best in class

The 7 Very Best Lubes

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photos: Retailers

Buying lube can be, at best, embarrassing and, at worst, downright confusing, especially if the only type of lube you’ve purchased before is from the drugstore. But if you have resigned yourself to a life of using less-than-perfect lube (or you’ve avoided it entirely), you probably just need to try a different type to notice better results. But as Carol Queen, a staff sexologist at women-founded sex-toy retailer Good Vibrations, notes, “There is likely no lube that will be perfect for every user. As with food sensitivities, some lubricant ingredients just don’t agree with everyone’s body chemistry.”

To help find the best lube for you and your sex life, without having to buy and test dozens of bottles and tubes and packets of the stuff, I talked with Queen and 11 more experts — including employees at adult retailers, sex educators, advocates, and therapists — about the kind they’d recommend. Below, the seven best lubes to keep in your bedside drawer (or wherever else you might want to put them), according to the pros. And if you’re looking for more stuff to spice up the bedroom, be sure to check out our lists of the best vibrators, dildos, and butt plugs.

Best overall | Best silicone-based | Best water-based | Best coconut-oil-based | Best for anal | Best for sensitive skin | Best flavored

What we’re looking for

Ingredient: The most important thing to look out for when shopping for lube is the main ingredient. Silicone-based lubes are excellent if you’re looking for something long-lasting that you won’t have to keep reapplying during sex. But if you’re looking for something to use with silicone toys, you should choose a water-based lube. Oil-based lubes, meanwhile, are easy to spread, moisturizing, and great if you like to incorporate massage into your foreplay (though they are not condom-safe).

Size: And if affordability is a factor, you also want to keep an eye on the total ounces of lube you’re getting per dollar.

Best overall lube

Silicone-based | 1.6 ounces

According to Samantha Bard, a co-owner of Brooklyn’s Shag, Überlube is “one the highest-quality silicone lubes out there,” and it can be used by anyone looking for something with a good amount of slickness. Überlube, in fact, was the most recommended lube in my reporting, suggested by five of our experts. Emily Morse, a doctor of human sexuality and the host of Sex With Emily on SiriusXM, explains that Überlube has only two ingredients: “It is basically pure silicone with a trace of vitamin E,” she says. (This simple ingredient list — along with the fact that it’s gluten, glycerin, and paraben free — makes it one of the best natural lubes, too.) The vitamin E provides additional smoothness; that, along with the cushiony feel of the silicone, makes this lube especially ideal for those engaging in “full-on anal penetration,” says Dr. Evan Goldstein, the founder and CEO of Bespoke Surgical. Sofiya Alexandra — a comedian and co-host of the sex, dating, and gender podcast Private Parts Unknown — agrees, adding that Überlube is “perfectly slippery and smooth and great for all kinds of play, vaginal or anal. It feels incredible.” A smaller, but no less important, detail that both Bard and Morse call out is the lube’s stylish glass bottle, which looks nice enough to leave on your nightstand.

Best silicone-based lube

Silicone-based | 4.2 ounces

Sex educator Ashley Manta, the founder of CannaSexual, says her favorite lube, the one that lives full time in her automatic lube warmer and dispenser, is Sliquid Silver because it is “incredibly slippery,” lasts significantly longer than water-based lubes and most other silicone lubes she’s tried, and is “ideal for sex acts like hand jobs, vulva massage, and anal play.” This and other silicone-based lubes are also a great option for shower play, Manta notes, “because silicone lube isn’t water soluble — it must be washed off with soap.”

Best water-based lube

Water-based | 2 ounces

If you’re looking for a water-based lube to use with your toys or condoms, Kim Ibricevic, the manager of Eve’s Garden in Manhattan, usually directs customers to Sutil. “It provides luxurious, long-lasting glide and silky, sensual pleasure,” she says, explaining that “even though it’s a water-based lube, it offers more of a nonsticky silicone feel that most people look for.”

Best coconut-oil-based lube

Coconut-oil-based | 3 ounces

Because this lube from Coconu is coconut-oil based, it’s not latex-condom safe, and some folks might have a sensitivity or allergy to it. But for folks looking for something edible, its coconut-oil base makes it a good option. It comes recommended by Kim Marks, the owner of As You Like It, a nontoxic and environmentally conscious sex shop in Eugene, Oregon, who told us it is edible — the formula contains coconut as well as sunflower and sweet-almond oils — and free of alcohol, petroleum, parabens, gluten, fragrances, and dyes. Those looking for a natural lube should know this is also USDA certified organic, hypoallergenic, and cruelty free.