To pick the right type of lube, consider what your masturbation routine looks like, Frye-Nekrasova, recommends. Prefer classic skin-on-skin contact? You can choose from any of the three. If any silicone toys will be involved—and it’s likely, considering the material is widely used in everything from wand vibrators to sex toys for men—you should always stick to water-based lube: “The silicone in the lubricant will break down and deteriorate toys made from silicone,” Bryan explains. “[Those] toys, especially softer ones, could be ruined.”
“If your concern is easy cleanup, a water-based lube is probably going to be your best bet,” Lehmiller says. “However, if you want a long-lasting lube or want to use it in the shower, then a silicone-based lube is likely to be a better fit.” Again, lube containing glycerin isn’t ideal, Frye-Nekrasova says, so pay attention to ingredients.
Beyond material, you can also experiment with texture and sensation. Thicker formulas make great anal lubes, since they take longer to dry out and make up for the fact that your anus doesn’t self-lubricate; just make sure you’re using something water-based if anal sex toys are involved. (High-viscosity picks are also great if you’re experiencing vaginal dryness.)
Some options even offer tingling or warming sensations, and they’re “absolutely safe for masturbation,” Frye-Nekrasova says. “I do recommend starting small with stimulating lubes; try a little to see how it feels before generously applying. Since every body is different, your body may not like all stimulating lubes the same.” Lehmiller notes that they can cause irritation for people with sensitive skin, so don’t forget to spot-test before diving in.