Lube Alternatives: What Can I Use Instead Of Lube

There are plenty of lube alternatives out there, but which ones are safe? We'll help you decide which one is best for you, your condoms, and your toys.

Dr. Laura Berman
Human sexuality and relationship expert
by Dr. Laura Berman Last updated 04/19/2022

Lube is one of the most important items during sex. Honestly, it's probably THE most important item. 

The problem is that we don't always have it just lying around the apartment.

While not having lube hasn't stopped many people from attempting sex, it's always better when things glide easier.

But what to do when your bottle of store-bought slick stuff is empty, and it's time for Netflix and Chill?

Your cabinets - both kitchen and bathroom - might have some safe, fun alternatives for you to use. 

Quick FAQs

The items safe to use as lube are CBD, Virgin Coconut Oil, Cornstarch & Water, Egg Whites, Aloe Vera, Sweet Almond Oil, Yogurt, Vitamin E Oil, Avocado Oil, and Olive Oil.

You should avoid using honey, baby oil, vaseline, vegetable oil, shortening, lotion, spit, and butter.

Pro Tip: If lube alternatives are not your cup of tea then check out the line of premium lubricants from Promescent.

What's safe to use as a lube alternative?

banana with cream on it representing safe lube alternatives

There are a handful of things to consider when you're using lube in general:

Condom use - some lubes (and yes, even store-bought ones) will destroy the integrity of a condom and leave you at risk of pregnancy or STIs.


Safety - Not everything that feels like it would work as lube is a good idea. Some will hurt, others can throw off your partner's vaginal pH, and others just don't work. Some substances seem good at the time but get gummy or dry out quickly, and that's even worse than no lube at all.


Ease of use - if your uncle told you an ancient secret of boiling yams and then adding xanthan gum at the 11-minute mark to make super amazing lube, well, first, you have a weird uncle. But secondly, if you can't use the lube alternative in a pinch, it's not good for much.

    Fortunately, there are plenty of items on the market that are safe, natural, and useful. A few require a little extra work ahead of time, but nothing too extreme.

    CBD

    CBD oil as lube alternative

    CBD oil is perfectly safe to use as a lubricant for sex or masturbation.

    Ultimately CBD oil is the compound CBD in a carrier, like coconut oil, so it's the same as using whatever it's mixed into. 

    However, CBD supposedly has a variety of benefits, including topical, skin-related boons.

    If you're already using CBD oil for other reasons, we probably don't have to try too hard to sell you on using it in the bedroom, too.

    CBD oil as lube alternative

    If you suffer from mild ED due to psychological factors (like anxiety), CBD has been theorized to help with that.

    This study suggests that CBD reduces anxiety, specifically performance anxiety.

    This could be a big benefit in general, but using it as lube might help take the edge off sexually.

    Condom and toy safety

    Again, oils don't mix with condoms or many toys. Find a water-based lube instead.

    Other concerns

    CBD is at the very least safe, and there are many benefits to using it regularly, and CBD is not THC (not that there's anything wrong with THC, either).

    The point is, you're not going to get high from putting this on your body.

    Virgin Coconut Oil

    Split open coconuts to use a lube alternative

    Is there anything coconut oil can't do?

    It's great for your hair, skin, and teeth, and if you're on the Keto diet, it will help you drop pounds.

    You can even cook with it, assuming you don't mind the taste.

    The "virgin" here refers to the fact that the oil is as unrefined as possible, so it will still taste and smell like coconuts.

    Again, coconut oil is antimicrobial, widely available, and makes a really fantastic lube.

    You can use refined coconut oil - which doesn't have the smell or taste of coconuts - but the purer, the better.

    When products are refined, a lot of the good ancillary stuff comes with that processing.

    Condoms and toy safety

    Oil = bad for latex.

    Other concerns

    Make sure that you and your partner do not have coconut allergies.

    While rare, it would be the worst possible thing if you started having sex and realized mid-coitus that someone is allergic to coconuts.

    Pro Tip: It should be noted that coconut oil does have a high pH that can disrupt the normal pH of the vagina and could make you more prone to yeast infections and other vaginal infections.

    Cornstarch and Water

    Spilled bottle of cornstarch to be used a lube alternative

    Cornstarch and water create a unique slurry that has lubricative properties.

    It takes a bit more effort than the rest of these, but it does produce useful results.

    1. Mix 1 cup of water to 4 tablespoons of cornstarch
    2. Using medium heat, bring the mixture to boiling and then stir for 30 seconds
    3. Take the mixture off the heat and let it cool completely

    This mixture should be used that same day, so discard any that you don't use up.

    Cornstarch lube actually feels pretty good, is natural, and doesn't contain any of the stuff you don't want near your junk, like parabens or dyes.

    Condom and toy safety

    Cornstarch lube is safe with condoms and toys.

    Though it won't hold the slickness of other lubes for as long, it can still give you plenty of, ahem, ride time.

    Other concerns

    The biggest concern is that you clean your toys and yourself well after using cornstarch lube. 

    Additionally, don't try to reuse a batch - simply discard what's leftover and make a new one immediately before the next romp.

    Egg Whites

    Eggs to be used as lube alternative

    Okay, strap in because this one is a bit strange. Egg white protein - called albumin - is very similar to cervical mucus.

    If you haven't clicked out yet, bear with us.

    Because of this similarity, it can be used as a quick, strange alternative to lube in a pinch.

    Chances are you have eggs in your fridge at this very minute.

    Condom and toy safety

    Egg whites are perfectly safe to use with toys and condoms.

    Since they are water-based, there's no danger of damage to latex or silicone.

    Just make sure to clean your toys thoroughly afterward.

    Other concerns

    The biggest concern is not cross-contaminating your sex space if you're using egg whites.

    Don't do oral on a penis or toy that has had egg whites on it until everyone and everything has a quick clean-up.

    While infection from eggs is less likely than it used to be, it's still a possibility.

    Practice safe sex/cooking.

    Aloe Vera

    Aloe Vera to be used as lube alternative 

    Aloe vera is an easy-to-grow plant that you may have seen at your local farmer's market.

    While you can break a piece off and use that, you probably have it around for sunburns.

    It can be a great lube alternative as long as it's pure aloe and not mixed with alcohol.

    Condom and toy safety

    Because aloe vera is a plant, it's essentially nature's water-based lube.

    It's safe with or without condoms and with toys. Again, make sure that you're using pure aloe vera.

    Other concerns

    None - aloe even adds hydration to your skin, so go nuts!

    Sweet Almond Oil

    Bowl of almonds to represent sweet almond oil as lube alternative

    Almond oil smells amazing, and it's body-safe. It stays slick longer, meaning more fun with less lube. 

    It's probably one of the least likely oils on this list that you'd have lying around, but in a pinch, if it's there, feel free to bring it into the bedroom.

    Condom and toy safety

    Almond oil is less damaging to latex, but it's still oil and will still weaken them.

    As with other oils on this list, find something water-based if you're using condoms or toys.

    Other concerns

    None other than make sure you and your partner don't have almond allergies.

    Yogurt

    Plain yogurt is a great lube alternative that can help balance the pH of the vagina

    Admittedly this one feels weird, but plain yogurt with no additives or flavors is a great lube alternative.

    There's even some research that suggests it can help balance the ph of the vagina and prevent thrush.

    The texture and lubricative properties of plain yogurt (not Greek or anything else) work well as lube. 

    It's cheap, easily available, and safe in a pinch.

    Just don't double-dip.

    Condom and toy safety

    Yogurt works well with condoms and toys, but again, make sure you thoroughly clean everything afterward.

    Because it's a food, it's safe to go from penetration and back to oral as well.

    Other concerns

    The only big concern here is to make sure it's just plain yogurt with nothing added.

    Sugars and additives can cause yeast infections or worse.

    Vitamin E Oil

    Vitamin e oil to be used as a lube alternative

    Vitamin E oil is a perfectly fine lube alternative. It's a healthy oil that's great for your skin and won't leave a sticky residue behind.

    Because it's great for conditioning sensitive areas, it might be one of the best choices for a lube alternative.

    The only downside is you’re probably less likely to have this on hand than you are regular lube.

    If you have it, though, feel free to put it to use.

    Condom and toy safety

    Oil-based lubes - including actual oils - don't work well with condoms, so go with something else if you're using them.

    Toys are likely safe, but make sure you clean them well when you're done.

    Some oils can break down toys if they sit on them too long.

    Other concerns

    Make sure that the oil you're using is free from dyes and scents, as these can actually be unpleasant on the genitals in some cases.

    Avocado Oil

    Avocado representing avocado oil as lube alternative

    Avocado oil is one of the best quality oils you can get for skin, cooking, and apparently sex as well. 

    It's high in omega-3s, which means it's anti-inflammatory, and it's widely available at most grocery stores.

    With that said, it's probably the most expensive lubricant alternative you could choose.

    So it might be best to stick with one of the cheaper alternatives on the list.

    Condom and toy safety

    As with any of these oil-based products, it will break down latex. If you're using condoms, find a water-based lubricant.

    Food oils should not be used with most toys, other than glass or metal, as they can stick around and go rancid. You definitely don't want that.

    Other concerns

    Make sure the oil you're using hasn't just gone rancid itself in the bottle.

    These oils should be stored in dark glass or opaque containers to minimize oxidation.

    Additionally, they should be used within about six months of opening them and within 12 months of being bottled. You don't want to cook or have sex with rancid oil.

    Olive Oil

    Olive oil that can be used as a lube alternative

    Like avocado oil, olive oil is extremely healthy for your skin and body in general. It's a great lube, again full of omega-3s and widely available.

    It's safe for consumption, sex, and omelets (for the morning after).

    Condom and toys safety

    Don't use oils with latex toys or condoms.

    Other concerns

    Basically, the same as with avocado oil - make sure it's not rancid and don't use it with toys where it could get in places that would be hard to clean.

    Chart of lube alternatives and the positives and negatives of each

    What you should avoid

    There are plenty of things you might consider trying in the heat of the moment to use as lube.

    Whatever you end up grabbing, just make sure it didn’t make it onto our list below of things NOT to use as a lube alternative.

    Honey

    Honey which should not be used as a lube alternative

    This shouldn't need explaining, but honey can cause infections and would possibly be the worst lubricant possible.

    It's a sticky mess and wouldn't actually lube anything. Leave it in the bear, and keep it in the cupboard.

    Baby Oil

    Baby oil feels nice and slick, but it's loaded with additives that you don't want near a urethra, vagina, or anus.

    It can harbor infectious agents, especially fungus, when it enters the genitals.

    Vaseline

    Vaseline isn't good for condoms and should never be used for sex or masturbation, despite what naughty school rhymes would tell you.

    How other oils will weaken condoms, Vaseline will obliterate them.

    You also don't want this in any person's body, as, again, it's a breeding ground for infection.

    Plus, it's so insanely difficult to get off of anything it touches.

    Just stay away from this stuff unless you're a longshoreman or something.

    Vegetable Oil

    Vegetable oil will work in a pinch, but there are many choices above it, even just from your kitchen. 

    Vegetable, corn, peanut, and canola oils are all full of omega-6 fatty acids, which are inflammatory and bad for you in general.

    They're not great for your penis, either. Again, opt for coconut, olive, or avocado oil.

    Shortening

    Shortening, while oil-based, has a lot of saturated fat.

    If that gets left behind, it will go rancid, and you will have a terrible, terrible time.

    Leave the Crisco in the kitchen but grab the olive oil while you're in there for a sexy time.

    Lotion

    woman pouring lotion on hand that should not be used as a lube alternative

    While lotion provides the slickness you need, it's filled with scents, dyes, stabilizers, and other things that will hurt if they go in a vagina or urethra.

    It's best in all cases to avoid lotions and opt for something less filled with bad stuff.

    Spit

    While it might seem intuitive to use spit as lube - many men find this to be their first masturbatory aid - it's not great for sex.

    You can very easily spread a lot of STIs this way, especially with a partner you don't know well.

    Spit also just isn't a great lube, and nobody thinks it's romantic to hear their partner spit when preparing for sex.

    Butter

    Butter on cutting board should not be used as lube alternative

    Butter tastes great, but it's not a great lube. Because it has dairy solids in it, it can go rancid and invite infections in not cleaned extremely well afterward.

    Nobody wants that, and honestly, it's not even that great of a lube. Opt for ghee or literally anything else except for honey, which we already went over.

    Takeaways

    Happy couple that discovered lube alternatives

    There are many alternatives to lube around your house.

    Some are in your kitchen pantry, and some are hanging out in your bathroom, but alternatives can work just as well if you find yourself out of lube.

    The biggest concern is avoiding the things that can cause infections or that may damage your toys and condoms.

    Water-based lubes are the safest, work great with condoms and toys, and feel amazing for partner and solo play.

    A professionally formulated aloe vera lubricant is wonderful for those who want a more natural lube - especially after reading the various benefits they offer.

    You might also consider some fun additions to your sex life, like female arousal gel for a tingling, warming sensation that will get her fired up.

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    Dr. Laura Berman

    Dr. Laura Berman

    Dr. Laura Berman PhD is an acclaimed relationship expert, award-winning radio host on her show 'Uncovered Radio' and a NY Times best-selling author. Dr. Berman has a doctorate from New York University with an emphasis on human sexuality. She is also a member of AASECT, SSSS, the International Society for the study of Women's Sexual Health and the American Urologic Society.

    Sources:

    Absorption Pharmaceuticals LLC (Promescent) has strict informational citing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic or research institutions, medical associations, and medical experts. We attempt to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references and only citing trustworthy sources. Each article is reviewed, written, and updated by Medical Professionals or authoritative Experts in a specific, related field of practice. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.

    • Nora D. Volkow. 2014 June 24. The Biology and Potential Therapeutic Effects of Cannabidiol. National Institute on Drug Abuse. https://archives.drugabuse.gov/testimonies/2015/biology-potential-therapeutic-effects-cannabidiol
    • Maryam Darvishi, Fereshteh Jahdi, Zeinab Hamzegardeshi, Saied Goodarzi, and Mohsen Vahedi. 2015 April 03. The Comparison of Vaginal Cream of Mixing Yogurt, Honey and Clotrimazole on Symptoms of Vaginal Candidiasis. National Center for Biotechnology Information - Global Journal of Health Science. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4803919/
    The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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