To acquire wisdom, one must observe


Welcome back to the Student Sexuality Information Service (SSIS) column, where we answer Brandeis students’ questions about sex, sexuality, identity and relationships. If you have a question you’d like answered in our next column, email ssis@brandeis.edu or leave a question in our Google Form https://tinyurl.com/AskSSIS Any and all questions are welcome: there are no bad, stupid or weird questions! 

(Note: These answers are good-faith attempts by SSIS to be helpful to the Brandeis community, and are by no means exhaustive or to be taken as universal. If these answers don’t resonate with you, either pay them no mind, or reach out to us with suggestions for improvement!)

“I want to use lube, but I have no idea where to start! Help?” 

You’ve come to the right place! SSIS sells several different brands and types of lubes. We sell packets of lubrication for $0.25, small bottles for $3.50 and large bottles for $10. 

Types of lube include water-based, silicone-based, hybrid (usually around 85 percent water-based and 15 percent silicone-based) and oil-based. It’s important to recognize the differences between these lubes, as the lube’s ingredients impact which situations they can be used in, and what barrier methods and sex toys they can be safely used with. Whether you purchase your lubes at SSIS or not, always be sure to check if the lube is body-safe (All of the lubes SSIS sells are body-safe).

Water-based lubes are one of the more commonly found lubes; since they are water-based, they are easy to clean off of clothing and bedding, absorb into the skin and are compatible with all sex toys and all barrier methods/condoms. They do tend to dry out faster than other kinds of lubes, but can be reactivated with water (or saliva). However, many people enjoy the thicker, “cushion-y” quality of water-based lubes. Some water-based lubes contain glycerin and paraben, so if you are sensitive to these ingredients or prone to vaginal/urinary infections, you may want to avoid lubes with these ingredients. All of the lubes at SSIS are glycerin free! The water-based lubes offered at SSIS include Please Gel, Aneros Sessions and Sliquid Swirl (which comes in six unique flavors!). 

Silicone-based lubes are more slippery and longer-lasting than water-based lubes, and are not water soluble. Thus, they are harder to wash off than water-based lubes, but last longer without needing to be reactivated. This type of lube is compatible with all barrier methods, and with some toys. Silicone-based lube can degrade silicone toys, however. The silicone-based lubes offered at SSIS include Pjur, Gun oil and Pink. 

Hybrid lubes combine the qualities of water-based and silicone-based lubes, often having the thicker quality of water based lubes with the longer-lasting properties of silicone lubes. If used with pure silicone toys, the lube may degrade the material, so do test out the lube on a non-essential part of the toy before using it on that toy. The hybrid lubes offered at SSIS include Please Cream and Sliquid Silk. 

Oil-based lube takes a while for the skin to absorb, so is pretty long-lasting. Some people are also drawn to oil-based lubes, such as coconut oil, because they are more simple and natural. However, SSIS does not generally recommend oil-based lubes in partnered sex because they degrade condoms, causing them to break and be ineffective. Additionally, oil based lubes can interfere with the vagina’s self-cleaning mechanisms and increase the rate of infections in vagina. SSIS does carry an oil-based masturbatory cream called “Stroke 29” intended for use on penises, so if you are using this product be mindful of the safety concerns that come with oil-based products. 

When trying any lube for the first time, test it out to see if the consistency and feel works for you, and to make sure you are not allergic to its ingredients. One way to do this is to try a bunch of small sample packets and see how each lube works for you!  At the end of the day it’s all up to personal preference and it can take some time to figure out what works best for you and your partner(s)!

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