Saturday, April 13, 2024

13 Best Arousal Gels of 2024 for Silky Smooth Stimulation

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You deserve to feel good when you’re masturbating or having sex, but if you’re having some trouble getting there, the best arousal gel, serum, or oil can provide you the, ahem, boost you need. While these aren’t exactly magic, most arousal gels increase sensitivity wherever they’re applied — think the clitoris, vulva, or nipples for starters — and are formulated with ingredients like menthol, peppermint oil, CBD, and arginine to create intense sensations. Once your sensitive bits are well, more sensitive, it can be easier to reach climax (if that’s your goal).

Our Top Picks:

Frequently Asked Questions

Read our list of the best arousal gels, along with expert tips for choosing the one that’s right for you.

Best Overall: Dame Arousal Serum

Why It’s Worth It: Dame Arousal Serum provides a tingly, warming sensation with just a few drops applied to the skin. That oh-so-nice feeling comes from plant-based ingredients including peppermint, cinnamon, rosemary leaf extract, and ginger root extract. It can be rubbed on your clit, nipples, ear lobes, or any other external spots where you want some extra sensation.

Editor Tip: It’s safe to ingest in small quantities, so oral sex can definitely be on the menu.

Key Ingredients: Sweet almond oil, peppermint oil, cinnamon leaf oil, rosemary leaf extract, ginger root extract | Compatibility: Safe to use with sex toys and condoms

Best Oil-Based: Playground Mood Maker


Playground Mood Maker

Why It’s Worth It: Playground Mood Maker is a silky smooth (and not sticky) arousal gel that’s truly an experience for all your senses, with a gorgeous vanilla, sandalwood, rose, and ylang-ylang scent that’s sure to make you feel relaxed. It’s formulated with plenty of natural ingredients including ashwaganda and maca root, which studies indicate can improve sexual function in women. Other ingredients, like apricot oil and meadowfoam oil, will nourish your skin while you use it. Win-win!

Editor Tip: This one is safe to use with toys, but not with condoms. If you’re looking for something condom-safe that also enhances sensations during sexual activity, consider a water-based lubricant instead.

Key Ingredients: Ashwaganda, maca, shatavari, reishi, cordyceps, apricot oil | Compatibility: Safe to use with sex toys, not safe to use with condoms

Best Budget Pick: Tracey Cox Supersex Orgasm Gel

Tracey Cox

Tracey Cox Supersex Orgasm Gel

Why It’s Worth It: Tracey Cox’s Supersex Orgasm Gel has over 400 five-star reviews on Lovehoney from customers who say it truly works. The water-based formula includes arginine and menthol to increase sensitivity on your clit, labia, penis, or anywhere else for heightened sensations. At less than $15, it’s also a budget-friendly pick.

Editor Tip: Keep it handy while you’re getting down since a few reviewers say it may need to be reapplied after a while.

Key Ingredients: Arginine, menthol, water, hydrogenated castor oil | Compatibility: Safe to use with condoms and sex toys

Best CBD-Infused: Foria Awaken Arousal Oil with CBD


Foria Awaken Arousal Oil with CBD

Why It’s Worth It: Unlike most arousal gels, Foria Awaken Arousal Oil is safe to use inside the body. (That said, you should still do a patch test before getting down.) It’s made with little more than coconut oil, hemp extract, and a blend of organic cardamom, peppermint, and cacao absolute essential oils. It’s meant to be a “pre-lube” that gets your body ready for sexual activity and can be used in tandem with your lubricant of choice like Foria’s Intimacy Sex Oil with CBD.

Editor Tip: If CBD isn’t your thing, Foria also makes a CBD-free version of the arousal oil formulated with organic botanicals such as kava root and cacao.

Key Ingredients: Coconut oil, hemp extract, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom oil, peppermint oil | Compatibility: Safe to use with polyurethane, nitrile, or lambskin condoms as well as non-latex sex toys (made with silicone, glass, or metal); NOT safe to use with latex condoms or sex toys

Best Water-Based: Unbound Jolt Gel

Why It’s Worth It: As the name suggests, this gel gives your most sensitive body parts a little jolt, thanks to invigorating ingredients like peppermint oil and arginine. When you apply Unbound Jolt Gel to your clit, nipples, or other body parts, it creates a warm, tingly sensation and makes your skin feel extra sensitive. It’s made with a water-based formula, ensuring it’s safe to use with condoms and sex toys made from any materials including silicone, glass, or metal.

Editor Tip: The arginine in this product can cause inflammation for people with herpes, so if you or your partner have this condition, you’ll want to look for an arginine-free product.

Key Ingredients: Aloe, witch hazel extract, peppermint oil, arginine, water | Compatibility: Safe to use with condoms and sex toys

Most Innovative Formula: Vella Bioscience Women’s Pleasure Serum


Vella Bioscience Pleasure Serum

Why It’s Worth It: More than seven years of research went into this luxe arousal gel. Vella Bioscience’s Pleasure Serum is unique thanks to the inclusion of liposomes, which help the product’s other ingredients like CBD permeate the skin and more effectively increase arousal. If you’re not convinced yet, check out one Allure contributor’s firsthand experience with the serum, which includes the phrase “I didn’t just come — I exploded.”

Editor Tip: This serum is safe to use with condoms and sex toys, and is also safe to taste. You can also pair it with a lubricant.

Key Ingredients: CBD, liposomes, vitamin E, lactic acid | Compatibility: Safe to use with condoms and sex toys

Best for Menopausal Bodies: Rosebud Woman Arouse Stimulating Serum

Rosebud Woman

Rosebud Woman Arouse Stimulating Serum

Why It’s Worth It: In addition to increasing sensitivity during sex, Rosebud Woman’s Arouse Stimulating Serum is also designed to help with lubrication. Unlike many similar products, the Arouse Stimulating Serum can be used daily — whether or not you’re planning to have sex — to help re-lubricate the tissue. This can be especially encouraging for people who experience vaginal dryness as a side effect of menopause or other medical conditions.

Editor Tip: It can also be used as a lubricant, so don’t stress if you get some inside you or your partner.

Key Ingredients: Apricot, musk rose, maca, chamomile, ashwagandha | Compatibility: Safe to use with polyurethane, nitrile, or lambskin condoms as well as non-latex sex toys (made with silicone, glass, or metal); NOT safe to use with latex or polyisoprene condoms

Best Sensation Variety: Cake Tingle to Mingle


Cake Tingle to Mingle

Why It’s Worth It: Cake’s Tingle to Mingle provides both warming and cooling sensations when applied to the clit or other external body parts. It’s made with plenty of natural ingredients including maca extract, cinnamon oil, and licorice root extract, and it’s both vegan and gluten-free. The brand suggests starting with one to two pumps and allowing the product to absorb for up to five minutes before deciding to add more. Experimenting is part of the fun, after all.

Editor Tip: Cake also offers a very similar product called Stim for Him that’s marketed more towards people with penises. According to Cake’s FAQ pages, the only difference is that Tingle to Mingle is formulated with cinnamon oil while Stim for Him has peppermint oil.

Key Ingredients: Water, ginkgo biloba leaf extract, maca extract, wild yam root extract, cinnamon oil | Compatibility: Safe to use with condoms and sex toys

Best for Couples: Goop Wellness Sex Oil


Goop Wellness Sex Oil

Why It’s Worth It: This lush Sex Oil from Goop Wellness can be used in a variety of ways. Yes, it has some stimulating ingredients like cinnamon and ginger if you’re looking to use it as an arousal gel, but it can also be used as a massage oil for all-over exploration. Did we mention it’s also a great moisturizer that you can use almost anywhere on your body?

Editor Tip: You can use it on vulvas, thighs, nipples, penises, and any other body part that feels good. We’d recommend sticking to external body parts only, though.

Key Ingredients: Cinnamon leaf oil, ginger root oil, jojoba seed oil, pumpkin seed oil, balsam fir needle oil | Compatibility: Safe to use with silicone, metal, or glass sex toys, not safe to use with condoms

Best for Sensitive Skin: Sliquid Organics O Gel


Sliquid Organics O Gel

Why It’s Worth It: If you have sensitive skin, these words will be music to your ears: This hypoallergenic lube is free from glycerin, parabens, and sulfates. The Sliquid Organics O Gel is formulated with skin-friendly ingredients like aloe, vitamin E, and green tea extract. Notably, it’s made without arginine, so it won’t cause inflammation in people with herpes.

Editor Tip: If you like a lot of stimulation during sex, apply it to other body parts like your neck or inner thigh for extra thrilling sensations.

Key Ingredients: Aloe leaf juice, peppermint oil, vitamin E, hibiscus extract, green tea extract, sunflower seed extract | Compatibility: Safe to use with condoms and sex toys

Best for Travel: Bijoux Indiscrets Clitoral Arousal Serum

Bijoux Indiscrets

Bijoux Indiscrets Sex Au Naturel Clitoral Arousal Serum

Why It’s Worth It: While most of these gels are compact (after all, it only takes a few drops to be effective), the Bijoux Indiscrets Clitoral Arousal Serum is especially travel-friendly. It looks more like a mascara wand, so it’s easy to tote along on vacation or across town to your hookup’s house. While it isn’t a lube, it’s formulated with hyaluronic acid to improve hydration and lubrication in your vaginal area. You’ll also feel a cooling, tingling effect from Frescolat (a colorless liquid used as an active cooling agent) and vitamin C in this gel.

Editor Tip: A few reviewers suggest this product is gentler than other arousal gels. So if you’ve been overstimulating in the past, give this one a hearty shot. It is fragranced, so just be aware if you have easily irritated skin.

Key Ingredients: Glycerin, parfum, hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, cinnamyl alcohol | Compatibility: Safe to use with condoms and toys

Best for Shower Sex: Lovability Bomb Balm Arousal Balm


Lovability Bomb Balm Arousal Balm

Why It’s Worth It: The Lovability Bomb Balm Arousal Balm comes in a tin that reminds us of a candle, but trust us, it’s way better. Peppermint oil and menthol heighten sensations while avocado, jojoba, and soybean oils team up to nourish skin. Just rub a dab of it anywhere you like — like the clit, frenulum, nipples, thighs, or anywhere else — for exciting sensations and softer skin.

Editor Tip: Because of all the oils in this formula, it doesn’t rinse away easily — so it’s especially perfect for shower sex or solo self-care in the bathtub.

Key Ingredients: Hemp seed oils, coconut oil, soybean oil, avocado oil, jojoba oil, peppermint oil | Compatibility: Safe to use with polyurethane, nitrile, or lambskin condoms as well as non-latex sex toys (made with silicone, glass, or metal); NOT safe to use with latex condoms or toys

Best Drugstore Pick: K-Y Intense Intimate Pleasure Gel


K-Y Intense Intimate Pleasure Gel

Why It’s Worth It: Just a few drops of this water-based formula will provide intense waves of warming, cooling, and tingling sensations. One Amazon reviewer even credits the pleasure gel with saving their marriage, stating that they “are in the mood for it A LOT more than before” and are happier now. It’s also one of the more affordable arousal gels on the market, and if you just can’t wait for online shipping, you may find it at your local Target or Walmart.

Editor Tip: If you’re feeling weird about ordering a sex product, don’t stress: This ships in a plain old Amazon, Target, or Walmart box.

Key Ingredients: Water, glycerin, hydrogenated castor oil | Compatibility: Safe to use with condoms and sex toys

Frequently Asked Questions

How do arousal gels work?

“Arousal gels are topical products designed to enhance sexual arousal and pleasure,” explains Michelle Herzog, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) and the founder of the Center for Modern Relationships in Chicago. “They often contain ingredients like menthol or L-arginine to increase blood flow and sensitivity in the applied areas.” You can put them on your clit, nipples, vulva, inner thighs, or anywhere else you want to enhance sensations.

Arousal gels can be used as part of partnered sex during foreplay, the main event, or both. But, there are a few important things to note. First off, most arousal gels should only be used on external body parts, so keep them out of the vagina or anus to avoid irritation in these zones. And secondly, you should make sure your partner has okayed the specific gel — surprise allergic reactions can really kill the mood. You can also use one of these stimulating gels with your favorite vibrator or while you’re enjoying some solo self-care. Just make sure that your arousal serum of choice is compatible with your sex toys before you start getting down.

Are arousal gels and lubricants the same thing?

In general, no. “Unlike lubricants, arousal gel is not safe for internal use and should only be applied to the outside of your vagina, most commonly on your clitoris, since it has the most nerve endings,” explains Kenosha Gleaton, MD, a board-certified OBGYN located in Charleston, South Carolina. While there are a few arousal gels and serums that can be used internally, the majority should not be used for penetrative sex.

Are arousal gels generally safe?

Yes. That said, talk to your healthcare provider about any concerns or allergies you have so they can provide a recommendation. Dr. Gleaton also notes that you can always apply a small amount of the gel to your thigh or arm before using it on your genitals, so you can see how it feels and ensure you don’t have an adverse reaction.

Who might benefit from using arousal gels and who should avoid them?

“Individuals with a lower sex drive may find arousal gels helpful in intensifying sensations and promoting a more enjoyable sexual experience,” shares Herzog. She also notes that menopausal women who are experiencing changes in hormone levels, people dealing with stress or fatigue, or those with certain medical conditions that affect sexual function may find arousal gels helpful in enhancing pleasure.

However, like anything else that comes in direct contact with skin, there are precautions to take. “If you have sensitive skin or are prone to infections, like bacterial vaginosis, I recommend staying away from arousal gels,” says Dr. Gleaton. “Any arousal gels that say ‘cooling,’ ‘warming,’ or have flavors may be extra irritating to your skin.” As with anything you’re putting on your skin, do your research.

Can arousal gels increase libido?

Arousal gels are designed to enhance physical sensations, but they don’t necessarily change your libido. If you’re experiencing low libido or low sexual desire, there might be other factors at play. “An arousal gel is not going to fix your low desire if it’s a relational dynamic,” explains Herzog. “It might help your body have the response you want, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you are connected in your presence and want to be there.”

Suppose you’re worried about changes in your libido. In that case, you may want to consult a doctor who can help you explore possible causes like hormone changes, side effects of medications, or mental health factors, and ultimately find solutions that work for you and your desires.

More sex goodies to get you on your way:

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