You don’t have to do this alone. Oh, that doesn’t necessarily mean you need another person to enjoy sexual pleasure, but it does mean you might find sex with a partner or solo play more enjoyable with the use of lube. In the past, there’s been a bit of a stigma around the use of such products, as if it means you’re not emotionally or physically into sex — but that perception is changing. And, by the way, that isn’t true — natural lubrication can be a sign of arousal, sure. But sometimes this physiological sign of arousal operates independently of how you feel mentally and emotionally. Its presence isn’t proof that you’re turned on, and its absence isn’t proof that you’re turned off.
If you’re mentally ready to go but your body isn’t there yet, lube can be a great way to start. It’s all about foreplay, in other words, which means massage oils can come in handy here, too. Ahead, our favorite arousal serums and massage oils, selected by our editors and experts.
We at Bustle only include products that have been independently selected by our editors. We may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.
First Place: Dame Arousal Serum
Whether you want a little boost to get things going or simply want to experiment with some warm and tingly fun, this serum is a solid choice, says Bustle Senior Lifestyle & Fashion Editor Rachel Lapidos. It stimulates and heats things up rather quickly after applying it, but doesn't feel overwhelming or uncomfortable. What's more is that it does the arousing job with a clean ingredient list, featuring actives like circulation-stimulating mushroom extract and moisturizing aloe leaf juice. And, like all Dame products, it’s a stylish little thing, packaged in a one-ounce cobalt blue bottle that looks like some high-end skin care brand (though at $30, it’s not priced like high-end skin care).
Second Place: Foria Awaken Arousal Oil with CBD
Bad lube feels almost clinical: a thick, jellylike consistency that you can’t wait to wash off. This is not bad lube, confirms Bustle Digital Group Executive Health Director Melissa Dahl. It’s a little tingly going on, but you quickly forget about it — in a good way. This stuff feels natural. Also, it comes in a small, stylish amber bottle that doesn’t scream HELLO I’M LUBE, which means even the shyer folks won’t feel the need to hide this away in a drawer. “In fact, my new husband and I just had friends and family over to our apartment for a brunch the day after our wedding, and I just realized we did leave this out,” Dahl said. “No one noticed. (Or, who cares if they did? I hope they took notes and ordered it themselves. This stuff is great.)”
Third Place: Cake So-Low Lotion
So-Low Lotion is intended for use on a penis for solo masturbation, hand jobs, and mutual masturbation. “It starts off with the thickness and texture of a typical lotion and then turns into a clear color and more lubricated texture as it’s worked into the skin,” explains Bustle Lifestyle Editor Alexis Morillo. It has the feel of a lotion more than your typical lube — which makes for easy cleanup, as it absorbs directly into the skin. “No oily stains on your sheets here,” Morillo adds, and no need to wash it off afterward.
Honorable Mention: Maude Shine Organic Lube
This is an organic, moisturizing, aloe-based lube from Maude, one of our favorite sexual wellness brands, known for its chic, shame-free packaging and reasonable prices. “I’ve been using this lube religiously for the last five years,” says Ev’Yan Whitney, a sexuality doula. “I feel at ease knowing that it’s 100% natural and safe enough to use on my intimate parts.” Whitney also speaks highly of the products just-right consistency — not too thick, not too thin. “My partner loves it as well,” Whitney adds. Win-win.
Honorable Mention: Bloomi Luxe Massage Oil
Bloomi is a BIPOC- and sexologist-led wellness company, co-founded by Rebecca Alvarez Story, who holds a master’s from UC Berkeley in sexuality studies. That alone is important to sex educator Che Che Luna, though that’s not the only reason Bloomi is worth paying attention to. In particular, Luna calls the Bloomi oil a recent favorite. “The light lavender aroma of this oil is so soothing, and I cherish the ways it invites me to land back into my body,” they told Bustle. “As my current go-to massage oil, I’ve been deeply enjoying the sensation play, touch and presence this product supports me in experiencing.” (Pro tip: Sex educator Saniyyah Lateef also recommends the Luxe Bundle, which comes with the CBD massage oil plus the arousal oil.) There’s more than one reason to feel good about this sexual wellness product.