Whether you’re a bit sensitive down below or you simply don’t have any handy, sometimes you need some good lube alternatives to get things moving. Below are some options to try if commercial lubes are either too irritating or unavailable and a few that you definitely should avoid trying as well.
Expert-approved lube substitutes
- Coconut oil This is an excellent choice for those of you who find yourselves mid-doing-the-deed, but without the requisite lube to keep things moving smoothly. Should you find yourself up a creek with no paddle, coconut oil will serve you well and is very likely to be in your cupboard already. It’s solid at room temperature but heats up with body heat. It essentially has a built-in sexy radar, because if things are hot and spicy, the coconut oil will reflect that! There is also the added benefit of it tasting and smelling nice, which is more than you can normally say!
- Pure aloe vera This is one of the best lube alternatives because you are likely to have it around the house for general skincare maintenance. It’s a decent rule of thumb to assume that things that are safe for use on your skin won’t do too much damage to other areas. There are lots of exceptions, though, so be wary. This is a natural option that is safe with latex condoms and will have that perfect slippery texture to facilitate whatever it needs to… facilitate.
- Vitamin E oil This might be the supplement that you are least likely to have just lying around the house, but it is one of the approved lube alternatives. However, should you get your hands on them — the vitamins, that is — they’re a useful substitute. They’re thick and sticky in all the right ways. It is worth noting that vitamin E oil will make latex condoms ineffective, so if you’re relying on that, be mindful. No matter how urgent the situation might be, have a bit of perspective and don’t put yourself at risk! These capsules will also incur that added stage of separating the liquid from the capsules, so stay patient.
- Olive oil This is the standard tried and tested backup option for women everywhere. It’s a classic for a reason too. It offers a good surface feeling and tactile point and it’s easier to access than the vitamins. However, it might have issues with latex condoms, just like the vitamin E oil capsules. It can also clog pores and trap bacteria in your most sensitive places, thereby increasing the chances of infection. Your best bet for staying safe is to use this sparingly and also to shower immediately after to remove all traces of the oil from your body.
- Cornstarch and water While this one requires a bit of work and is a bit of a strange one, it’s one of the lube alternatives that many people favor and that carries the least risk. To make it, Men’s Health advises dumping four teaspoons of cornstarch into one cup of boiling water and stirring continuously to keep it from getting lumpy. After stirring for about 15 mins, you should then let it cool to room temperature. “Even though it can be a little bit messy, the texture is silky smooth and cornstarch is naturally hypoallergenic,” clinical sexologist and certified sex coach Sunny Rodgers tells Dollar Shave Club, adding that the mixture is “condom compatible.”
These things should not be used as lube substitutes
- Baby oil This might sound like the right solution because it has the word “baby” in it, but baby oil is not your friend in this instance. Firstly, it’s a yeast infection waiting to happen, according to Lauren Streicher, MD, an associate professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and author of Sex Rx: Hormones, Health, and Your Best Sex Ever. It can also compromise the effectiveness of condoms, which would be a very bad thing.
- Egg whites Now, this is something I hear a lot of old wives’ tales about, but I’m here to set the record straight. Egg whites sound inventive, but they don’t make good lube alternatives. First of all, you have to stop and crack them, which feels like a shift into the kitchen from the bedroom to start with. Secondly, they’re perishable. They might have an intriguing texture, but what if they’re contaminated or they go off? I know we all have had things inside of us that we regret, but let’s not make rancid eggs the next on that list. While this is one of the least dangerous lube alternatives on this list, that doesn’t make it a good one.
- Lotion While lotion is great for external use, it should not be included on your list of lube alternatives because of the variety of chemicals and perfumes it contains. Scented lotions are even worse, but because we get into the mindset that we use them on our skin, we think they’re good for internal use too. They’re not. Used incorrectly, lotion can cause swelling and irritation as well as other infections.
- Petroleum jelly I can see the reasoning behind petroleum jelly — we all use vaseline to heal wounds and moisturize our lips, after all. However, it will not be your friend if you use petroleum jelly internally. A study published in Obstetrics and Gynecology found that women who used petroleum jelly in place of lube were twice as likely to have bacterial vaginosis than those who don’t. And because it’s also oil-based, it can also make condoms less effective.
- Spit This is here more as a cautionary note: spit is often what is most easily on-hand, and in a pinch, it’s not the worst thing you can put in your body. After all, it’s come from your body. However, if you plan on conducting more adventurous excursions, it won’t offer a long-lasting or sufficiently lubricated experience. Surprisingly, it can also increase the transmission of STDs or infection. It’s not the worst option, but also not advisable. Lots of people seem to think it’s an inoffensive option, so it’s worth passing on some education about the superior lube alternatives out there.
- Shortening It should go without saying that a substance used for frying foods should not be used in your vagina. This is one of the worst possible lube alternatives you could use, along with butter. Not only is it not all that effective since shortening isn’t very slippery in the first place, but it can also irritate the vagina and cause your partner’s condom to break down. Skip this one.