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6 Things You Should Know About Lube Before Using It

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Oh, the wonderful world of lube. So many flavors, sensations, and possibilities. The more options we’re given, the more questions come up: Is it safe to have this many ingredients you can’t pronounce this close to your v**ina? How do you know when you’ve crossed the line between good-tingly and bad-tingly? And most importantly, is this stuff conducive to safe s*x?

We asked the experts all our these probing questions and more. Here’s what you need to know:

There are two kinds of lube

“The two basic groups of lube are water-soluble and oil-based,” says Amir Marashi, M.D. and board-certified ob-gyn “We don’t like the oil-based ones because, as ob-gyns, we want you to use condoms, and oil-based lubricants don’t work with condoms.” Specifically, an oil-based lubricant can cause the condom to crack, degrade, or ultimately break, making you more susceptible to STIs and unplanned pregnancy.

Another reason Marashi recommends water-soluble lube is because oil-based lubricants, like coconut oil, can totally change your pH level, leaving you at a higher risk for developing infections like bacterial vaginosis.

Clean up is easy

Water-based lubes leave your body easily and quickly, says Marashi. On the other hand, an oil-based lube will leave you feeling oily down there. That makes many women head to the shower, which is a major no-no, says Marashi. Using soap to wash your v**ina, no matter how “gentle” it is, can also throw off your pH levels. So if you want to feel squeaky clean post-s*x, go with the water-soluble stuff.

Another way to ensure that everything stays fresh down there is to pee immediately after intercourse, he says. This will clear any bacteria and prevent you from getting a UTI.

The less ingredients, the better

There may actually be something to the argument for organic lube (like this one from the Women’s Health Boutique), says Marashi. Because lubricants are classified as a supplement, they aren’t FDA-regulated, he says. Therefore, anyone can throw any number of ingredients in a bottle and call it lube. Yikes. This is why it’s so important to check the label and make sure it’s legit.

The shorter the list of ingredients, the better, he says. One ingredient you really want to watch out for is alcohol or anything alcohol-based, which will usually end in an –ol, he says. You don’t want alcohol—a disinfectant—in your lube, because that will kill your natural bacteria, which can lead to a yeast infection or over production of bacteria. Also, think about it this way: Alcohol dries out the skin, so it will definitely dry out your v**ina, which is the opposite of what you want.

Choose tingling over heat

“I’m not too big an encourager of things that make the v**ina feel hot,” says Mary Jane Minkin, M.D., a board-certified ob-gyn and a clinical professor at Yale University School of Medicine. That’s because a warming sensation can turn into a burning sensation real quick if you have sensitive skin or an allergy to the active ingredient. Plus, the friction of s*x can lead to things getting even hotter (literally) which is too intense for some people.

On the other side of the coin, Marashi says there’s nothing wrong with getting in a little cooling action. A lot of women love them, he says. If the base is something natural like mint or spearmint, then it’s totally fine, he says.

Don’t buy in bulk

If there’s a major sale going on at Costco on a lube you’ve never tried, you might want to pump the brakes. “In general, my major advice is never buy a large supply to begin with,” says Minkin. “You need to see if you like the feel, the comfort, the smell, and the taste. And as the v**ina and vulva are the most delicate tissues in the body, I don’t want folks getting irritated.”

So it’s best to buy a small amount before committing. And if you want to tread lightly, test a small amount on the inside of your wrist to see how your skin reacts.

Consider a long-term solution

You should also consider why you need lube in the first place, says Minkin.

“Certainly, women who are post-menopausal and have very little estrogen can need some extra lubrication,” she says. “But how much lubrication does a young premenopausal woman need? I hope her partner is arousing her appropriately, and that she makes good lubrication of her own.” If you’re premenopausal and that’s not the case, then you may want to talk to your doctor and/or a s*x therapist to see what’s going on, she says. Additionally, hormonal birth control can contribute to dryness and a decreased libido, so you’ll want to discuss your options there as well.

For his part, Marashi stresses that the best lubrication is your own and if it isn’t happening naturally, he recommends extending foreplay.

If it comes down to a hormonal issue, Minkin and Marashi agree that a long-term moisturizer, like Replens, may be helpful. “Inserted into the v**ina several times a week, it will keep her vaginal tissue in better shape and help avoid overgrowth of bad bacteria,” says Minkin.

source: Womenshealth

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