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Lubricants (lube) can increase pleasure and lower the chance that a condom will break with vaginal (frontal) or anal sex. Lube helps condoms move easily on skin, making sex safer and more pleasurable.

When there is vaginal dryness, there is more chance that tender anal or vaginal skin will tear or a condom will break. Not only is it painful to have small tears, it is also easier to get or pass an STI if the skin is broken. Lubricants reduce friction during sex and this helps to prevent condoms from breaking. Some people find that a small drop of lube inside the tip of the condom can also increase pleasure.There are different kinds of lubricants.

Water-based lube is safe to use with latex condoms and silicone toys and easily washes away. It tends to dry up and become sticky sooner than silicone-based lube, but adding water or saliva will make it slick again. 

Silicone-based lube is also safe with latex condoms.  It tends to stay wetter longer and does not get sticky. Silicone lube is not water-soluble, so it can be harder to wash away and may damage silicone toys over time and make them sticky.

Glycerine free lube is good for females who find that lubricants cause vaginal irritation

Both water-based and silicone lubes are available in drugs stores and sex stores. They vary in thickness, smell, and taste, so try some different ones to find out what you prefer.

Lubes to Avoid

Avoid petroleum-based products (for example, Vaseline), oils, and lotions if you are using latex condoms, as they can cause the condom to break. Sometimes people use home ingredients as lube, such as vegetable oils or syrups. Be aware that some may cause other problems such as yeast infections.

Avoid lubes and condoms with the spermicide nonoxynol-9. Nonoxynol-9 causes cell damage in the vagina and anus, and may increase the chance of passing or getting an HIV infection.


Toward the Heart – Search by city or postal code to find clinics in BC that provide free safer sex supplies, including lube.

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