When people talk about anal sex and anal penetration, whether it’s with an adult sex toy, hand/fingers, or penises, there is one word that should always, always, always come first: Lube. Frankly, “lube, no, more lube, no, really more lube than that” is the cardinal rule of anal play.
This is primarily because while the skin of the anus -- much like that of the vagina -- is incredibly sensitive, the anus -- unlike the vagina -- does not self-lubricate. This means that if you do not add lube, you run the risk of anal play being not just uncomfortable but actually downright dangerous.
The sensitive skin of the anal canal is very prone to tearing, which can lead to pain, injury and possibly blood. None of is fun, so let’s talk about all the anal-perfect lubes you can recruit to make anal intercourse (and butt play in general) safe, comfortable, and pleasurable.
Fact: you have options when it comes to lubrication for anal sex so let’s take a look at each of those options! We will go over the pros and cons of each, make some recommendations for the best lube for anal, and give you some fun tips for getting the most out of your lube!
What To Look For
First things first, we need to know what we’re looking for. There are some wonderful personal lubricant options out there but they are not all great for anal use. Other than how to use lube, what makes a lube particularly good for anal play? A good anal lube is thick and long lasting. Be on the lookout for formulas that specify that they are thick as well as ones that are designed to last without drying out. Now, sometimes you will not get both of those qualities in a single lube but don’t worry, we’ll talk about what you can do to make sure you are lubed up and ready to have safe, comfortable, pleasurable anal play.
But, watch out for…
While we’re looking for stuff, let’s talk about stuff we don’t want that we should be on the lookout for. Namely, numbing agents. There are a whole bunch of lubes out there that contain ingredients designed to numb the anus. Seriously, a whole lot of products designed for anal use do this. The logic here being that if pain tends to thwart anal play attempts, then we sould avoid that by numbing the body, thus avoiding the pain. This is an epically bad idea.
Pain is how your body tells you that something is wrong. If you numb your anus you could be hurt during butt play and just not know it because you can’t feel it. There is nothing beneficial about that and, in fact, it could be quite harmful.
You don’t want that and I hope that your partners don’t want that (Sidebar: if a partner would rather you numb yourself so they can have an uninterrupted experience, please stop having sex with them and find a partner who cares about your pleasure and safety. End rant.) With that in mind, please avoid lubricants with ingredients designed to numb the body like lidocaine or benzocaine.
Best Water-Based Lube
Water based lubes tend to be widely available, relatively affordable, and incredibly versatile. (If you’re on a budget, check out more affordable options within our cheap sex toy collection). They are safe to use with sex toys and barrier methods like condoms and dental dams and they come in a range of textures. Bonus: water based lube washes off easily and doesn’t stain your bedding. The one downside? Well, it is water based and that means it can dry out when exposed to air or friction. This all means if you choose a water based lube, you may have to reapply repeatedly to keep things safely and comfortably gliding along.
That said, when you are shopping for sex lube to use for anal play, water based lubes can be great options as they can be super thick (which is great for staying comfortable!) like PinkCherry Water Based Anal Lubricant or Wicked Jelle Water Based Anal Lubricant. Water based lubes can also feature some bonus ingredients to help keep things slick. For example, Pjur Back Door Water Based Anal Lubricant, contains hyaluron which makes it last longer and provide a comfortable glide. The upshot? When it comes to water based lube for anal sex, you’ve got some really great options.
Best Oil-Based Lube
As it is not compatible with latex or polyisoprene condoms, doesn’t get along great with many vaginas, and tends to stain things like sheets, oil based lube tends to sit on the sidelines of many lube conversations. That said, there are some contexts in which oil based lube is an amazing idea.
Anal play with toys, hands, condoms made of stuff besides latex or polyisoprene (nitrile or resin are two suggestions) or fluid-bonded partners is a terrific time to break out some oil based lube. Why? Because it’s thick and creamy and it lasts and lasts which is particularly important because, as we mentioned, the anus does not self-lubricate.
Something like Doc Johnson’s Anal Lube can be the ideal anal play time lube as it boasts a super slippery thick texture that provides even, long-lasting coverage. Plus, the larger size comes in a convenient pump dispenser which makes lubing up a breeze.
Best Silicone-Based Lube
Silicone lube can be a terrific idea for anal play because it just lasts and lasts. It’s not water soluble so it doesn’t dry out so you can keep the play time going. Also, it is compatible with condoms and stays in place even when exposed to water, making it a great pick for stuff like shower sex. The only real downsides to silicone lube is
a) it can damage the silicone sex toy
b) it is not water soluble, it needs to be washed off with soap and water
So you may want to skip it if you can’t shower afterwards.
If you are looking for something totally straightforward, Wicked Ultra Silicone Based Intimate Lube is a great no-nonsense silicone lube. Now, if you want to get a little fancier, you could try something like Pjur Backdoor Relaxing Anal Glide that features jojoba in its formula. The jojoba can help relax the anus (Relax, not numb! Remember, numbing is a bad idea!) which can help the body relax and make anal penetration both easier and more comfortable for everyone involved.
Anal play is also a great time for one of my all-time favorite lube hacks: Personally, while I love the super slick glide of a silicone lube, I find the texture tends to be a bit thin, especially for anal play. This is why I advocate for lube layering. Apply a base layer of your silicone lube of choice and then add a nice thick water based formula like PinkCherry Water Based Anal Lubricant on top of it. This gives you the best of both worlds: the thick, comfortable, cushiony feel of the water based lube. As well as the long lasting glide from the silicone. Even if your water based lube dries out, as those are wont to do, the silicone will keep things comfortable.
Best Lube For Sensitive Skin
We already mentioned that the skin of the anus is, universally, some of the most sensitive skin on the entire body but what if you or your partner has sensitive skin to begin with?
Odds are, if that describes you, you are probably pretty well-versed in carefully checking the labels of anything you apply to your skin to make sure it won’t cause a reaction. The thing is, you should definitely be taking the very same precautions when it comes to your personal lubricant. If you are already worried about the sensitive skin on your face being irritated, take a minute and imagine that same irritation happening to the even more sensitive skin in your tush. Ouch.
Also, from a safety point of view, when something causes irritation to the delicate skin of the anus, that skin is much more susceptible to fissures and micro-tears and that can put you at a greater risk for STI transmission. The point is, it’s a good idea to take very good care of the sensitive skin below the belt and to be sensitive skin savvy when you are shopping for the slippery stuff that keeps your sex life running smoothly.
So, if you are looking for the best lube for sensitive skin, check out the ingredient labels before you purchase a lubricant, you want ones with as few ingredients as possible. Then, when you have made your purchase, you can do what’s called a “patch test” -- much like you probably would with a new skincare product-- where you apply a small amount to your skin and see if you have a reaction. Finally, if you are using a lubricant and you notice tingling, itching, or redness after applying a lube, rinse it off immediately and stop using it.
Now, it might sound like having to think about all of this stuff could severely limit your sex lube options but that’s not necessarily the case. There are some companies out there taking great care to produce different types of lube with the qualities you are looking for that are also safe for sensitive skin. If you are looking for the type of thick water based lube we discussed earlier, both Sliquid Sassy and Wicked Simply Aqua Jelle Lube, offer thick, rich, super-slick formulas that are free of skin irritating ingredients.
If you would prefer a silicone lube, well, you are in luck! Silicone lube is, generally speaking, hypoallergenic and thus great for folks with sensitive skin. The big exception here is that sometimes companies add extra ingredients to their silicone lube. Sometimes it will be obvious, like in a lube that promises a tingling sensation but other times it might sneak up on you.
This is another one of those times where it’s smart to read labels and keep an eye out for the lubes with the fewest ingredients. If you are looking for a solid silicone based lube pick, I still recommend Wicked Ultra Silicone Based Intimate Lube as well as Sliquid Silver and Pjur Original Super Concentrated Bodyglide. All three are super-effective and super-slick without any extra stuff that might upset sensitive skin.
Stocking up on lube is absolutely vital before you embark on any kind of anal adventure but it needn’t be a daunting task. Whether you want water based, oil based or silicone, if you have extra sensitive skin, or if you just want to make your anal play as safe and comfortable as possible, there are a whole array of truly awesome lube options available to you if you know where to shop. PinkCherry’s selection of adult sex toys and lube is ready, willing, and able to help you stock up on everything you need for back door fun.