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Lubrication Bases


ID: 030102051

Science Topic

Lubrication Bases

Evaluating and Organizing Common Lubricants

Education Center | Course ID: 030102051

Publication Details

Author: Finn Vortex

Published: 15 July 2023

Updated: 15 July 2023

Duration: 10 Minutes

Executive Summary

High level overview and comparative analysis of lubricant bases, including a short list of classification methodologies. Explanation of Fist Theory's evaluation protocols and lubrication Summary Data Sheets.

Classification Methodologies

There are various methods for classifying and categorizing lube. The following are common groupings/structures:

  • Preparation Effort | Sorts lubes into two categories: ready-to-use and preparation-required.
  • Examples

    Ready-to-use: Boy Butter, Elbow Grease®

    Preparation-required: J Lube, Xanthan Gum

  • Relationship to Water | Categorizes lubes as water loving (hydrophilic) or water repelling (hydrophobic).
  • Examples

    Water loving (hydrophilic): K Lube, Guar Gum

    Water repelling (hydrophobic): Crisco©, Petroleum Jelly (Petrolatum)

  • Water as a Primary Ingredient | Separates lubes with a water base from those without water as a primary component.
  • Examples

    Water-based: FFäusten, Wet, Swiss Navy

  • Oil as a Primary Ingredient | Distinguishes those lubes with a grease-like base from non-greasy lubes.
  • Examples

    Oil: Mineral Oil, Coconut Oil, Vaseline©

  • Hydration Status | Identifies lubes as either liquids/semi-solids or powders.
  • Examples

    Liquids/semi-solids: Shortening, Swiss Navy®, Boy Butter.

    Powder: X Lube, FFäusten, Carob Gum

  • Principal Active Ingredient | Divides lubes into five major categories according to the primary lubricating agent (which is known as the base).
  • Examples

    Glycerine: KYtrade; Jelly, Astroglide®

    Lipid: Crisco©, Coconut Oil

    Emulsifier: X Lube, J Lube, Xanthan Gum

    Petroleum Distillate: Vaseline, Mineral/Baby Oil

    Silicone: Wet Platinum©, Uberlübe®

Guar Gum in Bowl
Figure 1-1: Multiple Classifications for Guar Gum

Guar gum is a powdered, hydrophilic, preparation-required, water-based emulsifier.

Slam Dunk
Figure 1-2: Multiple Classifications of Slam Dunk®

Slam Dunk® is a ready-made, oil-based, hydrophobic, petroleum distillate, lipid, and PEO emulsified lubricant. Viscosity varies with Slam Dunk. Sometimes it is semi-solid and sometimes it is liquid.

Fist Theory© uses the principal active ingredient as its classification system. Note that water is not an active ingredient.

Principal Active Ingredients

There are five common lubricant bases: glycerine, lipid, emulsifier, petroleum distillate, and silicone. Emulsifier is subdivided into two categories: gum and PEO. Factors such as availability, body safety, clean-up, cost, and personal comfort preferences determine usage. The type of play may also determine selection as certain lubes work better for different types of play.


Glycerine Lube Poured into Hand
Figure 1-3: Viscosity of Glycerine

Glycerine lubes have varying viscosities; however, viscosity doesn't translate to lubricity.

Glycerine is not suitable for most fisting activities. The intestinal lining absorbs the water within the lube and rehydration of the tacky remnant is ineffective.

  • Easy cleanup / non-staining
  • General availability
  • Edible
  • Cost per coverage cm/inch
  • Dehydrates quickly
  • Does not rehydrate
  • Foreplay, traditional sex, masturbation while fisting
  • Backup/emergency use (unavailability of more suitable lubes)


Bottle of Coconut Oil
Figure 1-4: State Changes of Lipids

Many lipids, such as coconut oil, are solid or semisolid at room temperature but melt at body temperature.

Lipids are the original fisting lubricants prior to recent innovations in fisting lubes. Even with newer, highly lubricious lubricants, lipids are still utilized to protect the lining of the fist chute and provide a specific friction coefficient that can increase fisting pleasure.

  • Non-toxic
  • General availability
  • Unique drag factor
  • Edible
  • Difficult in initial application
  • Stains
  • Odors
  • Degrades latex gear and condoms
  • Application of a base coat in anal canal, rectum, and upper fist chute
  • Backup/emergency use (unavailability of more suitable lubes)
  • Personal preference for unique drag factor

Emulsifiers: PEOs

PEO Lube on Hand
Figure 1-5: PEO Affordability

In a ratio of 1:50, PEOs provide sufficient lube to generously coat and reapply without breaking the bank.

PEO-based lubricants are the most commonly fisting lubes. They are extremely lubricious and can be made in volumes appropriate for a single session. These are often referred to as powdered lubes or water-based lubes, though technically, water-based lube is a misnomer, as glycerine lubes are also water-based lubes.

  • Inert/non-allergenic in most individuals
  • High lubricity
  • Highly customizable lubricity and viscosity
  • Odorless
  • Higher than average clean-up efforts
  • Shorter shelf lives (days to weeks)
  • Most common culprit of 'lube' farts
  • All fisting activities

Emulsifiers: Gums

Pouring Xanthan Gum
Figure 1-6: Lubricity of Gums

Gums are lubricious at low and high viscosities.

Emulsifying gums are an alternative option to PEO lubes. Gums are derived by fermentation, seed germ of specific plants, or other biological processes, whereas PEOs are a petroleum-based product. Without some type of preservative, they must be discarded promptly.

  • Customizable lubricity and viscosity
  • General availability (health food stores)
  • Decreases cleanup time when coupled with PEOs
  • Shelf life (1 day)
  • Slight Odor
  • May require frequent reapplication
  • Application of a base coat in anal canal
  • Foreplay, traditional sex, masturbation while fisting
  • Backup/emergency use (unavailability of more suitable lubes)
  • Personal preference for unique drag factor

Petroleum Distillates

Petroleum Jelly on Finger
Figure 1-7: Vaseline's© Protective Barrier

Semi-solid petrolatum substances, like Vaseline©, protect against tears.

Petroleum Distillates include byproducts from the mining and refining of petroleum. Many lipid-based lube recipes add petroleum distillates to make the lube smooth and elegant. Advance fisters may use a dollop while douching to decrease harm from high velocity water and douche nozzles.

  • Cost
  • General availability
  • Slipperiness
  • Cleanup (internal & external)
  • Stains
  • Mild irritant to certain people
  • Degrades pvc, latex gear and condoms
  • Application of a base coat in anal canal
  • Douching routines
  • Masturbation while fisting
  • Personal preference for unique drag factor


Silicone Lube on Finger
Figure 1-8: Silkiness of Silicone

Despite very low viscosity, silicone absorbs into the skin to provide good lubricity.

Silicone is rarely used as a fisting lube by advanced fisters. Novice fisters often use silicone until they are exposed to more suitable fisting lubes.

  • Inert/non-allergenic
  • General availability
  • Unique drag factor
  • Cost per coverage cm/inch
  • Stains
  • Application of a base coat in anal canal
  • Foreplay, traditional sex, masturbation while fisting
  • Backup/emergency use (unavailability of more suitable lubes)
  • Personal preference for unique drag factor


Figure 1-9: Cum and Spit

Biological materials provide minimal lubrication.

Various other items can be used as lube, including spit and cum, cactus and aloe extracts, and distillates from beans, gelatin, etc.

  • Scene enhancement (pigginess)
  • All-natural
  • Low/limited lubricity
  • Availability
  • Prep time
  • Street fairs and public venues after pre-lubing (spit)
  • Post-orgasmic play (cum)
  • Organic veracity (aloe, cactus, beans, etc.)

Comparative Analysis

Evaluating lube to draw comparisons is a highly personal and extremely subjective process. With that said, the conclusions of many fisters, when aggregated, can help determine the best lube choices for fisting.

Comparison Matrix

  Acquisition Clean-Up Safety Application
Cost Ubiquity Washes Easily from Body Leaves No Permanent Stains Low Toxicity Anti-Microbial (Shelf-Life) Toy & Latex Friendly Limited Allergens or Irritation Lubricity Viscosity Limited Rehydration Needed
Glycerines One Star Four Stars Five Stars Five Stars Three Stars Five Stars Five Stars Three Stars Three Stars Four Stars Three Stars spacer
Lipids Five Stars Five Stars Three Stars Two Stars Five Stars Four Stars One Star Four Stars Five Stars Three Stars Five Stars
  - Gums Five Stars Four Stars Four Stars Five Stars Five Stars One Star Five Stars Four Stars Four Stars Four Stars Two Stars
  - PEOs Four Stars Three Stars Three Stars Five Stars Three Stars Three Stars Five Stars Three Stars Five Stars Five Stars Three Stars
Petroleum* Two Stars Five Stars One Star One Star Two Stars Five Stars Two Stars Five Stars Three Stars Three Stars Five Stars
Silicones One Star Threee Stars Two Stars One Star Five Stars Five Stars Four Stars Four Stars Five Stars Four Stars Five Stars
Table 2.1: Lubrication Base General Comparison

Lubes were evaluated based on five general categories: cost, ubiquity (general availability), clean-up, safety, and comfort. Additional sub-categories for clean-up, safety, and comfort provide further evaluation details.

* In this chart, Petroleum represents petroleum distillate lubes.


Five Star  Exhibits Superior Qualities

Four Star  Exhibits Above Average Qualities

Three Star  Exhibits Average Qualities

Two Star  Exhibits Below Average Qualities

One Star  Exhibits Inferior Qualities

Evaluation Criteria

The comparative analysis evaluates principal active ingredients in these areas:




Lubrication bases are evaluated based on cost per coverage area (inch2/cm2). Specifically, how much lube from this base is required to coat the hand, wrist, and applicable areas of the fist chute. Most ready-made lubes have high costs. Five stars indicate a low cost per coverage area.


A lubrication base with low ubiquity, which means that you cannot find it for purchase almost anywhere, is given a single star. It is hard to find and acquire. Bases like Crisco© can be purchased in almost every city at the local grocery. Bases with this level of ubiquity get five stars. Bases like FFäusten and J Lube are in typically only in specialty sex stores or farm supply stores; however, since these bases can be acquired online, they get the lowest rating for the category: three stars.



Washes Easily from Body / Washes Easily

After a session ends, or if there is a spill, effort is needed to clean up the lubrication. Lubes bases that take a lot of effort, tools, or unique cleaners, such as PEOs and Silicones, get a single star. Those that wash with soap and a single pass under the faucet get five stars.

Leaves No Permanent Stains / Unlikely to Stain

Silicone permanently stains sheets and Crisco© often leaves blotches and odors. Lube bases that don't stain get five stars, those that leave stains or require work to remove stains get a single star.



Low Toxicity

Lubes bases that less harmful for the body receive five stars. Bases with teratogens and carcinogens receive one star. Note: data here is anecdotal and rumor unless stated otherwise, there are no vendors that will disclose data of this nature.

Anti-microbial (Shelf Life) / Shelf Life

Lubes bases that are not conducive to microbial growth or bases that indicate they contain preservatives have high stars compared to those that spoil or provide material for rapid colonization.

Toy & Latex Friendly

Based on what manufactures publish and fetishists report, lube bases that do not degrade toys, condoms, and gear are awarded five stars. Oil lubes (lipids and petroleum distillates) usually receive a single star.

Limited Allergens or Irritation

High reports of aftereffects to skin or intestinal lining results in low stars. Highly inert lubrication bases will receive high stars.




The slipperiest lubrication bases get the highest number of stars. Low lubricity bases receive fewer stars.


Lubrication bases with low viscosity (they are runny and flow easily) get a single star. Lubrication bases that always create a thick, slow moving, or immobile lube receive five stars.

Limited Rehydration Needed

Based on what manufactures publish and fetishists report, lubes that do not degrade toys, condoms, and gear are awarded five stars. Oil lubes (lipids and petroleum distillates) usually receive a single star.

Data Sheets

Understanding Summary Data Sheets

Summary data sheets are divided into different colored sections:

  • Pastel Pink | Active Ingredients, Associated codes for active ingredients, additives, application details (viscosity/lubricity), and general overview.
  • Pastel Peach | Safety considerations related to health, toys, and microbial infections.
  • Pastel Blue | Sanitation instructions regarding cleanup and disposal, including typical shelf life.
  • Pastel Green | Monetary value considerations.
  • Pastel Yellow | Purchasing locations.
  • Pastel Teal | Fist Theory's fisting recommendations for this lubricant base.

Content Development

The following material is under consideration in the development of this topic:


Upon completing this course, the student will be able to:

  • Demonstrate... ...techniques
  • Give three reasons for...
  • Identify five...
  • List two alternatives...
  • Recite one etiquette protocol and one standard practice related to...

Note: Objectives should follow instructional design standards and be easily measurable with little ambiguity.

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