What type of lubricant should I use?

So you want to know what type of lubricant to use? First off I want to say; well done on considering using lubricant in the first place! There aren't enough people using lubricant when playing, and regardless of the type of play you're engaging in, you should always use lubricant! Lubricant is super important for comfortable play, and can help enhance sensations for even more fun. Who wouldn't want that?!

Two tubes of Bonk organic lubricant lay on a round board. Green tendrils from a plant lay around the tubes, and off the edge of the board to a white table.

The type of lubricant you use is also important, especially when delving into certain types of play. Comfort is key, and knowing which lubricant to reach for will help make those fun times even more fun. There are a number of different lubricant types available, but knowing what type suits the play you're looking to try is very important, and knowing which types to avoid is also a must-know.

The majority of lubricant types fall into a couple of categories; water-based, silicone, oil-based, and hybrids. These categories don't necessarily determine what you use those lubricant types for, but it is a great place to start.

Water-based lubricants are usually the go-to for most people, and for good reason - they tend to work for all types of play to a certain extent, and they are usually compatible with all sex toy materials. Our favourite at Clean Satisfaction is the Bonk Water-Based Lubricant, which is also organic and made in Aotearoa! Organic lubricants are also ideal for those who are sensitive to most lubricants.

Many flavoured lubricants are also water-based, though I still recommend checking the ingredients, just to be sure. Not all flavoured lubricants are safe to use in or around the vulva as they can muck around with the pH level. While water-based lubricants work well with all sex toy materials, they may not be the best choice when it comes to longer play sessions or when delving into anal play as they often go tacky.

For anal play, I highly recommend using a silicone or oil-based lubricant as these are designed to last longer without going tacky or sticky - exactly what you want during anal play! Silicone and oil-based lubricants are also perfect for fun in the shower or bath as they won't wash away while you play. While it is amazing how long lasting oil-based lubricants are, not all oil-based lubricants are condom compatible. If you aren't sure, hold off on using them until you can confirm - better to be safe than sorry when practicing safe sex! Some oil-based lubricants are compatible with some condom types, such as the Bonk Oil-based Lubricant, which is compatible with polyurethane and nitrile condoms, as well as silicone sex toys.

Two tubes of Bonk organic lubricant stand on a dark green surface. Tendrils of a green plant flow around the tubes from a wicker pot plant which stands in front of a light pink background.

The material type of your sex toy is also something worth considering when choosing a lubricant. As a golden rule, don't mix silicone sex toys with silicone lubricants. While some high quality silicone sex toys and lubricants are compatible, it isn't guaranteed, and not worth taking the risk. After-all, you don't want to accidentally ruin your favourite toy! Or you could opt for another sex toy material that is compatible with all lubricant types, such as ceramic (wink, wink).

There are a couple of lubricant types that I would recommend avoiding. Firstly, any lubricant which advertises that it is an 'added sensation lubricant', I would highly recommend steering clear of. Added sensation lubricants typically use irritants to cause inflammation, which in turn cause tingling, smarting and sometimes irritates the skin to become puffy or swollen. While this is technically adding a new sensation, the effects can last long after the lubricant has been washed off, and can affect the delicate balance in the vagina as well.

Another lubricant that I would caution against are desensitizing or numbing lubricants. Many of these now require specific licensing to sell in New Zealand as they contain benzocaine or lidocaine as the numbing ingredient. While a slight numbing sensation may make anal play more comfortable, it can also inhibit your ability to sense if your body is uncomfortable or sore from play until it has gone too far. Being able to feel all sensations and check in with your body during play is super important.

If the play you're engaging in is pushing your body to the point of needing a numbing agent, it may not be the type or level of play for you right now. There's no shame in taking your time to achieve that level of play comfortably. Comfort should be the main focus when choosing a lubricant type. When the right lubricant is used for the type of play you're engaging in, it can take the sensations you feel to a whole new level. Who wouldn't want that?!