Lubricant (Lube)

Using lube during sex can make sex feel more comfortable and pleasurable.

Lube can be used for all types of sex including vaginal, anal, oral, masturbation, mutual masturbation or manual sex (hand jobs and fingering), and when using sex toys.

The vagina does produce some natural lubrication, but this is not always enough. On the other hand, the anus is not self- lubricating, so it’s essential to use lube for anal sex.

How can lube help protect against sexually transmissible infections (STIs)?

The main role of lube is to reduce friction during sex. The genital region has delicate, soft tissue and if there is too much friction during sex it can cause chafing and tiny tears in the vagina and/or anus. This can increase the risk of STIs and other infections being passed on.

Lube also helps to prevent condoms, dams and gloves from breaking by making them more slippery and reducing friction. As a bonus, lube can also make sex more pleasurable.

How do you use lube?

A small amount of lube goes a long way, so there’s no need to lather it on. Use about the same amount of lube as you would use toothpaste on your toothbrush when brushing. You can always add more later.

Condom: When the condom is on the penis or a sex toy, add some lube to the outside of the condom before having vaginal, anal or oral sex.

Female condom: Lube can be put on the penis before sex when using the female condom.

Dam: Lube can be put on the underside of the dam (the side in contact with the vagina or anus) during oral sex. Flavoured lube can be put on the upper side of the dam.

Glove: Put some lube on the outside of the glove before manual sex (touching / fingering the penis, vagina or anus).

Lube can also be applied to the vulva/vagina or anus during sex if needed.


  • Condoms (including female condoms) come pre-lubricated but you can add more lube (recommended for anal sex)
  • Massage oil may be nearby and seem slippery but this shouldn’t be used as lube. Most types aren’t safe for sex and/or latex products
  • Lube comes in different flavours and sensations, so find one that you and your partner both enjoy
  • Using flavoured lube with condoms/dams can make protected oral sex more pleasurable and fun
  • Lube also comes in three main types:
    • Water-based lube – is the best lube to use with latex products such as condoms and dams, as well as being safe to use with sex toys
    • Silicone-based lube – is also safe to use with latex products, however can deteriorate silicone sex toys
    • Oil-based lube – is not suitable to use with latex products and can cause them to break. Oil-based lube can be used with polyurethane condoms

Where can I find lube?

Lube is available in supermarkets, chemists/pharmacies, and online stores, but you can also get lube from Family Planning clinics and some sexual health clinics.


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