I’ll admit it. It took a 2 minute hysterical ‘verbal assault’ from a 70-something, unstable due to recent divorce by by gay husband, yam-waving, Grace on the Netflix original to get it through my head – there’s nothing wrong with organic and natural personal lubricants. Or DIY, homemade lube made from yams….
That’s what it took me – a 28 year old Sex and the City aficionado who once dated a guy with a Periodic Table of Elemental Sex Positions taped to the wall to really consider ‘organic’ lube. At first, the idea of having anything I ate regularly applied to my vagina just seemed weird. I’m the type of person who wipes my fingers as soon as any sauce or pee gets on them. Was I supposed to just siphon off some coconut oil from the kitchen jar, take a greasy spoon back to my bedroom, and then make myself smell like (and maybe oddly crave) Thai food?
My Devil’s Advocate quickly reared, asking what was weirder – coconut oil or petrochemicals. Touchè, old friend.
Worse than weird now was horror at my realization– the lubricants lining the drug store shelves aren’t as clean as I would have imagined them to be. The sticky lube bottles tumbling off drug store shelves to form a $200 million industry are full of ingredients I can barely pronounce that this episode of Grace and Frankie made me think twice about.
Scientifically speaking, when I dug a little deeper, it seems many of the questionable ingredients found in conventional lube includes petrochemical ingredients including propylene glycol, commonly found in products like anti-freeze and brake fluid, and polyethylene glycol, found in laxatives and oven cleaner! Furthermore, these noxious substances are preserved using methyl and propyl-parabens, two potential carcinogens. Because lubricants are marketed as “novelty products only”, they go untested, unregulated, and unapproved from the FDA, continuing to pose a health risk to blissfully ignorant couples.
Using lubricant is important for sexual pleasure but also for sexual safety. Extensive friction or dryness due to the lack of lubrication inside the vaginal walls can cause micro-tears leading to pain and an increased risk of STI transmission. It is reported that one in three women report dryness related pain during intercourse indicating the commonality of the condition; it’s not just women during menopause!
Regardless of age, many women feel uncomfortable bringing up the issue of lube with their partner or using it for the first time, but never feel shy to ask for what you want or need! Lubricant faces the same taboo that stems from shaming women about enjoying sex or being on their period. We say go forth and have fun experimenting. If you’re still not convinced, here’s a good quick reference for ingredient No-No’s and four reasons to use an organic lubricant.
1. The chemicals used in 95% of OTC lubrication can cause cancer. Parabens cause hormone disruption by mimicking estrogen in your body, affecting fertility and potentially increasing the risk of breast cancer.
2. Many branded lubricants contain sugar; application of glucose to the vagina’s mucosal walls can disrupt the ecological balance of the vaginal flora causing a yeast infection or feed candida increasing the chance for bacterial vaginosis to present.
3. Even non-spermicidal lubricants contain chemicals toxic to sperm that can affect motility, creating fertility complications.
4. Petrochemical lubricants, especially those with warming and cooling effects, can cause cell death. For example, the cellular weight of ingredients in KY’s warming jelly are 30x heavier than human skin tissue cells, causing cell damage and death, skin irritation, and open skin abrasions in an immune-compromised environment.
Hope this quick guide will bring a little bit more fun and empowered knowledge to your Valentine’s Day plans. If you need some natural personal lubricant brand alternatives, check out the products made by our friends at Sustain and Good Clean Love. In the spirit of the holiday and products that are better for vaginas, we’re also celebrating with a sale. Get 20% off your next purchase of any of our organic tampons at our online store. Sale ends next Friday, 2/17/17. Happy Valentine’s Day!