6 Best Options, What Lube To Use & More

Our experts agree that water- and silicone-based lubricants are the best options for both rubber and non-latex condoms. “You always want to go with silicone- or water-based lube with polyisoprene condoms,” says Stewart.

It’s a hard no for oils though, says Jenni Skyler, Ph.D., LMFT, CST, sexologist and director of The Intimacy Institute for Sex & Relationship Therapy. There are mixed reports on whether non-latex condoms can support oil, she notes. For latex condoms, research shows that just 60 seconds of exposure to oil can degrade the quality of latex, making it likelier to tear during sex. Because polyisoprene and latex are so chemically similar, these non-latex condoms can also experience latex erosion from mineral, coconut, or olive oils. “I prefer to steer clear of oil-based lubes with any condoms,” she says. 

There may be at least a few exceptions to that rule though.

Polyurethane condoms are made out of plastic materials, so your favorite oil-based lube probably won’t corrode them. Howard and Stewart both say lambskin condoms are also likely fine to use with oil-based lubes. Also known as natural membrane condoms, lambskin condoms are made from the intestines of a lamb, Howard explains, so it’s biological material. “If anything,” she says, “oil would only moisturize a lambskin condom.”

If you’re ever unsure, check the condom manufacturer’s instructions or website. Or go with Skyler’s advice and err on the side of caution–avoid the oil-based lubes and stick to water- or silicone-based options.

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