Your Crash Course on Water and Silicone-Based Lubricants

Your Crash Course on Water and Silicone-Based Lubricants
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Gather 'round guys and gals. Today we're gong to talk about lube.

First things first, let's drop all of the stigma associated with using a sexual lubricant. Just because you use one, it certainly doesn't mean there's anything wrong—in fact, sex will probably be a lot better as a result. There's a lot of friction that goes into the act, and a few pumps could help ease up on that, as well as increase the pleasure factor.

"I just think that people should experiment with it! If lube can make people have more fun, have more sex, and have less discomfort, it's a win-win," says Dr. Cindi Buxton, Naturopathic Physician, and one of the women behind the new Pulse Lubricant Warmer and Dispenser. "It's just going to add an element of ease, comfort, and sensuality, and I think anything that gets people turned on, having sex, and feeling good about themselves is great." Pulse includes both water-based and silicone-based formulas, which can either be used solo, or in the dispenser, which brings their temperature to a comfortable warmth and distributes the perfect amount. Each formula is vegan, gluten-free, and most importantly, vagina-friendly—natural ingredients like aloe and chia extract are even used in the mix—but we couldn't help but wonder, what are the differences between the two? Even in your local drugstore's sexual health aisle (you know, hidden in the back, next to the tampons) water-based and silicone-based lubricants line the shelves, leaving us to ponder which one we should pick up.

Here, we ask Dr. Buxton to break down the key differences between the two formulas, and how to determine which is the right one for you.

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Water-Based Lube

Don't be misled by the name—water-based lubricants aren't actually made of water, but rather, elements that can easily be dissolved with water. "They're generally easier to remove from the body, and many claim that they feel more natural than a silicone-based lubricant," Dr. Buxton explains. "Additionally, if you use a sex toy, you will want to use a water-based lubricant instead of a silicone-based lubricant." Sex toys are usually created out of solid silicone, and silicone-based lubes can compromise the surface of the toy. According to Dr. Buxton, the lubricant will start to pull silicone particles from the surface of the toy, making it less smooth to the touch, not to mention, a place where bacteria would potentially grow.

That being said, because water-based lubricants are water soluble, they tend to break down and wear off faster, so you may need to reapply midway through if it's a particularly long session. In the case of Pulse's H2Oh ($25 for a set of six; lovemypulse.com), however, a few drops of water over the area will re-activate the formula.

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Silicone-Based Lube

Though not recommended for use with toys, silicone-based lubes are great for any long sessions—either solo or with a partner—as they don't break down as easily, and last longer. Even if you engage in waterplay (you know, sex in the shower, bathtub, or tropical waterfall of some sort), a silicone formula won't wash away during intercourse, is the preferred choice for body glide activities and anal sex. If your tissue tends to become dry, a silicone-based lube can help with that, particularly if you become overstimulated. "The clitoris has 8,000 times more nerve endings than the head of a penis, and if that area becomes overstimulated, it an be a confusing feeling for the body and isn't always pleasant, but silicone is wonderful for that area in the case that this does happen," Dr. Buxton adds. They can take a bit more time to remove than a water-based option, but it's a testament to their staying power, we figure.

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