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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 10 min read

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.

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, too wouldn't hurt.

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, teeth, and if you're on the Keto diet, it's going to 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 ancillary good 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 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

Oh, strap in because this one is weird-on-toast. 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 thoroughly clean any toys 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.

As long as it's pure aloe and not mixed with alcohol, it's a great lube alternative.

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 justplain 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 might be less likely to have this on hand than you are actual 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.

If you have nice avocado oil in your house, there might be better options, but if you're strapped for time, don't feel bad running to the kitchen.

Condom and toy safety

As with any of these products, oil 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 it can stick around and go rancid. You 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.

They should also be used within about 6 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 at the height of passion to use as lube.

Maybe you're looking for something - anything - in the kitchen and you grab one of these products. Let us emphasize: do not use any of these for sex or even masturbation.

Keep these products away from all genitals you're lucky enough to touch.

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 be a harbor of infectious agents, especially fungus, when it enters the genitals.

Use it for the pregame massage, but don't take it onto the field, if you catch our drift.

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, if you don't clean well, it can go rancid and invite infections to come roost.

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 if you find yourself out of lube, alternatives work just as well.

The biggest concern is avoiding the bad ones or options that you or your partner might have a reaction to.

If you find yourself out of lubricant at this moment, then consider opting for a better brand when you stock up next.

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

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

You can 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.


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