I volunteer regularly at a sex and relationships hotline. Many of the questions we get are repeats; a lot of people same to have the same worries and inquiries. One thing I’ve been asked on multiple occasions is, “Is it okay to use [insert substance here] as lube?” Since it’s perplexing that so many people don’t know what are and are not suitable lubricant choices, I decided to compile my knowledge on the subject here.
Lube and vaginas:
If you’re planning on having vaginal sex, avoid lubes which contain sugar and/or glycerin. These ingredients can cause nasty yeast infections because of the way they interact with the naturally occurring bacteria in a vagina. You can use flavored lube while going down on your lady, as long as you make sure that it’s free of sugar and glycerin.
This also means that you shouldn’t use chocolate, peanut butter, or any other sweet food or drink in your sexytimes if a vagina will be involved. I know it sounds sexy to dribble chocolate sauce all over your lover’s vulva and lick it off, but she won’t think it’s so sexy when she wakes up a couple days later with a raging case of the yeastie beasties.
It’s also not a great idea to use non-natural oils as lube for vaginal sex, because that kind of oil can trap bacteria in the vagina and cause infections as well. Lightweight, natural oils like coconut and grapeseed are fine, but stay away from heavier options like mineral oil/petroleum jelly. Many silicone-based lubes feel and behave like oil, so they might be a better option if you like that oily consistency.
Lube and condoms:
Condoms cannot be used with oil-based lubes (petroleum jelly, coconut oil, what have you) because oil causes the latex to disintegrate. It can be fun to watch this happen, but you know what’s not fun? Realizing that you might have been exposed to an STI or sperm because the condom dissolved.
Lube and anuses:
Many people prefer to choose a thicker, longer-lasting lube for their anal sex needs, because anuses don’t self-lubricate and so you’ll want something that can last the entire length of the sex act.
Make sure never to use “numbing” products that claim to make anal sex easier, because if you (or your partner) can’t feel the pain, you won’t know if and when you’re seriously injuring yourself.
Lube and toys:
If you’re not sure what material your sex toys are made of, now would be a good time to check. Some silicone toys are incompatible with some silicone-based lubes – the toy may become permanently sticky or tacky in the place where the lube touched it. If you’re not sure, do a spot test on the base of the toy and wait a few minutes to see if anything disastrous happens. In any case, water-based lube is probably a better choice for you if you use silicone toys a lot.
If a toy is made of glass, stainless steel, wood, or plastic, however, then have no fear – just about any kind of lube should work on these toy materials. But again, if ever in doubt, do a spot test.
My lube recommendations:
Oil-based: unrefined coconut oil, available at your local health food store. Can conveniently double as a moisturizer, hair conditioner, even deodorant.
If you have a sex-related question for me, please don’t hesitate to ask!