You may have seen lubes advertised as being “warming” before, but what exactly does that mean and why is it a selling point? Aside from the potential “no thanks” of ice-cold lube hitting your skin as you’re getting it in, the warming effect of lube can increase blood flow to the area, waking up nerve endings, and making the area more responsive to touch, as Dr. Brandye, MD, a board certified OBGYN and women’s sex and pleasure coach at LifeLoveLibido explains.
But how do you choose a warming lube? What should you look for? We’ll get to the top picks in a minute, but first:
A few things to keep in mind:
1. Warming lubes aren’t for everyone. If you tend to be more sensitive to lubes, have vestibulitis (feeling a burning sensation when you stick anything in your vagina like a penis or tampon) or vaginismus, you should stay away from warming lubes, Dr. Brandye explains. Warming lubes can make these conditions way worse.
2. Pick a water-based warming lube. This way if anything doesn’t feel good, you can easily wash it off, Dr. Brandye says.
3. If you’re allergic or sensitive to cinnamon flavoring, check the ingredients on the lube formula before you buy. Dr. Brandye explains that cinnamon flavoring can be found in some warming formulations, so if you’re not into that, check the label before you commit.
4. Test out the lube on non-genital areas first. Try applying a bit to an area like your nipples or lips, as Dr. Brandye suggests, adding: that afterwards, “if you don’t have any bad reactions or discomfort, then you can move to using it on the genital area.”
5. You might wanna stay away from certain ingredients if you’re prone to yeast infections. Why? Any time you add something to the already-delicate balance of bacteria in the vagina, you are at risk of changing the environment which could increase your risk of infection, adds Dr. Arianna Sholes-Douglas, MD, of Tula Wellness and Aesthetics. Dr. Brandye says that while warming lubes don’t specifically increase your risk of getting a vaginal infection, lubes containing honey or glycerin may increase the chances of getting a yeast infection, so it’s best to stay away from those if you fall into this category.
6. Have a game plan in case the warming feeling goes too far and becomes uncomfortably hot. If you think you’re having an allergic reaction to warming lube, Dr. Brandye suggests immediately washing the area with water and a mild bar soap like Dove Soap for Sensitive Skin. Dr. Brandye also says that if you have some Benadryl, or another antihistamine, you can take some of that to stop the reaction as well. “Applying a bit of hydrocortisone cream or using an ice pack on the area can also help to decrease the inflammation associated with allergic reaction,” she adds.
However, if the lube is already inside you and causing discomfort, that can be a bit trickier. “I don’t recommend douching or putting anything inside the vagina because that can make it worse,” Dr. Brandye says. Instead, she recommends still doing all of the above, taking a pain reliever like acetaminophen or ibuprofen if needed, and if it’s still bothering you after a few hours or you have vaginal bleeding or discharge, calling your doctor for further instructions.
With those caveats outta the way, here are some of the best picks for warming lubes.
1. Wet Warming Desserts
Shop Now Wet Warming Desserts Lubricant, PinkCherry, $13
Dr. Brandye likes this brand as this formula doesn’t include glycerin, parabens, or sugar, and comes in a variety of flavors besides just cinnamon. We’re talking chocolate chip cookie, bananas foster, hazelnut souffle — yeah, it’s enough to buy a bottle or two just for the sole purpose of throwing a tasting party.
2. Astroglide Warming
Another warming lube that Dr. Brandye likes is the Astroglide warming formula. As a bonus, this brand is readily available at drugstores and big chain stores, so you know you’ll always be able to pick up a new bottle when it’s time to restock.
3. Pjur Warming Lube
Shop Now Pjur Warming Lubricant, Jack and Jill Adult, $25
Dr. Sholes-Douglas says that many of her patients like Pjur’s formulas. This warming formula is made with ginseng to give it that heated effect, and it’s condom-safe as well.
4. Sliquid Sensations
Shop Now Sliquid Organics Sensation, Ella Paradis, $29
Not only is this formula is glycerine- and paraben-free, it’s organic. This goes on cool but gradually warms up with friction (something important to keep in mind when patch-testing!) It’s from Sliquid’s Organics line, which is the fancier version of the already-ultra-popular Sliquid brand.
Shop Now Wicked Warming Lubricant, Ella Paradis, $34
Another glycerine free formula, this Wicked Ultra Heat formula comes in a convenient pump bottle. It’s fragrance-free, but silicone-based, so keep in mind that you can’t use it with any silicone toys because it will degrade the material.
6. KY Warming Jelly
Another popular drugstore brand that’s readily available, the KY Warming Jelly formula is water-based and comes in a tube for easy application and storage.
Bonus: Touch Warming Lubricant Dispenser
If you’re not into the idea of a formula that warms up on contact but are now convinced you can never go back to room temp lube, invest in a warming machine like this.
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