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Lube Info & Safety

What Personal Lubricant Ingredients Can Damage Condoms?

When you’re practicing safe sex, some extra lubrication can be incredibly beneficial. Lube makes sex feel more natural with a condom, and by decreasing friction, it provides some additional protection for sensitive skin. However, you need to choose a lubricant that’s compatible with your condom .

The good news is that you’ve got plenty of options; silicone and water-based lubricants are completely safe to use with latex condoms. In fact, there’s really only one lubricant ingredient that can significantly increase the chances of a latex condom breakage: oil.

Oil-based lubricants are not safe to use with condoms (with one notable exception, Simply Slick) because they permeate the tiny pores in the latex, wearing away at them and causing damage. When you put pressure on the condom – as you do during sex – these tiny holes can expand and the condom can break.

Most oils can damage latex. Mineral oils and vegetable oils are commonly found in some masturbation lubricants and anal lubricants, so look out for these substances. If your lubricant contains oil and it’s not specifically approved for use with latex, play it safe and don’t use it.

Other ingredients that can increase the likelihood of a condom failure include natural acids and coarse sugars, but personal lubricants don’t use these ingredients in high enough concentrations to risk damage. If your lubricant is approved for sexual use and it doesn’t contain oil, it’s safe for your condoms.

The biggest threats to your condoms are environmental. Be sure to store your stash in a cool, dry place, and immediately throw away any condoms with damaged packaging. Never reuse condoms (not only is it gross, but it drastically increases your chances of pregnancy and STDs). Pay attention to expiration dates and promptly dispose of expired condoms.

Using Non-Latex Condoms with Lubricants

That’s all great if you’re using a latex condom, but what if you’re using another material?

Non-latex condoms are growing in popularity, and for the most part, you should follow the same general rules when pairing them with a lube. Here’s what you need to know.

PolyurethanePolyurethane condoms use a non-porous material that doesn’t break down when exposed to oils. However, polyurethane may be more susceptible to breakage than latex. The FDA approves polyurethane as a latex alternative, noting that the material protects against pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, but recommending latex over polyurethane.

PolyisoprenePolyisoprene condoms use a special type of latex formulated for people with latex allergies. The same substances that will damage other types of latex will damage polyisoprene (including oil-based lubes). Polyisoprene condoms provide protection from pregnancy and many sexually transmitted diseases including HIV.

Animal SkinLambskin or sheepskin condoms can provide protection against pregnancy, but not against many sexually transmitted infections (including HIV), so you should only use them with a trusted partner. They’re safe to use with oil-based lubricants.

Remember, you should never use an oil-based lubricant for vaginal sex, as oils can cause fungal and bacterial infections. Never use a lubricant for sexual contact if it isn’t specifically designed for sex; petroleum jellies, hand lotions, massage liquids, and other products may damage your condoms, and they probably aren’t safe for internal use.

Otherwise, have fun – using a lubricant with a condom is an excellent way to get a more natural feel while staying safe.

Can I Safely Apply Lubricant to the Inside of a Condom?

We’ve said this before, but it’s worth reiterating: protection is an important part of a healthy sex life.

You probably already know that you need to wear a condom in order to protect yourself from sexually transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancies, and you should also know that a high-quality personal lubricant can make safe sex much more pleasurable. The lube cuts down on friction and creates a natural feel. According to the CDC, adequate lubrication can also help to prevent the condom from breaking.

It’s easy to use lube with your condoms – you can apply lube to either the outside or the inside, provided that you’re using a water or silicone-based product. There’s a common misconception that lube can weaken a condom when applied to the inside, but this couldn’t be further from the truth; by reducing heat and friction, the lubricant helps to minimize stress. Adding a drop or two of your lubricant to the head of the penis will allow the condom to slip over the penis easily, and you’ll enjoy added sensations with every movement.

However, you need to use a little bit of caution when using a lubricant in this manner. Don’t use too much and don’t cover the entire penis with lube. You don’t want to make the inside of the condom too slick, as it could potentially slip off during sex. Because the inside of the condom has a limited amount of air, you won’t need too much lube anyways, and a drop or two should provide plenty of added sensations.

Here’s a few other tips to keep in mind when using lube with a condom:

Make Sure the Condom Fits Properly. Applying lubricant to the inside of a condom will make everything a little more slippery, so pay attention to the fit of the condom. If you begin to lose your erection or if the condom feels loose, withdraw immediately. Get a new condom before you continue having sex.

Store Your Condoms in a Safe Place. Keep them in a cool, dry area away from sunlight. Check for perforations in each condom’s wrapper before you get started and throw away damaged or expired condoms.

Use Water or Silicone Based Lubricants. Oil-based lubricants aren’t safe for vaginal sex, and they can damage latex or polyisoprene condoms.

Put Your Condom On Early (And Don’t Take It Off Too Late). In order to protect yourself from STDs, you should wear a condom prior to any genital contact. Withdraw immediately after ejaculation and dispose of the condom.

Be Prepared if a Breakage Occurs. If you’re using condoms as your primary contraceptive, you may want to keep the morning after pill (also known as Plan B One-Step) at your home. She should take the pill if your condom fails.

Lubricants and condoms go together like peanut butter and jelly (although they make terrible sandwich), so don’t worry about applying a drop or two to the inside of the latex. It’s a great way to add something new to your sex life, and if you know how to properly store and use your condoms, you’ll stay safe while getting more pleasure from every new experience.

Is Propylene Glycol a Safe Lubricant Ingredient?

Propylene glycol (also known as PG) is one of the most common ingredients in water-based personal lubricants, and if you’ve used more than one lube, there’s a decent chance that you’ve already had contact with the chemical. In fact, if you’ve ever had frozen custard, used cosmetics, or brushed your teeth, you’ve almost certainly benefited from PG.

In recent years, there’s been a backlash against synthetic substances in sexual lubricants, despite the fact that synthetic ingredients aren’t necessarily more dangerous – they’re simply created through industrial processes. Many people avoid products with propylene glycol, but this is largely unnecessary: it’s a safe, useful ingredient, and it’s commonly found in some of the most popular lubricant formulas.

What is Propylene Glycol (And What Does It Do?)

In order to understand the risks of products with PG, it’s helpful to understand its function. Propylene glycol is most commonly used as a humectant, which means that it stops lubricants from drying out. This is important for water-based lubricants, which can evaporate in a matter of minutes if they’re not carefully formulated.

The substance is often misrepresented as a harsh industrial chemical, particularly on the Internet, but it’s important to note that the glycol used in lubricants typically needs to meets strict requirements for USP, USDA, or FDA approval (sometimes all three). Food-grade propylene glycol is created through a carefully controlled manufacturing process, and it’s not identical to the propylene glycol used in industrial applications. In fact, it’s created from different chemicals, and while it’s structurally similar, it’s much safer for internal use.

It’s also completely different from ethylene glycol, a toxic substance found in car antifreeze (PG is also found in car antifreeze, but only as a replacement for ethylene glycol, which has a sweet taste that attracts pets). Unfortunately, some websites mistakenly claim that propylene glycol and ethylene glycol are the same substance. This simply isn’t true.

The bottom line is that propylene glycol is commonly used in foods, and it’s completely non-toxic according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the World Health Organization (WHO). You probably don’t need to think twice about using products that contain PG.

Will Propylene Glycol Irritate My Skin?

Just to reiterate: most people can safely use products with propylene glycol without any issue whatsoever. It’s considered safe, especially in the relatively low amounts found in personal lubricants.

However, as is the case with most lubricant ingredients, propylene glycol can cause skin irritation for some users. People with sensitive skin may experience burning or itching; symptoms usually subside within several hours. In rare cases, users might show the symptoms of contact dermatitis (think of a poison ivy rash). This is most common with cosmetics that contain PG.

Propylene glycol can also cause vaginal irritation for women with fungal and bacterial infections. However, it doesn’t increase the chances of contracting yeast infections, so it’s safe to use after you’ve recovered. If you have eczema or another skin condition, you should check with your physician before using products with PG to play it safe.

Of course, if you’re especially sensitive or if you’ve had a bad experience, you can easily find lubricants that don’t contain propylene glycol. Look for a simple silicone or water-based lubricant. Water-based lubricants might not last as long since propylene glycol provides an important function in the formula, but there’s plenty of great products out there that will give you plenty of lasting lubrication for your money.

Should I Always Use Lubricant During Anal Sex?

We’re going to cut right to the chase with this article: if you’re having sex, you need to use a lubricant. No ifs, ands, or butts (excuse the pun) about it – lube is important for both partners, and you should never even attempt sex without it.

You probably realize that lube is sometimes optional for vaginal sex because the vagina provides its own lubrication, but the anus isn’t biologically designed for sexual penetration. While it produces some fluids, it doesn’t really lubricate, so lots of friction can occur. If you have sex without an added lubricant, you’ll risk damage to the sensitive tissues in that area.

It’s especially important to note that when anal damage occurs, infections are common. There’s fecal matter in the colon (duh) and bacteria that help your body break down food matter, so a cut or wound can take a long time to heal. The best course of action is to prepare thoroughly before sex, and that starts with lots of lube.

Here are a few tips to make anal sex more comfortable and safe for both partners:

Use a Lube Designed for Anal SexThicker lubricants often work better for anal, since they stay in place and they don’t tend to dry out quickly.

While water-based lubricants don’t last as long as silicone or oil-based lubes, they’re inexpensive and easy to clean up. Silicone lube works well, but it’s not compatible with most silicone toys. Oil-based lubricants aren’t safe to use with latex condoms, but they provide an excellent slickness. However, they’re often difficult to clean up.

Generally speaking, a thicker water-based lube offers the best balance in terms of features, but experiment with different types of lube to see what you prefer. Avoid lubes with added cooling or warming ingredients at first, as these can make anal sex a little too intense for first-timers.

Use More Lube Than You Think You Need – There’s a popular saying on major Internet sex forums: when you think you’ve used too much lube, you haven’t used enough.

Of course, this depends on the type of lube you’re using; oil and silicone lubes last much longer than water-based lubes, so you can generally use less of these products. Still, err on the side of safety by using a liberal amount. Keep extra lube by the bedside in case you need more once you get started.

Avoid Desensitizing Lubricants at First – Some lubes contain ingredients like benzocaine and lidocaine, which gently numb your nerves to limit sensation. However, pain is your body telling you to stop, and if you’ve never had anal sex before, you’ll need to know when you’re at your limit. Don’t use a desensitizing product until you fully understand how your body works; if desensitizing lubes appeal to you, you can try one after you’ve had comfortable sex with a standard lube.

Start Small and Go Slow – We strongly recommend using small toys for anal play before having intercourse. This prepares your body and gives your muscles time to adjust. Ideally, you should experiment with toys for several weeks before trying anal intercourse, gradually moving up in size as you become more comfortable.

Look for a toy that flares out towards its base, as this prevents it from slipping completely inside you (if this happens, you’ll probably need to visit the emergency room). Use plenty of lube and stop immediately if you feel pain. Non-porous toys are a must, as porous materials can inadvertently cause an infection by trapping fecal material and bacteria.

Finally, remember to stay safe when enjoying any type of anal play. Use a condom and clean everything thoroughly, including any toys. Talk to your partner and make sure you have a plan to go slow. Anal sex can be a fun and surprisingly intimate act with the right partner, but proper preparation (and plenty of lube) is certainly a key part of the experience

Are There Benefits to Prostate Massages and Enemas?

Among in-home treatments, prostate massage is an especially effective therapy for many men. It’s also extremely pleasurable (hence its popularity). You’ll need a high-quality prostate massager, which inserts rectally – use plenty of water-based lubricant and choose a smaller tool if you don’t have much experience with anal penetration. By moving the massager against your prostate, you can stimulate an orgasm, and the increased blood flow may help to reduce the uncomfortable symptoms associated with the condition. Some urologists also think that massage could relieve the tension in the nerve endings around the prostate, essentially providing less pressure around the gland. Gentle massage is recommended.

Applying too much force could cause pain and increase the chances of an infection. One urologist notes that an “aggressive” massage could prompt an autoimmune response. Go slow, be gentle, and use lots of lubrication.

If you experience pain from an enlarged or inflamed prostate, your doctor may also recommend regular enemas with warm, sterile (but not antibacterial) water. This can temporarily reduce inflammation, limiting the pain and allowing for normal prostate function. However, it is important to use a sanitized enema kit, as you may increase your risks of prostatitis by using unsanitary materials. Talk to your doctor before performing an enema.

Physicians will often use medications to prevent inflammation and to treat the causes of prostatitis; as root causes can vary from case to case, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as you notice symptoms. In some cases, you may need antibacterial medications or surgery.

This article should not be interpreted as medical advice – if you have prostate issues, you should always speak with your physician to get a diagnosis and to create an appropriate treatment plan. It’s also important to get regular prostate examinations after age 40 (earlier if you have a family history of prostate cancer).

Choosing a Massage Liquid That Works as a Sexual Lubricant

If you’re looking for a fun way to improve your foreplay, there’s nothing better than a sensual massage.

However, before you reach for your trusty bottle of massage liquid, you need to know whether you can safely use it as a lubricant. Otherwise, you could increase your risk of infections – or just a sticky, unpleasant experience.

Here’s a few tips to keep in mind when making your choice.

Stay Away from Oils – Many products use natural oils to keep your skin feeling slick and smooth. They can also provide a pleasant scent, which adds some aromatherapy to the massage.

While oils feel fantastic, they’re not always safe for internal use. Many common oils can feed bacteria and fungi, increasing your chances of contracting an infection. Oils will also break down latex condoms, potentially exposing you to sexually transmitted diseases.

Some oil-based massage products are safe for anal sex, but they might not provide enough cushioning for a comfortable experience. You’re better off sticking with a water or silicone-based lubricant.

Look for a “Body Safe” Liquid – Manufacturers often use the term “body safe” to indicate that you can use their products internally. This isn’t a regulated term, but it’s a good way to determine whether your massage liquid will work for intercourse.

You can also check the ingredient list and look for oils, sugars, and alcohols. If the liquid has any of these ingredients and it isn’t specifically advertised as a sexual lubricant, it’s probably not formulated for penetrative sex.

Choose the Right Consistency – After you’ve found a safe lube, you’re good to go – however, for the best possible experience, you’ll want to choose a lube with an appropriate consistency. Thicker lubricants are better for anal sex and masturbation, but they’re not always ideal for massage.

Thinner lubricants feel natural during sex and massage, and they’re generally a better choice. While some thin lubricants dry out quickly, many formulas include glycerin, xylitol, or silicone to provide long-lasting slickness.

Many of the products on our site have demonstration videos that show various lubricants and massage oils in action, so look around to find a product that fits your personal preferences.

Using a Warming or Cooling Lubricant – Many massage liquids have stimulating ingredients, so read the bottle carefully. Warming ingredients like peppermint oil and capsaicin might feel great on your back and chest, but they could be overwhelming when applied to erogenous areas. Exercise caution and test your lube before using it on sensitive skin.

To stay safe, remember that you’ll usually have an easier time finding a personal lubricant that works as a massage liquid than you’ll have finding a massage liquid that works as a personal lubricant. In other words, if a liquid is safe to use internally, it’s safe for the rest of your body, and many sexual lubricants leave your skin feeling fantastic.

Look for a decent water or silicone lubricant and try it on a small section of your skin before committing to a full massage. Silicone lubricants are a particularly great choice, since they have an unbelievably smooth, silky feeling. However, water-based lubricants are often easier to clean up.

If you do decide to use an oil-based lubricant for your massage, keep it away from condoms and don’t use it for vaginal sex. Have another lubricant on standby for when you’re finished with the massage oil; a little early preparation will pay off in the long run.

Can Nonoxynol-9 Raise Chances of HIV Transmission?

Nonoxynol-9 (often abbreviated simply as N9) is the most common spermicide on the market, and it’s available in various gels, vaginal inserts, and lubricants. It’s an extremely popular chemical; if you’ve ever bought a condom with a spermicidal lubricant, you’ve probably used nonoxynol-9.

While many people use spermicides to prevent pregnancy, it’s important to note that nonoxynol-9 is not effective at preventing any type of sexually transmitted infections. In fact, recent studies suggest that nonoxynol-9 may increase the chances of HIV transmission.

If you’re considering a product with nonoxynol-9, you should understand how the substance works–and how it can increase your chances of contracting certain sexually transmitted infections.

What Does Nonoxynol-9 Do, and Is It Safe?

Nonoxynol-9 is a surfactant, which means that it lowers the surface tension of liquids. In perfect conditions, this prevents sperm from moving towards the egg, reducing the chances of conception.

Unfortunately, N9 can also cause topical irritation, and while side effects are rare, they can include vaginal burning and itching. Nonoxynol-9 may also raise risks of yeast infections and urinary tract infections, particularly in women who are already susceptible to these conditions.

So, given these risks, are lubricants and other products with N9 at least effective? Not especially–according to information from the World Health Organization, spermicides are one of the least effective types of contraceptives. Nonoxynol-9 and other spermicides have an 18 percent failure rate–and that’s when they’re used properly.

With that being said, spermicides can reduce your risk of pregnancy, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, condoms and other forms of contraception are much more effective choices.

Products with Nonoxynol-9 and HIV Transmission

The irritation mentioned above can be problematic, because it may increase the chances of blood-on-blood contact. As you probably know, HIV passes through the blood, and research suggests that N9 may increase the chances of contracting HIV through vaginal sex.

It’s potentially a serious risk, and in 2007, the United States Food and Drug Administration began requiring manufacturers to place warnings on products containing N9 explaining that the chemical may raise the risk of HIV/AIDS transmission.

The World Health Organization (WHO) also released a review in 2003, noting that “nonoxynol-9 is not effective in preventing the acquisition of HIV” and “based on the current evidence nonoxynol-9 use cannot be promoted for HIV/AIDS prevention programmes in any country.” WHO has also recognized that N9 might increase the risk of HIV transmission.

Here’s the bottom line: if you have HIV/AIDS or if you are at high risk of contracting HIV, you should avoid lubricants and other products with nonoxynol-9. The risks are much greater than the benefits. Do not use N9 if you have sex with multiple partners, and only use it for vaginal sex, not for anal or oral sex.

If you’re having sex with a trusted partner and you’re both tested for sexually transmitted infections on a regular basis, you can use lubricants with nonoxynol-9 safely, but remember that condoms and birth control pills are statistically much more effective. If you experience any side effects, stop using N9 immediately.

What is the difference between liquid, gel and cream based lubricants and what are they used for?

Lubricants come in a whole bunch of varieties. You can find oil based lubes like Boy Butter and Stroke 29 that are great for jacking off, or Wet’s Intimo massage oils, which are perfect for providing sensual massages to your lover. There are also water based lubes, which are compatible with all toys, all safer sex supplies, and come in varieties like flavors. Of course, there are also silicone based lubricants, which are all hypo-allergenic, are fabulous for sexual activity in water (like baths, showers, hot tubs, rivers, etc).

Within each of these categories are different thicknesses and viscosities. Some are very thing and runny, almost like water, and others are thick and more gel or cream like. Anything that is similar to a cream is likely oil based – that means that it is great for hand jobs and/or massages, but should not be used inside the vagina. See the video on oil based lubes to learn more why oil used internally can cause issues inside the body. However, while you should not use it inside, you can run yourself or your partner down with these creams or thick oils, and the lube is sure to stay where you put it.

With more gel like lubes, these are usually water based, and are designed to cushion wherever they are put. Like cream and thick oils, they are great for hand jobs and jacking off, but because most of them are oil free, they are also safe for use inside the vagina and anus. You can use thicker gel like lubes for any type of sexual activity you want, but they are particularly good for anal penetration to reduce friction and risk of pain/intense pressure, vaginal and/or anal fisting, and also sex that is intentionally rougher in nature, or may being going on for a longer period of time. The thicker gel helps to cushion the vaginal or anal walls, allowing for more play without having to reapply, and it stays in place better than a more liquid like lube would, especially over time.

Lastly, the most common type of lubricant that you will see is more of a liquid base. Some of it is thinner, others are thicker, but it pours out of the bottle more than it oozes. Many folks like this type of lubricant because it is easy to find, easy to use, and it also replicates natural vaginal lubricant more than the gels or creams. Additionally, it is easy to put it where you want it, and makes for quicker clean up, as it is simple to just wipe it away after sex. If the liquid is oil based, keep it external – other wise, both silicone based and water based liquid like lubes are fine for use anywhere and with condoms/gloves/dams. Just make sure you have some on hand…literally!

What to Know About Stimulating Lubricants

Many personal lubricants include ingredients that claim to enhance sexual responsiveness. These “stimulating” ingredients can add a fun new element to your sex life, and when used properly, they are completely safe. However, the exact identity of these stimulating agents varies from one lubricant to the next, and you should understand how these ingredients work before using them.

Typically manufacturers will add peppermint extract, menthol or another type of mint for a cooling or warming sensation. Some manufacturers are even using capsaicin which is the active heating element in chili peppers. The intensity of the sensation varies with the amount of mint; products made for vaginal use are often milder than products designed exclusively for men. For an added kick, users may want to breathe on the warming or cooling lubricants to enhance their experience.

Some lubricants use vasodilator which increases blood flow to the area which the product is applied to. Many personal lubricants and sexual stimulators on the market today contain L-Arginine. L-Arginine should be avoided by individuals who have herpes as the vasodilator has been known to cause outbreaks.”>L-arginine, an amino acid that stimulates blood flow. This is a particularly popular ingredient for clitoral stimulation lubricants. Manufacturers claim that the L-arginine draws blood to the clitoris or penis, increasing sensitivity and improving sexual receptivity. L-arginine is also used as an ingredient in some erectile dysfunction, and physical conditions that restrict blood flow can also have an effect. Many medications can cause temporary erectile dysfunction. It is important to note that the ability to maintain an erection is not always related to sex drive.

There are a number of effective treatments for the condition, including pharmaceuticals such as sildenafil (Viagra), sexual therapy, physical therapy, and stress management therapy.”>erectile dysfunction treatments.

Staying Safe with Stimulating Lubricants

Lubricant companies use dozens of other ingredients for stimulation, including yohimbeand other aphrodisiacs. You can experiment to find out which ingredients work for you, but be sure to experiment safely. Buy your lube from a reputable manufacturer and always read the ingredient list carefully.

As is often the case with sexual supplements, stimulating lubes aren’t for everyone. The added ingredients can enhance your sexual experience, but some people many not enjoy the extra sensations. Discontinue use if you feel uncomfortable or if you see signs of an allergic reaction. Menthol derivatives are particularly problematic for allergy sufferers according to the American Allergy and Asthma Foundation.

With that being said, stimulating lubricants are generally very safe. Because some warming and cooling ingredients have varying effects on different types of tissues, however, you should exercise caution when trying a lube for the first time. Look for pH balanced lubricants for vaginal sex. Menthol has a mild anesthetic effect, and lubricants with menthol should never be used for anal sex; they can numb pain and increase the chances of an accidental injury.

While stimulating lubes are usually safe for oral sex, some people find them unpleasant for this purpose, as menthol has a fairly strong odor or the vapors can affect your eyes. Look for a lube made specifically for oral sex for the best experience. Menthol and L-arginine do not have any effect on latex, silicone or other materials. However, all oil-based lubricants can degrade latex, increasing your chances of breakage, so choose a water or silicone-based lube when using condoms.

To avoid an unpleasant experience with a new lube, you can try applying a small amount to your forearm, thigh, or any other body part with thin skin. Let the lube sit for a few minutes before you decide whether to use the lubricant on sensitive tissues.

Finally, remember to tell your partner before using personal lubricants with stimulating ingredients. Make sure that your partner is not allergic or sensitive to the lubricant’s ingredients, especially mint and menthol. As always, communication is key to great sex, and you can have a better experience by talking with your partner before experimenting.

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