We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Here’s our process.
People use lubricants to relieve discomfort and dryness during sexual intercourse. The safest and most effective lubricants are those that have similar properties as natural vaginal or rectal secretions.
Some people may have difficulty producing enough lubrication for comfortable and pleasurable sexual intercourse. This issue may become more significant after the start of menopause.
Selecting a natural lube alternative can be challenging. Many people choose natural lube alternatives to avoid exposure to unnecessary ingredients. The best natural lubricants are those that mimic natural bodily secretions.
Natural lubes may include household items, such as yogurt and oils, or commercial products that manufacturers label as natural. Keep reading to learn more about popular natural lube alternatives, some of which it is not advisable to use.
Some people report separating egg whites from the yolk and using the whites as a natural lubricant. Although egg whites may resemble vaginal secretions during the time of ovulation, doctors do not recommend using them in the vagina because their safety is unknown.
Many commercial lubricants contain aloe vera. Aloe vera is a natural product that people have used for centuries for a range of health, beauty, medicinal, and skin care purposes. It is popular as a way to soothe sunburned skin.
Some people also use aloe vera or aloe vera-based products as a natural lube.
However, applying aloe vera to the skin can cause side effects, such as:
- a stinging sensation
- allergic reactions
During pregnancy, some women have used aloe vera and experienced uterine contractions.
The vagina and rectum, where a person is more likely to apply lubricant, have skin with different properties, which may not react the same way to aloe vera.
Several studies that took place in Africa investigated different household items that people use as vaginal lubricants. People reported using baby oil, vegetable oil, coconut oil, and other oil-based products. Although commercial lubricants are available in Africa, household items are popular due to their affordability.
Oil-based products can damage condoms, thus increasing a person’s risk of unplanned pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
As they are similar to other oils or oil-based products, butter and margarine may also damage condoms.
Some people report using yogurt in the vagina as a lubricant or a treatment for yeast infections. Unflavored and sugarless yogurt contains probiotics that people think can help establish normal bacterial colonies in the vagina.
These claims remain unconfirmed by scientists, and people should avoid inserting yogurt into their vagina.
Aside from household natural lubes, several commercially available products include natural or natural and organic in their description. Although people may interpret the term natural in different ways, these products include:
Aloe Cadabra is an aloe vera-based product that the producers market as being natural. However, its ingredients include:
- aloe vera
- vitamin E oil
- citric acid
- potassium sorbate and sodium benzoate
- organic vanilla planifolia concentrate
Citric acid balances the pH of the product to mimic the acidity of the vagina. Potassium sorbate and sodium benzoate are chemicals that serve as preservatives.
Sliquid Organics Natural Gel
The Sliquid brand of natural gel lubricants is another aloe vera-based product. The ultra-thick lubricant contains agar, which consists of complex carbohydrates. Carbohydrates may increase the likelihood of developing a yeast infection.
Organic Glide Personal Lubricant
Organic Glide Personal Lubricant’s formulation consists of various oils, including vegetable and olive fruit oil. Any oil-based product may damage condoms.
Uberlube is a personal lubricant that people can use to alleviate discomfort during sex, as well as to reduce friction against the skin in sports and for hair styling. Its formulation is silicone-based and includes:
- vitamin E
Although silicone and water-based lubricants are safe to use with condoms, they may be more likely than oil-based lubricants to irritate the skin.
Studies have shown that women prefer vaginal intercourse when they are wetter because they feel more likely to orgasm. Those who are unable to produce enough vaginal secretions may seek lubricants, moisturizers, or other treatments. People may also wish to use these products for anal sex.
Many different commercial lubricants are available in pharmacies and sex shops, but some people may worry about the effects of certain ingredients. Some individuals may have sensitivities or adverse reactions to ingredients such as glycerin, propylene glycol, and perfumes.
Some lubricants also contain sweeteners as an additive for oral sex and warming agents to promote arousal. These additional ingredients are not necessary for people seeking a remedy for vaginal dryness. Some may worry about the possible effects of these ingredients on their health.
Oils and oil-based lubricants can weaken condoms.
Some evidence also suggests that certain water-based lubricants may be less safe than experts once assumed. One study showed that a water-based hyperosmolar lubricant could damage the wall of the rectum by drawing fluid out of the cells.
When selecting a commercial or natural lube, people should opt for water-based iso-osmolar products to prevent damage to the wall of the rectum or vagina and to avoid damaging condoms.
Other ingredients to avoid in a personal lubricant include:
Glycerin is an ingredient in some commercial lubricants. Some people have also used pure glycerin as a vaginal lubricant.
The risk of using glycerin in the vagina is that it is a byproduct of sugar. Sugar attracts yeast and can make a person more prone to yeast infections.
Doctors recommend that people avoid using petroleum jelly as a lubricant because its oils can damage condoms. People in low-income households often use petroleum jelly as a lubricant as it is a cheaper alternative to commercial water-based products.
Cosmetics, foods, and pharmaceutical products contain parabens. Few people have allergies to parabens, and researchers have confirmed their low allergenicity. However, according to their classification, parabens are endocrine-disrupting chemicals, which has led the general public to develop a negative view of them.
In response, many manufacturers have replaced parabens in their formulations with ingredients that have less evidence to support their safety and effectiveness.
When selecting a lubricant, whether it is a natural or commercial product, people should check the ingredients to be sure that they are not using any product that may cause an allergic reaction.
A significant risk that people face when they use household or inappropriate lubricants during sex is altering the pH in the vagina or rectum. The normal pH of the vagina is 3.8–4.5, which is acidic. The normal pH of the rectum is close to 7, which is neutral.
Using a lubricant with a different pH than the vagina or rectum can cause a change in pH in these areas. In the vagina, a change in pH can lead to a bacterial infection called bacterial vaginosis.
Foul-smelling vaginal discharge may indicate bacterial vaginosis. Other symptoms may include painful urination, vaginal itching, and painful intercourse. People with bacterial vaginosis require medical attention.
Using natural lubes that have sugars or derivatives of sugar, such as glycerin, can increase the risk of yeast infections. The signs and symptoms of yeast infections overlap with those of vaginosis and may include:
- genital burning
- painful sexual intercourse
- painful urination
- thick, white vaginal discharge that does not smell unpleasant
Anyone experiencing an allergic reaction or any other abnormal reaction following the use of a natural lubricant should seek emergency medical attention.
Natural lubes may include household items, such as yogurt and oils, or commercial products that manufacturers label as natural. People may decide to use natural lubes to avoid some unnecessary ingredients in commercial products.
Doctors do not recommend that people make and use their own natural lubricants because these may damage condoms or alter the pH in the vagina or rectum.
Other water-based or silicone-based lubes may cause irritation.
People should speak with a doctor before selecting a natural lube to make sure that it is safe and effective.