SEX & WOMEN

Lube: 5 Ways You’re Using It Wrongly And How It Ruins Sex

  • You Use Drugstore Lubes When You're Trying To Get Her Pregnant
    1 / 5 You Use Drugstore Lubes When You're Trying To Get Her Pregnant

    Water, silicone, and oil-based lubes can be found easily at any drugstore, but they all can mess with your sperm .

    In fact, one study found that most lubes—including Astroglide and KY products—can significantly affect your sperm’s motility, their ability to swim and move through the vagina.

    “When sperm is trying to survive, they need the right environment,” says Brian Steixner, M.D., medical director of the Institute for Men’s Health at the Jersey Urology Group. 

    Related: Why Binging On Netflix Can Lower Your Sperm Count

    As a result, many lubes can actually prevent your sperm from traveling far enough into the vagina to fertilize an egg, he says. Plus, while the natural lubricant of the vagina is obviously never spermicidal, a lot of OTC lubes have chemicals in them that can actually kill sperm.

    But even if you’re trying for a baby, that doesn’t mean you should avoid lube altogether. Instead, stick to fertility-friendly lubes like Pre-Seed, baby oil, or canola oil, which weren’t found to negatively affect your sperm. 

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  • You Use Oil-Based Lubes With Condoms
    2 / 5 You Use Oil-Based Lubes With Condoms

    Oil-based lubes are longer lasting than silicone or water-based lubes, according to the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction. 

    But over-the-counter oil-based lubricants and even natural ones like canola or coconut oil, can wear away at the latex of your condom, causing it to weaken and possibly break, Dr. Steixner says. Plus, some women are more susceptible to irritation and infection when using an oil-based lube, he says.

    Opt for water or silicone based lubes, which are condom-safe, to avoid any surprises.

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  • You Use Saliva — But You're Sick
    3 / 5 You Use Saliva — But You're Sick

    Saliva is, perhaps, the oldest natural lubricant. Most of the time, it’s perfectly safe, says Dr. Steixner. But for your partner’s sake, never use your saliva as lubricant if you have an active cold sore. Doing so could transfer the virus to her vaginal region.

    Cold sores are commonly caused by herpes simplex virus type 1, a strain that’s closely related to the type 2 bug responsible for genital herpes. Still, herpes on the lips can spread to genitals, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Even if your sore isn’t visually active, it’s still possible to spread the infection, explains Dr. Steixner.

    Related: 3 Ways Sex Can Make You Sick

    And herpes isn’t the only thing you need to worry about when it comes to saliva—your mouth is pretty gross. It’s swarming with bacteria at all times, whether you’re sick or not, so transferring your saliva to her vagina ups her risk for bacterial complications, like yeast infections, says Dr. Steixner. 

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  • You Use Products From Your Shower
    4 / 5 You Use Products From Your Shower

    If the urge to get busy strikes in the shower, you’re likely not near any lube. You might be tempted drizzle on some shampoo or body wash, but that’s not a great idea, says Joshua Zeichner, M.D., director of cosmetic and clinical research in the department of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital.

    Soaps and liquid cleansers are meant for outside of the body. They can cause irritation if they come in contact with mucus-producing areas like the mouth or meatus of the penis (the hole where your urine comes out), he says. And it’s equally uncomfortable for her, too, since the skin inside of the vagina is more susceptible to irritation.

    That goes double for face cleansers and scrubs that contain acne-fighting ingredients like benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. These ingredients can be really harsh on the sensitive skin surrounding your genital area.

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  • You Use Cooling Lotions
    5 / 5 You Use Cooling Lotions

    It’s no surprise that Icy Hot won’t feel great on your penis. “Icy hot contains cooling ingredients that may cause significant burning when applied to the genitals,” says Dr. Zeichner. “It may also cause irritation or an allergic reaction.”

    Related: 6 Ways You Can Stop Your Mosquito Bites From Itching

    Pitcher Roger Clemens reportedly would apply to his balls before a game to get fired up, but any lotions that contain cooling ingredients like menthol or camphor should not go anywhere near your penis (or her vagina), Dr. Zeichner explains.

    The chemical reaction that causes the cooling effect is too harsh for the sensitive skin surrounding your genitals—which can result in burning or irritation if it makes contact with the skin. Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly after using these creams to ensure that there’s no residue left on your fingers, he advises. 

    By Alisa Hrustic

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