Fact or Friction: The Toxic Truth About Sexual Lubricants
Education & Research Sexual lubricants can be a vital accessory in a couple’s bedroom. Not all sexual lubricants, however, are created equally.
By moistening a woman’s sensitive tissues, simulating and augmenting her body’s natural lubrication, sexual lubricans promote relatively friction-free, more comfortable sex. Even if vaginal dryness isn’t an issue, they can enhance pleasure for both partners, making sex appreciably more enjoyable.
Be that as it may, a surprising number of lubricants—including even some purported to be more or less natural—include synthetic or toxic compounds that could cause unpleasant reactions or pose health risks. In fact, some contain chemical ingredients that were originally designed for use in oven cleaners or on automobiles.
Reading between the lines
It’s essential to know the differences between sexual lubricants that are truly natural and healthy, and those that
may claim to be but aren’t. The delicate tissue of your vagina can readily absorb chemical compounds, so you need to inspect the ingredient lists of your lubricants with the same vigilance you use for the foods you eat.
"You need to inspect the ingredient lists of your lubricants with the same vigilance you use for the foods you eat."
A few simple tips can help you steer clear of the wrong sexual lubricants. First, avoid any product if you ever
experience discomfort or an allergic reaction from using it. Second, if you don’t recognize the chemical name of
an ingredient, do a quick check in the “skin deep” database of the Environmental Working Group (EWG). This
may tell you if the ingredient is hazardous and has unhealthy properties.
For starters, here’s a short list of some chemicals and ingredients to avoid in your sexual lubricant.
1. Petroleum or petroleum-based ingredients
These can coat your skin and interfere with its normal functions and permeability. They may also contain impurities with possible links to various health conditions, including cancer. Petroleum-based ingredients can be found in many common multipurpose lubricants, such as petroleum jelly.
These synthetic preservatives, which can mimic the effects of estrogen in your tissues, may have links to higher risk of breast cancer.
According to the EWG, this chemical is moderately hazardous, with possible links to skin irritation and toxicity. High concentrations have been associated with reproductive damage, depressed immunity, and reduced nervous system function in newborns.
4. Silicone-based ingredients
These may have toxic effects, and may also coat your skin, affecting its normal functioning much as petroleum-based ingredients do. Package labels may use a variety of names for siliconebased compounds, such as methyl polysiloxane and dimethicone, to name a few.
5. Propylene glycol
This potentially toxic ingredient may cause some women to experience tissue irritation.
Propylene glycol is found in some frequently used over-the-counter lubricants—as well as some types of antifreeze.
A form of sugar, glycerine may increase incidence of candida, which can result in vaginal yeast infections in women susceptible to them.
Commonly found in some multipurpose lubricants, this ingredient can trigger irritation and toxic effects for some women.
Avoiding these and other unhealthy ingredients, and using completely natural, wholesome lubricants can make a big difference in your sex life—even if you’ve used synthetic products without noticing unpleasant symptoms.