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How to choose the perfect sex lube – without even losing your health while you’re at it

I did it again. From time to time, I give in to the temptation of peeking at the search engine queries that bring readers to my website. It makes for an often funny, sometimes surprising and occasionally alarming reading. This time, it also highlighted a widespread curiosity for zoophilia of all paraphilias – but one oddly worded question stood out more than others. It read: ‘is butter and honey the perfect sex lube?’ Just like that, as if the user wanted Google’s personal opinion on the matter. Which I am not privy to, sorry.

I did study the subject, however, and I know for a fact that no, that combination is in fact one of the worst possible ever due to the chemical properties of the ingredients. I therefore thought this was a sign that the time had come to educate other lubricity-challenged readers on the matter – especially because I had already written something useful. Please enjoy a small extract from my BDSM – A Guide for Explorers of Extreme Eroticism, also containing heaps of other interesting and useful information.

  

Lubricants

No matter how relaxed you might be, when someone tries to slip a hand between your legs or up your butt a tranquil disposition simply doesn’t cut it. The simple friction of skin against such sensitive tissue rapidly causes tiny abrasions that burn to the point of making any enthusiasm vanish even in the most committed masochists. Luckily, this is extremely easy to prevent: just use a lubricant, which besides making things easier also heightens the sensuality of the penetration.

Forget all preconceptions: the idea that female natural lubrication is always sufficient isn’t only wrong (for it depends on age, diet, menstrual cycle, medications…), but completely absurd when it comes to objects with anything but natural dimensions. Moreover, the anus of healthy men and women is nearly dry, making a bit of outside help absolutely necessary. The problem is figuring out what kind, and how much.

There is a definite answer to the second question, and it is: “more.” Mucous membranes, skin and various insertables tend to absorb every type of lubricant, so it’s always better to lay it on thick rather than discover too late it wasn’t enough. Experts lube up the outer part of the orifice being violated, whatever is going to enter it and the inside – and then add more lube every few minutes. This is one instance where overindulging is fine: the only trick is to heat the substance – either between your hands or dipping the closed bottle in warm water – to avoid a sudden and unpleasant chill.

Choosing the right lubricant, on the other hand, is a bit more complicated and requires some technical knowledge. The most important thing is, of course, to avoid dangerous substances. Topping the list are all “edible” ones. The legendary butter from Last Tango in Paris, for example, may have its own quaint charm but is hard to clean and forms a perfect breeding ground for bacteria: any trace inside the body may thus attract annoying infections. The same goes for Crisco, which despite being an erotic cliché due to its widespread use in the US leather scene in the past… is actually nothing but low-quality margarine.

Sex shops also sell fancy fruit-flavored products, occasionally exquisite to lick but containing sugars which are perfect for the proliferation of candida colonies if used internally. It is therefore smart to forsake any cream or gel containing sucrose, fructose or glycerin, whose chemical structure is very similar to sugar.

Oil-based lubricants – first and foremost classic Vaseline – are equally inadvisable, but for different reasons. Besides soiling clothes and bed linen and being difficult to wash off, they are potential killers! In fact, the oils contained in these products melt latex – the material of which many BDSM toys, apparel and especially condoms are made. To pierce one it only takes a few minutes of contact with certain greasy substances, including those potentially left in the body from previous games. The risk is so high as to suggest avoiding any lubricant whose composition leaves you with even the slightest doubt.

The last pitfall comes from pharmacology in the form of products that incorporate certain substances. The worst offenders are anesthetic creams, for example any compound containing benzocaine, lidocaine or xylocaine. Even if we overlook the fact that it is pointless to devote yourself to certain practices if you don’t feel their effect, not being able to immediately feel the pain caused by an injury can be very dangerous.

The last questionable playmate is nonoxynol-9 (also known as ‘N9’), a spermicide often used on condoms and in sex lubes because it proved effective in killing the HIV virus in laboratory tests. There is a problem, though: while there is no real data on its efficacy in vivo, it is widely reported as an irritant, making the internal mucosa even more prone to being damaged. And to make matters worse, it tastes disgusting!

Which are the right lubricants then? A first category is silicone-based, not to be confused with the homonymous industrial sprays used to keep mechanical parts running smoothly. The ones I’m talking about are sold by sex shops and offer a range of advantages: they are hypoallergenic, flavorless, great heat conductors and are far less absorbed by the body. The flip side of the coin is that they are rather hard to wash off, cost more and are quite flammable.

Your safest bet is to use water-based lubes, which tend to dry relatively quickly (although it only takes two drops of water to regenerate them) but have no other contraindications. You can find them both in sex shops and some supermarkets: paramedical products like HR Lubricating Jelly or KY Jelly are essentially indistinguishable from the most exotic and expensive alternatives.

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