Your Ultimate Guide To The Best Lubes To Use With Condoms

by Shayna Murphy

When it comes to good sex, condoms sometimes get a bad rep. While they're a crucial way to guard against the risk of sexually transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancy, the dirty truth is, sometimes a condom can be uncomfortable for all parties involved. Investing in one of the best lubricants for condoms can be a total game-changer though, since they help restore the slickness, wetness, and intensity that you may feel you're losing out on when using condoms alone.

The golden rule for whenever you're using lube with condoms is that oil-based options must be avoided because oil actually breaks down latex. The most popular varieties — lubes with a silicone or water-base — are safe to use, but they have their own pros and cons, especially if you have sensitive skin. Regardless of which lube you choose, one major advantage of using lube with condoms is that you can minimize friction, which in turn reduces the risk that condoms will get broken or ruptured.

Safe sex can still be steamy, especially when you've got the right lubricant on your nightstand. I've put together a list of some of the best silicone, water-based, and hybrid lubes out there that'll help bring a little extra oomph to your next encounter.


Top Pick: The Best Silicone Lube

The first thing you'll probably notice about Überlube — apart from its elegant bottle that comes with a convenient pump — is how amazing it feels. Marketed as a high-end luxury pick, this high-performance lube glides on smoothly and feels incredibly slick, so it's great for reducing friction (which is especially key when you're using condoms that don't come lubricated). Since it's formulated to be transparent, it doesn't leave stains or residue behind on sheets, which helps set it apart from others on the market. It also only has four ingredients, which is another way it distinguishes itself from common silicone lubricants. But unlike cheaper options that may contain irritants, this one features only body-safe silicone and no petrochemicals, like glycerin, that can impact how comfortable you feel during play. However, this lube does contain acetatic acid, which may trigger reactions in some people who have particularly sensitive skin. Its high price tag can also be a deterrent for some shoppers, but reviewers will tell you it's worth the investment and a little goes a long way. You can also use it outside of the bedroom as an anti-chafing serum or even to style your hair, so you'll get plenty of bang for your buck here.


Best Water-Based Lube

Water-based lubes are the workhorses of lubricants for a reason: you can use them with virtually anything, they're easy to clean up, and they're not very sticky, so you won't feel like you need to take a shower after you use one (unless it's for fun reasons). They also work really well if you're using condoms, since they'll never break latex down. That said, water-based lubes also have drawbacks — namely, it's often tricky to find one that's long-lasting, and you'll find that you regularly have to reapply it, otherwise it'll dry out. This lube gets high marks on Amazon, though since it's paraben- and glycerin-free, it doesn't dry out as readily as most cheaper, water-based options do. It's also tasteless, which makes it suitable for oral sex (although if you want a tastier option, keep reading). Reviewers say this lube does have a thin consistency, so it's not ideal for anal play or other sorts of activities where you need to stay extra wet. But overall, it helps reduce chafing and dryness, which makes it a good choice for those prone to either.


Best Hybrid Lube

Do you love the feel of silicone lube but want one that's versatile enough to use with all your toys, too? If you're on a tight budget and need a lube that does it all, you can't go wrong with this hybrid blend from Sliquid. Hypoallergenic with a rich, creamy texture, this formula has a water base, but has the longevity of a high-quality lubricant. Reviewers say it's quite thick, so squeezing it out of the bottle can sometimes be a doozy, but otherwise this silk-like lube is a great addition to any goodie drawer. "Love this product," one reviewer noted. "It provides a bit more lubrication than most lubes and is nice and thick. It does not stain or ruin materials like the oil-based products."


Best For Sensitive Skin

Having sensitive skin means you always have to tread carefully when it comes to using new skin care products — and the same is true for experimenting with new lubes. If you're someone who feels discomfort during with condom use and needs a lubricant in order to really connect when you're getting down, it's even more essential that you find a blend that won't cause any issues down below. If you're someone who's prone to irritation or yeast infections, say hello to your new favorite lubricant: this gel from Isabel Fay. Specially made without any traces of glycerin (which can seriously trigger yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis), this natural, water-based lube feels thick and wet against skin. Since it's water-based, you can use this one with all your toys and don't need to worry about whether or not they'll harm them over time. This lube is also colorless, odorless, and doesn't stain, so those tell-tale signs you can spot with oil- or silicone-based lubes? Yeah, they'll be nowhere in sight with this one. One reviewer raved: "This lube! I am in love with this lube. I have tried sooooo many different lubes, mostly those that are for sensitive skin ... I am so ecstatic to finally find a lube that my body agrees with and that actually does what it claims on the label!"


Best For Anal

If you're having anal sex, you need to invest in a good lube, point blank. But not all lubes are up to the task, which is why it's so crucial that you choose yours with care. While some water-based lubes can be effective, silicone lubes are generally considered the best for backdoor play because they almost never dry out and contain ingredients like dimethicone and dimethiconol, which help create a thicker consistency. This lube from Pjur contains both and is basically the gold standard when it comes to hitting it from behind. It dries slowly, which can make it a terrific option for beginners or those who aren't accustomed to regular anal play. Additionally, the formula contains jojoba oil and has some mild numbing effects, but most reviewers say it's not significant and won't detract from your experience or your partner's. According to them, the only downsides are that it can be a bit messy, especially because there's no pump to control how much lube you use in a single go-around. Overall though, this lube is a true game-changer, especially with condoms. "This is one of the top silicone lubricants I’ve used," wrote one reviewer. "It isn’t greasy like some, it requires very little so it lasts a long time. The jojoba oil does really work well to help you relax and isn’t numbing (which is dangerous) like other lubes."


Best Flavored Lube

Using condoms and dental dams during oral sex can be a great way to minimize the risk of STIs. That said, condoms aren't known for tasting all too great. While you could grab flavored condoms, another clever option is to go for a yummy lube like this one from Aloe Cadabra. The company already has an amazing reputation because of how uniquely innovative its vegan lube is, but going for a flavored pick takes it to the next level. Made from 95 percent organic aloe vera, this lube glides on smoothly like a silicone one, but it's actually safe to use with toys and doesn't leave any stains. Another reason to love it? It can help replenish vaginal moisture naturally and is totally free of parabens, glycerin, petroleum, silicone, and other synthetic ingredients. Since this lube is edible and comes in a variety of tasty flavors (pick the pina colada, it's a must-try), it can feel like a real treat going down, too.

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