If you have a vulva, then you know that arousal isn’t always an instantaneous thing. From changes in estrogen levels to lackluster foreplay, there are TONS of explanations for vaginal dryness—and while arousal gel can’t magically produce stimulation, it can def help to enhance it. The best sex gels—or creams or oils or lubes—work to increase oxygen delivery and blood flow to the genitals, which helps to increase sensitivity and vaginal secretions. And while you may think female stimulation products sound too good to be true, we promise they’re not.
As Tamika K. Cross, MD, FACOG, who’s a board-certified ob-gyn at Serenity Women’s Health & Med Spa, tells Cosmo, arousal gels typically work to enhance sensation, not create it from scratch. “These products amplify what you’re already feeling,” she says. “So, when you’re getting aroused or having an orgasm, it’s just enhancing that already natural, sensitive sensation.” Amazing, right?? To help ya get started, we’ve rounded up the best sex gels for vagina owners on the market—and here’s a sneak peek at our faves.
Our top picks for arousal gels in 2022:
Without further ado, here are the best female stimulation products that’ll have you feeling wet ‘n’ wild faster than you can say “climax.”
1. Dame Arousal Serum
This natural, water-based pH-balanced serum is derived from peppermint, ginger, and cinnamon, which means it’s safe for your body (and oral-friendly 👅). You’ll love that it’s free from glycerin, parabens, gluten, and hormones—plus, you can use it with toys and condoms. It’s warming, tingly, lickable, and never sticky, what more could ya want?
THE REVIEWS: “What can I say…my wife and I have tried several arousal serums (even THC) and this one might be the best, fast acting, orgasm inducing, topical solution yet!” raves one tester. “It’s silky and absolutely no taste while going down on her. We’re both very happy with this purchase!”
2. Unbound Jolt Gel
With hundreds of five-star reviews, it’s pretty clear ppl can’t get enough of this stimulating gel from Unbound, which is made with organic extracts, peppermint oil, natural damiana, arginine, and ornithine. It’s water-based, so it’s safe to use with toys or lube, and while it’s a tad $$, it will last you a loooong time, since a little goes a long way.
THE REVIEWS: “Going into this, I thought it would very obviously tingle and I thought it was going to be intense. However, this stuff changes the game,” one person says. “It’s gentle and gradual (you don’t need much) but boy oh boy the sensitivity is unreal—ladies, don’t forget to put a towel down… Great to use just for yourself or during sex too for extra pleasure to get you over the line.”
3. Cake Tingle to Mingle
This stimulating pleasure balm (which is specifically made for your clitoris!) provides cooling *and* warming sensations with the help of all-natural ingredients like maca, ginko, and peppermint. It’s designed to work with latex, silicone, and even sensitive skin, and you’ll love that it’s also vegan, gluten-free, hormone-free, and free from any bad stuff.
THE REVIEWS: According to one customer, “This stuff is amazing. Definitely a new sensation I wasn’t expecting. Lasts a pretty good time and even works under a condom. 10/10 great for solo masturbating, too!”
4. Bloomi Desire Sensual Pleasure Oil
If you’re looking to increase pleasure both before AND during ~intimate moments~ then this clean, feel-good formula is for you. While it’s not compatible with latex or silicone, it is totally body-safe—even for folks with sensitive skin—and the subtle cinnamon and damiana scent is just *chef’s kiss.*
THE REVIEWS: “How have I lived so long without this product?” reads one review. “An absolute intimacy game changer. I squeeze a few pumps on before sex or incorporate in foreplay with my partner and it creates such a pleasurable experience I never knew was possible.”
5. Trojan Arouses & Intensifies
This two-in-one arousal gel and lube is made by Trojan, so it’s available pretty widely, and it’s a lubricant, so you know it’s safe to get inside you. It’s unscented and also safe for use with latex condoms, which is a big win. JSYK, most arousal gel formulas are not compatible with latex condoms, so this is pretty rare.
THE REVIEWS: “The best lotion ever,” one customer writes. “Where was this all these years? Me and my spouse never had issues but by chance browsing for a regular petroleum jelly came across this and figured we give it a shot. WOW, amazing pleasure. Also worth pointing out that makes no mess and very little goes a long way.”
6. ON Natural Arousal Oil for Her
This formula doesn’t contain arginine, menthol, or citrus, so if you’re allergic to any of those, this would be a good one to try. It’s made with an oil base, so you can’t use it with latex condoms, but you *can* use it with polyurethane condoms.
THE REVIEWS: “OMG, this stuff is amazing,” one buyer raves. “I put a few drops where it says to put it and within a sec, I can really feel it working…I don’t even have to get warmed up for it to work. It’s ready LIKE NOW!!!”
7. Lovability Bomb Balm Arousal Balm
This clitoral balm has a silky smooth texture thanks to the coconut oil and hemp seed base, and though it’s a no-go with latex condoms, it’s safe for other materials. It’s also made with soybean, avocado, jojoba, and peppermint oils, so it’ll leave ya feeling soothed and rejuvenated.
THE REVIEWS: As one person writes, “I love this item. I have used it solo and with a partner. Both times, the experience was heightened. The stimulation is very enjoyable and not overpowering while still be quite titillating. I fully recommend!!”
8. Tracey Cox Supersex Orgasm Gel
This bb brings the heat in a VapoRub way but, like…sexy, condom-safe VapoRub. And for the resulting five-star orgasms, worth it. (Tip: The mentholated sensation doesn’t magically stop when you orgasm, so skip the pillow talk and go for round two instead—you might as well!)
THE REVIEWS: “OH MY GOD is probably the best way to describe this,” says one reviewer. “If you want orgasms more often and more intense, I would 1000% buy this. I thought that I had my fair share or good orgasms until I got this, but now DAMN. So easy to use and it doesn’t leave a sticky residue like most others.”
9. Lovehoney Ignite Pleasure Balm
This menthol and shea butter balm offers maximum sensations, and you really only need a little to feel it, hence the teeny container. As an unexpected bonus, it’s fresh and minty, like your vag just got brushed. Unfortch, this is one of the ones not to use with condoms, but it’s great for solo-ing or having your partner get you off some other way!
THE REVIEWS: According to one tester, “What a little pot of gold this is. Only need a tiny amount and it turns a normal orgasm into an incredible one. I use it on my clit with hands or vibrator and on dildo and oh yes thank you. Also used on partner and he had no complaints, either.”
10. Wicked Ultra Heat Silicone Lubricant
This also brings the heat but not the ouch-it-burns kind—more like a general, pleasant warmth. It smells like cinnamon, which is not for everyone but can be nice. It is also vegan and doubles as a silicone lube (which means it’s extra slippery, so just be careful if using it in the shower).
THE REVIEWS: “Small bottle but big feels!” one person notes. “I loved how it got warmer the more it was rubbed in. Will def be buying more.”
11. LOLA Pleasure Gel
This silicone-based formula from LOLA is a solid starter choice if you just want a lil something but don’t want to risk being stuck with a sensation you’re not into. Made with natural mint and peppermint, it provides a subtle tingling feeling with a slooow build, and it doesn’t smell or feel like Icy Hot, JIC you were wondering!
THE REVIEWS: “This product was great overall,” reports one tester. “It wasn’t too thick or too thin and lasted for me about half an hour. Thankfully it wasn’t too strong either, because while I enjoy products like this, they can overpower but this was just right. It started to get tingly in about 5 minutes…and I ended up not even needing or wanting to use a lubricant because this was enough to get me going and in the mood.”
12. Intimate Earth Intense Clitoral Arousal Serum
Want a natural formula that doesn’t skimp on effectiveness? Check out this option from Intimate Earth, which comes in both Gentle and Intense options, depending on how much of a boost you’re seeking. This formula is methanol-free, but note that it *is* oil-based, so you can’t use it with latex condoms.
THE REVIEWS: “Perfection,” one buyer claims. “I wish I had more words to describe the awesomeness of this product, but the mere thought of this delightful tingly gel on my clit drains all the blood from my brain. So.”
13. Good Clean Love Origins Love Oil
Organic, vegan, cruelty-free, and—best of all—edible, this oil-based formula provides a smooth, woody warmth that tantalizes your nose and…you know, other places, too. You can use it on ALL your erogenous zones, and while it’s oil-based, so it can’t be used with condoms and some toys, it *is* safe for internal use.
THE REVIEWS: “This stuff is amazing,” one review reads. “The scent is arousing. There is no flavor or weird feeling left behind. This formula feels so silky and natural, yet sensual. I will be indulging in more!!”
14. VUSH Feelin’ Myself Intimate Gel
Safe for bodies, toys, and condoms, this water-based intimate gel keeps it simple but still works to get ya slick. You’ll love that it’s sensitive-skin friendly and both alcohol and fragrance-free, as well as the fact that it won’t ever feel sticky or greasy on your skin, even after it dries.
THE REVIEWS: “Love this intimate gel,” writes one customer. “It’s not sticky like others that I’ve used before. Love the cute little packaging as well.”
15. Bijoux Indiscrets Slow Sex Clitoral Balm
This travel-sized balm contains Thermolat, which is a warming agent that provides instant warmth to your clitoris when applied. Reviewers love that it also contains ginseng and arginine, which heighten sensitivity and sensations, as well as the fact that it’s safe to use with latex and toys and has a subtle coconut scent.
THE REVIEWS: According to one person, “I haven’t been in the mood for sex for a long time, and although I had sex sometimes, I didn’t climax. I got the balm and I played on my own and WOW, really. It feels silky and warm and it turned me on, and I had an orgasm again.”
16. Foria Awaken Arousal Oil with CBD
When used topically, CBD promotes increased blood flow, which is what makes this arousal oil *extra* powerful. This all-natural formula is oiled-based, so it can’t be used with condoms, but you’ll love that it’s vegan, gluten-free, fully lickable, and amazingly effective. Warning: It may come with after-pleasure throbs that will send you back for more.
THE REVIEWS: As one tester says, “Oh. My. Gosh. Wow!! I literally am blown away. I am a squirter but have NEVER experienced such intense orgasms/wetness in my life. You can feel the warmth & tingles start even before you touch anything. A little goes a long way—worth every penny 1000%.”
17. Quim Smooth Operator Intimate Serum
Another great CBD-infused arousal gel, this soothing formula (which contains aloe vera for improved collagen and vaginal elasticity), is latex-compatible, anti-fungal, and designed to increase blood flow, promote pelvic relaxation, and decrease inflammation and pain. Anal play is also A-OK with this stuff, too, which is a bonus.
THE REVIEWS: According to one review, “Painful sex has been an issue as I’ve gotten older. I’ve tried multiple other products and this one is, by far, the best! Not sticky, long lasting, no weird smell. I will be buying this again!”
18. Flora + Bast APHRODISIA Cannabis-Infused Intimate Arousal Oil
Yet another fab CBD oil option, this pH-balanced, ultra-clean, moisture-infusing oil from Flora + Bast is well worth the investment, trust. Though it can’t be used with condoms, the formula is made with cacao butter to keep things supple and slick, as it includes all the pain-relieving, inflammation-decreasing benefits of CBD as well.
THE REVIEWS: “Hands down my favorite lubricant!” writes one reviewer. “This smells so delicious—terpene-rich, which smells super sexy, fresh, and warm. Definitely enhances arousal! We love it so much! It feels incredible, too—super smooth and hydrating. A few drops go a long way!”
19. Rosebud Women Arouse Stimulating Serum
Is it cheap? LOL, no. But it is so, so worth your coin, promise. This naturally moisturizing oil-based serum is made with traditional botanicals like maca, damiana, suma, ashwagandha, and spilanthes that’ll have you lubricated and stimulated in no time. Even a few lil drops can take you to a next-level orgasm.
THE REVIEWS: “On first application Arouse feels just like an oil, but within about a minute a tingling and warming sensation occurs, like champagne bubbles of sensation,” one buyer describes. “It’s amazing for an increased sexual experience…but a little goes a long way! Only a few drops, not even a full pump works for me! Definitely awesome for a more elevated intimate encounter.”
How to choose the best arousal gel
So how do sex gels work, you ask? According to Organic Loven and Sisters of Sexuality Collective founder Taylor Sparks (who’s also an erotic educator), arousal gels help to open your blood vessels, which then increase oxygen delivery and blood flow to the genitals. “This increases sensitivity and vaginal secretions to intensify orgasms,” she explains. Think wetter, more sensational climaxes that are much easier to achieve—love that for you.
But before you start pulling up a zillion tabs and adding random gels, balms, and serums to your carts, our experts suggest keeping a few things in mind:
Consider the ingredients
If you’re looking to increase sensation, then ingredients like cinnamon oil, menthol, gingko biloba, peppermint, and CBD are *def* going to be your friend. Arginine is also a helpful ingredient for its vasodilating properties, though board-certified ob-gyn Brandye Wilson-Manigat, MD (who’s the author of My O My!: A Committed Woman’s Guide to Getting the Great Sex She Deserves), notes this is usually in compounded formulations that would require a prescription. Additionally, Sparks adds that people who have genital herpes might want to steer clear of topical serums that contain arginine, since they could trigger an outbreak.
Another good reason you’ll wanna check that ingredient list: Formulas with oil (which is, unfortunately, a lotta sex gels) aren’t compatible with silicone toys or latex condoms, since the oil can break down silicone and latex, as double board-certified gynecologist at VSPOT Medi Spa, Monica Grover, DO, MS, explains. Naturally, it all comes down to the type of sex you’re having and what sensation you’re looking for. Speak of which…
Find the right sensation for you
When shopping around, keep in mind what sensations you can expect from each ingredient. Sparks says peppermint, cinnamon, and arginine will give you a quicker bodily response than CBD, but CBD has a longer-lasting (and more intense) effect once it enters the bloodstream. As you might have guessed, peppermint will give you a more cooling effect while cinnamon feels warmer, so keep that in mind depending on your preferences.
Avoid anything that’s not intended for sex
Important PSA: Definitely don’t try to substitute with a product not marketed as a sex or arousal gel, like Bengay or Icy-Hot, Cross notes. You might think it’s the same thing since that stuff is also “cooling,” but it’s a really, really bad idea. “Those products aren’t meant to go on such sensitive skin or inside the body,” Cross says, so unless you like weird infections and reactions, keep ’em away from your vagina, mmkay?
How to use arousal gel
Once you pick out a formula, Wilson-Manigat recommends doing a test application on a less sensitive area, like your wrist or leg, to see what the reaction may be like before you use it on the sensitive skin of your genitals. And once you’re ready to go below the belt, be sure to take things suuuuper slow. “Start with a small amount and wait at least 15 minutes to see the effects. If no changes are noted, apply a little more,” she says.
As for where the stuff actually goes, co-CEO and co-founder of Her Highness, Laura Eisman, says to apply the arousal gel around the labia, clitoris, and inside the vagina to get the full effect. She also adds that if you accidentally put too much on, wash it off with some warm water and a mild (preferably unscented) soap, and add a little coconut oil if it’s available to help soothe your skin.
And no matter the ingredients in the product you choose, Eisman adds that the actual process of applying a product can also help with arousal. Squirt some product on yourself or put on a blindfold and let your partner go for it. “A sensual application in itself can be an act of foreplay,” explains Eisman. “Get lost in the feeling and commit yourself fully to pleasure. Touching and penetration will be felt more intensely, and when you climax, you’ll come long and strong.” Whether this means you spend some time engaging in a lil self-care or you put your partner in charge, the act of simply getting the goods on your skin is M-A-J-O-R-L-Y erotic.
How we chose our best arousal gels
We’ve included a range of sex gel types—including stimulating formulas as well as formulas enhanced with CBD—so you can find the best sensation for you. You can also be rest assured all these picks are all body-safe and hiiighly rated by some very happy customers since you (and your vagina) deserve nothing but the best.
Meet the experts
- Tamika K. Cross, MD, FACOG, is a board-certified ob-gyn at Serenity Women’s Health & Med Spa in Pearland, TX.
- Taylor Sparks is an erotic educator and founder of Organic Loven and the Sisters of Sexuality Collective.
- Brandye Wilson-Manigat, MD, is a board-certified ob-gyn based in South Pasadena, CA, as well as the author of My O My!: A Committed Woman’s Guide to Getting the Great Sex She Deserves.
- Monica Grover, DO, MS, is a double board-certified gynecologist at VSPOT Medi Spa, a sexual health spa in New York, NY.
- Laura Eisman is the co-CEO and co-founder of Her Highness, a female-forward, cannabis-friendly sexual health products company based in New York, NY.