If you're a gay guy who's into anal sex, you definitely know that using the right lube is everything...
But with so many options on the market, it can be a little confusing picking out which lube is best for you. There are hundreds of different formulas, each with their own pros and cons and most guys don't have the time and money to try them all before deciding.
So, we had the sexperts here at Adam's Toy Box put their heads together to throw together this quick guide to the best anal lubes and why they've earned an honored place in our nightstands.
We're going to look at the different types of lubes by category and separate the dank from the stank. But first, let's have a look at the different types of lube and their properties.
Oil-Based Lube Pros
Oil-based lubes are popular because they last forever, offer a smooth ride, and are great for foreplay.
- Long Lasting - It takes a lot to wear out an oil-based lube and they offer a consistently powerful slickness.
- Great For Foreplay - Oil based lubes tend to smell really nice and are excellent for handjobs and sensual massage.
Oil-Based Lube Cons
Some of the drawbacks of oil lube are:
- Degrades Condoms - Oil lubes are incompatible with latex condoms and cause them to break down.
- Hard To Clean Up - For the same reason they last so long, oil lubes are extremely difficult to clean up when you're done playing. They also stain your bed clothing if you're not careful to protect it.
Silicone Lube Pros
Silicone lubes are super popular because they are versatile and last longer.
- Staying Power - Silicone based lubes last longer than water based lubes because, unlike silicone, water easily absorbs into the body or evaporates. This means that silicone lubes generally require less reapplication.
- Easy On Skin - It's very rare for silicone lubes to cause allergic reactions or irritation to sensitive skin.
- Non-Sexual Utility - Silicone lube is surprisingly useful outside of the bedroom. You can use it for all kinds of stuff, from taming your unruly eyebrows to silencing a squeaky door.
- Useable In Water - Silicone lubes can be used in situations where water-based lubes would simply wash away. You definitely want to have some silicone lube on hand if you plan to get down in a pool, jacuzzi, or shower.
Silicone Lube Cons
Silicone lubes are great, but there are a few things that make them less desirable in certain circumstances.
- Incompatible With Many Toys - Silicone is a very common material used in the production of higher-end sex toys. Silicone lube degrades sex toys made from silicone, so it's a lot less versatile for solo play.
- Hard To Clean Up - Much like oil-based lubes, silicone last longer but is harder to clean up when the fun is over. Silicone lubes will also leave spots on your bed clothes, but they are a lot easier to clean up than oil.
Water-Based Lube Pros
Water-based lubes are probably the most widely used and popular type of lube out there, and for good reason.
- Easy To Clean - Water-Based lubes absorb into the skin easily, so they are incredibly simple to clean up when the party is over. They’re also super-easy to clean from your bed clothes.
- Universally Compatible - They are compatible with latex, silicone, and rubber so you don't have to worry about using them with condoms or sex toys.
- No Thickening - Other lube types start to clump and thicken after going through enough friction. Water-based lubes don't do that, they just absorb into your skin or evaporate.
Water-Based Lube Cons
As popular as they are, there are still a few downsides to these lubes.
- Don't Last As Long - Since water based lubes are so easily absorbed into your skin, they tend to not last very long and require reapplication.
Not Suitable For All Occasions - Water-based lube is useless in situations where you want to cut loose in the shower, pool or jacuzzi - It just washes away immediately.
The Natural Touch
There is another category of lube that is a little harder to individually place neatly into specific columns according to the lube base. These lubes fall into the general category of "Natural" lubes. These lubes are generally oil or water-based and contain natural, often organic ingredients to reduce friction.
These lubes also frequently contain ingredients such as herbs that help to moisturize skin and increase its elasticity. This is a great quality in a lube, especially for guys who have tighter holes that are at increased risk of fissures or other internal damage.
The main drawback, however, is that each of these formulas is different than the next and it's hard to keep track of what's just snake oil and what actually works.
Another problem that comes with these lubes is the fact that they often lack the staying power and overall slickness of lab-formulated blends. However the added benefits mentioned above perhaps might make them worth your while. It is all about individual taste and preference!
While natural lubes tend to be a little less effective at lubrication, there are more than a few that can hold their own against the lab-made blends - and many people prefer the peace of mind that comes from using natural and organic products.
Others like them due to their own personal sensitivities or allergies and would have nowhere to turn without them.
The trick is separating the good from the bad without having to simply try them all individually.
For instance, Sliquid is a lube producer that specializes in natural, organic, and cruelty-free personal lubricants. Nearly all of our “Top Lubes” lists feature one or more of this brand’s lubes in fairly prominent rankings. Whether it’s broken down by base- water-based, silicone-based, etc.- or just a general roundup of great lubes across all types, their lubes rank high because they perform as well or better than their lab-made counterparts. So, clearly, they aren’t all bad.
In the end, though, lab-formulated lubes simply offer superior glide, easier cleanup, and go through the same rigorous safety tests as natural lubes. They're as safe as any other approved lube and offer more consistent results, ahem, on the whole.
A Few Words About Vaseline
Before we move on to the fun stuff, we should probably say a few words about Vaseline. There was a time when there really wasn't anything else out there that you could easily get your hands on to use for lube. Those times are long past and Vaseline's time should have passed with it.
Sure, it can get the job done in a pinch but there are some pretty serious drawbacks to using Vaseline as an anal lube. The most important reasons revolve around health. Vaseline, also known as petroleum jelly, is a petroleum product, obviously. This means that it will break down your condoms quick-time and put you at risk of contracting an STI.
Aside from that, Vaseline takes a long time to leave the body once it's in there. This may seem like an amazing quality in a lube but it carries risks. You want your lube to have staying power measured in hours or half-hours, not days or weeks! The Vaseline that hangs out in your body can act as a home for bacteria and can even lead to internal infections by providing a happy home for microorganisms.
Aside from the health risks that result from Vaseline's staying power, there's the problem of trying to clean up after you use it. It is a real bitch to wash off your body and you can pretty much forget about getting those stains out of your bedclothes. In short, don't reach for the Vaseline unless it's your only option, it's really just the shittiest lube out there.
Now, on to the fun stuff!
The Top 4 Silicone-Based Lubes
Silicone lubes are pretty much the bee's knees when it comes to anal lube. It's incredibly slick, long-lasting, and versatile. Here are our top picks for the bee's-kneesiest of them all!
Pjur Analyse Me!
It's pretty hard to beat Pjur in just about any category. These guys make lubes specifically for anal sex and they've been rocking it out for over 20 years now.
The major reason this particular lube stands head and shoulders above the rest is the fact that it contains a natural, non-numbing, relaxation agent that makes it ideal for guys who consistently experience pain during anal sex or are having a hard time getting their holes trained up to have fun with guys who are swingin' massive lumber.
If you're looking for a similar lube that is compatible with silicone toys, you might want to try their water-based version of this lube. It offers similar performance, the relaxation agent, and it even sells at a slightly lower price than the silicone formula.
If you really like the idea of the relaxation agent but feel like you need something that packs a bigger punch, you might want to try Pjur Backdoor. This is a silicone-based formula that features their famous relaxation agent with an added numbing agent thrown in to seal the deal.
Swiss Navy Silicone
If you're the kind of guy who doesn't need the extra relaxant or numbing agent, you couldn't do much better than Swiss Navy's silicone formula. In terms of consistency, Swiss Navy has the edge over Pjur because their formula is pure silicone. This means that it is less sticky, and has a lighter consistency overall.
Another thing we like about this lube is that it has a super convenient pump dispenser that you can operate with one hand. It also has an awesome travel lock feature in the pump to avoid making a mess and the pump dispenses consistent amounts of lube so you get less waste.
When you factor all that in with the fact that a bottle of Swiss Navy is significantly cheaper than an equal sized bottle of Pjur, it becomes an extremely attractive choice for guys who don't need the extra help loosening up for the big game.
Gun Oil is, without a doubt, the longest-lasting, most slippery, and smoothest silicone lubes out there.
Climax Elite is, without a doubt, the longest-lasting, most slippery, and smoothest silicone lubes out there. It has a silky-smooth, light texture and washes away from your sheets better than you’d expect from a silicone lube.
One of our favorite features of this lube is that it has a pump-style dispenser. We highly recommend these dispensers as a means of saving money on lube by cutting down on waste. One or two pumps from the bottle and you’re good to pump that ass for quite awhile before you have to worry about reapplying or reactivating it with spit.
These qualities make it the perfect silicone lube for guys who don't need a numbing or relaxing agent but like to go big or go home. If you plan on pulling out the big guns, this lube is going to be your best friend until the end.
Top 4 Water-Based Lubes
Water-based lubes are popular because they are versatile and easy to clean. Here are our top picks for the three best Water-based lubes.
Elbow Grease Water Based
The two main things you need to consider when picking out a water-based lube are consistency and staying power. When it comes to these two qualities, this lube is simply unbeatable! It is easily the longest lasting water-based lube out there, and it has a thick, extremely slippery feel to it that just can't be beaten.
Most water-based lubes can't hold a candle to the staying power and consistency of silicone based lubes because they absorb or evaporate so quickly. We don't know what sort of dark sorcery they used to make a water-based lube that performs like a silicone lube, but we love it!
It also comes in rather large bottles and since it is so long-lasting, it's a fairly economical choice.
Swiss Navy Water-based Natural Lube
This water-based formula has all of the quality you would expect from Swiss Navy. It slick, has an excellent consistency, and has some seriously decent longevity.
If you're one of the increasingly large number of people who are shying away from products made from artificially produced chemicals, then you're exactly the person Swiss Navy had in mind when they produced this all natural lube.
The fact that this lube lasts longer than most water-based competitors, sells for a decent price, and features a pump dispenser that gives consist amounts of lube and avoids waste, makes this an effective and economical choice of lubes. It's sort of a jack-of-all-trades of water-based lubes.
This is the perfect lube for when you really want to get seriously sloppy and slippery. It performs pretty well in all the ways the other top runners do, but it's quite a bit cheaper and comes in a decently-sized bottle.
The lower price and higher quantity means you don't have to feel bad about getting seriously gluttonous with the lube. You can just freely slather it on with wild abandon and the fact that it is water-based and needs reapplication doesn't matter quite as much as it does with more expensive lubes.
Sliquid Organics Oceanics Lubricant
This water-based formula has all of the quality that we mentioned you get from the Sliquid brand. It’s slick, has an excellent consistency, and has some seriously decent longevity that is further boosted by its almost supernatural ability to reactivate with just a little added moisture.
What really sets this lube apart from others is the whole raft of added ingredients that help promote a healthier bottom. Each of these ingredients is chosen for their ability to help you relax and loosen up, increase the elasticity of anal tissues, help prevent anal fissures, and generally boost your “bounce back” ability. All that adds up to more fuckin’- and who isn’t down for that?!
Top 3 Oil-Based Lubes
If you aren't concerned about condom compatibility and you want to play with some seriously large guys, oil is king! Here are our top 3 picks for best oil-based lubes.
Elbow Grease Light Cream
This is a lighter version of Elbow Grease's regular formula and that's exactly why we like it so much! It packs all of the same long-lasting, mind-bendingly slippery punch of it's counterpart while being far less greasy with a nice light consistency for an oil-based lube.
This is definitely a lube for guys who are looking for the least amount of friction while accomodating the greatest amount of size. It's also an extremely affordable lube at about $13 a tub.
Tom's Of Finland Fisting Cream
This is the Rolls Royce of oil-based lubrication. It's right there in the name, FISTING cream! You see that and you know it's time to get down to some seriously heavy-duty anal action.
This lube offers insane staying power, maximum glide, and a numbing agent so you can really get down on some major meat or an advanced toy.
The only reason this lube didn't take the top spot is the price. It's quite a bit more expensive than many of the options out there, but it is completely worth the money to the right kind of guy. Specifically, a guy who likes rough anal play that involves large insertions. If that sounds like you, consider ponying up the extra cash, you won't regret it!
Boy Butter Churn Style
We are big fans of Boy Butter's other formulas, but this one took the third spot because we really like the idea of an oil based lube that doesn't come in a tub and is easy to apply. It might seem like a simple innovation, but the option of not having to dip your hand into a big old tub and smear the lube around is more convenient than you might think.
We also like the control that the squirt bottle gives over how much lube you are dispensing and where. If you love Boy Butter and you would like an extra layer of convenience, you should seriously consider trying the Churn Style.
Tips And Tricks: Get More Bang For Your Buck
So, now that we know what's out there, let's go over a few tips and tricks to help you stretch that lube budget to its fullest. If you'll lucky, you probably end up going through a lot of lube over a given period of time. While using it up might be fun, it can end up hitting you in the wallet if you're not careful.
If you find yourself blowing through a lot of lube and want to try to cut down on the amount you use, there are some things you can do to minimize waste that will save you some scratch in the long run. A lot of lube gets wasted during application. This is especially true of heavier-duty lubes that come in tubs. You just reach your hand in there and slather whatever needs lubing up in it and you often end up with way more than you needed.
To get around this, consider getting a lube with a pump or squeeze bottle like the Boy Butter Churn Style we mentioned earlier in the oil-based lube category. If you have a favorite lube but it doesn't come in a squeeze bottle, you might consider getting a cheap squeeze bottle and decanting your favorite lube into it so you can better control the amount used. The same can be said for bottles with pumps.
We only mention oil-based lube in tubs because they are the biggest offenders when it comes to excess lube going to waste but with the right squirt bottle, any lube can benefit from added control over the amount dispensed.
Another way you can avoid wasting money on wasted lube is to simply pay attention to how much you use. Enough is enough and any more than that is going to simply run down into your sheets, get absorbed by your body, or otherwise be wasted.
If you just pay attention and only use as much as you need, reapplying when needed, you'll find you can stretch your lube budget a great deal with little effort!
Tips And Tricks: Little Things That Make A Big Difference
Using lube seems like a pretty straightforward thing. You slather up the hole, you slather up the item to be inserted and then you do your thing. While this is basically correct, it's actually a little more nuanced than that. There are a few extra little things you can do with your lube to make anal sex more comfortable and pleasurable for both the top and the bottom.
For starters, when greasing up you or your partner's hole, start off nice and slow. The idea is to get the lube to cover as much as possible inside the anus. Anything on the outside is pretty much going to run down into the sheets and be wasted, not to mention adding to the hassle of cleaning up afterward.
Instead, have your partner lay on their back with their ass as high up as they can get it to allow gravity the chance to help with the application. Even better, consider getting a lube shooter to do all the heavy lifting for you. If you don't know what a lube shooter is, you're really missing out!
A lube shooter is basically a special syringe-like device that can be filled with lube, comfortably inserted into the anus, and delivers the lube deep inside where it is needed most. It also gives you complete control over the amount of lube you are using, again, saving you a little money over time. Lube shooters are hands down, the easiest, most effective way of applying lube for anal sex. Full stop.
The hole that is being lubed isn't the only consideration, though. This is especially true of toys. Making sure you get the toy completely covered in lube is a very important step. Whatever is being inserted, be sure that there are no "dry patches" without lube. The dry spots can be a nasty surprise for the person being fucked because they can create sudden friction that causes the anus to get pulled, experience friction burns, or worse, tearing. Pay special attention to the underside of the head of realistic dildos, or any other areas with irregular textures. Make sure the whole toy glistens with lube before going in and your bottom will thank you!
While lube is a fairly straightforward thing, all said, there are still some common questions people have when they first start to take their first steps beyond buying a tube of KY (yikes) at the local pharmacy. Here are the two biggies and their answers.
Do I Need To Use Lube With Lubricated Condoms?
Lubricated condoms are one of those things that probably works great for guys who like vaginas but, if you’re reading this, that’s probably not you. Lubricated condoms rely on the vagina’s ability to self-lubricate, an ability our assholes lack.
Anal tissues aren’t well-suited to handling penetration well and require quite a bit of help to be able to stand up to the beating we tend to give them while fucking. Ask any seasoned anal vet and they will tell you that there is really never enough lube, when you get right down to it.
TLDNR: Yeah, you should definitely use lube whether your condom is lubricated or not.
Which Ingredients Should I Avoid?
The answer to that question depends on a number of factors. Obviously, you should be sure to avoid any ingredients that you are allergic to, but there are a few ingredients that should be shied away from at all costs. Here are a few and why many guys avoid them:
- Parabens: These synthetic preservatives are considered dangerous by many because they act as estrogen mimics and are thought to disrupt endocrine function. They have also been linked to increased breast cancer risk.
- Petroleum Products: Aside from the socio-political problems presented by petroleum products, they are also linked to increased cancer risks and a number of other health problems.
- Chlorhexidine: This ingredient is known to cause skin irritation and, more importantly, it is an antiseptic. This means it can have a damaging effect on the beneficial micro-organism living in your digestive tract that help regulate healthy bowel function.
~ Conclusion ~
With all of the different properties these lubes have, the various pros and cons, it's a good idea to take a look at what you actually use lube for and which ones will suit your needs best. If you find you mostly use lube for toys, you probably want to go with a water-based lube. If you are more interested in seriously large insertions and aren't concerned with condoms, oil is definitely the way to go.
Overall, it seems best to have a little bit of each type around so you will always be ready for whatever comes up. A few bottles or tubs from various categories and bought trusted names are handy to have around the house for when the odd strikes.
Try to experiment with a few different types and see what's best for you and you won't have to worry about finding the right lube ever again. That's the sort of homework most people don't mind doing!
[Updated Jan 16, 2020]