April 10, 2012
COCO LA CRÈME
My question is simple but I gotta ask. Can you please tell me what the heck is up with all the lubes, oils and magic potions that I see in the sex shops? There are just too many options and it’s hard for me to find something I consistently like. I’ve used things that burned, got sticky, stained sheets, felt gross or dried up too fast, I feel like I never know what I’m going to get. So please enlighten me as to what all these things are, why they’re all so different and what the hell is in them?
Slippery When Wet
Not to worry, CoCo is coming to your rescue. I’ve heard many times that lubricants are confusing and I agree. There are a ton of bottles and tubes crammed together on the shelf and the ingredient list is fairly meaningless if you don’t know what you’re looking for. To top it all off, tricksy retailers are always switching out the brand you’ve finally settled on for something new. Why? Because they have no idea what criteria you, the customer, are using to select your preferred brand so they switch and hope and pray. Of course, having an informed consumer who knows what they want in a lube would surely make things easier for everyone involved. Here goes…
This is a basic primer to what’s on the shelf. Print it out, take it with you and share it with your friends. They’ll think you’re weird but ‘good’ weird, ok?
Lube: A slippery substance that helps facilitate motion without friction. Great for intercourse, masturbation, toys, anal sex, massage the list goes on…Formulas for lube can be based on water, silicone or oil.
Water-based: This is the most common type of lube and it feels the most natural. It comes in thick or thin formulations. The general rule is that thicker lube means less friction. Thick formulas are great for anal sex or easily irritated vaginas. Thick lube also applies better to toys; thin lube just drips off. Some water-based lubes get sticky and you may hate that. It’s caused by a natural, slippery ingredient named glycerine. Basically, as you use the lube the water evaporates, if the main slippery agent left behind is sticky without water (which glycerine is) then you end up sticky. Lube companies like using glycerine because it’s safe and inexpensive, unfortunately it’s also a form of sugar which is bad news for folks with chronic candida or vaginosis. If you think your lube is giving you yeast-infections or you just don’t like the sticky feeling then choose one that is glycerine-free. There are plenty of options. You can also find organic and paraben-free options. Water-based lube is safe with condoms and toys.
Silicone-based: This type inspires fierce love. Why? It lasts longer than water-based lube (no evaporation), it never gets sticky (no glycerine) and it’s Ph neutral and non-irritating, plus it has no taste or smell. It does have a slick, oily feel which you either love or hate. This lube also comes in thick or thin formulations and is great for all sorts of uses. The drawbacks are: It should not be used with silicone toys (they’re chemically similar so the lube will bond to the surface and not wash off); you may need to rinse off the excess with soap afterwards; also, it might stain your sheets, depending on the brand. Silicone-based lube is safe with condoms and with most toys. Bonus: it’s waterproof so you can use it in the shower. Dimethicone, dimethiconol and cyclopentasiloxane are all forms of silicone you might find in your lube.
Blends: Some popular lubes have a water base with silicone emulsified in. This is the best of both worlds. The lube never gets sticky, it lasts longer, and you can use it with all types of toys.
Oil-based: I pretty much never recommend oil lubes. Stick to using these for body massage only. Silicone lube is way superior and feels very similar. Oil is difficult for the body to clean out so it can trap bacteria in the vagina and lead to infections. It will definitely stain your sheets. Worst of all, it will render your condoms useless if even a little bit of it touches them. Guys can use it for solo masturbation in a pinch and that’s about it. Most toys hate it.
Hmmm...the verdict is still out on this.
Sensation enhancers: Otherwise known as clit cream (although they’re for all genders). These creams and sprays usually contain menthol, peppermint oil or L-Arginine and they will create a cool, warm or tingly sensation as well as increase the blood flow to the area where they are applied. Some folks love these and find that it makes sex extra special. Other folks are sensitive to those ingredients and feel like their privates are burning off. Use caution: start with a small amount and DO NOT use water if it burns you; try wiping it off with a neutral cream instead. These are concentrated products NOT meant to be used as lube.
Warming Lubes: Warming lubes use the same active ingredients mentioned above in lower concentrations. They are usually water-based but not always. Some warming lubes just use super huge amounts of glycerine (which naturally has a warming effect) so watch out if you’re prone to yeast. Always test warming lubes first in case you are sensitive to the ingredients.
Flavoured Lubes: These usually use a ton of glycerine which has a naturally sweet flavour but makes the lube a little syrup-y in texture. Glycerine-free versions are hard to find. In any case, you should never put this type of lube inside a vagina as they have a lot of sugar and dye in them. They’re for oral sex/ external use only.
Hope that helps Slippery. Now you’re a lube expert! Use this information wisely and all your wet dreams will come true.