Ask Ang 11/9: Lube Allergy
I think I am allergic to water based lube/the lube you provide. What other form of lube can I use that is safe with my sex toy?
This is a great question seeing as there are a variety of different types of lube, not to mention condoms and sex toys, all made with different materials. Understanding how all of them interact together and with your body can be confusing but is important for safe and enjoyable sexual experiences.
To begin, H*yas for Choice distributes water based lubricant which contains 7 ingredients (listed on the back) with one in particular that could cause sensitivity issues for certain individuals. Propylene Glycol is a preservative added to some lubricants, including the water-based brand we hand out, that has been known to cause skin irritation for some individuals. If you experience moderate redness, discomfort, or itchiness while using any sex product, it typically isn’t an allergy in the same way you’d be allergic to food, meaning it isn’t dangerous long term, but your skin is still reacting poorly to something and you should change what products you are using. A more serious allergic reaction that you think could be tied to lube or anything else used for masturbation or sex should be addressed by a doctor specifically.
There are three main types of synthetic lubes that are available: water-based, silicone-based, or oil-based. In regards to sex toys, water and oil-based lubes are compatible with all types of sex toys, although oil can be hard to clean off. Silicone lube is NOT compatible with sex toys made with silicone because contact between the two can cause the sex toy to deteriorate over time.
Another possibility, which could be the best option for people with sensitive skin, is stepping away from synthetic lubricants and trying more natural substitutes that have records of being easier on sensitive skin. Options for natural lubricants include coconut oil, aloe vera, and vitamin E oil. However all of these also come with potential problems based on what other products you’re using them with, like coconut oil weakening latex condoms, so be sure to research the product before you use it.
In general, best practice when trying any new material whether that be lube, condoms or sex toys is to check the listed ingredients for anything you have had a history of reacting to. You should also introduce new materials slowly and be conscious of any changes in your skin that could indicate a bad reaction. It may seem like a pain to experiment with different options whether it be for lube or something else but finding the right fit for you can make a huge difference in terms of safety and pleasure.
We hope this week’s edition of Ask Ang was helpful! If you have a question, please submit it to tinyurl.com/askang!