A good night in demands the best lube you can buy. One lube is not the same as another; there are vast differences between brands, so it's worth picking the one which will suit you and the way you like to play. There's a huge variety of lubes out there. Some help add to vaginal lubrication to make things more comfortable, yes - but many are designed to suit other kinds of sex, from lubes for anal sex to lubes for toy play, and while they'll generally all be suitable for whatever you want to do, some fit certain situations better than others.
A thicker lube, for example, will stick around for longer, so it's great for toys (check out the best sex toys for some inspiration here); a flavoured lube (or even one which simulates ejaculate) will be a great choice if you're looking for a little frivolous play.
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Whatever you pick, it's important to think about where it's going to go and on what. If you're sensitive to certain chemicals (silicone, for instance, can sometimes be an irritant) or you're likely to put that lube in different places, make sure nothing's going to irritate; ensure, too, that it's not going to destroy any toys you put it on – generally you'll want to use water-based lube for anything made of silicone, though metal or glass toys should play nice with just about anything.
Let's take a look at the best lubes you can buy for a range of different scenarios…
The best lubes to buy now
Durex's long-held reputation as a leader in the sexual wellness market gives consumers a certain amount of trust in its products, and when it comes to lubrication that's important. But does Durex live up to its reputation? Durex Play Feel is one of the most popular lubes and there are two good reasons why. The texture is silky, light and natural and there is no sticky residue. It's also completely odourless with no unpleasant smell to put you off your stride.
Of course, Durex is known for making some of the best condoms, so it makes sense that this lube is condom-friendly, and as it's water-based it can be used with silicone sex toys. This lube comes in a pump-action bottle, which when being used in the heat of the moment is a nice touch.
While some swear by silicone lubes for anal play, and with good reason given that they last so long, Lovehoney's vegan-friendly water-based formula makes Discover a much more flexible lube. There's no worrying if your condom or toy is going to react badly to it; it's quite happy to work with latex condoms and any butt plugs or beads you can find. It's also less likely to cause any allergic reactions, it won't stain your sheets, and it doesn't turn sticky despite being a thick gel. And the best thing? All sizes have a pump, so you can quickly dish out more (or, indeed, squirt some on) without worrying about making a mess.
Another great, general-use option is this Liquid Silk Lube. This water-based lube comes in a handy pump bottle, making it easy to use – no fumbling around tipping bottles upside down in a crucial, heated moment. We found the texture to be beautifully silk-smooth, leaving no sticky or tacky residue behind on our skin. We were also impressed with how little was needed to lubricate, so a 250ml bottle should prove to be good value. Liquid Silk Lube is suitable for all sex toys, is condom-friendly, and can be used both vaginally and anally (though you may prefer to use a thicker anal lube if you're new to anal play).
Look, you don't have to use this extra-thick water based lube for fisting, though it does make things nice and slippery, and it's great for anal play – it's equally handy for trying out larger toys, and some have found it helpful for vaginal use too. The fact that it comes in a wide tub is probably no accident, as it means you can dip things in to get them truly slathered, and it's thick enough that it won't just run off before you're ready to go. You're likely to use a fair amount, so the 500ml serving size is just – and there's a full litre version available, too.
While you'll pay something of a premium compared to some other lubes, it's water based (so it won't stain), there's no odour, and you'll likely be glad of the peace of mind that comes from a dependable lubricant when things start getting bigger. If you need it there's also a numbing version, though as this uses menthol you'll want to make sure you're not sensitive to it beforehand.
Cake is a new brand based in the US, with a wide range of different lubes for different people and situations, from So-Low moisturising cream for men's solo play, to Lush Cush water-based jelly for "beginners butt stuff", to Organic Aloe, a pH-balanced lube for vaginal play. Cake's company aim is to "reinvent the sexual wellness aisle by helping individuals and couples try new things and have more fun in the bedroom". The branding is modern and cool, and the site makes it easy to browse and find what you're looking for – even if you're not quite sure what it is you need in the first place. It's already gained enthusiastic reviews, and should you want to subscribe for regular deliveries, you can do so for a discount.
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If you prefer to keep your lubrication free from smells, taste or colour, Durex’s Naturals Intimate Gel ticks all of those boxes and is suitable for use during sex and with sex toys. Durex has formulated this gel lube with prebiotics to help maintain skin balance; the product certainly has a moisturising effect, rather than just pure lubrication. While it may not look as all-singing, all-dancing as some of the lubes in this list, this is a safe option from a trusted brand. The lack of smell and taste is refreshing, and, like the Liquid Silk Lube, it lubricates well without leaving any residue.
For those who have a fascination with ejaculate, Creamy could be a dream come true - it's a milky white lubricant, it's creamy (naturally), and it looks just like the real thing. You can load it up into an ejaculating dildo or just play with it, then make the most of it when the time is right. For those without that particular fetish, honestly you'll probably opt for a different lube, and that's fine.
Not that this won't do the trick, mind you: it's plenty slippery with a water-based formulation, and it's suitable for vegetarians.
Bear in mind two things though: in at least one place online we've noticed it seems to be marked as having a little silicone mixed into its formulation, though in others the manufacturer swears it's all water, so just tread carefully; and while it might look and feel the part, it neither smells or tastes like cum, which will either be a good or a bad thing depending on your particular orientation.
As suggested by the name, Pjur’s Back Door Lube is formulated for anal use. As this is a silicone-based lube, it’s not suitable for use with silicone sex toys, so reserve this lubrication for glass or metal anal sex toys only. Lubes made for anal play need to be longer-lasting as, unlike the vagina, the anus isn't a naturally lubricating area. Pjur's Back Door Lube has been designed to stay the distance, and we found that its super-slippery texture lasts... and lasts. Our best lube for anal play comes enhanced with jojoba, a relaxant that can help anal sex toy play go smoothly, so it’s a good choice for beginners.
Aimed specifically at "people with vulvas", this US-produced lube contains the wellness ingredient that was on everyone's lips in 2019: CBD. Sold as the world's first intimate massage oil, rather than a lubricant, Awaken contains broad-spectrum CBD alongside botanical and aromatic oils and claims to be aphrodisiac, intensifying orgasms while promoting natural lubrication.
It certainly smells and feels fantastic – but really at this price it should. It's a small bottle for the amount you pay, however, you do only need a tiny spritz each time and it feels luxurious and natural. This is an oil-based lubricant so it shouldn't be used with latex, so keep away from condoms or toys that aren't oil-safe.
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While we appreciate that lubes have been designed to suit specific purposes, it's also pretty handy to find the ones that tick all the boxes too. So Divine's Classic Lube can be used vaginally, orally and anally and it's water-based, so it's suitable for all sex toys and condoms. The texture of this lube is particularly soft and silky. So Divine says it helps you "glide when you ride", which is something you need to test for yourself but we certainly concur that the feel of this lube is very velvety and pleasant. The lube is free from glycerine and parabens – a manmade preservative – and it's vegan-friendly too, so it's good for those who like their products natural and cruelty-free.
Sliquid’s H20 Original has been formulated using plant-based cellulose as a thickening agent instead of glycerin or other sugar derivatives, as used by many other lubes on the market. It’s also made without parabens, so H20 is a good choice for anyone with sensitive skin or a tendency for allergic reactions. Formulated, as Sliquid puts it, "by sensitive women for sensible women". The texture is super slippery and because it’s perfume-free there’s no off-putting smell or taste either. Oh, and it’s 100% vegan.
System Jo specialises in exotically-themed lubes, and the Gelato range comes in Hazelnut Expresso, Crème Brulee, Salted Caramel, Tiramisu and Mint Chocolate, White Chocolate Raspberry Truffle and Decadent Double Chocolate flavours. Yes, we can safely say there is a dessert theme to these water-based lubricants.
Formulated using plant-sourced glycerin, the Gelato range may taste sweet but it’s not tacky or sticky, but rather glides, making it the ideal addition to our best lubes guide for those who don't want to feel like they're covered in tacky residue. If you don’t have a sweet tooth and you’d prefer to keep dessert out of the bedroom, Jo does a large range of non-flavoured lubricants. The company also sells a choice of silicone-based lubricants for anal play.
Made with aloe vera, this organic lube is carefully balanced so as not to upset the pH balance in the vagina. It’s compatible with all sex toys and latex condoms. At just 50ml, the bottle felt a little small but we found that only a tiny amount was enough to use during sex toy play and it didn’t get sticky or tacky. Perfumed lubes can be off-putting for many and so it was a relief to find that this lube is fragrance-free, with no smell or taste. An added bonus is that it leaves skin feeling super moisturised.
You can always expect a bit of class from Swedish sex toy manufacturer LELO and this lube certainly ticks that box arriving in a stylish bottle that could pass as an expensive moisturiser or perfume. Unscented, and glycerin and paraben-free, this lube is good for those with sensitive skin or allergies. Enriched with aloe vera, LELO’s Personal Moisturiser feels very gentle and as it's pH-balanced there were no concerns about having any reaction or discomfort. We were impressed by the luxurious texture, which is non-greasy. It feels so moisturising, we weren’t surprised to learn that this best lube pick can also be used for full-body massages.