So I keep seeing ads for these newfangled lubes. Like that K-Y Intense stuff "proven to intensify female satisfaction." Uh-huh. Really? Now how would that work exactly?
I call K-Y reps in Guelph to ask for the ingredients and am told that the formula is "proprietary" and "patent pending." But I definitely get the idea that it's some concoction containing niacin and other stuff. I bet a lot of people out there would balk at putting something inside their snatch when the company that makes the product won't even tell them what's in it.
When it comes to juicing up for sex, there are a lot of issues to, ah, penetrate. Products can be oil-, water- or silicone-based and come in scented, flavoured, warming or cooling. You need to know what's in the goo you're slathering on your private zones.
And what ever happened to good old spit anyway?
What the experts say
"No good studies have evaluated the long-term safety of the chemicals present in personal lubricants, like glycerin, paraben and propylene glycol. Some people are particularly sensitive to any product used in intimate areas and may react with a rash, itching or vaginal infection. Theoretically, products without these chemicals would be better-tolerated. Most of my patients don't like the K-Y Warming. Many say it burns and stings. As for personal lubricants in general, I'm a big fan. Many women do not produce enough natural lubrication to allow sex to be comfortable in all positions or with all sex toys. It's normal for some women to be naturally drier, but that's no reason to miss out on all the fun! I'm a big fan of saliva. It's totally natural, cleans up easily and has the added benefit of how it's usually applied!"
LISSA RANKIN, gynecologist, San Francisco, owningpink.com
"One concern about lube is whether it contains hormone-disrupting chemicals, like parabens, for example, that can act like estrogens in the body. Phthalates used in fragrance potentially do this as well, but companies don't have to disclose what's in fragrance, so many chemicals aren't listed."
STACY MALKAN, co-founder, Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, Berkeley, California
"Some lubes everyone should avoid. These have desensitizing creams and are kind of sketchy, generally marketed for anal sex. Most good sex stores don't carry them any more. If you're having sex, you want to know when it hurts. If you're trying to get pregnant, there's only one lube you should use, Pre-Seed. For anal sex and sex toys, thicker lubes are easier to use. Maximus is good, Astrogel as well. If you're sensitive, shop at a place that has samples, and try them on your wrist. Before you use a lube for sex, put it on your inner thigh. Good Clean Love is organic. Hathor is good. Those prone to yeast infections should avoid products containing glycerin, which is very sugary."
CORY SILVERBERG, sex educator, co-owner, Come as You Are, Toronto
"The vagina knows better than the mind what is safe. When a woman is safe sexually, her vagina is wet. I am averse to giving women ways to step around what their bodies are telling them. That said, there are women who, because of age or medications, do have vaginal dryness. These women should have seven orgasms every week, whether they want them or not. In order for anything to be healthy it must be used. I also suggest no penetration until a woman has had at least one orgasm to lubricate the area. Women who are very dry can insert one or two capsules of acidophilus powder or some infused oil of chickweed into the vagina."
SUSUN WEED, author, New Menopausal Years: The Wise Woman Way, Woodstock, New York
"Choose foods and natural supplements to raise your estrogen level. Soy, flaxseeds, pomegranate, beans and legumes are all rich sources of phytoestrogens. For the most bang for your buck, I find a suppository of Estriol is the best. This is the mildest form of estrogen, from soy. You need a prescription. I really like Hathor lube. It's all natural and has herbs like horny goat weed. You need to get the brain and libido going. Have more sex. You need to have sex three times a week to get the hormone boost. Having sex regularly raises your estrogen and testosterone levels. If you have vaginal dryness and stop having sex, the problem becomes worse."
NATASHA TURNER, naturopathic doctor, author, The Hormone Diet, Toronto
Be careful of these ingredients:
Toxic to the skin, linked to cancer and classified as an endocrine disruptor.
Hormone disruptor, toxic to reproductive system, hidden in fragrance.
PROPYLENE GLYCOL or 1,2-DIHYDROXYPROPANE
Evidence it's toxic to the skin, immune system and lungs; possibly carcinogenic.
Source: Skin Deep, cosmeticsdatabase.com