Silicone-based or Water-based Lube: The Decision, Part 1


So, you’ve had enough of painful, dry sex. In the name of your delicate genital tissues, you’ve made the bold, yet easy and intelligent decision to embrace comfort and expand your sexual repertoire to include lubricant. Yay, you! Your sex life is about to go to eleven. You should be proud.

 

But wait! You have one more decision before you plunge headlong into a life of deliciously hydrated sex. You have a choice: silicone-based lube, or water-based

 

For some lube newbs out there (Hi! Welcome to the wet side!), it’s simply a choice between ingredients. There are a few factors you need to consider. (And for now, we’ll keep it simple, and talk about How You’ll Be Using Lube, versus Why You’ve Embraced Lube.) 

 

So, let’s discuss:  

 

Is your rendezvous going to be with a penis, or fingers, or a toy? In the shower? With a condom? These are all things to consider. Your sexual activity may determine which kind of lube will work best for you (but hey —  it never hurts to experiment).

 

Sex, with penises (Or, er, penii? We don’t know): Silicone

Silicone lubes, like Pulse’s Aloe-ahh, are ideal when you want something supremely slippery, long-lasting, and compatible with latex condoms. Plus, silicone lube won’t need a lot of re-application, since silicone rides on top of the skin, rather than getting absorbed — which means it lasts longer, reducing the chance that the condom will break due to friction. 

 

For sex in and around water: Silicone

Additionally — and admittedly, this seems counter-intuitive — underwater sex isn’t very...wet. In fact, it’s not conducive to the vagina’s natural lubrication. “The fluids wash away, the poor vagina gets dried out, and sadly, becomes more vulnerable to micro-abrasions, which can potentially lead to infections,” says New York-based OB-GYN Dr. Alyssa Dweck, MD. For that same reason, water-based lube will quickly wash away, too. Since silicone lube lasts longer, it’s your best bet for water play — but, cautions Dr. Dweck, be careful with that slick silicone in the shower. Like we said, silicone makes everything very slippery. And while we want you to have great sex, we do NOT want you to have an accidental shower fall, which is not sexy. 


For just a bit of help: Water-based

Water-based lubes are like a vagina’s personal support system — a great way to supplement your natural lubrication. They’re easy to find, are compatible with condoms, and great for penetration, masturbation and toys. (Speaking of toys, listen up: some toys are ok with silicone lubes, but if the toy is silicone, use a water-based lube. Silicone lubes can compromise the material — another sexual science fact to keep in your nightstand.) 

 

However, water-based lube has a rep we need to discuss. In many water-based lubes, glycerin is used to up the “slickness” factor. Sadly, glycerin is a metabolic byproduct of sugar. Yeast loooooooves sugar. So if your vagina tends toward the yeasty side, prioritize finding a water-based lube, that avoids glycerin. It’ll be easy to figure out — it’s usually the 2nd or 3rd ingredient listed on the label.


Pulse’s long-lasting H2Oh! formula only uses a statistically irrelevant amount of glycerin — less than 0.01% — which is just for the chia extraction process. Yep, we’re talking about everyone’s favorite superfood, chia seed — the H2Oh! formula gets its slickness from a pure chia extract, from organic chia seeds, making it soothing, hydrating and non-sticky, unlike other water-based formulations. 


In Closing

The best part (aside from the sex, of course)? Your decision is win-win! Either one will result in lots of fun. Silky, warm (thanks, Pulse Warming Dispenser!), slippery fun. It’s as simple as thinking about the “How” when it comes to using lube — not the Why.


But when it comes to the Why, there are even more factors to consider, which we will be covering in Part 2 of our Silicone-based vs. Water-based lubricant series. Stay tuned!  

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