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What is a Personal Lubricant?

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  • Written By: Tara Barnett
  • Edited By: Jacob Harkins
  • Last Modified Date: 09 November 2016
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A personal lubricant is a substance used to reduce friction during sexual activities and occasionally during other activities involving the sexual organs. During intercourse, a personal lubricant can assist in ease of penetration and reduce risk of injury due to friction.

When a lubricant is used for other sexual activities, such as manual stimulation of the genitalia, it usually serves to reduce friction from rubbing. Lubricants may also have stimulating qualities and promote arousal by design. The most common non-sexual usage of personal lubricants is during medical examinations of the genitals or anus in order to ease discomfort from friction, although there are a variety of other non-standard uses of personal lubricants.

Human beings produce natural lubrication when sexually aroused, and this is the substance the most basic personal lubricants are designed to replace. Individuals may not produce sufficient lubrication in the right places to comfortably participate in certain activities, and so an artificial personal lubricant may be used. There are, additionally, lubricants that are intended to improve on the functions of natural lubricants. For instance, some companies claim that a warming personal lubricant improves sexual satisfaction, while others assert that flavored lubricants improve oral sex for one or both partners. Many lubricants are designed for use during specific activities, and these products typically expound their particular virtues and benefits on the label.

A personal lubricant may be made from a variety of materials, but the most common types are water-based and silicone-based formulas. Oil-based personal lubricants also exist, and many oil-based substances were once used as unofficial lubricants. Knowing which ingredients are in the lubricant being used is very important because some ingredients can interact with common materials such as silicone or latex.

Water-based lubricants are very safe and effective but have a number of disadvantages. They can exacerbate yeast infections, they tend to dry out, and they may leave the skin feeling sticky after use. Silicone-based lubricants, on the other hand, are not absorbed into the skin and so do not dry out. Unfortunately, this type of lubricant can damage silicone objects, and so only water-based lubricants should be used with silicone. Beyond these restrictions, which formula constituted the best personal lubricant is largely a matter of personal preference.

Beyond the intended uses of personal lubricants, many people find that these products can be used in other projects that require lubrication. For instance, using a personal lubricant can help remove rings stuck on fingers, or ease other trapped body parts out of tight spaces. Games have also evolved involving personal lubricants, such lube wrestling. Personal lubricants may be good to have around the house for practical uses and emergencies, although other substances could also perform these functions in a pinch.

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bear78
Post 3

I sometimes use natural, organic oils as a personal lubricant, such as coconut oil. I have not had any problems with it but it might be a good idea to only use oils externally as a lubricant until one is sure that it won't cause irritation or yeast infections. Coconut oil should not cause an infection since it has anti-fungal properties but I know that some women are not okay with using natural oils internally. Oils are a good way for those with extremely sensitive skin to prevent friction.

burcinc
Post 2

@SarahGen-- There is something called arginine gel which can be used as a personal lubricant. I don't know if all arginine gel products are completely natural but I'm sure that there are ones out there that are natural. Arginine is technically a supplement that improves blood circulation. But people have discovered that it can assist arousal and improve sexual function when used topically. So it is being used as an alternative to OTC personal lubricants. You may want to give it a try.

And for your other question, there is Preseed personal lubricant, Zestica, Conceive Plus and others. They are supposed to protect sperm while providing lubrication. These types of lubricants are kind of expensive though, in comparison to

regular ones. By the way, I saw an article recently about a study done in 2012 on personal lubricants and fertility. The study found that lubricants don't affect fertility. So you are probably fine with a regular OTC lubricant if you are trying to get pregnant.
SarahGen
Post 1

Is there a natural personal lubricant out there? That is, made of all natural ingredients?

Also, I heard that most personal lubricants kill sperm and reduce the likelihood of pregnancy. Which lubricants are not harmful for sperm?

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