what you need to know before you buy vaginal lubricants

Warming Lubricants
You’ve probably seen magazine or TV ads for lubricant products that promise to add a warming sensation during sex. But do they work? Better question: Do they feel good? Yes, says Dr. Herbenick. “Warming lubricants can help to addsensation during sex, particularly when used on the outside of a condom,” she adds. But use sparingly. “Be careful not to slather too much on,” she says. “A dime-size amount is plenty for many women. Because women’s genitals are more sensitive than men’s, the warming sensation can be a bit much for women with sensitive skin.”

Water-Based Lubricants
Most lubricants on the market today are water-based, which is a good thing. Many sexual health experts say these can be best for people with sensitive skin. “Water-based lubricants are the gold standard when it comes to lubricants,” says Dr. Herbenick. But be sure to look at the label carefully before you buy one. Just because it’s “water-based” doesn’t mean it’s irritation-free. “If you are sensitive to certain ingredients, you may want to steer clear of products that contain propylene glycol or chlorhexidine, which can cause irritation in some women.”

Flavored Lubricants
Flavored lubricants may help you get past shyness about oral sex with your husband, says Cadell, who recommends Wet’s Kiwi Strawberry variety. “They can be a fun way to introduce oral sex to a partner who might be a little hesitant,” she says. “For the best possible experience, make sure it’s a great-tasting, sugar-free formula.” (Important note for women and men with diabetes: Many flavored lubricants can contain sugar.) “I recommend taste-testing flavored lubricant before using it during sex, as some taste terrible,” adds Dr. Herbenick. “My favorites include the Great Head brand from Pure Romance and Climax Fruit Bomb in blue raspberry.”