eLubrication Dilemma

By "Dick Pounding"

The ongoing AIDS crisis has prompted an increased need for waterbased lubricants for safer sex play. As a result, the market has been absolutely flooded with a variety of such products. As a horny consumer, I found the enormous amount of choice both overwhelming and confusing. Perverts may be quite stumped when looking for a water-based lub. They all seem to have the same ingredients -- water and glycerin, mostly -- and are priced more or less in the same range. While looking for lube at your local pharmacy or adult bookstore, the question may occur to you: "What's the difference between all of these products?"

The following is a list of lubes that were sampled, as well as the final evaluation of their merit. All lubes that were tested contained no nonoxynol-9 (a detergent/spermicide that kills HIV in test tubes) because it irritated the skin of some members of my research team.

I-D has an average price and a medium consistency. It stays wet for a long time and re-wets well with spit or water. It doesn't get tacky and is non-irritating. All lubes claim to be "odorless" and "tasteless" even though they usually have a mild aroma reminiscent of Play-Doh. I-D is probably the least offensive taste- and smell-wise. I-D works well for a variety of play. Overall Rating: A.

Body Wise Liquid Silk is imported from the UK and has no list of ingredients. The distribution in the US is limited, but it's available through the good people at Good Vibrations (1210 Valencia Street in SF; mail order number 1-800-289-8423). Liquid Silk is incredible! It feels very silky, stays slick for a long time and re-wets very well. Highly recommended! Overall Rating: A

Wet is medium priced and economical despite their widespread advertising. Wet does stay wet, primarily because it has a thin consistency due to the high water/glycerin ratio. I'd recommend Wet over other lubes for anal play as it stays slick the longest and re-wets very well. Overall Rating: A-

Aqua Lube is brought to you by the people who bring you Kimono condoms. Price-wise, it's probably the cheapest on the market. It stays slick for a very long time and has a thick consistency which can feel really incredible. While Aqua Lube doesn't tend to get gummy, it can be difficult to re-wet once it does dry out. Overall Rating: A-/B+

Astroglide falls between Wet and Probe in terms of consistency, on the thin, watery end of the scale. My main complaint about Astroglide is it's price -- in some stores this lube can cost twice as much as other brands! Astroglide stays wet for a long time and re-wets better than any other lube. Save yourself some money, though, and look into other brands. Overall Rating: B+

Probe had the thinnest consistency of all the lubes in our sample and dried up the most quickly as well. Probe contains grapefruit seed extract, which gives it a pleasant taste if you're going down on someone who's used it. This popular brand is moderately priced but dries much too quickly to be a good lube value. Overall Rating: B-/C+

Corn Husker's Lotion has basically the same ingredients as most lubes, but the SD alcohol 40 in the lotion gives it a cool feeling. Unfortunately, Corn Husker's Lotion is absorbed into the skin very quickly and it gets gummy with repeated movement. A great moisturizer, but not a great lube, despite the cheap price. Overall Rating: C-

K-Y Jelly was the water-based staple before the market was flooded. K-Y is extremely thick and dry and therefore provides inferior lubrication. K-Y gets tacky and gummy quickly and cannot be re-wet. In our survey, K-Y did not respond well with latex in terms of providing proper lubrication. Some women I know swear by K-Y for vaginal lubrication, but our team gave it a thumbs-down. Overall Rating: C-/D+

Embrace is so thick it barely comes out of the bottle. It dries quickly and gets gummy, not allowing to be re-wet. This product also comes in a nasty strawberry scent that should be avoided. Embrace is very inexpensive, but is not a great lube value. Overall Rating: D