A Guide to Personal Lubricants

Happy Valentine’s Day! This Valentine’s Day PSA is how to navigate the world of personal lubricants!

As simple as a lube product may seem, it is important to inform yourself on what to look for when searching for the best product for YOU! 

Let’s discuss the uses of personal lubricants, additives to avoid, pH and osmolality to consider,  and the 3 types of lube. A quick(ish) guide to LUBE. 

Why use personal lubricants?

For one, dryness and friction are never fun especially when it comes to intimacy. Whether with a partner, using a toy, or even just going solo, lack of lubrication can really be a buzzkill. Personal lube products can help to make everything glide and slide and can be an easy/cheap addition to add more pleasure to your sex life! 

Fun Fact: Vaginal lubrication occurs naturally but is NOT always linked to the degree of arousal. Meaning, you can be aroused and not naturally produce lubrication OR you can be completely unaroused and produce natural lubrication. Every “body” is different and lubrication levels can be impacted by age, pregnancy, hormone levels and are influenced by stress, alcohol, dehydration, medications, and smoking. Lube can help off-set the uncomfortable dryness you may feel with intimacy! 

Now let’s dive into the items to be checking when making your next lube purchase! 

Avoid funky additives and chemicals:

Check the labels and avoid these! 

  • Glycerine: used in many water-based products increases risk of vaginal yeast infection.
  • Flavors and “Fragrance”: Any ingredient can be hidden under the umbrella term of fragrance and both fragrance and flavors often are a composition of chemicals and additives that can cause irritation. 
  • Parabens: Used as preservative/antimicrobial agent in products, studies show it can act like the hormone estrogen, impact male and female reproduction and cause rashes.
  • Chlorhexidine Gluconate: Has an antimicrobial action putting you at risk of killing off good bacteria (lactobacillus) and causing irritation/inflammation. 
  •  Petroleum: Often found in “warming” lubes and can alter vaginal pH increasing risk of infection. 
  • Nonoxynol-9: A spermicide. Has been shown to cause irritation and inflammation inside the vaginal canal, increasing risk of infection. 

Look at the pH:

Our natural pH level should be matched in the products we use internally and externally! 

Vaginal: look for products with pH between 3.8-4.5; pH above increases risk of bacterial infection

Anal: look for products with pH between 5.5-7

Check the Osmolality: 

I know it seems a little scientific but it means how much substance is dissolved in another substance. For what we are talking about, let’s think of how much substance dissolved compared to water. This is important on how it impacts our natural homeostasis of the vaginal/anal canal! 

High Osmolality: If more substance is dissolved in water (think of very salty water). If a product has high osmolality the vaginal canal has to release its own moisture. This can lead to dryness and increases risk of infection in the canal. 

Low Osmolality: If less substance is dissolved in water (think of mildly salted water). If a product has low osmolality it has less risk of irritating vaginal tissue! 

An ideal level to look for in a product according to the World Health Organization (WHO) is a product less than 1200 mOsm/kg

Pregnancy and Fertility

For pregnancy and individuals trying to get pregnant look into products to make sure they are approved for pregnancy/do not inhibit fertility. If you have questions or concerns about the products you are using, reach out to your OBGYN!

Fav Product:

Natalist: FDA approved

Image result for fertility friendly lubricant natalist natalist

Now let’s talk about the 3 types of lube:

Water-Based Lube:

Pro: 

  • Absorbs well into skin 
  • Good for sensitive skin
  • Condom Safe-both latex and non-latex
  • Safe to use with dilators and sex toys 

Con:

  • Can get sticky when absorbing 
  • Often requires re-application as it gets absorbed easily into skin 
  • Check ingredients-might include some of the above items we want to avoid 

Fav Products:

Good Clean Love:

Image result for good clean love

Slippery Stuff:

Image result for slippery stuff liquid

Silicone-based Products:

Pro:

  • Very slippery 
  • Long lasting (requires less re-application)
  • Most are condom safe (check label)

Con:

  • Should not be used with silicone-based sex toys, wands, and dilators as it breaks down the outside
  • Difficult to remove from skin, sheets, and surfaces 

Fav Products:

Uber Lube: FDA Condom Safe

Image result for uber lube

Oil-Based Products:

Pro:

  • Found in households, for example: Organic coconut oil, olive oil, and more…I typically recommend organic coconut oil.  
  • Great for external body work; like massage and cupping 

Con:

  • Not condom safe with latex condoms-increases risk of breakage 
  • Oils can be harder for vaginal canal to clean an can increase risk or yeast and bacterial infections
  • Difficult to get off sheets and surfaces

Fav Product:

Foria: CBD infused coconut oil 

Image result for foria lube

Take-Aways:

  • Avoid funky additives and chemicals in your lube
  • Look at the pH of the lube product 
  • Watch for osmolality less than1200 mOsm/kg
  • Match your lube to what you are using it for! 

As always, if you have questions and want to chat please reach out! I offer free 15-min consults to help you figure out if pelvic floor PT is right for you! 

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