Oil-based lubes, like silicone lubes, are ultra long-lasting. They’re very slippery, and they don’t evaporate. Oil-based lubes are often considered ideal for anal penetration in that they’re thick, heavy-duty, super-slippery, and very long-lasting. They can pose issues for vulva-owners, however, in that they can irritate vaginal tissue and throw off the vagina’s pH levels which can lead to infection. Also, since they don’t evaporate, they are difficult to clean out, which can increase a person’s chances of infection. At the end of the day, while some folks swear by oil-based lube, there are a number of concerns that go along with it.

Before we go any further, too, it’s important to stress that oil-based lubes are never compatible with latex. A latex condom will almost definitely break if you try to use it with an oil-based lube. (Yes, even coconut oil. The internet may tell you otherwise, but please take our word for it.) Oil-based lubes can, however, be used safely with internal condoms and any safer sex product made from polyurethane.

While oil-based lubes can pose problems for vulvas, they can be just fine for anuses and penises. There are many great masturbation creams out there for penis-owners, like Stroke 29 or Grizzly Bear Paw Masturbation Cream. (Stroke 29 does contain almond oil, however, so please steer clear if you’re allergic to nuts.)

In case you hadn’t heard, the dynamic uses of coconut oil have been heavily extolled by the beauty community over the last couple of years or so. Some folks say that coconut oil makes excellent lube, too. This has not been adequately researched, so we cannot actively recommend coconut oil as lube. If you’re committed to using coconut oil as lube, we recommend you pair it a non-latex condom, or an internal condom for vaginal or anal sex. Some vulva-owners may experience vaginal issues when using coconut oil as lube, but not for the reasons you might expect. Since coconut oil has antifungal properties, it can actually eliminate problematic bacteria or excess yeast. In that process, however, it can sometimes wipe out good bacteria along with the bad, which can potentially upset the vagina’s pH balance. All in all, though, coconut oil could potentially be a good option for folks with lots of sensitivities since it’s 100% natural, without any preservatives or additives. (Coconut oil also makes an excellent massage oil, for your reference. Ha-cha-cha.) However, although this may be true, The CSPH still recommends products that are explicitly intended to be used as lubricants. There are plenty of high-quality lubes on the market today that are manufactured without additives or preservatives.

Oil-based lubes are, according to some, a must-have for anal fisting. At The CSPH, we always recommend gloves for fisting to minimize risk of injury. Non-latex gloves -- like nitrile, for example -- would be a good option if you’re going to use an oil-based lube for anal fisting.

Flavored Lubes

Flavored lubes can be fun and delicious. Most flavored lubes are not recommended for internal use since they contain ingredients that can be irritating, like sucralose, glycerin, and various types of glycol, all of which can bring on yeast infections for vulva-owners and potential irritation for anus-owners, which is...everyone. Sliquid’s Swirl line is actually delicious; the blue raspberry flavor tastes just like a Jolly Rancher -- no lie. Those are safe for internal use, as are some other organic, all-natural brands, like Naturally Yours.

The Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health is a sexuality education and advocacy non profit dedicated to reducing sexual shame, challenging misinformation, and elevating the field of sexuality. For more information on our services and resources, visit thecsph.org

Part 5 Will cover Lube and Conception & Pregnancy

Any questions about this or other topics be sure to send them to christie@christiestoybox.com