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Sex Supplies in a Pinch: What Can I Use as Lube?

What can you use as lube when there’s none of the real stuff on hand? Here are some surprising ways to keep momentum going with safe lube alternatives.
Editorial team
October 26, 2023
May 21, 2024
min. read
Table of Contents

Maybe you’ve had a dry spell, and you’re understocked. Maybe this is the third guy to walk through your bedroom door today. Either way, you go to reach for the bottle of lube, and the unthinkable happens: You're fresh out.

Despite spending the better half of your afternoon douching so you can try that new position, the sex has come to a grinding halt. But nobody's going anywhere — especially not that glorious schlong — and you don’t even have to settle for mouth stuff. There could still be something lying around that will turn your privates into a veritable slip and slide.

If you're wondering, "What can I use as lube when I’m in a tight situation?" — worry not! Your conundrum might be quickly resolved with something from your cupboard.

Safety first, boys

Here's a quick but vital disclaimer: Whether you’re using toys or riding his hungry hog, lube is the best lube — full stop. Technically, when you ponder the question, "What can I use as anal lube?" The answer should always be something specifically designed for anal sex, whether it’s an oil- or water-based lubricant.

If you can, slow your roll a bit and wait to pick some anal lubricant up (or shrug it off and accept that your trip to Pound Town is postponed). You never know if you're messing with some untapped allergens or irritants. If you thought not having lube would lower the momentum, imagine how much worse it gets when there’s a rash on your hole. 

Also, no personal lubricant will protect you against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) — a point we always like to make.

What not to use as lube

First, here's a quick rundown of substances you should avoid if you don't want your romantic evening to end in the emergency room.


We hear you like water-based lube, and we won't argue if you like using spit during sex; that's between you and your playmate. But it doesn't change that saliva is a poor lubricant for anal sex. Maybe he ate the booty like groceries during foreplay, but that doesn't mean you can take the sausage. Did we learn nothing from Brokeback Mountain?


Lotions often have fragrances that can cause skin irritation (especially if they get in your anus or urethra!). They'll also dry out quickly, so you risk running out before anyone can bust.

Honey or agave

Okay, this one shouldn’t require an explanation since honey is sticky and not slick, but we feel obligated to include it here. Please do yourself a favor and keep this out of your ass or risk getting the anal equivalent of a yeast infection.

Cleaning products

Soap and shampoo seem like excellent candidates, but they run into a similar problem as lotion: Cleansers have fragrances and other ingredients incompatible with such a delicate area of your body. Yes, you use soap to clean your anus, but that doesn't make it a good lubricant.

Animal-derived substances

You might find some decent alternatives in the pantry, but we'd advise you to stay out of the fridge. Although some might recommend butter, yogurt, or even egg whites as an effective swap for store-bought lube, it's not the serve you think it is.

Aside from the potential for irritation or infection, sending your eager top out to crack some eggs seems unlikely to boost the mood. 

Slippery substitutes: What household items can I use as lube?

No more digging through your cabinets, screaming, "What can I use as lube at home?" It's time to head back to the bedroom and get busy. Here are 10 unsuspecting products that make for surprisingly effective bussy butter:

Note: Many of these alternatives are discussed with anal sex in mind; results may vary when vulvas are involved. Using some of these with a partner who has a vagina could increase the chances of infections like bacterial vaginosis or vaginal dryness. Consult a gynecologist for more information.

Virgin coconut oil

This option is one of the best on the list for at-home lubrication. It’s anti-inflammatory, moisturizing, and tastes much better than olive oil (unless you’re really into Italian food).

Coconut oil is a great natural alternative to lube if you don't feel like buying something synthetic. When you’re daydreaming in the grocery store, asking, “What can I use as lube for sex?” coconut oil will always be a good answer — just avoid unrefined coconut oil.

The drawback is that using it with a latex condom is not advisable. But if that doesn't concern you and your partner (or partners), then pick some up.

Warning: Using coconut oil for vegan baking in the future may induce unexpected boners.

Olive oil

Even when you aren't making a 30-minute meal, olive oil has plenty of uses. So, we hope you reserved a tablespoon or two from the shrimp scampi you made for your romantic pre-sex dinner. (They say hindsight is 20/20, but we're powering through.)

Olive oil works wonders as a last-minute personal lubricant since it spreads nice and slick. There are some caveats, however. Your skin won't absorb olive oil as well as other substances, so you'll want to wash off thoroughly after the deed — par for the course for many of us, anyway. The other downside is that it doesn’t play nice with latex condoms, potentially causing them to break.


Aloe vera

You probably wouldn’t think to use this as an anal lubricant unless you're nursing a sunburned balloon knot. (You've probably got bigger fish to fry than having sex if that's you.) But aloe vera is hydrating and reduces irritation — two benefits that can make anal sex much more comfortable.

Again, there's a caveat. Some aloe vera products contain alcohol. If yours does, it is definitely not a good lube alternative for intercourse. Save that aloe vera for when you fall asleep at the beach rather than sex on the beach.

Vitamin E oil

So, this isn't exactly going to be lying around in everyone's home — but hey, maybe you’re a skincare savant. Vitamin E is hydrating and safe for sensitive skin, making it a clear contender for impromptu lube, especially considering your other potential options.

And yes, the oil base means you should avoid using it with a latex condom.

Avocado oil

Another niche cooking oil that may or may not be hanging around your pantry, avocado oil is a mostly safe lube alternative. The purer your avocado oil is, the better.

However, be warned: this oil doesn't come cheap, so it's not the most cost-effective option for lubrication. But if all the blood has already left your brain, you probably don't care.

Sensing the pattern that this won't work well with a latex condom? Because it won't.

Cocoa butter

Cocoa butter is a natural ingredient you might already find in store-bought lubes. By itself, it can be a safe lube alternative.

But, following the trend of lotions, some cocoa butter products contain additives, fragrances, or dyes that may irritate sensitive tissues. And nothing kills the mood quite like an irritable asshole.


It took a while to get here, but the OG anal lube alternative is finally on this list: Crisco. It was extremely popular as a lube alternative among gay men in days of yore since it makes things nice and slippery, but it’s not necessarily ideal. It isn’t always great for your pores, and it can trap bacteria.

It's also not something everyone has lying around — but if you do, you'll probably see the same good results our foredaddies did during intercourse. Just remember that essential, oil-based exception: This lube shouldn’t be used with latex condoms.

Hemp seed oil

Hemp seed oil is technically safe to use for anal sex, but there are a few catches you should know before you put it in your catcher’s mitt.

It's more lightweight than heavier oil-based products, meaning you can go from comfy to uncomfy within the first few minutes of the dicking down. Hemp seed oil isn't always correctly regulated either, so it's not a great idea to use it if you're concerned about purity.

Say it with us now: Avoid using it with condoms.

Jojoba oil

Jojoba oil is another excellent pick on this list since it's healing and hydrating for your skin. It's thinner than most anal lubricants, so you might need to use more to keep things sexy and sultry. It's also crucial you use high-grade and pure jojoba oil. Otherwise, you might introduce some not-so-hot ingredients into the picture — and onto the penis.

Shea butter

Shea butter is another ingredient found in many oil-based lubes. It has a thick texture that lends itself well to anal sex. But you already know the drill: Use shea butter with no additives.

For an even cozier time, mix your shea butter with coconut oil for something extra luxurious. 

Get ready for your next grind-sesh with Grindr

Once in a while, we all have emergencies that require anal lubrication. But you should probably just hit up the pharmacy before your weekend bacchanals.

Looking for someone to share your next slippery situation with? Find them among the millions of active users on Grindr! Get the Grindr app, or browse hands-free with Grindr Web — the same Grindr you know and love, now available on your laptop or PC with no download required.

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