Kit Q&A: Lube Safety

Regular readers will note that Saturday is now my day to answer reader questions (and respond to frequent web searches).

Lately I have received a few of questions about the safety of sex lubes. This is a complex issue, as many lubes have a lot of ingredients about which there is a lot of conflicting research. Vendors are little help, plastering their packaging with spurious claims like “natural” or “contains organic extracts” in the hopes of making a sale to the ecologically concerned.

I will address a couple of these questions, but keep in mind that I am not a doctor. If a product seems to irritate you, stop using it. When in doubt, seek real medical advice!

Is wet platinum safe for intercourse? Is wet platinum safe to eat?

It's not "natural" or "organic," but silicone lubes like Wet Platinum may actually be safer than many water-based ones.

The media and safety groups are paying more attention to unsafe ingredients in personal products like cosmetics or sex toys. Both Violet Blue and Domina Doll have written great essays about this topic. Lubricants are no exception — they can contain glycerin, a sugar-like chemical which can cause yeast infections, or other dubious substances like parabens, about which there are many safety questions.

One common theme, however, is that many of these ingredients are found in water-based lubes. Wet Platinum, however, is a popular silicone-based lube. Although it is possible that research in the future will show unknown issues, in general silicones are widely and safely used in personal care products. A friend of mine actually carries a bottle of Wet Platinum in her purse to use to slick back her hair, because its ingredients are identical to a similar but more expensive hair product!

Wet Platinum and most other silicone-based lubes are safe to use for all kinds of sex. They are compatible with condoms, and safe for  internal or external use. There is almost no flavor, so if you end up licking it off someone’s body you won’t feel gross and should suffer no ill effects.

The only problem with silicone-based lubes like Wet is that some people may find them too slippery for comfort! Silicone lubes usually need to be washed away with soap and water after use and may feel too thin or slick especially when compared to a woman’s natural lubrication. Many people prefer silicone lubes for anal play, however, because they take longer to absorb. Just keep in mind that silicone based lubes can ruin many silicone sex toys!

Oil-Based Solo Play lube from Wet. Great for male masturbation and not much else.

For those looking for a safe but effective water-based lube, I continue to recommend Water Slide, a great lubricant with only 3 simple ingredients.

Is mineral oil safe for male masturbation?

Mineral oil is an innocuous sounding name, isn’t it? Until I looked it up, I had no idea that it was actually a petroleum byproduct. Sold on its own for various purposes, it is also included in products like this oil-based lube from Wet. Oil-based products have a slightly thicker consistency than silicones, but tend to stay slippery longer than water-based products.

Unfortunately, oils of any kind are not safe to use with latex condoms and I still have not been able to find out if they are safe to use with polyisoprene. Commentators like Domina Doll, in her essay linked above, have also suggested that it is not safe to use petroleum oils internally in men or women, because of the way they can coat the mucous membranes and interfere with the body’s natural processes. Therefore, it would seem that mineral oil is probably only safe for use on cocks and nothing else. I have personally used Wet’s oil-based products for these purposes.

At the same time, there is conflicting research about whether mineral oil clogs pores, or increases risk of skin cancer in mice. Coconut oil, good old olive oil, or any of the carrier oils used in massage and aromatherapy would give a lot of the same benefits but derive from plant sources.

Submit questions for Kit via the comments or contact info at the top of this page. 

For more on this topic, see Kit’s sex toy reviews.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks (2)

  1. Kit O'Connell (@KitOConnell) (@KitOConnell) (@KitOConnell) on Saturday, August 20, 2011 at 11:05 am

    Is silicone lube like @WetTogether’s Platinum safe? Is mineral oil safe for male masturbation? http://t.co/LG2WzQD #sextoys

  2. Dirk Hooper (@DirkHooper) on Monday, August 22, 2011 at 10:19 am

    Kit Q&A: Lube Safety | Kit O’Connell’s Homepage http://j.mp/o4amXq