How silicone lube works and why it's so damn slick

Silicone lube has a reputation for being one of the most resilient lubes you can find. While it’s not my favorite, each one I’ve sampled is absolutely slipperier than all hell in a way that’s almost magical. Since magic is usually just science waiting to happen, I did a little research to find out why silicone lubes work so well. The answer is pretty simple actually, but still incredibly cool: the molecules glide over each other like a warm knife through soft butter.

More precisely, the molecules of silicone lube are extremely long and flexible while still remaining fluid. They also can survive extreme conditions and pressure much better than many organic lubricants. So a better metaphor might be silk scarves, wrapping around each other but never getting caught. No matter how hard they’re pressed together, they simply tend to squish around rather than bunch tightly.

While there are many organic lubricants that perform just as well if not better – The Butters for instance – silicone’s molecular properties make it bind to surfaces keeping it in place better. Those long lean molecules can just lay over the molecules of a surface, molding to all the pits and grooves, while maintaining that trademark squishy fluidity. Together, this creates an almost frictionless glide.

That particular gripping skill is unique to silicone among body safe lubricants. Although, this is also why it can stain fabrics so badly and is legendarily problematic to clean sometimes. It’s also the main problem causer when silicone lubes meet silicone toys. Essentially, the molecules of silicone bind to some various impurity within the silicone and either break it down or fuse permanently. I covered the science behind those chemical reactions and how to avoid them in greater depth in an upcoming blog at recently. It'll be out 10/5/16

Among lubes, silicone-based ones are the most mysterious options available, but, more than anything, they’re just really cool. Down to the molecular level, they work with our tissues to provide a plush cushion allowing our bits to slide past one another easily. It’s a simple answer in the end but no less exciting in use.

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