Everything You Need to Know About Natural Lubricants

Lubes should be an essential part of a satisfying sex life. Not all vaginas produce an equal amount of lubrication, and penises get irritated from too much friction. So, why not just use some lube and spare your genitals (they’ll be thankful for it, I’m sure). But, there are so many lubes out there, it makes your head hurt. Water-based lubes, silicone-based lubes, oil-based lubes, hybrid lubes, natural lubricants, synthetic lubricants… There’s a whole world of lubes and it’s easy to get confused.  

But, thanks to the internet, things don’t need to be that confusing anymore. Here you can find everything you need to know about natural lubricants. Have you ever wondered what natural lubricants are? Or what are the differences between natural and synthetic lubricants? What can you use as a natural lubricant? You can find answers about all of this and more right here. 

Maybe you’re tired of using synthetic lubes and just want to put some natural ingredients on your and your partner’s skin for a change. Or you’re simply curious as to how natural lubricants will affect your sex life and if they’re any different than synthetic lubes. 

If you want to read about lubes in general, and the types they’re made of, you can check my other article on the topic.

One word of advice though: do your research before you go into the bedroom for any sexy time. I mean, there’s nothing worse than killing the mood with a google search such as Can You Use Coconut Oil as Lube right before you start having sex!  

What are Natural Lubricants? 

Natural lubricants are lubricants that contain natural and organic ingredients in their composition. Now, this can mean two things: 

  1. They’re composed entirely of natural, non-synthetic ingredients (which is kinda rare in manufactured lubes). 
  2. The majority of their composition consists of organic or natural ingredients (but not all). 

As a general rule, it’s best to choose products that have fewer ingredients. Or, if they do have more ingredients, then make sure most of them are of a natural or organic origin. 

The Differences Between Natural and Synthetic Lubricants

The main difference between natural and synthetic lubricants is in their composition. Natural lubricants contain more natural ingredients than they do synthetic ones. In synthetic lubes, it’s the opposite. Generally, they have many more synthetic chemicals and ingredients which some people fear may affect the genitals in a bad way. 

The usual ingredients natural lubricants contain are: 

  • Water
  • Aloe vera 
  • Flaxseed extract 
  • Seaweed extract
  • Coconut oil 
  • Olive oil
  • Vitamin E oil
  • Various botanical extracts such as hibiscus extracts 
  • Green tea
  • Almond oil
  • Peppermint oil

There are plenty more natural ingredients that you can find in natural lubricants. However, I can’t list them all here. 

Some ingredients you need to be wary of in synthetic lubes (and in some marketed as natural lubes as well): 

  • Petroleum
  • Parabens
  • Fragrance or perfume
  • Glycerin
  • Propylene glycol
  • Chlorhexidine
  • Phenoxyethanol

Why are Natural Lubricants Better Than Synthetic Ones?

The reason is simple. Few of us want to put artificially made chemicals into and onto our most gentle and private areas. That’s why people are increasingly looking for natural lubricant solutions. 

The thing is, there isn’t one perfect lubricant. In the end, it will depend on what you use it for, as well as the tolerance of your bodies. This means only one thing – you have to experiment a little. As with everything sex-related, lubes also require a bit of experimentation. 

So don’t be afraid to try a couple of them. Natural lubes or a mixture of both natural and synthetic ones, and see what works best. It’s the best way to find out, right? 

Just make sure the products you use are genital-friendly! 

Natural Lubricants That You Can Use

It’s important to know the difference between what can actually be used as a natural lubricant and what might seem like a good idea. 

You should be able to enjoy sex and not have to worry whether the natural lubricant you used will cause you or your partner an infection afterward. 

While I do think it’s best to get a professionally-made natural lubricant, sometimes that’s not possible and you have to get by. In that case, it’s best to look at what lies on your kitchen shelves or is tucked away in your drawers. The magic solution (or in this case – natural lubricant) may appear on its own. 

Let’s take a look at the best items you can use as natural lube alternatives. 

Coconut Oil

Okay, so maybe you’ve already heard about coconut oil since it has so many uses already. You can use it on your skin as a moisturizer, you can use it on your scalp and hair. Some people use it to make soaps, and some use it in cooking as well. 

But, as it turns out, coconut oil can also be used as a natural lubricant. Now, you have to have in mind that there aren’t enough studies that adamantly confirm whether coconut oil is super safe to use on the genitals. However, the general opinion is that you can use coconut oil as a natural lubricant. Even Planned Parenthood thinks that way. 

The main problem is that oily substances produce a biofilm on the skin that traps bacteria and other microorganisms, thus potentially causing infections. And the genitals are pretty gentle when it comes to microorganisms, especially the vagina. 

But, unless your wife is prone to developing vaginal infections, you can give coconut oil a go. If she notices, or you notice on yourself too, that it itches or it burns, or that it just doesn’t cut it somehow, take it off with water and don’t use it anymore. 

You can always try something else next time. 

Note: Be mindful about the fact that you shouldn’t be putting any type of oil if you’re using condoms. This is because the oil can break down the latex of the condom and make it ineffective. Instead, search for water-based or silicone-based lubricants which won’t break the condom. 

Olive Oil and Vegetable Oil

Olive oil is another type of oil that has many uses. It’s a known favorite in the kitchen, and people also use it for skin creams, in soaps, as well as other beauty, food, and health products.

And olive oil is a very popular household item, isn’t it? You likely have it in your house right away, making it the first go-to solution for a natural lubricant when the hour strikes. 

But, as with any type of oil, again, you have to be careful if your partner is prone to vaginal infections, because of the barrier it creates on the skin. Oil is a dense substance and it doesn’t mix with water, as you may know, trapping microorganisms and potentially causing infection or irritation. 

If you opt for it, put a small amount on your genitals and see how it goes. And if you’re using sex toys, think twice. Olive oil may be hard to get off the surface of sex toys. While you do want to have a well-lubricated toy when you have sex, you don’t want it to be oily every time you use it, do you? 

So, if you’re using a toy, maybe a water-based lubricant is a better idea (not a silicone one, since they can ruin the toy). 

And when it comes to condoms, this is another no. As you saw above, oil and latex just don’t make a good pair. Pick something else instead. 

The same goes for vegetable oil, such as sunflower oil for example, which I’m sure a lot of you folks out there have in your kitchen. 

Cornstarch and Water

Bet you haven’t heard this one before! Yeah, I know it sounds like an odd choice, and there isn’t really science data to back it up, but it does show up anecdotally a lot. 

It is considered a water-based lubricant and it’s something that you can make at home! 

Want the recipe? Well, you mix cornstarch and water in a ratio of 2, 3, or 4 teaspoons of cornstarch and 1 cup of water. You have to bring this mixture to a boil, but you also have to mix it all the time (so you don’t end up with lumps). Then, depending on how thick you want it to be, you turn off the heat and continue stirring, while you let it cool for a couple of minutes. 

Once it’s room temperature you can use it on the skin. It works well against friction, and it can also be used with condoms and sex toys. 

CBD-Infused Lubes

CBD lubes are very popular nowadays and they’re often marketed as natural lubricants, at least the ones that contain natural and organic ingredients. 

One such product is the CBD-infused arousal lube Spark which contains a combination of broad-spectrum CBD hemp extract and organic ingredients such as cinnamon, ginger, coconut oil, as well as organic oils such as cardamom and peppermint essential oils. 

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is a super plant, meaning it has many uses. It has a long history of being used to treat skin conditions and it’s said to work wonders for skin burns and irritations. 

Because it has anti-inflammatory properties, as well as several other beneficial effects, like being a good moisturizer and helping the skin against aging, aloe vera is thought to be a good natural lubricant as well. 

You can use aloe vera both in anal and vaginal sex, and you can use it with sex toys too. Aloe vera is also probably safe to use if you’re wearing a condom (no definitive medical research on this, however, so be careful). Bear in mind – if one of you is allergic to the product, my advice is to avoid it. 

Just be sure to use pure, 100% aloe vera gel and test it on your hand first. Apply a small amount on your inner wrist and see how it goes. Should there be any irritation or itchiness, ditch the gel and try something else as a lube. 

Vitamin E Oil

Vitamin E oil has a range of benefits, from treating dry skin and psoriasis to being used as skin cancer prevention. 

And vitamin E oil is also often recommended to women to treat their vaginal dryness, which often shows up during menopause. 

But, of course, vitamin E oil has the same caveats as any other oil, and it shouldn’t be your first choice for a lube. You can use it on sex toys, but it may make them greasy. And you definitely shouldn’t use it on latex condoms. 

Also, it might not be a good idea to use oil-based lube if you’re trying to conceive because it may slow down sperm. 

Saliva

Everybody has it, it’s always there, it’s slippery and moist… Why shouldn’t it be used as a natural lubricant, right? 

Sure, saliva has been used in sex time and time again, and you can definitely use it as a lubricant. The problem with it is that it dries quickly and it doesn’t last very long. Also, the mouth has lots of bacteria inside it and some of them may end up on your genitals if you use them (but then again, they can also end up there with oral sex). 

But, if you’re really in the moment, and you really don’t have an alternative by hand, then you can use saliva to save the day and save sex. 

What are the Natural Lubricants You Shouldn’t Use During Sex?

Okay, so just as there are some household items you can potentially use as natural lubricants when the need strikes, there are also items that you shouldn’t 

Let’s take a look at some of the most common products people shouldn’t use as natural lubricants. 

Baby Oil

The problem is, products such as baby oil often contain lots of synthetic ingredients in them as well, which can often cause bacterial and yeast infections in women. 

Even though they’re marketed for babies and should be gentle, they often have strong chemicals and are pretty oily and hard to wash off the genitals with water only. 

What’s more, the oiliness is definitely not recommended for sex toys. The same goes for condoms too. 

Honey

Tempting, I know… But just – no. Sure you can play with honey almost anywhere on your bodies besides the hair (I wouldn’t go there) and the genitals. 

Why? Two simple reasons: it’s sticky and it’s sugary, and you should think twice before you put anything that has sugar in it on your genitals. That’s because sugars meddle with the pH balance of the vagina, which, in turn, can lead to infection and irritation. Also, bacteria and yeast just love to feed on sugars, and you don’t want any more of those houseguests on your private parts. 

Also, it’s just not compatible with either sex toys or condoms. Just too sticky. 

Lotion

Similar to the baby oil, this one may also seem like a tempting idea to use a natural lubricant. The answer, however, is again – no. 

Lotions also often contain plenty of synthetic chemicals like fragrances and dye, as well as parabens. Leave the lotion for other parts of the skin and search for a more natural one, while you’re at it too. 

Petroleum Jelly

Have you ever used petroleum jelly also known as Vaseline? If you have, you’ve probably noticed how greasy it is and how hard it is to get off the skin, but also how slowly it gets absorbed by the skin. 

Put it in a damp, dark place that’s hard to thoroughly wash (especially with soap) and it creates the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and yeast. 

It’s also definitely not fit if you use condoms, because it’s based on oil, and we all know by now that oil damages latex condoms. 

Mineral Oil

The problem with mineral oil is that the skin often tends to absorb it. This in turn helps to make the skin drier, and that’s just about the most opposite thing you can expect from a lube as it gets. 

The drier the genital tissue, the more prone it is to tears and infections, including STIs. Also, totally unfit for condoms. 

Shortening

Ah yes, the good old Crisco… An American classic right? Turns out, Crisco aka the most famous brand in the US that manufacturers shortening or vegetable fat used to be a common alternative for lube in the past, especially among gay men. It seems like the perfect item for storage too. It’s solid and it only melts when you put it on a body part. 

But, as it turns out, Crisco is not a good natural lube option. It can interfere with the durability of condoms, and it can also potentially cause irritation and infection to the vagina. 

Butter

Much like shortening, butter may also seem like a good idea for a natural lubricant. But it just isn’t the case. 

The problem with butter is that it comes from an animal origin and when it’s not kept correctly, it can go rancid. In which case you’ve got animal proteins that go bad in your genitals. And since butter is greasy it’s also pretty hard to clean up so… really, who wants that? 

Glycerin

Lots of synthetic lubricants have glycerin as one of their ingredients. Sometimes people also use pure, 100% glycerine as a lubricant.

But, there’s a reason why glycerin isn’t welcomed in our private parts. The reason is pretty simple – it’s a byproduct of sugar. And you know the drill by now. Sugar is the favorite meal of yeasts and they can smell it a mile away, prompting – you guessed it – a much-unwanted yeast infection. 

Things to Consider When Choosing the Right Natural Lubricant

As I mentioned earlier, what kind of natural lubricant you use will depend on what you use it for and how your body reacts to it. So, naturally, some natural lubricants will work better than others. 

These are some of the things you should have in mind when thinking about purchasing or using a natural lubricant:

  • If you’re trying to make a baby avoid natural lubricants with a strong oil basis since oil can slow the movement of the sperm. Instead, look in your local pharmacy or supermarket for a natural lube that has the label “fertility-friendly” or “sperm-friendly” so you can be sure. 
  • You should avoid oil-based natural lubricants if you use a condom, too. As I mentioned a hundred times throughout this article, oil can damage the latex most condoms are made of. If you really want to use a condom and an oil-based lube, then look for condoms that are not made from latex. 
  • If you’re using lube on a sex toy – I’d suggest you pick a water-based natural lube because they’re usually the most gentle ones on sex toys. Silicone-based lubes can damage a silicone toy, and the oil will be very hard to take off. 
  • If you or your partner has problems with dryness, dry skin on their genitals, or bacterial and yeast infections – choose products that are as natural as possible and which don’t have sugar-related ingredients, such as glycerin. The same goes for warming lubricants – they can also make the skin on your genitals unnecessarily dry.
  • If you want to use the lube in the shower, then silicone-based lubes are your best bet. Water-based ones come off quickly in water. Look for naturally made silicone-lubes, although have in mind that they’ll all contain a certain amount of synthetic chemicals. 

How to Use Natural Lubricants Effectively

Natural lubricants shouldn’t be used any differently than synthetic ones. However, there are some things you should have in mind before using one: 

  • Some natural lubes can stain the sheets. So, if you use oil-based ones, it’s a good idea to put a towel underneath your bodies so they won’t stain them. 
  • Use lube not only during sex and penetration but during foreplay as well. It helps set the mood and it makes you more aroused, faster. 
  • Try to warm the lube in your hands before you put it on your genitals. 
  • And when you do apply it, apply generous amounts, please. 
  • Also, when you notice it’s drying off, make a short pause to reapply once again. 

Final Thoughts

We all want what’s best for our private parts, there’s no doubt about that. This is why it’s so important to find the right kind of natural lubricant, one that’ll both fit your needs perfectly, and that will be as gentle on your genitals as it possibly can. 

And that’s no small task. 

My advice is to be careful with what you put on your genitals and try it out on your skin first. It’s not a 100% safe solution, but it does do the trick often. 

In any event, the homemade natural lubricants that I presented here should be used when you don’t have a better, natural alternative at hand. The best thing to do is look for a natural lube made from professionals and reputable companies.

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