Lubrication is a fact of life. In any relationship where working parts are at play, whether it be an engine, a dinner party or an evening of love, everything works better when it is well oiled. Lubrication allows for glide, ease and effectiveness. When lubrication is working well, it is invisible, a thought we don’t have. When it isn’t working, we know it immediately, although not always by its name. An engine without oil locks up in minutes, awkward silence and uncomfortable gazing down into the lap is immediately recognizable.
Lacking lubrication in intimacy can take on multiple forms and occur for a myriad of reasons. Age, childbearing and nursing and some medications are often the cause of vaginal dryness and its associated pain in sex. Often this physiological issue is accompanied by a lack of sexual drive because our natural lubrication also acts as a sign that we are aroused. I remember in my teens and twenties when vaginal wetness was a fact of life and arousal happened sometimes without even noticing it. Those body memories are stored deep in our psyche, and the good news is that triggering them can be as easy as finding the right lubrication.
Largely, the variety of lubricants on the market break down into three main categories; water-based, silicone-based, and oil-based. Each category has its benefits and weaknesses and it’s important to be informed about the health and environmental consequences associated with different product ingredients, because after all, you’re putting them in and on sensitive areas.
Water-based lubes are by far the most popular category because they are most often recommended by physicians and are latex compatible (you can use them safely with condoms). However, because of their chosen ingredient base, which includes petrochemicals, many women experience continuous irritation, burning and infection Propylene glycol, also found in anti-freeze and brake fluid, Polyethylene glycol, an ingredient in oven cleaner and preservatives methyl and propyl-parabens are all common in lube formulations. The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics – a research advocate arm of the Breast Cancer Fund, has recently identified parabens as potentially carcinogenic and is working to stop their usage in all personal care products. Parabens are used as preservatives and are also associated with skin irritation.
Another popular ingredient of water based lubricants is vegetable glycerin. There is some debate about glycerin- on the plus side, it is a great anti-bacterial agent and does provide a certain glide, but in large volumes has a tendency to inflame yeast problems and usually ends up very sticky and overly sweet. Oh My is a great company to check out for a wide variety of fun packaging, flavors and ingredients in water-based lubricants. They have done their homework and provide a lot of interesting information on their site.
Silicone-based lubricants are enjoyed by many, with great response. Silicone provides excellent smooth and long-lasting glide. However, silicone carries its own risks and inconveniences including the strong chemical scent and taste, stains sheets and does not wash off sensitive tissue without a hearty scrub with soap and water. In this group the product that tops the list is Pjur silicone lubricant from Germany. If I were to use a silicone lubricant – this would be the one I would choose first.
Natural oil-based lubricants offer a sensuous and aromatic choice for individuals who are either allergic to latex or have other birth control methods. Love oils and butters gave me my first really positive and healing sex experience and helped me launch my business in natural love products. The use of olive oil and coconut oil as lubricants is ages old, and for good reason. Another good company to look into here would be firefly.com.
I have researched product chemistry and believe that many intimacy products suffer from a serious lack of imagination. Our company in conjunction with a research lab in Wyoming applied ourselves to finding an alternative and thanks to healthy collective questioning and a faith in natural products, we came up with an all-natural lubricant made with aloe vera, xanthan gum, agar-agar and a three tiered preservative system including less than 10% vegetable glycerin, benzoic acid and a naturally activated enzymatic formula which continuously preserves in the bottle. We create our fragrance and flavor with infusions of whole flowers and herbs. All in all, I really don’t think you can get a cleaner, fresher lube. I guarantee it will take twenty years off your sex drive…