Only water-based and silicone-based lubricants can be used with latex condoms, and not oil-based, as the latex gets broken down by oil in less than 60 seconds! Oil-based lubricants can be used with non-latex plastic condoms such as polyurethane and polyisoprene condoms.
Water based lubricants often contain glycerin to help them stay slippery and wet. However, some women have sensitivity to glycerin and end up with yeast infections or urinary tract infections when they use products with glycerin. Sugars are also often in water based lubricant. If someone has a concern about this, they can purchase glycerin and sugar-free water-based lubricants.
Water-based lubricants also have a tendency to become sticky when being used. If this happens, adding a bit of water to the sticky spots can be helpful. Silicone-based lubricants typically stay slippery for longer than the water-based lubricants, however, some people don’t enjoy the clean up that follows.
Some companies have come up with flavoured lubricants. As with most water based lubricants, they often contain glycerin, sugars, or other non-vulva friendly materials. If you or your partner is interested in trying flavoured lubes for use during oral sex, check out the ingredients first: Sugar is not good for vulvas, sucralose doesn’t promote bacterial growth, so it’s typically a better option. Also, if you’re purchasing the lubricant at a store that has them on display; ask a staff member if it’s alright to do a taste test. Many sex toy stores have done their research and are carrying vulva-friendly lubes, and that sometimes means that they’ve cut back on the number of flavoured lubes available.
There are additional options for people who do not want to purchase lubricants. Saliva has long been a trusted lubricant and is readily available. Egg whites are also recommended in some resources as a natural alternative to commercially available lubricants.
Be aware that many of the “Natural” or “organic” lubricants may have oil in them! They may be fabulous products made with only the finest of ingredients but if they contain oils or butters, they are not latex compatible. Which ever lubricant someone chooses, it is important that it works for them. Most drug stores provide a minimal selection, and primarily they are from pharmaceutical companies (for example KY Jelly is a Johnson and Johnson product). Specialty stores like Womyn’s Ware and Art of Loving have a wide variety of water-based, silicone-based and oil-based lubricants.