7 Common Things You Should NEVER Use As Lube
By Korin Miller
Step away from the petroleum jelly.
Lube is an amazing thing when you’re facing a dry situation down there (it happens) or just want to get extra wet and wild. So it’s natural that you’d want to DIY when you run out of the stuff and sex is on the table.
But experts say you might want to think twice before putting any old lube substitute up there. Even seemingly harmless slippery substances can contain allergens, deteriorate your skin, or interfere with condoms, says Dr. Maureen Whelihan, a gynae at the Center for Sexual Health and Education.
In general, it’s best to avoid regularly using food products, like olive oil, in the vagina since repeat usage can create problems, such as yeast infections or bacterial vaginosis (bacterial overgrowth in the vagina), says Dr. Jason James, medical director at Miami’s FemCare Ob-Gyn.
Beyond that little nugget of vagina wisdom, here’s a breakdown of the DIY lubes you should avoid.
Whelihan says she loves coconut oil because it doesn’t contain additives. However, she points out that it it can deteriorate latex in condoms, making it more likely that they’ll break. That can leave you open to contracting an STI or having an unwanted pregnancy. The same goes for olive oil. Any oil-based lube can interfere with latex condoms.
And as we mentioned earlier, with regular use, it’s possible that using food products like these could result in an infection. Yuck.
Since it is oil-based, it’s not condom-compatible, either. Plus, it actually makes for a terrible lubricant, says Dr. Lauren Streicher, an associate professor of clinical obstetrics and gynaecology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and author of Sex Rx: Hormones, Health, and Your Best Sex Ever. “It’s not all that slippery, so for most women, it’s not effective,” she says. And since it hasn’t been specifically formulated for vaginal use, she says there’s always a chance that it could irritate your vagina.
READ MORE: 5 Things You Should NEVER Do After Sex
It’s there and it’s wet, so it makes sense that you’d consider using it as a lube when you’re in a pinch. But Streicher says it’s not slippery enough to be an effective lube. So you’re just wasting your time (and saliva). Plus, spit facilitates the transmission of STDs and could introduce infection into your vagina, just as unprotected oral sex can, says James.
It looks like lube, but Vaseline’s petroleum base can lead to infection, Whelihan says. A study published in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology found that women who had used petroleum jelly as lube in the past month were more than twice as likely as non-users to have bacterial vaginosis. And, like other oil-based lubes, it can screw with condoms.
READ MORE: 3 Ways To Keep Your Vagina Healthy
Not only can it squash a condom’s effectiveness, but using baby oil in your vagina can increase your risk of developing a yeast infection, Streicher says. (That same Obstetrics and Gynecology study also found a link between the intravaginal use of baby oil and Candida species colonisation, which can lead to a yeast infection.)
There are a lot of potential irritants in lotions, like perfumes and propyl glycols (the water-soluble compounds that help lotion stay moist), which can cause swelling, puffiness, and general irritation down there, says Whelihan.
That said…if you’re with a steady partner who’s been tested for STDs, are using another form of birth control (or don’t mind getting pregnant), and you don’t use condoms, you’re probably okay with resorting to coconut or olive oil in a pinch, says Streicher. “There’s a big difference between using it in a pinch and ‘This is my go-to stuff,'” Streicher says. If you’re using lube on a regular basis, you want to make sure it’s been tested for vaginal use, she says.
And if you use condoms, it’s essential to stick with water-based lubes and buy lubricated condoms for backup, just in case.
Looking for more? Here are four things you should never put up your vagina.
This feature was originally published on www.womenshealthmag.com