Today is sexual happiness day, a day devoted to opening up the conversation about sex.
Specifically, good sex. Having great sex is a right, not a privilege, and sharing information is the way to make sure that as many people as possible get to have great sex.
One of the quickest, cheapest and easiest ways to improve your sex life is by incorporating lube into sex. It might not sound like a bit deal, but it can heighten sensation more than you would ever imagine.
Some people think that using lube signifies a failure – as if you ‘should’ be automatically lubricated. Those people are missing out.
That said, the caveat to lube being a huge helper is the type of lubricant you use. Putting something that’s not designed for your vagina, into your vagina, is a big mistake.
Obviously, there are eleventybillion things you shouldn’t use as lube (petrol, hot sauce, Mercury, almond butter) but with sexpert Megan Barnett from shopmetin.com, we’ve rounded up the top nine things that you might consider using, but really shouldn’t.
‘When we recommend using lubricants to our customers, often they ask, “Can’t I just use Vaseline?”, which is a big no no!’ says Megan. Why shouldn’t you be using Vaseline? ‘Vaseline is designed for healing, as it creates a barrier over the skin to lock in moisture to encourage the skin’s healing process. This means that it does not get reabsorbed into the body, and it stays on the vulval tissue and on the walls of the vagina. What’s more, petroleum jelly is insoluble in water, making it hard to clean off. Vaseline is also unsafe to use with latex condoms due to the mineral oils it contains. These oils will react with the latex and make the condom burst.’
See? Vaseline is a bad idea. Keep it to the set of lips on your face.
A really surprising one, seeing as so many doctors recommend KY. But Megan says:
‘KY Jelly is a fairly well-known brand of lubricant. However, it contains both parabens and glycerine, which can cause thrush. It also has a higher osmolality than the cells in the body, drawing moisture out of the walls of the vagina rather than hydrating them, exacerbating vaginal dryness, not helping it. This can leave the body vulnerable to infection, so could actually increase your risk of catching an STI.’
shopmetin.com has contacted KY Jelly to discuss this. They had not responded at time of writing.
‘Tingling’ or ‘cooling’ lubricants
If you like lubes that give heat or cooling, don’t panic. They’re not totally out. But you do need to be careful. Megan says: ‘Often the tingling effect is caused by menthol or chili, which can be extremely damaging to the delicate tissue of the genitals. These lubricants can also contain all sorts of chemicals that could be detrimental to your sexual health.’
We all know that coconut oil is amazing, and it has about fifteen million uses, but lube? Not one of them. Megan explains:
‘In a similar way that Vaseline is designed for healing purposes, coconut oil has antiviral and antibacterial qualities that could upset the vaginal flora. It can also clog the pores, which could cause skin irritation for some people. If, however, you do want to use it as a lubricant, ensure that it is 100% coconut oil and be aware that it is not compatible with latex condoms.’
Body lotions and hand creams
Some people might assume that because a product is moisturising it can be used as a lubricant, but these products are not designed for internal use. They could affect the vagina’s pH and cause irritation, especially if they are perfumed products.
Liquid soap or hand sanitiser
If you think that products are safe to put near your genitals because it has cleansing qualities, think again. Douching is incredibly harmful to the vagina’s pH balance, and soaps and sanitizers can cause burning sensations to the delicate skin of the penis and vulval area.
We’re not fully sure why you would, but please don’t use nappy cream as lube.
Megan says: ‘Sudocrem creates a barrier on the skin to promote the skin’s healing process, and is specifically designed for cuts, burns and nappy rash. It does not get absorbed into the skin, and so would linger in the vagina and on the penis and vulval area. It also contains liquid paraffin and citric acid, which can upset the delicate flora of the vagina.’
Bio oil is great, really great. But not a lube. We can see how the oilyness might be confusing, but still. Don’t.
According to Megan, ‘Bio oil is a specialist skincare oil that aims to improve the appearance of the skin, from fading scars and stretch marks to alleviating dryness. While it can hydrate the skin, it is not suitable as a lubricant as it is only designed for external use. It is also a perfumed product that could affect the pH of the vagina.’
Some people like to bring food into the bedroom, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But try and keep it on your body, rather than in it. As Megan warns, ‘sugary foods could cause thrush, and food substances will not likely be absorbed by the body so could linger unless cleaned. Douching the vagina can be harmful as it disrupts the vaginal flora and could lead to infections.’
Ah the old ‘spit and bite the pillow routine.’ No-ones friend, and likely to end in serious discomfort.
Megan says: ‘Some people choose to forgo using a lubricant and choose to use saliva instead as grabbing a bottle of lube from your bedside table or drawer can seem like a mood killer for some men and women. However, while saliva from oral sex can seem more sensual, your spittle can leave the skin feeling dry. It also only provides a thin barrier, so could lead to painful sex as there is inadequate lubrication.’
Basically, given that lube is pretty cheap, stands a good chance of improving your sex life by reducing unwanted friction, and readily available, why use anything else?
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