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The 3 best lubes for silicone sex toys

If you buy any kind of high-quality sex toy — whether it's a butt plug, a vibrator, or a masturbation cup — there's a good chance it's made of silicone. It's a body-safe material that, unlike plastic or jelly, feels realistic and lasts super long if you take good care of it. The tough part? One of the easiest ways to break down your toy is also one of the easiest mistakes to make: using silicone-based lubricants. It sounds counterintuitive, but the best lubes for silicone sex toys are pretty much anything but those containing silicone.

According to Dr. Jess O’Reilly, Astroglide’s resident sexologist with a background in sex education training, silicone-based lubricants aren't a good match for silicone sex toys because they can affect their longevity and possibly destroy them in the long run. "The materials react with one another and may cause the surface of the sex toy to break down over time," she tells Mic. The good news is your silicone lubricants won't go to waste if you use them for other types of play. "Silicone-based lubes, however, are safe to use with toys made of hard materials such as plastic, aluminum, ceramic, steel, glass, and marble," Dr. O'Reilly adds.

So what can you use with your silicone toys? You're going to want to look for lubes that are either water- or oil-based. Water-based formulas are, as the name implies, water-soluble, so while they may not last as long as other types, cleaning them up is a breeze. Oil-based lubes, on the other hand, will typically last much longer without needing reapplication — and because of this, they're great for anal sex, since you need a lot of lube for backdoor play. But oil-based lubes are not compatible with latex condoms, so you should only use them if you and your partner are fluid-bonded.

Fortunately, there are few perfect options on Amazon to choose from. Scroll down and you'll find the best lubes for silicone sex toys, along with a little more expert insight from Dr. O'Reilly to help you pick the best option for your needs.

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1. The water-based lube

If you were to just pick up a random bottle of lube without looking at the label, chances are, it's likely water-based. "Water-based lubricants are by far the most common [lubricants], and for good reason," says Dr. O'Reilly. "They’re lightweight, easy to clean up and can be used with most sex toys." Water-based lubes, like #LubeLife Water-Based Lubricant, are also amazing if you've got sensitive skin, too. "Since pure water is just about the most natural ingredient out there, these lubes are often very gentle and soothing to the skin," she says.

The one thing to keep in mind with water-based lubes, though, is that they tend to evaporate pretty quickly, and they can wind up feeling a little sticky because of that. So make sure to keep the bottle nearby for easy reapplication.

2. The oil-based lube

Oil-based lubricants, like this Astroglide O Organic Lubricant, are another great option for silicone sex toys. "They are long-lasting and hydrating," Dr. O'Reilly says. And unlike water-based ones, they don't evaporate or become sticky after extended use. This Astroglide lube is a lightweight blend of oils, including coconut, sweet almond, and sunflower oils. It's USDA-certified organic and plant-based, too.

But if you're using oil-based lubes, remember: They break down latex. So if you tend to slip a condom over your silicone toys in order to use them with one or more partners, you're going to want to go with a water-based option. (Oils can also stain your sheets, so keep that in mind, too.)

3. The 100% pure lube

You could also go completely natural and opt for a cold-pressed, unrefined oil, like this Viva Naturals Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil. It has the same benefits of other oil-based lubricants in that it's long-lasting and hydrating, but this one has the added plus of being supremely uncomplicated. With only one ingredient, there's less of a chance you'll have a reaction.

That said, it's important to spot-test and take it slow with this one. "Some people also find that coconut oil [on its own] can be irritating due to its higher pH," notes Dr. O'Reilly. And remember: If you use a jar of coconut oil as a lube, it should only be used as lube — don't use the same jar for cooking, or you'll risk cross-contamination. And remember that latex and oil are not compatible, so don't use coconut oil with your latex condoms.

Another essential: the post-play toy cleanser

While using the correct lube is important, it's also essential that you keep your silicone toys nice and clean in order to maintain their integrity. Consider adding a quality cleanser, like this #ToyLife Foaming Toy Cleanser, to your shopping cart. This specific cleanser is antibacterial and works on all toys to remove all kinds of lube, so you'll be well-covered. Just remember that oil-based lubes can be especially tough to clean, so make sure you're giving them a really good scrub.

Expert:

Dr. Jess O’Reilly, dating coach and Astroglide’s resident sexologist and host of the podcast Sex With Dr. Jess