I consume sex ed related material on the web at an alarming rate. I always have my nose in a blog or video. The misconceptions I come across about silicone personal lubricants are plenty.
Can I use silicone lube with latex condoms?
I stumbled upon this safer sex educational video the other day. I was really digging what I was hearing until I got to 3:12 when she says “with a male condom, especially a latex condom, you can only use water based lube.” AHHHHHH! Not true at all. I really did scream at my computer.
Silicone, water based, and hybrid lubes (hybrid is a mixture of silicone and water based) are all 100% safe to use with latex. They are also safe to use with any safer sex material like polyurethane, nitrile, etc. I actually much prefer silicone with condoms (especially when using latex condoms for blow jobs) because it doesn’t dry and gum up like water based lube does. The latex exacerbates the gummy effect which I don’t like. Silicone lube stays smooth and slick and lasts a very long time.
It’s actually oil based lubes that aren’t compatible with latex. Silicone and oil are two very different things. Oil breaks down latex rendering latex barriers ineffective. Also, never use oil based lubes in the vagina. Oil harbors bacteria which can lead to vaginal infection (*one exception– coconut oil is safe for vaginas).
Oil based works nicely for jacking and stroking the penis. Thick oil based lubes like Boy Butter are popular for anal sex and extreme play like anal fisting. If you use an oil based lube for anal, remember to use non-latex condoms, gloves and dental dams.
What else should I know about silicone lube?
- Not only does a little bit of silicone lube go a long way, it’s awesome for water play. Since it isn’t water soluble, it won’t wash away in the shower or pool. When you’re finished with sexytime, it usually takes a little soapy water or a through shower to wash it off your body completely.
- Silicone lubes are also hypoallergenic. This is a huge plus for those of us who are sensitive to other kinds of lubes. If your regular sexual lubricant leaves you irritated after use, you may be having a reaction to it. Switch over to silicone to see if that helps.
Always check the ingredients before you buy. If you’re sensitive, you don’t want to buy a product with a bunch of fillers and unnecessary chemicals. My general rule of thumb is look for a silicone lubricant that has 2 to 3 ingredients. I steer clear of anything with 4 or more.
Higher quality silicone are generally easy on the digestive tract and the skin. They are safe to use for oral sex and are relatively tasteless/odorless. They also have a moisturizing effect on the skin. When my hands or lips are dry I often apply silicone lubricant to them for relief (I use it for a bunch of other non-sexy things too— I’ll get to that later!). For this reason, I’m never too concerned if I don’t shower right away after using it during sex. Heck, if I leave it on, maybe it’s like a beauty treatment for my vulva! (Not really but I can pretend)
- One drawback about silicone lube is it can stain fabric. You’ll need to be mindful of your clothing or sheets. Personally, I haven’t had an issue with this. I use dark sheets and I’ve never spilled a large amount of it on any fabric so it’s never been a concern. In all the wacky ways I have used silicone lube I have never stained anything (and we use A LOT of silicone lube in our house!). Also, keep in mind, different brands stain at different rates.
- Another drawback of silicone lube is the price and availability. Although you’ll pay a bit more upfront compared to water based lube, you‘ll make up for that on the back end. I’m not talking about anal sex (unless that’s what you’re into. I LOVE silicone lube for anal!). Because a little bit of silicone lube goes a long way, you won’t use nearly as much as you would if it were water based lube. One bottle of silicone may last you three times as long as its water based counterpart. Silicone’s staying power makes up for the hefty price tag. That staying power is also what makes it my favorite type of lube to use for anal play.
You probably won’t find silicone lube in the drugstore so you’ll have to go out of your way to pick some up at a sex shop or on the internet. Drug and grocery stores almost exclusively carry water based lubes (and no, cooking oil, baby oil, Vaseline and the like don’t count. Those types of products should not be used as lubes— especially if you have a vagina). The truth is, most drugstore lubes aren’t the best out there. Drugstore brands like KY or Astroglide are the most likely to cause irritation and have other adverse effects. You are best to opt for better quality lubes of any type from sex shops or online.
Can I use Silicone Lube with Silicone Sex Toys?
At one point using silicone lube with silicone toys was a huge no-no. Depending on the quality of toys and lube you use, it is not such a concern any more.
I know exactly what you’re thinking “What? Come on, I’ve read that if you put silicone lube on your silicone toy it will melt! I think I even heard it might make them explode! Like, you could DIE! Right?”
A few years back it wasn’t a good idea to ever use silicone lube with silicone toys. It also was advised to never store silicone toys touching each other because silicone reacts with silicone. Piling your toys on top of each other could cause them to discolor or develop microscopic pores that can harbor bacteria. This was certainly true when silicone toys first hit the market. Back then, toys labeled silicone were often made of something else like TPR or TPE (Thermoplastic Rubber or Thermoplastic Elastomer) and not labeled as such— this is where the problems usually came in.
Quality has greatly improved in the sex toy industry. Many manufacturers and consumers have significantly raised their standards. Today we’re seeing pure food grade and medical grade silicone used in toys on a pretty consistent basis. A high quality silicone toy coupled with a high quality silicone lube often has no ill consequences.
Dangerous Lilly published an interview with Metis Black of Tantus on the myths of silicone sex toys and they addressed this very subject. I highly recommend reading it. There’s chemistry and it’s super sex geeky. There are also links to videos of sex toys being lit on fire (for SCIENCE!). You’ll love it.
Granted, using silicone sex toys with silicone lube is a YMMV (your mileage may vary) situation— there are so many silicone toy/lube combinations in the world it’s difficult to tell you with certainty which is a good combo and which isn’t. You’re always taking a risk trying it out. One thing you can do is spot test a toy on the non-insertable portion to see if it gets gummy or discolors. If you’re a really daring sex geek you can light your dildo on fire like Dangerous Lilly. SCIENCE!
You can also opt for trying a high quality hybrid lube with your silicone toys. Since hybrids are only half (ish) silicone that will minimize any potential risks to your toys as well.
I honestly always store all my silicone toys together and use a good silicone lube with them and have absolutely no problems. EVER. Keep in mind, every silicone toy and silicone lube I use is premium quality. Some premium vibrator brands I use are: Lelo, Fun Factory, CalExotics Premium Silicone, Jopen, Tantus, Je Joue and the Jimmyjane Form Series. I’m probably forgetting a few too but that gives you the gist. Sticking with industry praised, award winning, reputable companies is a good rule of thumb.
So, next time someone tells you really, really, really bad things are going to happen if you use silicone with silicone, take a minute to think twice. Although it’s never a guarantee, odds are you’ll be fine mixing the two if you make a habit of buying quality silicone products.
Oh! I promised I’d tell you all the awesome alternative non-sex uses for silicone lube, didn’t I? This is awesome. Check it:
Other uses for Silicone Lube
- For squeaky doors, locks and small mechanisms. Basically anything you’d use WD40 for you can use silicone lube to fix also.
- As moisturizer. I keep one bottle of Wicked Ultra Silicone Lube by my bedside and one in my bathroom. I apply it on my hands and dry patches on my face in the winter. Works WONDERFULLY!
- As hair frizz serum. I have super curly hair. For years I used a product called Frizz Ease but I now use a small amount of silicone lube in my hair every day. One of the main ingredients in hair frizz serum is silicone (you’ll see it often listed as Dimethiconol or Dimethicon). Many hair product manufacturers put other fillers or fragrances in their products. Using a premium silicone lube gives me the equivalent of premium salon quality hair care on the cheap.
- As runners glide. Apply silicone lube between your thighs when you run to prevent chafing. I don’t run but I have chunky thighs. I do this in the summer when I’m wearing skirts and walking around town. You can also apply it to your bare nipples if they chafe from rubbing against your shirt when running.
- As shaving lotion. Instead of using shaving cream on your legs, underarms or pubic area, use silicone lube. It helps you get a close shave an minimizes razor burn. If you suffer from razor bumps you may want to give it a try before you go out and buy expensive shaving cream.
- For latex clothing. If you wear latex clothing, rubbing it down with silicone lube after you put on your garment is a must. Silicone helps latex preserve it’s shine and extend the life of the item (Make sure you use silicone lube without fillers and extra ingredients for latex. Especially be mindful not to use any that contain Vitamin E or Aloe.) .
- To shine your shoes Shoes looking a little dull? Rub a small amount of silicone lube on them to give them a polished look.
I am starting to wonder if silicone lube is the elixir of the gods. I think it might be.
For all you sex nerds and geeks, here’s Dangerous Lilly’s flame test video: