Is Your Lubrication Choice Safe and Natural?

 Novelty lubes are essentially gimmicks.
Novelty lubes are essentially gimmicks.
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In an ideal world, your souffle would always rise, kids would be born potty trained, and dating would be a breeze. But let's face it, things don't always work the way they should. Take various aspects of sex, for example. Under certain circumstances natural lubrication may be limited or non-existent. Effects from one's environment (such as climate or humidity), stress (caused by work or relationship, say), and the mind-body itself (age, pregnancy) can affect this small but oh-so important element of getting it on.

So what's a girl to do when Mother Nature takes a break? There are a lot of different kinds of personal lubrication out there: silicone-based, oil-based, and water-based, as well as novelty stuff that claims to warm, cool, or massage. Since all those choices can be rather, er, over-stimulating, I'm breaking down the good, the bad, and the best options below, according to their eco-friendliness, safety, and satisfaction rating.

Lubrication: The Good, The Bad, and the Best

While silicone is derived in a laboratory from the liquids Dimethicone, dimethiconal, and cyclomenthicone, it is basically a non-toxic substance which cannot be absorbed into the skin and mucus membranes. Silicone-based lubes last longer than water-based lubricants and do not need to be reapplied as often. While silicone may produce the best overall most slippery results, while remaining the safest for the body, I only score it as good for its relative inorganic chemical formulations.

Oil-Based Lubes: The Bad

Oil-based lubes get a bad wrap, and justly so. They are sticky, greasy, and can corrode latex condoms and diaphragms. Such lubricants are commonly used because they are generally handily available around the house—Vaseline, baby oil, mineral oil, even cooking oils. These are sometimes petroleum-based (non-cooking oils) which are bad for the environment, but they can also be generally bad for the woman's uterus by trapping bacteria and yeast underneath its slimy coating, causing infection. Your best choice of all if you are looking for an all-natural product that is also safe for your body, is water-based lubes.

Water-Based Lubes: The Best

Water-based lubes offer a smooth, frictionless motion, without the gooey residue of oil-based formulations and they can easily be mixed from all-natural, organic ingredients. Since these products use water as their main ingredient, they are quickly absorbed into the body tissue and need to be reapplied frequently. This brings up an interesting point as far as absorption. The fact that these types of lubricants are quickly absorbed through the skin and mucus membranes makes it very important to be certain that these are not allowing harmful chemicals into the body. This is why I highly recommend only using only 100 percent natural water-based formulas such as Firefly, Yes, Sylk, and Good Clean Love (see below).

Top Water-Based Personal Lubricants

Firefly personal lubricant uses 100 percent all-natural ingredients, plus adds in the soothing, healing extract of aloe vera. It is safe with all types of condoms (silicone, rubber, latex), and is actually fairly long-lasting as natural formulations go.

Yes Lubricant

Yes lubricant is a fairly tried and true formulation for couples. It is 100 percent natural and also includes organic ingredients. Yes also offers an oil-based (from plants) formula, though I still recommend using the water-based for most circumstances.

Sylk Personal Lubricant

Sylk is another 100 percent natural (no chemicals or fragrances), water-based option made from Kiwifruit vine extract. It promises not to cause irritation and is said to be as close to the real thing as you can find in a bottle (just remember to recycle that bottle when you're finished with it).

Good Clean Love

Even dirty girls will like Good Clean Love. The line includes two formulations that add extra stimulation without any harsh chemicals by adding peppermint and cinnamon.

Note on Spermicides, and Novelty Brands

Many lubricants used to have some sort of spermicide added into them, and one of the most common was Nonoxynol-9 (N-9). While it was originally marketed to provide protection against HIV, STDs, and becoming pregnant, research by UNAIDS has found that it provides absolutely no protection from any of these when used by itself. N-9 has been shown to cause irritation in women, which is why most manufacturers do not use it anymore. It is only recommended to use spermicides if you are using a diaphragm as your main source of birth control.

Novelty lubes are essentially gimmicks meant to catch consumer attention. You should know that the extra ingredients used to create warming, tingling, glowing, or other sensations are more likely to contain harmful chemicals and can lessen the effect of a product's lubricating properties.

Whatever lube you choose, there are tons of good options on the market now so keep an eye out for water or silicon lubes that meet your needs.