Minx Educates

Lubricants 101

To keep things simple, I’ve referred to parts of the body by their scientific name or ‘genitals’. I do understand and respect you may not use these names yourself, so please replace these with your names for these areas.

Hello, Petals!

Don’t you just adore that burning sensation between your legs during sex? Or how about the pain in your anus when it feels like a stone head from Easter Island is being inserted rather than a butt plug? Me too! After all, ‘You should never need lube in your life. If you need lube, then you’re being lazy’  Wow! Thanks, Ronda!

And now without the sarcasm…

Lubricants are freaking awesome! I use them for sex, taking car parts off (no joke), exercising (it’s a godsend to fight the chafe), more sex, massaging (my manis and pedis are second to none), defrizzing my unruly hair on a humid day and yes, more sex.

So today’s lesson, my moist minx students, will be going through the ins and outs of Personal Lubricants. So hang on tight, as we dive deep into their wet world. I’ll do my best to prevent puns from slipping out. (boom boom!)

‘Why are lubricants so awesome? Ms Minx?’

An excellent question keen pupils.

In short, they *takes a deep breath*

  • Add slip
  • Ease discomfort
  • Increase emotional connection
  • Improve health of vagina – nurtures & supports the fragile ecosystem
  • Improve natural lubrication
  • Increase arousal – through the sensation of feeling ‘wet.’
  • Increase natural bodies lubrication
  • Ease medication side effects
  • Increase/decrease sensation
  • Enable longevity of a session
  • Ease dryness
  • Help prevent condoms breaking with the reduced friction
  • Remove/ease pressure of being ‘ready’ on demand
  • Variety uses around the house

*and breathe*

Whoa! Not bad for a little extra squirt of liquid.

They’re handy beasts to have in your drawer! Wait. Beasts? Yup! Because they come in different types, made for different areas, have different qualities, but they’re all working on ensuring you have eye-popping, messy, hot, juicy sex. Partnered or alone (you saucy minx’s’! *wink*).

But doesn’t the body produce ‘enough’?

Ugh! I hate that word ‘enough’. – ‘Excuse me, could I get some extra shame put on using lubricants please?’

It creates an unnecessary, impossible and unmeasurable set of standards for natural lube production. Ridiculous! Who cares what your body produces, as long as you’re enjoying the experience. Add lube or don’t add lube, it’s about your body, listening and feeling what it needs. I have a lot of natural lube production, but I still love adding it anyway.

Our bodies production is not an indication of sexual interest or ability (Thanks, Ronda!).

Our bodies are complex, made up of different systems and chemicals, and there is no way it can maintain a ‘high’ level of lube production all our lives, through all our troubles, forever! It’s impossible. You are human after all. And you know what? THAT’S NORMAL!!!

If you’ve been sick, take medication, going through a tough time, have hormones, have emotions, not interested in sex at that point, these – and other things life throws our way – will affect how moist we are. Well, I’ll be! Who’d have thought the body could be so fickle? Um, SCIENCE!

So what does the body produce?

Let me explain.

Vaginal fluid comes from the cervix, cell lining, Skene’s glands, and Bartholin’s glands. They all produce various amounts of fluid depending on the menstrual cycle, and arousal levels, all to keep the vagina’s delicate ecosystem healthy and happy, and to allow for penetration. When aroused the vagina usually produces about 1tsp of fluid, which isn’t much for marathon sessions, hence the welcoming idea of lube. (insert angel chorus here)

A penis doesn’t provide lubricant as such, but a bio penis body does have a Cowper’s gland (Bulbourethral Gland) – located under the prostate. This secretes a mucus-like fluid (aka pre-ejaculate/pre-cum) which helps cleanse the urethral duct, picks up any old sperm, and provides a harmonious place for sperm to travel along for increased survival. If the Cowper’s gland is insufficiently producing fluid, it can lead to difficulties with conception. This fluid is all about looking after the sperm before ejaculation and procreation, rather than aiding insertion. This is only produced with arousal. Lower quantities of pre-cum is unable to be aided with lube, however, production is generally managed through relieving stress. But if you are a dripping mass of deliciousness, use it to rub around the head and aid penetration or masturbation.

The anus has a minimal amount of natural lube production. When it does, it’s mucus like, and only released right before you poop. So anal penetration will always require lube. More lube. And just to reiterate, more lube!

Our bodies do their best, but it’s ok to reach for the bottle and use liberally. Liberal lubing (maybe the liberal gov could use that as their next election slogan?)

So how do we help our bodies out Ms Minx?

Use lubricant! Take it away Wellness Education Centre!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBgDV4eHB6c – Lyrics are in the description.

How do I choose? There are so many lubricants!

Yup, there are indeed. Different types, sizes, purposes and quality – some can even hurt your body.

There are four main categories: Water-based, Oil, Silicone, and Hybrid (a water-based and silicone blend).

Here are some pros and cons for the main lubes.

Personal Lubricant Pros & Cons
Personal Lubricant Pros & Cons

Just a little note on oil – if you’re going to use it, stick to coconut oil, not everyday oils and certainly not your used chip oil.

There are also a few subsections: Organic, Flavoured, and Stimulants.

Organic: As with many other areas, greenwashing is throughout the lubricant industry too. A product may only have one organic ingredient and are using that to their marketing advantage. Take the time to check the ingredients, don’t just believe the advertising. These products tend to be high in aloe vera or coconut oil (depending on the type of lubricant). Just because it’s ‘organic’  or ‘natural’ does not mean it can’t harm your body, particularly if you have an allergy to aloe. There will also still be a form of preservative, citric acid is a common one, to give it a shelf life.

In regards to flavoured or stimulating lubricants, these may add a bit of fun but tend not to be recommended for delicate tissues, because of the ingredients and the harm they can cause.

Flavoured lubes generally taste better, will be stickier and can be coloured than the main lubes. Please check the ingredients list because quite often sugars. And we all know how much a vagina loves that. Not! (More on that later).

Stimulating lubes, add tingling, warming or cooling sensations. They can also ‘tighten’ or even reduce sensation by numbing an area. Peppermint and cinnamon are often used in these.

Most sex positive educators, do not and will not endorse tightening or numbing lubes. Tightening lubes just add to body shaming. Sex is already riddled with that, we don’t need more added. Numbing lubes are marketed anal play, to make penetration easier. As great as that sounds, you need to feel this area during sex! The anus is a delicate people. You need to be able to feel pain because that’s your body saying ‘Hey! I love that you want to explore here, but it’s going wrong. Please stop, or at least slow down. Sheesh!‘  Do you really want to anally tear and not know about it? This can happen with numbing lubes, so just don’t use them.

Sure these lubes can add a bit of fun to sex, and I highly endorse fun but read the ingredients. Due to the often ‘questionsable’ ingredients, these can cause harm, but by all means use them externally, just avoid the genitals or anus. 

But wait!  

We need to talk PH and the not so healthy ingredients.

The vagina and anus both have a ‘happy’ PH level, and if it goes outside their preferred parameters, issues can occur. A harmonious vagina likes to be between 3.5 and 4.5 however, hormones, & menopause will have the PH fluctuating up to 7 – perfectly normal. The anus enjoys its PH to be between 6 & 7, quite a narrow window. To give you perspective tap water is neutral and sits at 7, Diet Coke is 3.2, raw broccoli 10, and coffee sits in about 4. The issues could be burning, stinging, itching, and may make genitals more susceptible to infections, or yeast overgrowth

Some not so healthy ingredients in lubricants are; Propylene Glycol (petrochemical), Sugars, Nonoxynol 9 & Chlorhexidine Gluconate (surfactants to create a sterile environment), Petroleum Oils, Benzocaine (numbing ingredient), and Glycerine (a sugar alcohol NOT sugar).

Those ingredients can irritate, cause infections, exacerbate infections, burn, sting, increase viral transmission, and so on. Reign havoc on your genitals in general. It’s best to read the ingredients and avoid all the above. But I would like to quickly chat about Glycerine.

Glycerine is a controversial ingredient, dividing fellow sex educators and health professionals. One side says ‘Glycerine = Sugar in vagina = infections’ VS the other half saying ‘Glycerine (sugar alcohol) in vagina = cell damage’.

The primary concern seems to be that the glycerine/glycerol/glycerin family is harmful but only depending on the percentage in the lubricant – more than about 1% by volume is harmful to the vagina.

Scientifically, the issue doesn’t seem to be digestion, or sugar content or anything like that – the issue is that glycerine is hyperosmotic compared to vaginal cells. Basically, it will draw fluid from the vaginal cells through the cell membranes into the external space. This can cause cell breakage, shrinkage and other related damage. This is a relatively recent development, most of the references to this phenomenon are within the past 5-10 years as it’s being demonstrated by research.

Due to the damage, there a few side issues, some of which include the promotion of infection causing vaginosis or increased STI transmission risks. Also, this can affect sperm, and thus chances of conception. It’s in pretty stark contrast to its use in skin-care products where it is used as an anti-inflammatory, anti-reactant product that enhances skin health.

Within the past three years, there’s been research on how to formulate personal lubricants that are osmolality and pH balanced for the vaginal environment, due to these issues. Here’s hoping all manufacturers listen, (not just a few) and this information is placed on the lubricant labels soon because we have a right to know about this.

If you have sensitive skin, or prone to infections, look for lubricants with minimal ingredients, as chemical free as possible, and buy from reputable shops, and brands of high quality.

If you have any concerns, visit your General Practioner, Gynocologist, or your local Sexual Health Centre.

Hang on! You haven’t mentioned any recommendations!

Within Australia: Yes OrganicsSliquidUberlube, Pjur, and Swiss Navy

Outside of Australia: Aloe Cadabra, Good Clean Love, Southern Butter or Hathor Aphrodisia. (How I wish I could get my hands on these!) You can find these at sex-positive shops Come as you are, Self Serve, and Smitten Kitten.

The above brands are high-quality, their products fall within the ph happy guidelines, and have different products to suit all body areas.

Lubricants are a wondrous thing, but even with top notch lubes, still put on your lube savvy hat with pride, and read the ingredients, listen to your bodies reactions, and stop using if it becomes painful. Doing so is ok. We’re not short of brands, so have fun and explore. Don’t be afraid to email manufacturers to find out me about their lube range, or demand additional PH and Osmolality info on their labels.

Enjoy being an advocate for lubricant!

You’ve been great students and here’s a 20% off code ‘ilovelube‘ for all lubricants and oils sold in my shop here!  (EXP: Feb 28th, 2017, discount excludes postage).

Happy Orgasms Petals,

Narelle Minx x x x

 

If your interested, here are some further resources;

http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/76580/1/WHO_RHR_12.33_eng.pdf

http://journals.lww.com/stdjournal/Fulltext/2008/05000/Mucosal_Irritation_Potential_of_Personal.16.aspx

https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ipid/2008/750479/abs/

https://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/122-a70/

http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1258/ijsa.2010.010215

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0041008X13005413

http://cen.acs.org/articles/90/i50/Studies-Raise-Questions-Safety-Personal.html

http://bmcinfectdis.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1471-2334-10-331

http://www.mdpi.com/1999-4923/6/3/530/htm#table_body_display_pharmaceutics-06-00530-t001

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