If you're asking this question, you're not alone. About one-third of women under age 30 use something slippery (lube—or lubricant) to help everything glide and slide with sex. If you're in your 50s or beyond, it's more like 50 percent to 75 percent.
Learn more about Painful Sex After 50.
Which lubricant is best? Well, that depends. Most lubricant manufacturers have several varieties for any situation. Here are some guidelines:
Brands include Good Clean Love, KY, Sliquid, Aloe Cadabra, Sylk, Yes.
Can be used with any toy made out of anything.
OK with all condoms.
Available in sugar-free flavors.
Won't stain the sheets and rinses off with water.
If you've used a water-based lubricant and are feeling a little dry, add a little water to rehydrate the lubricant instead of applying more lubricant. (Hint: Your saliva will also work.)
Brands include KY, Astroglide, Pjur, Uberlube, Oceanus.
These should not be used with sex toys made of silicone.
OK with all condoms.
These lubricants can be used if you're having sex in water because it won't rinse off.
These will stain the sheets; stains can be removed but may require special treatment, similar to removing grease stains.
These have both water and silicone for the best of both worlds.
Brands include Sliquid organic silk, Turn On, KY Yours & Mine, Astroglide Spark.
Ok with condoms.
Types include olive, coconut, mineral and baby oils, petroleum jelly and body lotions.
Do NOT use with latex condoms or latex sex toys; OK to use with polyurethane condoms.
OK to use with sex toys, except those made with latex.
These will wash off easily from your body with soap and water.
They can stain sheets.
If you're in contact with water, these will bead up.
Have fun and try different kinds to add more fun and prevent discomfort.
Disclosure: I have no relationships with any of the products or companies mentioned.
This blog originally appeared on Nurse Barb's Daily Dose. Barb Dehn is a women's health nurse practitioner, award-winning author and nationally recognized health expert. She practices with Women Physicians in the Silicon Valley of California.