Silicone-based lube is one of the most popular and versatile types of lube out there. For more on lube, check out Part 1 and Part 2 in this series, an intro and explanation of oil-based lubes, respectively. Most of what I know about silicone lubes came from talking to lube and toy experts and manufacturers last year at the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Summit.
What is it?
Silicone lubes are made of liquid silicone. It’s chemically inert, and does not create a safe harbor for bacteria in the vagina or anus.
Silicone-based lube is what’s used inside lubricated condoms. It’s safe for latex, polyisoprene, polyurethane, and nitrile condoms.
Microbes can’t grow in silicone-based lube, so there’s no need for preservatives.
Because it doesn’t absorb into the body, silicone-based lube is the longest-lasting of all personal lubricants. It’s great for marathon sessions, as well as anal sex.
Great for Water Play
Silicone-based lube doesn’t blend easily with water, so it’s perfect for sex in the shower!
Doesn’t Stain (Usually)
On cotton blends, a good quality silicone lube won’t stain. Satin or silk sheets should be spot tested on the part of your bottom sheet that wraps underneath the mattress. Let it soak in and see if it comes out in the wash.
Silicone-based lube locks in moisture when used as a lotion or hand cream, and keeps frizz at bay when used in your hair. It’s fantastic for cracked heels, too. Use a drop of silicone-based lube on a creaky door hinge. It shines jewelry and leather goods. I’ve even heard of using it between thighs to prevent chaffing when wearing dresses or skirts. Since a little goes a loooong way, it’s sometimes more economical for quick fixes around the house.
Not Compatible with All Toys
OK, now this is not a blanket statement. Some silicone toys can be used with high quality silicone lube, as long as you wash it off immediately afterward. Silicone lube doesn’t melt silicone toys. That’s a myth. The silicone toys absorb the silicone in the lube. Depending on the finish of the toy, this can make the surface shiny where it was matte, or a bit squishier or gummy on the surface. The process is in no way dangerous to your body, but it can change the look and feel of the toy.
If you’re not sure how your toy will react to silicone-based lube, patch test a very small amount of lube on a part of the material that goes inside you, but in an area near the base or handle. Let it sit for a few minutes. If the material appears to swell or gets gummy, the two are not compatible. If it makes it through unscathed, remember to always wash it immediately with soap and water, and inspect your toy after using it with silicone-based lube.
It Must Be Washed Off
Since silicone-based lube doesn’t blend into skin, you’ll need to wash it off with soap & water or body cleansing wash. Unless you have a Liberator Throe, you’ll also need to wash the sheets. It doesn’t evaporate like water.
Silicone-based lube is the most expensive of all personal lubricants. One drop lasts as long as multiple globs of water-based lube, though, so this doesn’t make much of a difference in the long term.
Who Can Use It
Just about everyone can use silicone-based lube! Silicone allergies are almost unheard of. You definitely want to use a silicone lube if you like sex in the shower. It’s great for anal sex, too.
What to Look For
Generally, you’re not going to find a quality lube in any grocery store or drug store unless you live outside the US. Look for blends of dimethicone, dimethiconol, cyclomethicone, and cyclopentasiloxane. Sometimes you’ll see tocopheryl acetate, which is the chemical name for Vitamin E. Not all silicone-based lubes are alike, so try different brands and blends, and stick with the one you like best.
My favorite silicone-based lube is Überlube, designed by a chemist. It’s got a little bit of Vitamin E in it, and is designed to feel very minimal on the skin, so you don’t feel you need a shower after using it. It’s also got a very convenient pump bottle that can be operated with one hand. I also recommend Sliquid Silver and Pjur Med Premium Glide for those sensitive to Vitamin E.