Learning about body-safe materials is one thing, but then you find out: Silicone lube may not be OK with silicone toys? What about everything else??? What goes with what?
Safe toy materials, lubricants, and condoms can be mixed and matched so many different ways, so we’ll break it down. This guide will run through the four main types of lubricant and how well each works with safe sex toy materials and condoms too!
Work with: EVERY SEX TOY EVER; all condoms
Water-based lubes are safe with any sex toy material: one reason why Sliquid H2O and the slightly thicker Sliquid Sassy are constantly in demand. Water-based lubes are, well, wet. They apply easily and require very little extra cleanup. They’re also absorbed more easily, so you may need to rewet the lube (with tap water) or just apply more lube—this is especially true with longer, more intense play or if you’re using a textured toy.
All water-based lubes are compatible with all sex toy materials (even silicone), but not all are created equally. Peepshow Toys only sells water-based lubes that don’t contain glycerin (linked to yeast and bacterial infection), propylene glycol (shown to dry out sensitive tissues), or parabens (estrogenic and even carcinogenic in high amounts). Those problematic ingredients have been known to irritate mucous membranes, so why risk it?
Hybrid Lubricants (Water-Based Plus Silicone Combined)
Work with: Stainless steel & other metals; ABS plastic; glass, stone, & wood; generally safe with silicone too; all condoms
Hybrid lubes are generally viewed as compatible with all toy materials as well; these combination formulas are thicker and more “cushiony” than pure water-based lube.
The silicone content in hybrid lubricants is low, usually below 12%, which is why it’s regarded as safe for silicone sex toys (which may interact negatively with pure silicone lubricant; see the next topic). I personally recommend Sliquid Silk with sex toys that (1) are texture-heavy, (2) are going to see a lot of thrusting action, or (3) have a draggier silicone finish. I have never experienced, or heard of anyone else seeing, a silicone sex toy damaged by hybrid lubricant. If you want to be absolutely sure before slathering your toy in hybrid lube, do a patch test (discussed next).
Work with: Stainless steel & other metals; ABS plastic; glass, stone, & wood; all condoms
Do NOT use with: Silicone sex toys—maybe (explanation below)
Silicone lube is so slick; it supplies a thick, super-long-lasting coating. That’s why it’s the best lube to use during condom-ed sex or play that involves more friction. Silicone lube lasts because it’s moisture-resistant and is absorbed far less easily than water-based lube.
Whether or not silicone lube is compatible with silicone sex toys is a much-debated topic. Cured silicone sex toys are functionally nonporous, but the silicone oils in silicone lube can be absorbed into a toy’s micropores, even causing swelling if the toy is dunked in silicone lube for an extended period.
A few platinum silicone toy manufacturers say that with normal use, their products are fine with any silicone lubricant; degradation won’t occur. Other makers, though, state to not use silicone lube with silicone toys, as an extra precaution. Makers that say YES you can use silicone lubricant on their silicone toys: SquarePegToys, Mr. Hankey's Toys, Oxballs, and NS Novelties.
Pure silicone toys (solid dildos or plugs or sleeves) really shouldn't experience damage from silicone lubricant, used for a normal amount of time and washed off well afterward. You're more likely to see issues in vibrators with thin silicone coats over a motor core underneath.
If you are 100% sold on using silicone lubricant, you may choose to do a patch test. This means dabbing the lube onto the base of the toy and letting it sit for a period of time (at least 5 minutes). Then wash the lube off and inspect the toy closely to see whether its surface has changed appearance. Though it’s unlikely that you’ll see an interaction, we cannot 100% guarantee the safety of your toy in this case.
The surest method is to not use silicone lubricant with silicone sex toys.
Work with: Silicone; stainless steel & other metals; ABS plastic; glass, stone, & wood
Do NOT use with: (Most) condoms; toys with hard-to-clean crevices around the buttons
There’s a common myth that oil-based lube is harmful to silicone sex toys. That’s likely due to experiences where people bought porous materials falsely labeled as silicone, which then began “melting” once oil touched their surface.
Oil-based lubes do not damage or interact with the surface of quality silicone toys.
Oil is somewhat harder to clean off toys, especially toys with deep crevasses or recessed buttons. Fun Factory recommends not using oil-based lube on its Stronic pulsating dildos, for example, to be extra cautious.
And, importantly: Never use oil-based lubricant with latex or polyisoprene condoms, as oil will cause those materials to tear. Polyurethane condoms are compatible with oil, but those are much less common and are looser-fitting. Also, nitrile condoms (all “female” condoms) are safe with oil.
Condoms + Toys
Some sex toy users may choose to put condoms over their body-safe toys for these reasons: (1) when using the same toy between partners or holes, for STI protection or to prevent the transmission of anal bacteria into the vagina; or (2) easier cleanup, particularly for anal play.
Body-safe sex toys will never degrade condoms (like oil-leaching PVC and TPR/TPE materials can). But the vast majority of condoms contain silicone lubricant, so we’re back to the question of whether silicone lube will interact with any particular silicone sex toy.
It is possible to buy unlubricated condoms: If you’re committed to condom use with your silicone sex toys, consider this route.
Here’s a quick recap:
- Water-based lube is safe with everything.
- Hybrid lube is generally seen as OK with everything, but do a patch test to be absolutely sure.
- Silicone lube is great with condoms and all body-safe toys except silicone ones (where it may or may not cause issues).
- Oil-based lube is not compatible with the most-common condom materials, but is safe with body-safe toy materials. You may not want to use it with toys that include harder-to-clean crevasses.
- If you want to use a condom over your silicone sex toy and not worry about (potential) interaction, opt for unlubricated condoms.
We hope this post will help you play safe and have fun!
Phallophile Reviews explores and ranks body-safe silicone sex toys, from thrusting dildos to G-spot vibes to suction cup positions and more! Follow the author, Felicity, on Twitter or Insta for her latest toy adventures.