Personal lubricant — what we know and love as ‘lube’ — is handy for sex or jerking off. But are all lubes created equal and what’s important to know about the different kinds, especially when condoms or toys are in the mix? Emen8 gets stuck in with some lube connoisseurs to get to the bottom of all the juicy details and separate facts from friction.
Craig and Michael are two guys behind Down An’ Dirty and are based in Victoria. They’re sexperts producing rough and gritty guides for the more adventurous side of man on man sex — you name it, these guys know about it. Their website provides the opportunity to ask questions you always wanted answered. No matter how kinky, there’s no judgement; just advice to maximise everyone’s safety and pleasure.
Getting greased up
Emen8: What’s the point of using lube — why not just spit?
Down An’ Dirty: Well, spit dries out quickly and you’re likely to want more slip than you get with saliva. Too much friction can lead to tears in the delicate area of your butt, which could mean greater chance of exposure to blood borne viruses and other STIs. Using lube is a great way to improve glide and avoid pain or harm.
Emen8: Are all lubes basically the same?
Down An’ Dirty: No — there are three different types. Water-based lubes are the most commonly used. They have the benefit of being water soluble, they clean up very easily and are compatible with all types of toys, condoms and gloves. However, they can dry out a bit quickly. If you’re going in deep with anything, it’s worth considering using J-Lube or an equivalent like Fist Powder (these are dry powders you mix with water to make an extremely slick, water-soluble lube to your desired consistency and quantity).
Silicone-based lubes offer more slip and may last longer, but they’re a bit harder to clean up and aren’t safely compatible with other silicone-based products; silicone-based lube should never be used with silicone toys or cock-rings because this can cause them to degrade and break.
“Silicone-based lube should never be used with silicone toys or cock-rings because this can cause them to degrade and break.”
Oil-based lubes like Crisco and other vegetable shortening products are good for minimum friction and maximum endurance. These are especially important for reducing the chance of harm during deep anal play, but oil-based lubes degrade condoms and fisting gloves — so you should only use nitrile disposable gloves which won’t deteriorate.
Emen8: Condoms and gloves degrading? That doesn’t sound good — what are the implications of that?
Down An’ Dirty: Oil-based lubes can degrade rubber toys or gear and can break down latex really quickly, increasing the chance of latex condoms or gloves splitting. If a condom breaks, there’s increased risk of STI or HIV transmission.
Broken gloves during fisting may expose fingernails which can tear the delicate lining of the arse, increasing the risk of Hepatitis C transmission, especially for the bottom who’s getting fisted.
Gliding in deeper
Emen8: What’s the best way to apply lube?
Down An’ Dirty: For front hole sex with trans men and anal sex with anyone, it’s really about what’s pleasurable. It’s not advisable to put lube on a dick before putting on a condom as it can make it too slippery, causing it to slide off while fucking — a barrier only works when it’s there; if it comes off it’s not protecting anyone. Put the condom on first and only apply lube once it’s on; then you can add lube to the dick, the receptive area, toys or everything!
You can also get insertable gel capsules full of silicone lube, though you need to insert these at least 15 minutes before penetration.
For going in deep you can get special syringes to squirt lube right in. Frozen balls of Crisco are good too, but warm them up in your hands before slipping them up there — you do not want freezer burn inside your arse!
Emen8: Are there any do’s and don’ts when it comes to using lube?
Down An’ Dirty: If you’re in a group play scenario, label your stuff so you know you’re only using what’s yours and make sure you wash your hands for different people, especially if there’s heavy anal play. If you’re going to suck dick, don’t use silicone lube because it tastes really awful.
“if it has not been designed specifically for sticking up your bum or your front hole, then don’t put it in there!”
Not all lubes are created equal, so one lube might not feel like another. If you’re looking to try something new, go to a sex shop, as they often have testers you can rub between your fingers to find out how sticky or slippery the lube is. And the staff will often have great tips too.
Emen8: Is it OK to use lubes that numb, desensitise, or give hot/cold/tingling sensations?
Down An’ Dirty: Some guys like these to prolong pleasure, delay ejaculation or just change the sensation. You can use them, but you really have to pay attention to what’s happening down there and they’re best avoided if under the influence which can reduce your sensitivity and inhibitions anyway. You really want to avoid eliminating all sensation completely, and you certainly don’t want to lose sensation deep inside of your arse, as you won’t be able to tell if the sex gets a bit too full on — just use it around the edge of your hole as that can get a bit sore after prolonged sex. Be sure you test any new lube out first in case you’re sensitive to it or don’t enjoy the sensation.
Emen8: Does lube clean off leather and fabric easily?
Down An’ Dirty: Some lubes might stain your clothes or bed sheets — paper towels, play sheets, or even painters drop sheets can help minimise the amount of clean up required. If you’re into rubber fetish gear, don’t use oil-based lubes which can deteriorate it.
With leather, if you’re using something like J-lube or silicone-based lube, you can usually wipe it off with a damp cloth. Crisco and other oil-based lubes can be a lot harder, so start with a dry rag and proper leather cleaner — use Renapur or Angelus, not solvents in small bottles sold as leather cleaner in some sex shops!
Emen8: What’s the strangest thing you’ve heard of used as lube, and what was wrong with it?
Down An’ Dirty: Anything’s lube if you’re brave enough, but that doesn’t mean you should use everything as lube! Like sunscreen — it can be gritty which may cause tissue damage. Some people use Papaw Ointment, but that also contains petroleum jelly (i.e. Vaseline) which is oil-based and not suitable for use with latex condoms or gloves.
We’ve heard of people using hand-soap in a public toilet, but that’s not a great idea — it can give you diarrhea and detergents strip away natural body oils.
Massage lotions can be fun, but they’re designed to have some friction. If your massage is going to end up in sex with condoms, being covered in something oil-based isn’t a good idea.
“If you’re going to suck dick, don’t use silicone lube because it tastes really awful.”
As a general rule, if it has not been designed specifically for sticking up your bum or your front hole, then don’t put it in there!
Emen8: What are some creative uses for lube other than sex?
Down An’ Dirty: A good one’s always a slip ‘n slide. Wrestling is fun too, though less is more with silicone lube. For anyone into rubber gear, silicone is a great way to get in and out of it.
I had a J-Lube fight in a river once. We were wrestling around and came out looking like J-Lube monsters!
Emen8: I remember once using it for hair gel… But finally, which lube would you recommend?
Down An’ Dirty – Michael: For general anal play the Tom of Finland Hybrid Lube. It’s a water-based/silicone hybrid, so it’s got that slick factor of silicone but it’s got an easier cleanup than regular silicone lube.
Down An’ Dirty – Craig: Usually just water-based lube, though silicone if it’s a longer session. Or otherwise if it’s for fisting, J Lube and Crisco.