Never Use These 9 Sex Lube Alternatives (Plus Safe Options)

Last modified: April 17, 2019

Lube alternatives may seem like cheap and easy way to enhance your sex life but trying to find a store bought alternative in your cupboards could cause damage to your health. 

While the word ‘lube’ may conjure up images of older women going through menopause, the truth is using lube is beneficial in improving orgasms in both men and women. In fact, More than two-thirds of Americans use lubricant during sex and lube is most popular among 25 to 29 year-olds.

What is Lube?

 

an image of a finger with lotion on it

 

When a woman becomes aroused there are many changes that occur within her body to prepare her for sex. These changes are important to make sure that sex is enjoyable and to help her reach orgasm. This is why it is important to include lots of foreplay (which can include kissing, manual stimulation and oral stimulation of the genitals) in your sexual activity.

To prepare the body for sex the vagina will go through many changes. The clitoris and labia may swell and become more sensitive, the vagina will increase in size and release some clear lubrication to prepare for penetration. The release of this clear fluid is often referred to as ‘getting wet.’

 

Why do we Need to use Lube?

 

two sets of feet under a blanket

 

Every vagina is different and will produce different amounts of lubrication. While some women may have no issues with producing enough natural lube for enjoyable sex, others may feel more satisfaction with a little extra touch. There are also many factors that can affect the amount of lubrication you are able to produce including:

  • Menopause-After menopause many women experience vaginal dryness due to a drop in estrogen that causes a thinning of their vaginal walls.
  • Changes in hormones due to menstruation, contraception, pregnancy and breastfeeding can also be to blame
  • Some women may experience a change in lubrication if they are experiencing stress, anxiety or relationship issues.
  • Medication may also play a role. Some common perpetrators are birth control pills, antidepressants and allergy medications
  •  Medical conditions such as diabetes, side effects of chemotherapy, full hysterectomy or immune disorders
  • Chemicals that are exposed to skin may also play a role. Be wary of washing powders, sprays, soaps and douches (which can also cause yeast infections)
  • Lack of foreplay-your body needs time to prepare for penetration

The benefits of using lube

 

image of a peeled citrus fruit

 

A 2015 study by the Indiana University’s Center for Sexual Health found that nearly half of both men and women credit their lube for making it easier for them to achieve orgasm.

A recent study indicates that women need all the help they can get. The study, which was published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine showed that women only orgasm a dismal 62.9% of the time with a familiar partner,yet men orgasm 85.1% of the time.

In casual encounters women were even less likely to orgasm with only about And women are even less likely to finish 40% reporting that they achieved orgasm during their last hookup (compared to 80% of men), according to a study in the American Sociological Review.

 

a couple kissing

 

Not only can using lube increase your pleasure, but it can also encourage safer sex. By using lube, you are reducing the friction that can lead to a condom breaking. Using lubricants with condoms can also make the sexual experience more pleasurable and fun. Many condoms are covered with some sort of lubricant but you can add some lubricant to the penis before you put on the condom as well as outside the vagina or anus.

Lube is an amazing slippery aid that people grab in dry situations down there and needing a quick fix or when they want to take their orgasms up a notch. As a result, most tend to grab the DIY option.

Gynecologists warn that those substitutes could contain some allergens, interfere with condoms, or even deteriorate your skin. Here are some of the lube substitutes that you should absolutely avoid.

 

Are Lubricants Safe?

 

doctor holding a plastic vagina model

 

While lubricants may increase pleasure during sex, they may also increase the chance of infection. A study in the U.S. National Library of Medicine indicated that men and women who used lube for anal intercourse were more likely to test positive for gonorrhea or chlamydia than those who had anal sex without lube.

The authors believed that the increased risk may have come from the lube itself which could have potentially caused an inflammation of the anus and made it easier for organisms to spread.

A 2014 lab study tested 12 lubrication products sold in Europe and found that some may have the ability to alter the pH of the vagina and make it more susceptible to infection. This test included popular brands such as K-Y Jelly and Replens.

There have also been studies that have linked the use of lubricants with damaged cells lining both the vagina and rectum. This damage could have the potential to leave the body more vulnerable to sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

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Never Use These 9 Sex Lube Alternatives (Plus Safe Options)

1. Baby Oil

 

image of diapers and baby oil

 

Baby oil does not only diminish the effectiveness of condoms but it also increases your risk of getting a yeast infection.

A study published in the Southern Medical Journal studied the effect of different lubes on the effectiveness of latex condoms. In the experiment condoms were blown up using air pressure to see how long they could go without breaking. An untreated condom was able to stay intact for 60 seconds but after being exposed to baby oil for five minutes that time was reduced to just 11 seconds!

The study concluded that women and men need to exercise caution when using lubricants containing mineral or vegetable oil.

A research published in Obstetrics and Gynecology discovered that there’s a connection between Candida species colonization and intra-vaginal usage of baby oil. That could definitely lead to a yeast infection.

2. Olive oil

 

olive oil in a bowl surrounded by olives

 

While this oil may be great for your heart health and wonderful for the skin, it is not a good option as a natural lubricant if using a condom. That is because any natural oil will weaken latex and leave you less protected against pregnancy and STIs. Olive oil can also feel greasy, leave a stain and may have an unpleasant smell.

3. Coconut oil

 

coconut oil solidified in a jar

 

Coconut oil is a great option for cooking, DIY facial and body care products as well as massage. Yet, when it comes to penetrative sex with a condom, it is not recommended. Just like olive oil, coconut oil can weaken the integrity of latex condoms.

Processed coconut oil can also clog pores and lead to break outs if used as a massage oil. It is important to seek out virgin and unprocessed varieties. The best way to know if you are using a quality oil is that it will smell like coconuts. The more processed varieties will not.

4. Whipped Cream

 

whipped cream on a beater

 

While using whipped cream during oral sex and foreplay may seem like a fun way to spice up your sex life, vaginas and sugar should not mix. That is because any type of sugar inside the vagina can change the pH of your vagina which can lead to irritation. So when it comes to sugary items near your lady bits, it’s best to just say no.

5. Shortening

 

oil and shortening

 

While a popular lube for anal play, shortening does not work well with condoms. As it is oil-based it can decrease the strength of condoms. While it is safe to ingest it may stain bedding and requires soap and water to wash off. Since it wasn’t particularly formulated for vaginal usage, there will always be a chance that it will irritate the vagina.

6. Spit

 

man spitting against a wall

 

While this may be a popular choice for couples in a pinch, it is not the most effective lubricant for long term use. While saliva may provide short term moisture, it soon dries out.

According to experts, it’s not slippery enough to be considered an effective lube. Also nearly half of all cases of rectal gonorrhea may be prevented if  men did not use their partner’s saliva  as lube for anal sex. This finding was due to a study published by Sexually Transmitted Infections focusing on men who have sex with men.

This is because men who suffer from  pharyngeal gonorrhea infection may substantially increase risk for rectal infections when that partner’s saliva is used as a lubricant during anal sex.

 

7. Petroleum Jelly

 

hand with lotion on it

 

While the ideal lube would make sex a smooth ride, petroleum jelly can get gunked up and lead to a mess. With its oil base, petroleum jelly can interfere with the strength of condoms, leaving the user more susceptible to pregnancy and STIs.

Petroleum-based products in the vagina could also result in infection. A research published in Obstetrics and Gynecology has revealed that women who used petroleum jelly as a lube substitute in the past month were over twice as likely as non-users to getting bacterial vaginosis.

8. Lotion

 

a bottle of liquid soap and some puffs

 

While many TV shows and movies depict lotion as the perfect masturbation aid for males, it is not an ideal lubricant to use in your genital area.

This is because lotions have plenty of potential irritants. Examples are perfumes and propyl glycols that could cause swelling, puffiness, and overall irritation in your pubic area.

Using lotions with heavy perfumes can also contribute to yeast infections.

9. Butter

 

a dish of butter

 

While delicious on your toast, when it comes to your genitals, just say no to butter. While it is (obviously) safe to ingest, it is not advised to be put inside of a vagina or anus.

Butter contains casein proteins from the milk, which can become rancid pretty quickly. So your sweet session could turn your nether regions sour really quickly.

Safer Sex Lubrication Alternatives

 

The good news is, while there are many items on the ‘do not use’ list, there are many natural alternatives that you can use as lube in a pinch. Whether you have just run out of your favorite store bought variety, or prefer a more natural approach, there are safe alternatives out there.

There are some things to keep in mind before using natural ingredients as lube. One important thing to consider is whether or not you will be using a condom during your sexual encounter. Sex without a condom allows many more natural oils to be used, such as coconut and olive. Keep in mind though that these types of ingredients can be messy and may stain sheets.

1. Pure Aloe Vera

 

aloe plant leaf

 

Aloe vera isn’t just great at healing sunburned skin, it is also a great option for lube.

It is important, however, to make sure that your lube is 100 percent aloe vera. Some versions include ingredients that can irritate the vagina.

Aloe is also safe to use with latex condoms. As well as being a perfect natural lube, it can also be applied to burns, used as a natural insect repellent and taken internally as a natural laxative.

Maybe this is the excuse you need to put an aloe plant beside the bed?

2. Almond Oil

 

a bowl of almonds surrounded by almonds

 

Almond oil may just be the miracle your body needs. Almond oil can lighten under eye circles, help with stretch marks, soothe dry hair and can be a great natural lube.

Almond oil comes in two different types: sweet and bitter. Sweet almond oil is safe for external use only and cannot be used with latex condoms. 

3. Vitamin E Oil

 

a bottle of vitamin e capsules

 

Vitamin E oil can be an effective moisturizer for both your face and your vagina. Some women may experience irritation so it is best to start slow. Also keep in mind that vitamin E can also break down the integrity of latex condoms. 

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Disclaimer: This article provides general information and is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease or medical condition. If you require specific advice, please consult one of our medical professionals through the app. However, in case of an emergency, please call 911.

Reviewed Dr. Richard Honaker

Disclaimer: This article provides general information and is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease or medical condition. If you require specific advice, please consult one of our medical professionals through the app. However, in case of an emergency, please call 911.

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