Lube is the sex equivalent of really, really comfy pajamas — you might not think you need any, but once you’ve found the ones that work for you, it’s hard to go back. Sure, there are lots of substances that intrepid masturbators can and do use to lubricate their bits — from soap to Bengay to a cornstarch slurry — but a purpose-specific lube will work better, feel better and not cause an inflamed urethra that you then have to explain to your doctor.
Why Use Lube When You Masturbate?
Mainly, it just makes masturbation more pleasurable. Lube reduces friction and allows for skin to slide against skin (or sex toys) more smoothly, without pain or discomfort. You probably know this intuitively, especially if you’ve ever jerked off so roughly that your skin was irritated afterward, or received an uncomfortably dry blow job.
Lube also allows you to masturbate with a wider variety of techniques, motions and toys. Strokers and butt plugs, for example, are pretty much impossible to use comfortably without lube. In some cases it’s even a safety issue — anal penetration should always be well-lubed, for example, to lower the risk of tearing anything that definitely shouldn’t be torn.
Not to mention, lube can be helpful for people struggling with “death grip syndrome,” the often-reversible condition of having jacked it so hard for so long that your sensitivity is lowered. Lube reduces the friction of each stroke, and you may find you don’t need to apply as much pressure to your dick when you use it.
What to Look for in a Masturbation Lube
Technically, any lube can be a masturbation lube, as long as it works for you — but some lubes work better for certain body parts.
For Penises: Look for silicone-based lubes. These are super smooth and last much longer than water-based options, so you generally won’t need to pause mid-wank to reapply. (This happens because your skin absorbs the water in water-based lubes, leaving a sad, sticky residue that can be perked up by adding some water or some more lube.) Natural oils, like coconut oil and almond oil, also feel great on dicks, as do commercial lubes made from blends of these types of oils.
For Vulvas: The same advice applies as above — silicone-based is likely your best bet, as it’s long-lasting. Water-based works, too, though it’ll dry up faster and need to be reapplied. Some people experience vaginal irritation or infections from using oil-based lubes in or near the vagina, so you may want to skip ’em, especially if you know you’re prone to vaginal health issues. You should also avoid lubes containing glycerine or propylene glycol, as these are known irritants.
For Use with Strokers: Most strokers are made of materials that could break down if exposed to silicone-based or oil-based lubes, so you’ll want to stick with water-based. Look for one with a medium-to-thick consistency, both because it’ll last longer and because the viscosity provides some cushioning that can make the ridges, bumps, etc. on the inside of the stroker feel less jarring.
For Penetration: If you’re using a toy made of silicone, stay away from silicone-based lube, which can damage the material — but otherwise, both water-based and silicone-based options are fine. Oil-based lubes, including natural oils like coconut oil, can sometimes disrupt the pH balance of the vagina and cause infections, so they’re best avoided vaginally — but it’s fine to use them anally and on a penis. Water-based lubes can be especially great for vaginal penetration, because as you get wetter and more turned on, the lube gets rehydrated by your natural fluids, so you may not need to reapply as often — or at all.
Ready for your one-person show? Lovely — here are some of the best lubes for masturbation…
Best Overall Masturbation Lube: Uberlube
This lube has a silky-smooth silicone-based formula that feels sensuous as hell and lasts for ages. It’s made of pure liquid silicone and vitamin E, so it leaves your skin feeling soft and moisturized even after you wash it off.
While the lube itself is fantastic, its bottle also sets it apart from competitors. The minimalistic design looks classy on your nightstand, and the pump top reliably dispenses a reasonable amount of lube without gushing out everywhere, even when you reach for it one-handed in the dark. It’s not compatible with strokers or silicone toys, but as far as external stimulation goes, Uberlube is one of the best lubes on the market.
Best Drugstore Masturbation Lube: Astroglide X Waterproof Silicone Liquid
If you’re craving a lubed-up masturbation session but don’t have any lube on hand, and want to pick some up quickly at your local drugstore or corner store, this is a great one to grab. It’s nothing like the tacky, sticky Astroglide formulas you may have tried before — this one is made of pure liquid silicone, so it’ll keep things slippery down there for as long as you need it to. It’s also waterproof, in case you’re in the mood to rub one out in the shower or tub.
Just be aware that a little goes a long way with this stuff. Start with just a tiny bit and reapply as needed — especially because if you apply too much, it could drip onto your sheets and stain them (as is the case with all oil or silicone-based lubes).
Best Oil-Based Masturbation Lube: Pure For Men Coconut-Based Lube
Coconut oil is the star of the show in this formula, and it moisturizes your skin as it lubricates. It stays slick for a long time, and has a lovely-but-subtle vanilla scent that can help set a relaxing mood even when you’re on your own.
As you might know if you’ve ever cooked with coconut oil, it’s solid at room temperature and melts when it gets warmed up. This is mostly a good thing when it comes to lube, because it keeps the product from immediately spilling everywhere when you apply it, but it also means you might need to pre-warm the bottle on cold days. The ingredients in this lube shouldn’t cause issues when used on a penis or in a butt, but I’d skip using it for vaginal penetration — the sweet ingredients could throw off your pH balance and cause irritation or an infection.
Best Masturbation Lube to Use With a Stroker: Sutil Luxe Body Glide
This water-based lube is safe to use with any stroker or any other type of sex toy, regardless of material. It’s thin enough that you can distribute it throughout the stroker without much effort, but thick enough that it sticks around for a while before you need to reapply. The texture is surprisingly silky for a water-based formula — it has the smooth feel of a silicone lube, but is easier to wash off and won’t stain your sheets. It lasts a lot longer than most other water-based lubes, too.
Sutil Luxe Body Glide also contains natural moisturizers and skin-soothing ingredients that make it wonderful for anal or vaginal penetration. Basically, whether you’re fucking a stroker or fucking yourself, this lube can make it feel better.
Best Warming Masturbation Lube: Wicked Ultra Heat
This lube contains cinnamon oil, to give you a little kick of heat while you touch yourself. It’s a silicone-based formula, so it’ll last a long time without you needing to risk overwhelming yourself with warming sensations by reapplying. As you might know from eating hot sauce (or watching Hot Ones), sometimes heat can sneak up on you — so maybe apply a small amount and wait a minute or so before deciding if you want more. If you have a regular silicone-based lube, you can mix the two together on your skin to reach your desired ratio of warmth versus slipperiness. Wicked Ultra Heat can also be slightly irrating to vulvas and vaginas, so if you have one of those, proceed with caution — you can always apply a small amount to a less sensitive area, wait a few minutes and see how it feels.
Best Tingling Masturbation Lube: Wicked Ultra Chill
On the other end of the temperature spectrum, this lube contains menthol, so it can produce a tingly cooling sensation on the skin. It’s sort of like applying IcyHot to your junk, or receiving oral sex from someone who’s recently eaten an Altoid, only less intense (and less of a genital infection risk).
Wicked Ultra Chill is silicone-based as well, so it’ll be longer-lasting than water-based options but isn’t compatible with most strokers or silicone sex toys. If you want a tingling lube to use with your fave toys, Wicked also makes a water-based version. As with the warming lube above, try not to overdo it with this product. Tingles can be invigorating and stimulating ingredients can be fun, but only to a point.
Best Masturbation Lube for Penetration: Sliquid Sassy
It’s water-based, so it’s compatible with any and every type of toy. It’s thick enough that it lasts quite a while, and it won’t make a huge mess all over your bed/chair/couch/truck backseat while you’re applying it. Opening the bottle and pouring lube out of it is easy to do one-handed, when your other hand is… occupied. It’s non-irritating and non-staining, too. Whatever you plan on putting into your body — within reason — Sliquid Sassy can make it comfier and more pleasurable.