What Materials Are Safe For My Body – The Lube Edition!

3 Jun

safety firstA while back we wrote a post about sex toy materials to help folks learn about what materials are safe for their bodies … and which ones aren’t. After that post, we had so many people tell us that they threw out their entire toy collection because it was all comprised of questionable materials. They felt they were able to make better informed decisions for themselves – and we couldn’t be happier because empowering our customers is what we are all about! We felt it was time for a second guide and this time we are tackling … LUBE!

sliquid lubeAt Secret Pleasures, we often say that lube is the best sex toy – it helps things stay slippery, eases discomfort, and can even be tasty. But, unsurprisingly, not all lube is created equal. Many commercially available lubes contain a whole host of nasty chemicals that can cause UTIs, yeast infections, micro tearing, rashes, and even chemical burns! EEESH!  If you are creating a product meant to go on the skin and INSIDE the body, why would you make it with irritating ingredients? Sex should be fun, not send you rushing to the ER. Thus, we have complied a list of what we consider the top 5 things to watch out for in your lubricant.

glycerinGlycerin  – Glycerin is often used in lubricant to sweeten it. It is also used in lube and many other cosmetics as a humectant (meaning it can draw moisture to the surface layers of the skin). This sounds great, right? The problem is that glycerin is a sugar derivative and sugar feeds yeast. So, for many female bodied folks, lubricants that contain glycerin can cause UTIs and yeast infections. Many studies show that naturally derived glycerin is less likely to cause problems than synthetic glycerin but if you know you are prone to UTIs and yeast infections, we recommend that you avoid lubes that contain glycerin in any form.

paraben chemical compoundParabens – Parabens have been a hot topic recently due to their inclusion in everything from shampoo and eye care solution to food and, yes, lube. So what is the concern with parabens? Sliquid, one of our favorite lube companies, has a great write up about it on their website and we are going to use it here.

Parabens are a common preservative used in many products in the US and throughout the world. Recently, due to new studies on the effects of parabens in the human body, several nations in the EU have outlawed the use of parabens in consumer products. These studies have shown that many women who have developed breast cancer have a high level of parabens in their bodies. While the studies have not proven conclusively whether or not the parabens are a cause or a result of the cancer, we here at Sliquid agree with the EU and believe in the mantra of “better safe than sorry.” […] More information about the effects of parabens can be found in the following links.



condoms with nonoxynol-9Nonoxynol-9 – Nonoxynol-9 has been the standard spermicide in use for years. It can be found on numerous condoms and in many lubes. It seems like a great back up method to add on to other contraception (condoms, IUD, pills, etc.) but nonoxynol-9 has a dark side. Yes, it’s a great spermicide – because it is essentially an industrial strength detergent (commonly used in hospitals). Nonoxynol-9 is so strong that, in addition to killing sperm, it is capable of killing the microorganisms that cause many sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhea, chlamydia and HIV. However, when it comes into contact with vaginal or anal tissue, it has the tendency to create micro tears and abrasions which can actually cause a person to become MORE susceptible to STI transmission. Even if you are in a relationship where STI transmission is not a concern for you, nonoxynol-9 can still cause major vaginal and anal irritations, UTIs and yeast infections. For that reason, we urge our customers to not use condoms or lubes that contain nonoxynol-9. Even the President of CondomDepot is on the same page:

“Too many young adults are not aware of the harmful and potentially deadly consequences of using this product. People are trading the misbelief of greater birth control reliability for an increased risk of contracting HIV, the virus that causes AIDS and other STD’s”. Kimberly Fidi, President of CondomDepot.com

Propylene Glycol – Propylene glycol is an organic alcohol that is often used as a skin conditioner. It can be found in numerous cosmetics, food, medicines, and lube to maintain moisture levels. Though the FDA has determined that the amount of propylene glycol that people are typically exposed to through medicine, food, and other sources is safe, it can cause skin irritations and rashes for some folks. If you know that you have sensitive skin, this is an ingredient you will want to avoid.

cosmetics with DEADEA – Last on our list is DEA which is one of many ethanolamine compounds. Like many of the ingredients on our list, it can be found in an exhaustive list of cosmetics, skin care and household cleansers in addition to lubricants. Ethanolamine compounds are used as emulsifiers – they keep ingredients from separating. The NIH, among several other research organizations, believe that Ethanolamine compounds may be linked to organ toxicity, liver cancer, and kidney tumors. While these reports (much like with parabens) have not been proven conclusive, we still feel that ethanolamine compounds (DEA, TEA & MEA) should be avoided.

As you can see from above, there are some intensely questionable ingredients used in some lubricants. In addition to ingredients, the osmolality of lubricant is incredibly important to consider as well. Hypo-osmotic lubricants add moisture to your cells, iso-osmotic lubricants have the same moisture levels as your skin cells and will not have an effect on the cells at all. Hyper-osmotic lubes are known to remove moisture from cells and can cause rashes, irritation, and epithelial shedding! The folks at Smitten Kitten in Minneapolis did an exhaustive research project regarding lube ingredients and osmolality that can be viewed here.

Secret Pleasures works with wonderful lube companies such as Sliquid, Southern Butter, Aloe Cadabra and others to ensure that the majority of lubricant that we carry is free of the above ingredients and is known to be hypo- or iso- osmotic. However, there are folks who, for various reasons, do choose to use lube in the hyper-osmotic range or that contains some of the ingredients listed above. This is a valid choice as well. This list isn’t meant to chastise or scare anyone – it is merely a guide so that you can make an informed decision and choose the lubricant that will be best for you and your body. As always, our educators are always happy to answer any questions you may have. Better yet, stop by the store and pick up a few sample packets of lube and try them out for yourself!

One Response to “What Materials Are Safe For My Body – The Lube Edition!”

  1. prkelli June 26, 2014 at 10:41 am #

    Reblogged this on redhotwithkelliscott.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Malin James

Erotica. Sex. Culture.

The Romance Evangelist

I live for the HFN/HEA and am decidedly pro-epilogue

Courtesan Press

Elegant Erotica & Romance For the Modern Woman

Make Sex Easy

Explore Your Sexuality - A healthy part of life.

Ashley's Blog

Explore Your Sexuality - A healthy part of life.

The Redhead Bedhead

Sex, Mental Health, & How None Of Us Are Broken

Hey Epiphora

Conquering the world one sex toy at a time

Frisky Feminist Press

Explore Your Sexuality - A healthy part of life.

%d bloggers like this: