Personal Lubricants – The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

The use of personal lubricants during sex is sometimes a personal choice and sometimes a necessity, or at least strongly recommended.

Depending on personal circumstances, you may need to use a lubricant if you’re using a condom. If you’re having fun for a long time or if you’re into rough sex, it’s probably a good idea. If you suffer from vaginal dryness, or if your partner has a sensitive penis, lube is definitely recommended. Let’s face it, sex causes friction and that’s what makes it so much fun. Sometimes that friction causes irritation so it’s best to get a little help from your friendly personal lubricant.

Lube is also recommended for masturbation whether it’s you or your partner. You can use a little lube on your clitoris for heightened sensitivity and it’s generally recommended for penile masturbation, depending on the man.

There are so many options out there. Which are safest and most effective?

The Good

Water based lubes are always the safest. You can use them with toys or with condoms and they wash up really quickly and easily. Some water based lubes contain some silicone to help with the glide. If they do, see my caution below.

Silicone is the second best provided that your lube only has dimethicone or dimethiconol, as these are the safest forms of silicone for both your vagina and your toys. Just as a precaution, test on the toy near the base before committing to using it.

The Bad

Glycerin based lubes are not recommended. They get sticker as they dry out and can cause condoms to break. Glycerin is a sugar derivative and can ferment inside the vagina and cause infections.

Some products like K-Y Jelly contains chlorhexdine gluconate which is an antibacterial agent which may sound like a good idea except it also kills healthy vaginal bacteria and can result in a yeast infection.

Ingredients to avoid include fragrance and flavor, which can cause irritation. These ingredients often contain sugar, which can cause infections. You’ll also want to avoid anything containing BPA, phthalates and parabens.

The Ugly

Cooking Oils. I know, coconut oil is touted to be the “be all and end all” and when it comes to applying to your skin or adding to cooking or a long list of items, I completely agree. But using any type of oil as a lubricant is asking for trouble. Oil is difficult to remove from the vagina and can hang out in the folds of the vaginal skin and go rancid, leading to infections. If you’re using a condom, oils can break down the effectiveness of the condom and render it useless.

Petroleum based lubes trap bacteria and clog pores. Mineral oil leaves a petroleum residue. Waxes such as beeswax, shea butter and jojoba oil stay in the vagina and change how vaginal skin replaces itself.

So what anal sex? Is it necessary to use a different type of lube? That is a personal choice. If you use a water based lube for vaginal sex but find that it’s not effective for anal, then I would recommend a silicone based lube as mentioned above.

Above all, pay attention to the ingredients, play safe and have fun!

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