Because we’re raised in a culture that encourages us to be at once hyper sexual and ignorant of our own bodies’ functioning–particularly when it comes to our sexuality–we’re vulnerable as consumers who purchase and use sexual wellness products. Unfortunately, our shyness and ignorance can seriously cost us. One article I read claims market research shows that Americans spend roughly $200 million annually on personal lubrication alone.
But how can we make informed decisions that are in our best interests about the products we buy if feel shy about the need for them, ashamed of purchasing them, or conflicted about discussing how and why we might use them? In a CVS, pharmacy, or convenience store, do we feel as comfortable asking about the drawbacks of a particular brand of personal lubrication, for example, as we do about the side-effects of allergy meds?
Probably not, but even if we did, the taboo around discussing sexual wellness products might interfere with a salesperson giving us an informed response. And yet investigating products like personal lubrication may be precisely what’s needed for our immediate and long term sexual–and overall–well-being. Did you know, for example, that oil based lubricants degrade condoms and can create micro fissures in the latex? Not good when you’re concerned about keeping yourself healthy, or avoiding pregnancy and/or STD’s.
One of the many things good sex depends on is having and maintaining a healthy body. Ongoingly pleasurable associations with partnered sexual play and intercourse can be rapidly foreclosed if the vagina is compromised by yeast infections or skin irritations.
Charlotte and Chris, aka. the Pleasure Mechanics–a dynamic duo with a mission to help men and women learn the mechanics of having great, shame-free sex–encourage people to be aware of their lubricant ingredients just like you are aware of your food ingredients. Especially if you are experiencing any irritation or discomfort when you use lube, they suggest reaching for an organic lubricant without harmful chemicals. In addition, they caution to be on the lookout for glycerin–a common ingredient that can flare yeast infections.
Common drugstore brands are not the best option for most people, when it comes to lube. It’s worth investing a few extra dollars in a high quality lubricant that will support your sexual health while you’re using it. Luckily, the industry is catching up to the demand for all natural, high quality lubricants, so major brands are offering new product lines with better ingredients.
So get in the habit of reading your labels and experiment with finding products that are pleasurable to use and healthy. And avoid putting things on your penis or vulva, or in your vagina, that contain ingredients you wouldn’t put in your mouth.
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