Sorry to liken anal sex to food, but if it were a sandwich, then you and your partner would be the slices of bread and lube would be the good stuff inside. Why? Because anal sex without lube would be not only dry, but also pointless.
“Using lube is a key prep step to make sure your experience is comfortable and pleasurable,” says Alicia Sinclair, a certified sex educator and CEO of the butt-play speciality company, b-Vibe. In fact, unlike a sad sammie, lubeless anal sex can actually be dangerous. The friction can cause actual microtears to the skin and anus, leading to infection. No, thanks.
So when starting with anal play, the wetter, the better. Sinclair suggests massaging the anus with lube beforehand to warm things up. And when you do penetrate with butt plugs or anal beads, “insert at a 45-degree angle, to avoid what I call the ‘squeegee effect,’”—a.k.a. all the lube getting squeezed back out.
If you’re not using toys and don’t need protection during anal sex, you want to stick to silicone, oil/water hybrids, and oil-based lubes. They generally have a thicker consistency and stay in place longer. However, if you’re using condoms or silicone anal toys, water-based lubes are the best choice—as silicone- and oil-based options may break down the materials in your toy.
When it comes to the best lubes for anal sex, as a sex educator, I’ve done my fair share of…research. Of the many brands I’ve tested, here are my picks of top performers:
Hybrid lubes are all the rage. You get the staying power of a silicone lube, with all the compatibility of a water-based. Babelube Silk will never disappoint. It is silky and smooth and glides on like a dream. Feel free to use it with your favorite anal-sex toys—it won’t cause any pesky damage.
Coconut oil is a great choice for anal, especially for anyone looking for a safe all-natural lube option. Unlike baby oil or Vaseline, which will dry out and irritate the anal tissue, coconut oil will stay smooth. Just remember, this one isn’t safe with latex condoms.
The Butters is a creamy, rich, oil-based lube that is an absolute must-buy for anal play. Its thick and smooth texture takes your anal experiences from good to mind-blowing. Plus, it leaves skin feeling soft and moisturized and will never, ever stain your sheets. If you’re a gal who prides herself on decadence, The Butters is the way to go.
Wicked Sensual Care
People love the way Wicked Jelle stays exactly where you put it, doesn’t dry out or turn sticky, and rinses off easily with water. Plus, this particular anal lube comes as a set of two mini tubes, so you can keep one at your place and one at your partner’s.
H20 Anal Water-Based Personal Lubricant
System JO is known for its silky texture and long staying power. Some anal lubes can get thick and gross, but this water-based one, despite its perfect-for-anal viscosity, won’t.
Man, does the brand know how to market and package a good product. Boy Butter, which resembles an actual tub of margarine, blends coconut oil and organic silicone for an anal-sex lube you can trust. It’s not drippy, sticky, or drying, and it’s edible, if you’re into rim jobs and that sort of thing.
Natural Anal Lubricant
Lynk Pleasure Products
This natural water-based lube from Lynk has racked up almost 5 stars and 1,000 reviews on Amazon. Its ingredient list is clean, the price point rocks, and it has the perfect silky consistency for anal sex. Bonus: The pump-style bottle makes for way less mess.
Almost Naked Personal Lube
Good Clean Love
This is a versatile lubricant that’s completely organic and all-natural—you won’t find any harsh chemicals or sketchy parabens in this lube. It’s water-based and compatible with condoms, but since it’s not an anal-specific lube, you may need to reapply a bit.
Premium Waterproof Silicone Personal Lube
This is a cheaper drugstore brand that is tried and true for anal play. It stays in place—even in water—which means it’s a good choice for anal play in the shower. The formula is very gentle and non-irritating to the skin. Astroglide is water-based, condom compatible, and super slippery.
Natural Lubricating Gel
This lube is 100 percent organic, vegan, and infused with green tea and sea extracts. If you have particularly sensitive skin, I recommend trying a small amount before going full throttle. It’s pretty mild, but it’s always best to be safe.
Ease Silicone Relaxing Glide
Überlube is an industry favorite. It’s so gentle on skin, you can even use it to remove your makeup. (No, for real.) This silicone lube is light to touch and has a slick, slippery feel. Just remember: Don’t use silicone lubes with silicone anal toys, as they can degrade the material.
Almond oil has a lovely, nutty scent that is ideal for the health, er, nuts out there. It’s completely body-safe—just be sure you’re purchasing 100 percent all-natural almond oil. This one isn’t compatible with latex condoms, FYI.
Backdoor Water-Based Anal Lubricant
This thick, water-based lube is built to last. No matter how rough your anal adventures, this lube will stay in place without getting goopy. A few drops is all you need.
Premium Personal Lubricant
Sustain is a go-to for all types of sexual play. It’s water-based, all natural, and incredibly vagina- and anus-friendly. Sustain prides itself on being about as pure as you can get—a.k.a. no harmful ingredients, parabens, glycerine, or petro-chemicals in this lube. Being on the thinner side, it does require some reapplication during butt play, but it’s worth it for the quality.
Intimate Personal Moisturizer
This lube is for the luxe among us. Its chic black bottle looks more like a pretty perfume, but where it really stands out is in performance. It creates a smooth sensation and has a clean texture. Infused with aloe vera, it’s a safe choice for anal sex and butt toys of all kinds.
Gigi Engle is a certified sex coach, educator, and writer living in Chicago. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @GigiEngle.