The following is the full Ask LSOP #10 question and answer, featured in the Little Shop of Pleasures December 2016 newsletter.
Can I use massage oil as a lubricant?
The short answer is no.
But you know I never give short answers, so here’s the breakdown of why not (and the maybe-kind-of exceptions to the rule).
Generally, we wouldn’t recommend using any of our massage oils as sexual lubricant for a few reasons:
- Not everyone’s genitals will agree with scents. We stock body products with natural and body-safe ingredients, but even naturally sourced fragrances can be irritating to delicate genital tissue. But unscented massage oils still may not be the best option as a lube...
- Vaginas and oil don’t always get along. Most medical professionals agree that using oil inside the vagina can inhibit the organ’s super-efficient natural self-cleaning process. Oils can block the ducts that release the fluid that flushes foreign bacteria and matter from the vagina, and without this process taking place, the likelihood of yeast infections and other issues increases. (Coconut oil, which has natural antibacterial properties, has gained popularity as a sexual lubricant, but it’s still not a perfect solution- it may kill bacteria and other foreign flora and fauna, but still can inhibit fluid secretion and prevent the flushing of foreign matter. It works for some folks, but we don’t recommend it over a product that is designed to be vagina friendly.)
- We touched on using oils as anal lubricant briefly in Ask LSOP #1, Choosing an Anal Lube. Technically, oils are safe for use anally, but a pure oil, as opposed to a scented massage oil is recommended, because the tissue inside the anus is especially delicate, and prone to irritation and infection.
- Regardless of the orifice being penetrated, if condoms are being used oil is (probably) a no-go. Oil quickly breaks down both latex and non-latex polyisoprene condoms, the two most commonly used types of condom. Polyurethane condoms (internal/female condoms are generally made of PU) are compatible with oil- so if you just HAVE to use oil and need to use barrier methods, be sure to track down the right kind for everyone’s safety.
- Similarly, oils are not compatible with TPE or PVC toys- less of a safety issue, but accidentally melting your favourite toy is never fun.
The only time I’d give the customer a nod of approval to use a massage oil as lube is for external stimulation of the penis- it’s a case-by-case thing, though. If you’ve used scented hand lotions to masturbate without issue you’re probably okay, but if you find scented lotions too harsh for down there, maybe lean towards something unscented, and preferably designed to be used on the genitals.
If you’re desperate for something that can be used to give your lover a back massage and also as a lube, try a silicone lubricant. They feel a lot like oil and are great for massages, but are also a totally genital/condom-friendly lubricant. Just be sure not to get any on your silicone toys!
Thanks for the question, S!
Interested in appearing (anonymously) in the Ask LSOP section of next month’s newsletter? Submit your questions about relationships, sex, adult toys, or lingerie, and our team of sexperts will find you the answers! Email your questions to [email protected] with the subject header “Ask LSOP”.