The Lube Lad/y

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

At the risk of being labeled the Lube Lad/y, I want to respond directly to the reader who left the following post:

Just don’t get a yeast infection… I’m actually getting really disillusioned that using water-based lube actually can be *harmful*… 🙁
And silicone lube doesn’t mix with silicone toys 🙁 🙁

NOT ALL WATER-BASED LUBES CAUSE YEAST INFECTIONS. If you have experienced this problem (or if you find that lube irritates your vagina), the culprit is probably glycerin. Often added to water-based lubes to help the water molecules stay together, this compound is related to sugar and therefore makes great food for the yeastie beasties that lie in wait. This is also why some lubes get sticky (KY, I’m looking at you) as they dry up – the water evaporates or is absorbed by your skin, and what’s left is basically glycerin and other additives. In this case, you can add a little water to bring back the slipperiness.

There are plenty of water-based lubes that don’t contain glycerin and say so right on the packaging, so make sure you check next time you get some. Silicone lube is another good option and you may have already used it because it comes on pre-lubricated condoms. The poster is correct in noting that it does not mix with silicone toys, because they will actually fuse together – not what you want for your expensive new sex toy. 

I’m not going to write a very long column this week because a nasty encounter with Swat Plague and a very recent breakup have left me, respectively, quite unable to have sex and less than enthused to be thinking about it. Instead, I’m taking the opportunity to solicit some reader input. I will not be taking requests for specific acts to try and write back about because hey, I’m only going to do what I (and my partner) want to do and I think all of you should do the same. Send me questions, comments, sexy things that are on your mind – you can comment right on this post or email the Daily Gazette. Anonymous is fine.

In the spirit of what the public sphere is supposed to be like (can you tell who I’ve been reading?), let’s start an honest conversation about the assumptions we make about each other and the role that sex plays in all of our lives – whether we have it or not.

This week in Sex: selling sex toys is no longer criminal in Texas.

The Phoenix