The sexual lubricants a woman uses can promote her pleasure in a variety of ways. Some serve as gentle enhancers and “indirect aphrodisiacs” by moistening the vaginal and vulvar tissues, mimicking and multiplying the effects of the body’s own natural lubrication and allowing her to have sex that feels relatively friction-free. There are lots of lovely lubricants in this group to choose from.
Another class of sexual lubricants can be described as “extrasensual enhancers”—agents that can induce arousal and augment sexual pleasure. They act as aphrodisiacs in a more direct way. They simulate the effects of the body’s natural lubrication while at the same time further stimulating pleasure through other means.
Any sexual lubricant a woman uses, however, should be as natural and healthy as possible, because the receptive mucous membranes of the vagina and vulva easily absorb their ingredients into the body. Read the label and examine your lubricant’s ingredients as carefully as the foods you eat. Some products presented as “natural and healthy” include synthetic or toxic compounds that could undermine your health.
You might be stunned to learn that many synthetic lubricants contain chemicals first designed for use on automobiles or in oven cleaners! So it’s no surprise that some women experience unpleasant reactions when using these products. The following is a short list of ingredients to avoid putting on your sensitive genital tissues:
- Parabens. Parabens are synthetic preservatives that can be absorbed through your skin. They can mimic estrogen in your body, and may be linked to increased risk of breast cancer.
- Petroleum or petroleum-derived ingredients. Whenever possible, refrain from using products with petroleum-based ingredients, including multipurpose lubricants like Vaseline petroleum jelly, on your genitals. They may contain impurities linked to cancer and other health conditions; they can also coat your skin, impeding its normal functions and not allowing it to “breathe.”
- Silicone oils. Silicone oils may have toxic side effects, and as with petroleum-based products, they may coat your skin, affecting its normal functions and permeability. Silicone can have many names on product labels, including dimethicone, highly polymerized methyl polysilozane, methyl polysiloxane, mirasil DM 20, and viscasil 5M.
Next: 4 more risky ingredients, plus natural, safe alternatives