Lubricant can make for easier, more comfortable sex, but if you prefer something more natural, you'll need to know how to shop — whether at the store or in your pantry. Even so-called "natural" lubes can contain preservatives, so it's important to read the label carefully to avoid harsh ingredients that may cause irritation.
In fact, a vaginal lubricant should really be safe enough to eat. "Everything placed into the vagina is absorbed into the body and that of course matters," Felice Gersh, MD, a board-certified ob-gyn and author of PCOS SOS: A Gynecologist's Lifeline to Naturally Restore Your Rhythms, Hormones, and Happiness, told POPSUGAR.
The bacteria and pH levels in the vagina are critically important for vaginal, cervical, uterine, tubal, and ovarian health, she explained. Since lubricants contain chemicals that may alter that balance (known as the microbiome), it's best shop with that in mind. "This means choosing something which is organic and completely natural," Dr. Gersh said.
For example, "Some lubricants add fragrance, which can be irritating, so try to avoid such additives, even if presumably natural," she said. Others contain ingredients such as glycerin, which can promote yeast infections. "Read every ingredient listed, and don't buy ones with fillers or alcohol-based substances. Some also contain wheat-based ingredients, which are harmful if one has a wheat or gluten problem," Dr. Gersh said.
Of course, finding a lube that's both natural and effective — meaning, one that creates a glide, without any uncomfortable rubbing — is not an easy task. It may take some trial and error, but start with these picks:
- Coconut oil
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Aloe vera
- Good Clean Love ($7, originally $8)
- Aloe Cadabra ($12)
- Sliquid H2O Original Water-Based Lubricant ($12)
- Organic Glide Natural-Based Personal Lubricant ($21)