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Lubrication (lube): What kind should I use during sex?

Apr 29, 1999

What kind of lube can I use when having sex? a friend say that it's possible to use soap or toothpaste to lubricate condom. Can you?

Response from Mr. Sowadsky

Thank you for your question. People will use almost anything as a lubricant when having sex......Crisco, butter, hand lotion, K-Y, Wet, Astroglide, water, spit/saliva, shampoo, soap, mineral oil, whipped cream, jam/jellies, toothpaste, shaving cream, mouthwash, name it. If it feels slippery, people will use it as a lubricant.

Which lubricants should you use? Which lubricants should you not use? The answer all depends on the specific circumstances:

1) Lubricants for use with latex condoms, latex dental dams, or latex gloves: The only type of lubricants that may be used with anything made out of latex, are water-based lubricants. Examples of water based lubricants include K-Y, Astroglide, and spit/saliva. How can you know if a lubricant you buy is water based or not? Read the label. Examples of lubricants that should NOT be used with anything made out of latex include Crisco, butter, whipped cream (or any other oil-based food item), hand lotion, soaps, mineral oil, or anything else that is oil-based. Anything that contains oil-based ingredients may damage condoms, gloves, and anything else made out of latex. If the ingredients mention anything with an oil in it, it should NOT be used with products made of latex. Some oil-based lubricants will specifically state on the label that they should not be used with latex condoms, but not always. I am not sure if toothpaste contains any oil-based ingredients or not, so my best suggestion is not to use toothpaste with latex condoms, just to be on the safe side. In addition, if you are using anything else as a lubricant that you are not sure whether it is water-based or oil-based, my best suggestion is to be on the safe side, and not to use it with latex condoms, gloves, dental dams, or anything else made out of latex.

2) Lubricants for use with polyurethane condoms: Generally, most lubricants can be used with polyurethane condoms, whether they are water-based or oil-based.

3) Lubricants for use during unprotected sex: If two people are NOT infected with HIV, nor any other sexually transmitted disease (STD), any unprotected sex they have together would be safe from infectious diseases. So in this case, using most types of lubricants, with or without condoms, would be safe. But, keep in mind that some lubricants may cause irritation when they come in contact with mucous membranes (genitals, rectum, eyes, nose, mouth, etc.). For example, many shampoos may cause irritation and stinging when they come in contact with mucous membranes. Using toothpaste, shaving cream, or mouthwash, may also cause stinging and irritation. So be cautious about using any type of lubricant that may cause irritation to mucous membranes. In addition, many lubricants are not made to be ingested and may be harmful if swallowed, so try to avoid getting lubricants in your mouth (unless of course you are using a food item such as whipped cream as a lubricant). Also, I have seen some people use semen as a lubricant (for example during mutual masturbation). Keep in mind that doing this may put you at risk for HIV and other STDs, if your partner is infected and you do not use protection. But if your partner is not infected with HIV, nor any other STD, then using semen as a lubricant would be safe.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to call the Centers for Disease Control at 1.800.232.4636 (Nationwide).

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