Are lubricants safe for your sexual health?

A girlfriend of mine recently came to brunch horrified. She told me that the night before, during sex, her boyfriend asked her if she had any lube. As she told me the story, I could tell she was upset, but I couldn’t figure out why. “I mean, me? Lube? Come on! Like I’m the type of girl to have that,” she shrieked. Apparently, my friend thought lube was gross and, she told me later, unsafe. I’m not sure where she got that idea, but I thought I’d write about it here, just in case this is what a lot of women think.

First, let’s talk about what lube is. Lube, or lubricant, is a gel-like liquid that you use during sex to make things more slippery and decrease any uncomfortable friction. Now let’s talk about what lube isn’t — gross or unsafe. Lube helps sex go more smoothly, literally! It’s safe if you use the right type. So I did some research. Let’s break down the types of lube.


This is the type of lubricant with the least likely chance of irritating your lady bits and is completely safe on skin, condoms and toys. Lubes are very well labeled, so just be sure you pick up a bottle that specifically says “water-based,” and you’re well on your way to smoother sex. Bon voyage!


Silicon-based lube lasts a little longer than water-based lube, which is its main benefit. The drawbacks to this type of lube are that it’s a pain to clean up and it isn’t safe on other silicon-based products, like sex toys, if you’re comfortable with bringing those into the bedroom (monogamous, of course!).


Lubes with an oil-based formula are also effective in greasing the wheels of your sex life. I don’t recommend them, however, because they aren’t the safest when it comes to condoms. Oil-based lube makes the condom way more likely to break. And broken condoms leads to a whole different kind of friction, so better to just avoid.

Lube is safe, and more than that, it can be really fun and add something new into your sex life. So I’ll tell you what I told my girlfriend at brunch, “Why not give it a chance before you decide you don’t like it? And pass the syrup, please.”