that we’ve established lubes are a fantastic tool to keep in your sex kit, we’re breaking down everything there is to know about the slippery goop with expert advice below. Plus, we’re sharing some OB-GYN-approved lubes and other amazing products that can help moisturize your area down below for better sex.

So, why should you use lube during sex?

Let us count the reasons! First, they make sex more enjoyable! When you use a lube, it’s easier to try new positions and experience deeper penetration without feeling sore. They’re also great to use with different sex toys so they’ll slide in easier and they help de-stigmatize the idea that sex has to be painful. “You definitely don’t have to have pain with initial penetration, and something like a lubricant can help to prevent that,” says Dr. Bahlani.

Another benefit? They’re particularly useful during postpartum sex. After giving birth, the vagina’s microbiome changes — it can feel dry or sore — which makes sex painful. Lubricants help ease that pain, explains Dr. Bahlani. And if you’re prone to a burning sensation or discomfort after sex, using a lube can actually help normalize the pH of the vagina during intercourse to prevent that, she explains. That’s because materials like latex and semen can throw off your body’s natural pH level during sex.

What are lubes made with?

It depends. There are three common types of lubes — water-based, silicone-based, and oil-based — and they’re all composed differently (and have different benefits):

· Water-based lubricants are truly made with a water base, but they tend to dry up faster because they’re made with H2O. “Some will dry up in a matter of minutes,” says Dr. Bahlani.

· Silicone-based lubricants are…you guessed it…made with a silicone base. “Back in the day, people used to say, ‘You can’t use silicone-based lubricants with sex toys, because sex toys are also silicone, so they’ll ruin the sex toy.’ With the new lubricants that’ve come out, that’s not necessarily true,” says Dr. Bahlani. Silicone lubes also tend to stay slippery longer and it’s water-resistant, says Ajjan, which is great if you have shower sex or just want a longer-lasting lubricant.

· Oil-based lubricants (made of oils like coconut and grapeseed) can help moisturize the vagina, but be careful using them as lube. “We don’t really recommend these much, because using them during sex can actually decrease the integrity of condoms,” explains Dr. Bahlani. Ajjan also mentions that oils are more likely to stain your sheets or clothing, which is another downside.

Which type of lube will last the longest?

Silicone-based lubricants are really slippery, and they’re really fun for people who want to experiment with sex toys or who are interested in anal sex, explains Dr. Bahlani. They’ll remain slippery over the entirety of intercourse. Just make sure that your lubricant is safe to use with silicone sex toys before using it, as there are some formulas that aren’t toy friendly.

Are water-based lubricants the most natural?

Not technically. While it sounds like there’s no harm in using a product made up of water, it really depends on the exact brand you’re using. Just like anything, some companies sneak harmful chemicals, like parabens and sulfates, into the formula. “In my opinion, you don’t want to purchase whatever lube over-the-counter because that water-based lubricant can contain ingredients like parabens and sulfates, which we’re now learning can make it difficult to conceive in patients who are trying to have a baby,” says Dr. Bahlani.

Does lubricant help combat vaginal dryness associated with menopause and perimenopause?

The short answer is: yes, 100 percent. “I’m a big believer that all age groups should use it, but especially menopausal women. In every other circumstance of aging (dry eyes or dry skin, for example) we treat that problem. But when women become menopausal vaginally, we’re like, ‘Oh that’s normal,'” says Dr. Bahlani.

During this life stage, there’s a loss of estrogen and testosterone which alters the pH level of the vagina — and that can cause you to get UTIs and BV. The tissue also dries out, which can cause burning and discomfort with penetrative intercourse, explains Dr. Bahlani. “Lubricants help to ease that discomfort. For some, they can even use lube as a vaginal moisturizer.

The Best Lubricants for Women

Dame Aloe Lube


Dame makes some of our favorite sleek, user-friendly sex toys, so it only makes sense that the lube would be the same. Because it’s made from aloe, it’s safe for skin, toys, and condoms, removing any confusion about what lubricant can be used with what toys or condoms during sex. The bottle even comes with a non-slip silicone sleeve, that way you don’t drop it if you need to reach for it while your hands are wet.

$18 at Dame

Unbound Babes Jelly

Unbound Babes

Lube isn’t exclusively for use with penetration, which is why it’s important to make sure that the formula you choose is safe for ingestion should you be using it for oral sex. This water-based formula can be used safely with or without toys, and a slight vanilla and lemon flavor makes it enjoyable for those performing oral sex, too.

$18 at Unbound Babes

Good Clean Love Water-Based Lube with Aloe Vera


“For water-based lubricants, Good Clean Love is by far my favorite. This has National Institute of Health (NIH) data behind it to prevent recurrent bacterial vaginosis and recurrent yeast in patients that seem to be more prone,” says Dr. Bahlani. 

$20 for 2 at amazon

Überlube Lubricant


The packaging of this option is so sleek, it wouldn’t be weird if you left if on your nightstand. But more importantly, it’s very effective. “Überlube is a great lubricant that’s super slippery,” says Dr. Bahlani. And if you happen to be more sexually active when you’re not at home, you’ll appreciate the nifty travel-sized bottles. If the idea of a specific flavor turns you off, you’ll be happy when this flavorless liquid hits your tongue. 

$20 at amazon

Sliquid Silver Silicone Lubricant


If you’re looking for a silicone-based option, this is Dr. Bahlani’s favorite in that department. “They also make water-based lubes. Both are really good!” she says. 

$38 at Walmart

Maude Shine Silicone Lube


Maude makes an incredible silicone-based lube free from parabens. This one also scored an FDA-approved formula, so you know it’s safe to use.

$25 at maude

Kindra Daily Vaginal Moisturizer and Applicator


If you don’t already know, we’re obsessed with Kindra. The female-founded brand makes amazing estrogen-free peri/menopause products with women’s needs in mind. And while their best-selling vaginal lotion isn’t necessarily a lube, it does bring moisture to the area. In fact, over 88 percent of women who used it reported an improvement in vaginal dryness.

$54 at kindra

Chiavaye Organic Personal Moisturizer And Lubricant


Chiavaye’s organic lubricant only uses six natural ingredients. It can be used during sex, but you can also apply it to help boost your vagina’s natural lubrication.

$14 at walmart

Foria Awaken + Lube Bundle


Foria makes sexual wellness products infused with USDA organic-certified CBD. Used topically, CBD can actually increase blood flow, which helps heighten sexual arousal. This two-in-one bundle includes Awaken, a topical that increases sensation and arousal. Apply it, then wait fifteen minutes to start feeling the effects. Plus, you’ll also get a jar of their Intimacy Sex Oil, a CBD-infused (and oil-based) lube.

$78 at foria

Wicked Aqua Lube


Ajjan recommends this water-based lube, as it’s fragrance-free and long-lasting. Moisturizing ingredients like aloe and vitamin E nourish your skin, too, which makes this formula slippery and great for delicate skin down there.

$11 at PinkCherry

Penchant Premium Silicone Lubricant for Sensitive Skin

Penchant for Pleasure

Everyone can benefit from a sensitive skin formulation, even if you don’t think you have reactive skin. Ajjan recommends this for anyone interested in anal play or shower sex, as the formula won’t wash away with water. Plus, Penchant is FDA-approved, so you know it’s the real deal.

$19 at Penchant

Coconu Oil-Based Lubricant


Oil-based lube isn’t for everyone, but Ajjan does recommend Coconu for those who prefer an oil formula. Made from USDA-certified organic ingredients, this lubricant is toy-safe and long-lasting, and will safely absorb into your skin for easy clean up.

$25 at Coconu