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Lubrication Essentials


ID: 030103001

Science Topic

Lubrication Essentials

Getting Started with Fisting Lubrication (Lubrication 101)

Education Center | Course ID: 030103001

Publication Details

Author: Finn Vortex

Published: 10 July 2023

Updated: 10 July 2023

Duration: 20 Minutes

Executive Summary

A brief introduction to fisting lubrications, including rationale, common types of fisting lube, lube-associated etiquette and practices, acquisition advice, basic application tips, and shelf-life/storage considerations. Also includes an index of the lubrication curriculum from Fist Theory’s Education Center.

Slippery Foundation

The transition from traditional sex to fisting requires the acquisition and implementation of new skills and knowledge, especially regarding lubrication. Becoming familiar with the language of lube, core principles associated with fisting lube, and the most commonly used lubes will help you integrate into the fisting community.

Lube Jargon and Glossary

Fisters use a variety of unique terms related to lube. These terms may be unfamiliar to new and inexperienced fisters.

Core Rationale

There are three reasons for applying lube: comfort, injury prevention, and connection.


Lubrication decreases friction/drag and wear, two major contributors to discomfort during fisting.

With traditional anal sex, some drag/friction may be pleasurable. The drag/friction caused by a hard-on is minimal compared to a fist, wrist, and arm.

Liberal use of lube diminishes most of the discomfort caused by large objects penetrating or attempting to penetrate the fist chute.

Injury Prevention

Lube helps prevent various types of fisting injuries. Those injuries include microtears, fissures, and perforations.

Microtears take weeks to months to heal, fissures can require surgical intervention, and perforations can take almost a year to heal before fisting can occur again.

Quick Reference


The emotional bond achieved during fisting is linked to a bottom's confidence in the skills of his top.

Misapplication of lube or failure to follow standard practices and etiquette associated with lube affects this confidence.

Propper application of lube signals to a bottom that the top is experienced, attentive, and concerned about his bottom's well-being. This allows the bottom to relax and makes penetration at any depth easier.

Common Fisting Lubes

There are five major categories of sexual lubes and several minor categories, but there is very little crossover between fisting lubes and traditional anal sex lubes. This is primarily due to the quantity of lube used during a fisting session. For example, while silicone works as a fisting lubricant, a typical session requires a minimum of 60 ml (2 fluid ounces or 4 tablespoons) to prevent injury and provide maximum comfort. At a cost of 10 to 40 USD ($) per three ounces, fisters could spend 30 - 80 USD ($) in a single session where both players are versatile.

The two most common lubricants are food-grade emulsifiers, specifically polyethylene oxides (PEOs), and food-grade lipids, specifically shortening. These two categories of lube provide good coverage per dollar while providing high lubricity.

PEO-based lubes are usually liquids and tend to be less viscous than lipids, which are often creams or solids at room temperature.

PEO Emulsifiers
  • J Lube
  • K Lube
  • X Lube
  • FFäusten
  • Crisco©
  • Trex©
  • Generic Shortening
Quick Reference

In addition to PEO and Lipid-based lubes, there are several commercial lubes that are 'made-for-fisting' and are typically lipid-petroleum-PEO-silicone hybrids. These include brands such as Elbow Grease and Boy Butter.

While many sex shops sell fisting lubricants, the mark-up is pretty high. Lubes purchased directly from the vendor via a catalog or website is usually the best method for acquiring lube. Although Amazon and Ali Baba offer lubes, there are reports of knock-offs that suffer in quality and safety.

Figure 1-1: Crisco©

Shortenings like Crisco© and Trex were the original fisting lubricants from the previous century. These and other lipid-based lubes provide excellent base coats and can be used as stand-alone lubricants.

Figure 1-2: Elbow Grease

Several commercial hybrid lubes combine petroleum distilates, lipids and PEOs to create silky creams. The cost per ml is substantially higher than shortenings and emulsifying PEOs and gums.

Figure 1-3: FFäusten

FFäusten is a PEO emulsifier that provides great coverage for punch and depth play. Other lubes in its class include K Lube and X Lube. All three have higher manufacturing standards than J Lube.

Xanthan Gum
Figure 1-4: Xanthan Gum

Xanthan gum, another powered emulsifier, can be used alone or in a mix with other ingredients. Gums increase the viscosity and lubricity of lubrication and are common ingredients in food and cosmetics.


Protocols include standard practices and etiquette followed by the majority of the fisting community. Typically, these are things that new fisters pick up over time.


Etiquette refers to how you treat others in a specific fisting scenario. There are five etiquette guidelines related to lubrication.

Etiquette Explained

Who: Bottom

When: Every Session

What: Lubrication Provision

The bottom is almost always responsible for providing his own lube. This ensures that his preferences are met, including:

  • the type/category of lube used
  • the inclusion or elimination of additives such as clove oil or anti-inflammatory agents
  • the ideal thickness (viscosity) and slipperiness (lubricity)

It also eliminates concerns such as unintentional contaminants (infectious, disease-causing microorganisms) or intentional tampering (illicit drugs such as meth) with the lube. Remember that most powdered lubes are free of preservatives and can start acquiring bacteria and fungi immediately after mixing.

There are limited circumstances where a top may provide the lube, such as long-distance travel by the bottom. In those cases, it is ideal to mix the lube when both partners are present.

Anecdotal Narrative

Man Shooting Lube Into Other Man
Figure 2-1: BYOL

Bringing your own lube ensures that it is fresh and free of microbes and illicit drugs.

Ezequiel was relatively new to fisting and never suspected anything nefarious from his playmate Yani. The day of their planned session arrived.

We still on for tonight?
Yep. I'm game! I'll start douching around three and should be at your place by seven. Should I bring anything?
I got everything taken care of, just get your ass here.
Okay. Are you okay if I put clove in my J Lube.
Dude! Relax. I just said I have everything taken care of.
Leave your lube at home. My lube has a special ingredient that will calm you down.

Yani was not lying. His lube was tainted with drugs that relaxed Ezequiel and altered his ability to consent.

— L&O SVU: 26.03.0642

Etiquette Explained

Who: Top

When: Throughout Session

What: Lubrication Application

As a top, it is best to adopt a "No Questions Asked" policy regarding lube application. This means, if the bottom asks for more lube, go ahead and add it.

Keep in mind the following:

  • Virgin and novice fisting tops are often adollopers. They rely on previous dick-in-ass experiences in reference to lube usage. That is to say, they apply enough lube for fucking, but not for fisting.
  • Hirsute men (those very hairy, god-like men) require additional lube, especially if their hair is coarse. A bottom can feel the hair, and it may be agitating or pleasurable. Excess lube can address this issue.
  • While the skin on the inside of the hole lacks neurons that can detect moisture, the outside of the hole can detect it, so it is helpful to apply lube to the ass lips and perianal area, so that the bottom mentally detects application. Applying lube to the hand only may leave the bottom with the impression that you didn't apply enough lube.

Anecdotal Narrative

Hairy Arm
Figure 2-2: Furry Arms

Additional coatings of lube may reduce agitation with coarse, furry arms.

He stuck out his arm to hold the elevator for me. It was furry as fuck and my cock stirred a little. I thought to myself, if only he were gay, a fister, and had that arm up inside me. The doors closed and I pressed 3.

We both got off at the same floor and made our way down the corridor. "Was he headed the same place I was?" I thought. "If only I be so lucky." At the end of the corridor, we both turned the same direction. As we approached the door, I decided to speak up.

"You must be Brody?" I asked.

"And you Finn. I've heard about your hole from Brad" he responded and followed up with "I can't wait to get my arm into you!"

We knocked on the door, entered, and promptly undressed.

"You think you can handle my hairy arm?"

"Have you ever scrubbed lube off your elbow?" I replied.

"That deep, eh? Truth is, I haven't been that deep. It's gonna be a bitch to wash out this fur—but well worth it."

I hopped in the spare sling, and he applied lube to his hand and wrist.

"I'm deep within seconds, apply a little higher." I requested.

"Got it!" he said, spreading lube to his mid-forearm.

"You're gonna need it a little higher with that first push."

He somewhat reluctantly added more lube to just shy of his elbow and said, "Let's do this!"

His small hand slid in with ease and his eyes bulged as his arm kept disappearing. I felt the moment we crossed the event horizon—the non-lubricated skin just shy of the elbow. He pulled back and indicated he would reapply, but much higher.

"Just keep going as is. I've been fantasizing about that furry pit at my hole's edge since the elevator." I grunted. I could feel each dry hair, tickling my ass lips as he sunk deeper, and the feeling was magnificent.

Sadly, we didn't make it past the upper bicep even after recoating, but it was a glorious experience being ravaged by a furry bastard.

— FF Chronicles: 20.07.0466

Etiquette Explained

Who: Top

When: In Group Sessions

What: Lubrication Cleanup

In group play, tops should practice good hygiene and wash hands (and pricks) thoroughly between bottoms. This prevents the spread of STIs such as Gonorrhea, Hepatitis C, Shigella, and HPV. If using lipid- or PEO-based lubrication, three to five minutes of hand washing is necessary.

If engaging multi-bottom activities such as chariot fisting, double-decker fisting, and fisty-nine plus one, validate with bottoms their contamination protocols. Acquire consent to forego handwashing in these activities.

Anecdotal Narrative

Shigella Bacteria
Figure 1-3: Spreading Shigella

Shigella adheres easily to lube and can remain alive outside for several weeks, so transmission between bottoms is likely if correct hygiene practices are not followed.

Eric mistakenly grabbed an old bottle of lube from the fridge as he rushed out the door to a Friday night fist party.

Unfortunately, the lube had been colonized by Shigella, and Eric reported symptoms within 24 hours. Even though he was vigilant about not sharing lube, he was unsure if all the guests washed hands thoroughly between bottoms.

To be safe, the party organizers alerted the attendees, and everyone monitored for symptoms.

— FF Chronicles: 19.03.0426

Etiquette Explained

Who: Top

When: After the Session

What: Prerequisites

Wiping the lube off the bottom is an absolute MUST (unless declined by the bottom) and is a clear indicator of your level of experience.

Inexperienced fisters often forget most of the aftercare routine, including the cleanup of the bottom prior to him getting off the bed, bench or sling.

Refusing to or forgetting to clean up the bottom will garner you a negative reputation.

Anecdotal Narrative

Bottom Cleaning Up His Own Hole
Figure 2-4: Post Session Lube Removal

Leaving a bottom in the sling without cleaning him up first is a cardinal sin among fisters.

Enrique had megapaws hands and a tight hole. This meant he could rarely top or bottom until we met. One Sunday FFunday, we popped his cherry both as a top and bottom. It was a monumental day for him.

Over the next few FFundays, I began to hear rumblings that when he was finished topping a hole, he bolts without wiping up the bottom. As his mentor, I took responsibility and pulled him aside for a quick lesson on lube etiquette while riding his fist.

"Hey, I may have forgot to tell you this, mostly because I don't like people touching me, but it's standard protocol to always wipe up your bottom and then help him stand up after a session."

"I was wondering why I was getting the side eye." He responded, pushing his hand in deeper.

"After you finish wrecking me now, I'll show you how a gentleman cleans up his playmate's hole".

— FF Chronicles: 07.02.0583

Etiquette Explained

Who: Top

When: After a Session

What: Site Cleanup

Part of the standard aftercare routine is for the top to clean up the play space to ensure that the bottom doesn't slip after getting up from the bed/bench or out of the sling. A bottom may be light-headed after inhaling a lot of poppers or having his legs elevated above his head. He will need a clean space to place his feet to keep his balance.

If using disposable materials for lube abatement (paper towels, puppy pads, newspaper), the top should discard of these soiled items before helping the bottom up. If using shop towels and chucks, these should be removed and placed in the laundry basket so that the bottom doesn't trip after dismounting.

Like cleaning up a bottom, site cleanup is a core responsibility of a top after a session ends. Failing to do so will result in fewer invites to play parties and fewer repeat encounters with playmates.

Anecdotal Narrative

Bag of Fisting Trash
Figure 2-5: Site Cleanup

Cleaning up the play space after a session is the responsiblity of the top.

The talk about Earnst was always the same:

"He just leaves a mess after finishing," said one guy.

"I asked him to help clean me up, and he ignored me and walked away. There was a mess everywhere!" said another.

"I almost slipped in the puddle of lube beneath me cause he never cleans up!" A third person piped in.

"I reminded him before, but he just doesn't get it" said the host. "I'm not going to invite him again."

— FF Chronicles: 30.04.0430

Standard Practices

Standard Practices refers to common sense behaviors related to fisting activities. There are two standard practices related to lubrication.

Practices Explained

Who: Top (Primarily)

When: Throughout Session

What: Lubrication Application

Before starting a session, clarify your partner’s containment policy. He may prefer to keep lube limited to an isolated area surrounding the hole, especially if he is anywhere on the autism spectrum.

Having lube spread all over his body may make him uncomfortable and cause his hole to be less welcoming.

One major reason why a top is not invited to play again is because "he gets lube everywhere!"

Anecdotal Narrative

Lube Everywhere!
Figure 2-4: Sticky Bodies

Being smothered in lube can be highly erotic or highly distracting.

Erastus, a fellow Mormon, invited me over to his flat to play one evening. I jumped at the chance. Mormon boys are either really very wild or really very mild—it's usually the former, rather than the 'L'atter.

It was a very erotic and rewarding session. Upon meeting, we had instant connection. We fucked. We fisted. We played deep and wide. We discussed our kink yums and our kink yucks. We matched in many ways including our piss preferences and lube practices.

"While I prefer getting soaked with piss from head to toe, I hate getting lube anywhere outside the circle of life" he said.

"Circle of life?" I responded.

"That's what I call the lube perimeter around my hole." He replied. "Most often, it's radius is no more than 15 cm from my cunt."

"So, more so a circle of lube than the circle of life. I thought you were going all Mufasa on me." I laughed.

To my inquiry, he responded "Potato, po-tah-to — tomato, to-mah-to. Lube and life — it's all the same when it comes to fisting."

"I think my circle is even smaller than yours is. I wear a tight jock when bottoming because I hate getting lube on my balls. It freaks me out." I said.

The conversation and fisting continued. My ball sack remained free of lube and dry until we started dousing each other with piss.

"I am playing with my Dutch friend tomorrow. You are welcome to come back and join us."

"I'd love to!" I responded.

"I can tell you now though, that your circle of life will be violated. He uses lube liberally, and you will finish coated in his signature FFlexiglaze lube. He's good though, it's worth it."

The following eve I returned to play with the Mormon and the Dutchman. True to form, every centimeter of my body was sticky or piss saturated. Never before had I enjoyed such a violation of my circle, and I jump at every chance I get to play with either guy to this day.

— FF Chronicles: 07.012.0316 & 08.012.0317

Practices Explained

Who: Top and Bottom

When: During/After Session

What: Site Cleanup

Your host may have outlined some house rules to reduce cleanup efforts or property damage.

Emulsifiers, specifically PEO-based lubes (J, K, X, FFäusten), tend to make cleanup outside the play area very difficult.

Lipid- and silicone-based lubes tend to permanently stain linens, furniture, and paint.

Take precautions to keep lube within the play area. For example, after you finish a session, take two sheets of paper towels with you to the cleanup area/wash basin. You can use these sheets to open doors, turn on faucets, or disrupt snail trails.

If playing at a venue, clean up lube spills to prevent others from slipping in your mess. Inverting a dry puppy pad over the spill area will soak up a lot of lube.

Anecdotal Narrative

Snail Leaving Behind Trail of Lube
Figure 2-5: Snail Trails

It's easy to recreate snail trails throughout your host's home if rudimentary cleanup doesn't occur sling-side.

I should have known that everything about John would be disastrous when he declared "No pain, no gain" as he slid his hand into me.

The session couldn't end early enough. When it did, John, who was a self-proclaimed 'fisting expert' that had never used J Lube before, strut down the hall toward the bathroom, oblivious to the fact that he was leaving snail trails and tracking lube everywhere.

"Can I help you clean up?" he asked, as I escorted him to the door.

"Nah, I'll get a mop and some alcohol to clean up these snail trails" I replied.

"Okay! Let's play again soon. That was fun."

"Yeah. Fun!" he didn't detect the sarcasm in my voice.

There really were few, if any, redeeming moments of the session, and I didn't offer a repeat session as I closed the door and watch him walk away.

— FF Chronicles: 26.12.2016

Tips for Beginners

It is common for new fisters to be overwhelmed with all the ins and outs of lubrication. Usually, during your first few sessions, the mentor will prepare lube for the student to expose him to the major differences between fisting and fucking lubricants, as well as application procedures. Core elements that are often missed in initial lube training include lube preparation, application frequency and quantities, safety concerns, and shelf life.


Application Ideologies

Most fisters adhere to two ideologies regarding lubricant application:

  • Reapply Lube When Requested | If a bottom feels there isn't enough lube and asks for more, reapply.
  • After honoring multiple, frequent requests, the top should investigate the reason for these requests.
  • If a bottom requests more lube even though his hole is overlubricated, it typically means one of two things: 1) his hole is tiring out, or 2) the top has poor fisting technique. The latter is more common than the former.
  • Overlubricate Rather Than Underlubricate | Lube should be applied liberally—any excess will be absorbed or expelled.
  • There are two common mistakes with new fisters: 1) Applying the same amount of lube for fisting as is done for fucking, and 2) attempting to conserve lube.
  • A dollop of lube is insufficient, even with long-lasting lubes such as silicone or petroleum distilate-based lubes. A typical, 1 - 2 hour session uses 250 to 500 ml (1 to 2 cups) of lube.
  • The most common fisting lubricants are cheap. Conserving lube for the next session is not advisable. Unused lube that was in the play area should be discarded after a session due to potential contamination.
Man With Lube On Gloves
Figure 3-1: Sufficient Lubrication

Sufficient application of lube is an early indicator of topping skills. If a top applies too little too late, then the bottom will not open up freely.

Failing to integrate these ideologies may result in serious harm to a bottom, and ostracization within the community if consistently non-compliant.

Safety Concerns

Preparing and maintaining possession over your lube prevents multiple issues that can put you at risk:

  • Lube Consistency | Mixing your own batch ensures you have the consistency you like or require. Lubricity is affected by viscosity—too little or too much viscosity may result in discomfort and/or injury.
  • Lube Contamination | Keeping your lube bottle with you prevents others from accidentally introducing STIs and infectious agents into your lube or lube bottle. When your lube is used in another's session, you inherit any microorganisms from that session.
  • Lube Ingredients | Certain additives, like clove oil, and certain base ingredients, like xanthan gum, may trigger allergic reactions. Use your own recipe that is safe for your hole rather than someone else's concoction.
  • Lube Maleficence | Harmful drugs could be present in lubes supplied by nefarious tops. The intention is that you lose control of your mental faculties and your ability to consent.
  • Lube Putrefaction | Exposure to cooking utensils, dispensers, and room air introduces bacteria and fungi that will colonize your lube and cause it to 'spoil.' Relying on another person to guarantee freshness is problematic.

Shelf Life

The shelf life of lubrication varies based on several factors. These include exposure to contaminants, nature of ingredients, and presence of preservatives.


As a rule of thumb, any lube that was touched during play is contaminated. This includes any contact with the dispersing container. To prevent wasting lube, prepare only what is needed. If excess is prepared, store the extra in separate bottles away from the play area, preferably in the refrigerator or freezer.

Any lube prepared outside of a sterile laboratory will be exposed to contaminants, specifically fungi and bacteria. Lube prepared in humid climates will be colonized much faster than lube prepared in desert climates. So even if a lube has never been exposed to the play area, eventually it will need to be discarded.

Nature of Ingredients

Very few lubes have extended shelf lives. Some are prone to microbial colonization, some are prone to spoilage, and others are prone to decay of active ingredients.

Single Use Lubricants

Lubes with these ingredients should be used only once and discarded* within 48 hours after mixing:

  • J Lube | This lube contains the dispersing agent dextrose, which is an excellent food source for many microorganisms.
  • Emulsifying Gums | Xanthan gum, guar gum, etc. create ideal growth mediums with adequate nutrition for microorganisms.

*Some factors may extend the life of these lubes, including the introduction of preservatives, contamination management protocols, and refrigerated storage.

Lubes and Ingredients with Expiration Dates

Attention should be given to expiration dates for these lubes and lube ingredients. If expired or near the expiration date, they should be discarded:

  • Lipids | Crisco© and coconut oil can go rancid with time. Keep no more than three months after mixing.
  • Emulsifying Gums | If kept in dry, cool places, gum emulsifiers such as xanthan and guar can last forever; however, most manufacturers include expiration dates on the packaging. These lubes begin losing lubricating qualities after that time. Fist Powder has xanthan as a primary ingredient and thus has an expiration date.

Lubes Containing Preservatives

Preservatives can extend the life of lube for a long period of time. Although colonization is unlikely, the active ingredients in these lubes degrade over time and should be discarded no later than three months after mixing.

Lubrication Course Index

The following lubrication courses are available in the Fist Theory© Education Center:

Course ID Course Title Skill Level Executive Summary
030101001 Lubrication Essentials Beginner A brief introduction to fisting lubrications, including rationale, common types of fisting lube, lube-associated etiquette and practices, acquisition advice, basic application tips, and shelf-life/storage considerations. Also includes an index of the lubrication curriculum from Fist Theory’s Education Center.
030102001 Lubrication Science Advanced General dynamics and scientific principles regarding lubrication, including tribology, water dynamics, chemistry, and human physiology.
030103011 Lubrication Preparation All Tools and technology utilized in lubrication preparation, including mixing tools, measurement conversion charts, and sanitization options. Brief overview of common mixing techniques. Review of quality control standards for certain common ingredients.
030103021 Lubrication Application All Tools and technology for applying lubrications. Specific lubrication techniques and the physiological bases behind those techniques.
030103031 Lubrication Cleanup All Tools and technology for lubrication removal. Protocols associated with lubrication cleanup. Various cleanup techniques and contamination reduction strategies.
030103081 Lubrication Recipes All Fisting lube recipes presented in various formats, including single- and multi-ingredient recipes, recipes by lubricant category, and recipes by individual lubricant bases.
030103052 Lubrication Bases All 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.
030103052 Lubrication Base: Glycerine All Glycerine overview and associated safety data sheet(s).
030103053 Lubrication Base: Lipids All Lipids overview and associated safety data sheet(s).
030103054 Lubrication Base: PEO Emulsifiers All PEO overview and associated safety data sheet(s).
030103055 Lubrication Bases: Gum Emulsifiers All Gum overview and associated safety data sheet(s).
030103056 Lubrication Bases: Petroleum Distilates All Petroleum Distilates overview and associated safety data sheet(s).
030103057 Lubrication Base: Silicones All Silicone overview, evaluation, and associated safety data sheet(s).
030103058 Lubrication Bases: Acid Salts All Acid salt overview and associated safety data sheet(s).
030103061 Lubrication Additives and Supplements All Information regarding additives that fisters typically add to lubes, including anti-inflammatories, anti-microbials, anesthetics, and preservatives.
030103091 Ready-Made Lubricants All Continually updated list of commercial fisting lubes and their general price ranges. Pros and cons provided by amateur lube testers and fisters alike. List of dubious vendors and manufacturers.
030103092 Active Ingredients in Commercial Lubricants All Common ingredients in commercial lubricants and commercial additives that should be avoided.
030107001 Lessons in Lubrication Advanced Teaching aids for educational workshops and articles, including various handouts and PowerPoint presentations.
060104021 Vocabulary: Lubrication Terms All Fist Theory's general vocabulary page with pre-applied filters that show only lubrication related terminology.

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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