Monday, April 19, 2010

Q &A: It's the Lube, Stupid

Sliquid Organics Silk

Dear Julie,
I was recently having sex with this guy for the first time and midway through I was in so much pain that I had to stop. My vaj was all swollen and red--classic burning sensation. The condom I used was a Durex but it didn't have any special "warming" or "cooling" or "icyhot" lube on it. Am I allergic to latex?

Dear Lindsay,

To paraphrase James Carville: it's the lube, stupid. Symptoms of topical latex allergy are itching and redness, but few people experience severe effects from condom use because the primary way that latex proteins get onto the skin of affected people is through the powder in latex gloves. The lube in condoms actually provides something of a barrier for the protein that causes the allergic reaction.

So in your case, I think one of two things happened. First, and most likely, your condom didn't have enough lubricant on it or you had sex for so long that what was on there wasn't enough. Add more lube. Second, you could be allergic to an ingredient in the lube itself. Most condoms are lubricated with a silicone-based lube which isn't absorbed by the body (and lasts longer) but the lube can contain other ingredients, like glycerin, that can cause allergic reactions in people who have sensitive skin. Especially if they've rubbed their vagina raw from having sex without enough lube.

What you need is a bottle of lube, stat. Here are a couple of organic and allergen-free options from Babeland.
  • Babeland Natural Organic Lube, available in Naked (hint of lemon and vanilla) and Fresh (subtle mint-infusion). Both are free of parabens and petrochemicals and are not tested on animals.
  • Sliquid Organics Silk. Sliquid Silk is one of the best known silicone lubes and now there's an organic version. It is gluten-free, vegan, glycerin-free, and paraben-free so whatever your sensitivity, this lube has you covered and since it contains 12% silicone, it's long lasting and good for use in water. Also, Sliquid is a Dallas-based company. Go Texan!
  • Astroglide Glycerin and Paraben Free lube. Astroglide is an old standby and, of the lubes listed here, the most likely to be found at your local drugstore or grocery store. Also gluten free.
Sliquid Organics has the best bedside-table appeal but any of these lubes will reduce the irritation you felt.

Good luck,

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