If you're thinking of becoming romantic soon in celebration of Valentine's Day (or really, just to have fun), you may want to spice things up in the bedroom. Or you need some help while getting intimate (it's more common than you think). While it may seem tempting to DYI, there's a few things you should know before you grab the coconut oil or chocolate syrup.
Knowing what you should and shouldn't put on and in the body is important to keeping healthy and preventing infections. Nothing ruins the romantic morning than waking up itchy and irritated. We've got the facts behind all the romance you may have forgotten since Sex Ed.
You may be tempted to grab the most expensive lubricant
you see but it's important to know the difference between the choices out there: silicon-based, water-based and oil-based. Knowing the difference between these could mean having fun or an unwanted surprise.
Made of, you guessed it, silicon, this kind of lubricant
is very slippery and doesn't breakdown in water. That makes it ideal if you're going to play in a shower or bath. You can also use it with either polyurethane or latex condom without worry. It's also what you should chose when performing anal intercourse.
You shouldn't use silicone lube with silicone toys, though. It will break the toy down and tear open small spaces for bacteria to grow. You'll also need soap and water to clean it up off any surface including you.
is the cheapest and common among drug store brands. It's safe for both kinds of condoms and all toys. They also make up the "flavored
" variety of lubricants because the water-base is body-safe. This is the best lube to chose for vaginal intercourse because it causes less irritation and dryness in vaginas. In fact, the water in the lubricant is broken down by the body and is easily cleaned from your skin and the sheets with water alone.
Unfortunately, that also means you may need to reapply it more often. Water-based lube may come off and lose its "slickness" quicker than other varieties of lube so you may need more of it.
This type doesn't just cover just oil-based lubricant sold as such but also coconut oil, Vaseline and lotions. Basically, anything with an oil base or oil in it you could use to "play". It's great for massages. You'll need soap to get these off but they can be creative and inexpensive way to play.
However, you have to be careful picking the right oil lube. Oils don't mix well with latex and using them with a latex or polyisoprene condom may cause it to break. Keep them away from latex toys as well.
These kinds of lubricants keep their popularity because they can be organic where others aren't, but some experts don't like the increased risk of infection that comes from oil-based lube. Because oil is harder to wash, it can linger for days and build up bacteria or throw off the pH of the vagina. Petroleum jelly is marked for external use only and can absorb water out of surfaces to cause irritation. Other women say they have no problem with it. Honestly, many doctors and professionals differ on the idea.
Choose The Right One
If you're going natural or just looking for something to try, here's a few tips to keep your sex life healthy, happy and fun.
Avoid Glycerine and Glucose - These sugars can play havoc in a woman's vaginal area, disrupting the pH balance and increasing the likelihood of bladder or yeast infection. If you do play with them, keep them out of sensitive areas.
Say no to petroleum - Petroleum and petroleum-derived ingredients will coat the skin, making it harder for it to breathe. They can also dehydrate it, sucking water from it and making you or your partner more susceptible to irritation and infection.
You may be prone to common chemical irritants - Some lubes contain common chemicals that can irritate. If it's hard to find something you like, try avoid Propylene glycol, Chlorhexidine or Phenoxyethanol. Cut these out and see if your experience improves.
Always test new lube - Before applying it to you or your partner, try it on the small part of skin of your inner elbow. If it turns red within an hour, burns or itches, you won't want to use it on any place more sensitive.
Everyone is unique - Oils and oil-based lubes aren't for everyone and everyone's body chemistry creates different reactions to warming or "tingling" lubricant. Don't get turned off if something doesn't work for you, there are plenty of options! But also don't assume that if something works for your friend it will work for you either, and vice versa.
Keep your partner in mind - Unless playing alone, they're a major part of your intimacy. What works for you may not work for them. Communicate and experiment together to find something that pleases you both. You'll be happier for it.
Travel packs make great sample packs - Finding something new may create a pile of new bottles but finding sample, travel or single sizes of a new lubricant is a great way to test them out without committing to a full few ounces. Get natural - If you dare to go natural, other popular products include aloe vera, shea butter and olive oil (remember, these are popular opinion and not agreed upon by all professionals). Be sure to use pure, organic oils by themselves with no added ingredients, no sugars or artificial ingredients that will increase irritation and infections. And remember these won't work with latex condoms. We recommend consulting your doctor before trying any of these. If you're not willing to try something from your kitchen, try a natural lubricant, like this one from Good Clean Love, a company that specializes in chemical-free personal products.
Safe sex is important for preventing unwanted pregnancy and STDs but condoms
may also contain lubricants with chemicals you want to avoid. What the condom is made of will also affect what kind of lube you should be using. And never use two condoms at once, be it two male condoms or a male and female condom together.
Most importantly, remember to have fun! Becoming intimate with someone is a great experience and Valentine's Day is the perfect time to try something new and exciting. Check out our variety of lubricants
, including natural brands like Good Clean Love
. Keep the energy up and alive! If you have questions or concerns about your sex life, consult a professional.
Tell us your Valentine's Day plans on our Facebook
, using the hashtag #eVitaminsBlog and remember to check back in next week for more great tips for living a healthy, romantic life!