Coconut oil is definitely 100% not a replacement for lube
Don’t get me wrong, I love coconut oil. Cooking with it? Yum. Slathered all over my body? Yes, please. But if I hear one more person recommend coconut oil as lube I am going to scream. Even though it seems like coconut oil has about a million different uses, lube is definitely not one of them. I don’t care if you are using it for a vagina or an anus, it does not belong down there. First of all, the safety and effectiveness of coconut oil as a lubricant for sex has not been proven in any scientific studies. And even without this evidence, we can use our knowledge of oil-based lube and sexual health to figure out pretty quickly that it is not a good idea.
1. Oil and latex do not mix
Oil-based lubes weaken latex barriers like condoms and dental dams, making them more likely to break and leaving you susceptible to pregnancy and STIs. Oil can also degrade latex toys, leaving them unsafe to use.
2. Coconut oil can cause vaginal infections
Coconut oil’s antiviral and antibacterial properties make it great for healing cuts and scrapes on your skin, but are also a major reason why it does not belong inside a vagina. Coconut oil’s ability to kill viruses and bacteria can actually disrupt the vagina’s delicate pH balance, causing itching, abnormal discharge, or a yeast infection. The lining of the vagina is one of the most absorbent parts of the body, and like other oils, coconut oil leaves a thick coating that is difficult for the vagina’s water-based tissue to break down. Coconut oil’s thick consistency can trap bacteria, leading to bacterial or yeast infections.
3. Coconut oil can clog your pores
Coconut oil is comedogenic, meaning it can clog your pores. Clogged pores can lead to bumps, ingrown hairs, and skin irritation.
Now that you know why you should avoid coconut oil, let’s explore some other common lube alternatives — and whether they really work.
Petroleum jelly, commonly marketed as Vaseline, has similar problems to coconut oil. As a healing product, it creates a barrier over the skin to lock in moisture, meaning it does not get reabsorbed into the body, and stays on the vulval tissue and walls of the vagina. Like oil, petroleum jelly is water-insoluble, making it difficult to clean off. Petroleum jelly is also unsafe to use with latex condoms, as it contains mineral oils that degrade latex. It is also incompatible with most sex toys, except those made of glass or metal. Most importantly, petroleum is one of the main ingredients to avoid in lubes, as it increases the likelihood of a yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis.
First things first — only consider using aloe vera or aloe vera gels if they are 100 percent pure. Some gels contain sugars, artificial ingredients, or even alcohol, which can irritate genitals. Aloe is water-based, so you do not have to worry about it breaking down condoms or toys. A lot of people are allergic to the latex in aloe vera, so make sure you and your partner do not have a reaction. Most aloe vera gels are made for external use only, so you probs want to avoid putting it inside you. Instead, you can try one of the many aloe vera-based lubes on the market.
Although it’s free and readily available, saliva is not the best lube option. Since it is water-based, saliva only provides a thin barrier and dries quickly, which will not provide adequate lubrication. Plus, bacteria and viral particles can easily be carried by saliva, potentially introducing infection to your genitals and anus, and spreading STIs. For example, someone with an oral herpes lesion can infect their partner with genital or anal herpes if they use their spit as lube.
Have I convinced you yet that you should invest in lube that was actually made for sex? Here is a quick breakdown of which lube is best for which situation.
As I mentioned, oil-based lubes are not safe to use with latex barriers, such as condoms or dental dams, or with latex toys. Oil is also difficult to clean and can stain sheets or clothing. Oil-based lube is best when penetration is not involved or when condoms are not necessary, such as masturbation or massage.
The lubricant our body produces is water-based, so water-based lubes are a safe bet, as they are compatible with all condoms and sex toys. Water-based lubes are also great for sensitive skin, and wash off very easily. The drawbacks are that they do not stay wet for very long, and they are not good for water play.
Silicone-based lubes are safe with condoms- but can break down other silicone-based products, such as diaphragms or sex toys. Silicone-based lubes are often silky and soothing, protecting skin from irritation. They typically last longer than water-based lubes and are less sticky. Silicone can be harder to wash off, which can be bad for cleaning up in bed, but great for water play. Silicone-based lubes are best for penetration without the use of toys.