Science of Sex: Lube

April 11th, 2017

Welcome to the second installment in a new feature on Of Sex and Love: Science of Sex. In this feature, I plan to discuss the science of sexuality in an easy-to-digest format that’s accessible to the casual reader. I will also follow up with some extended reading material for people who want to know more about the subject of each post.


science of sex lube

I am not the first person to write about lube, and I doubt I’ll be the most effective. But lube is so interesting from a scientific viewpoint, and I believe we can never talk about it enough.

Lube should make sex better, but it doesn’t always. For example, lubes that contain the spermicide nonoxynol are quite abrasive to sensitive tissues, resulting in micro-tears that actually facilitate the transfer of infections. Multiple studies have shown that Nonoxynol-9 contributes to HIV transmission.


Depending upon its osmolality, the measurement of particles per KG in a solution, lube may be doing unseen damage to your vagina or anus that increases the likelihood of an infection, too. Many lubes have a much higher osmolality (greater than 1,000 mOsm/Kg) than the vagina (~275 mOsm/Kg) or anus meaning there are more particles in the lube than the tissue it comes in contact with.

Osmolality is also important when it comes to sperm, which have a different measurement than vaginas, anuses, saliva and many lubes. By default, nearly all lube proves to be an inhibitor to sperm, so you’ll want to look for sperm-friendly lube when it comes to TTC.

Lube pH

If your lube has a pH that differs from your body’s natural pH (between 4.5 and 7 for most vaginas; pH varies during your cycle and life), you might find yourself dealing with a yeast infection while your body seeks balance.

Other Problematic Ingredients

And personal lubes that contain L-arginine, which is typically used to encourage sensitivity and arousal, can cause a herpes breakout. Sensation lubes (warming or cooling) typically rely on menthol or capsaicin to produce the desired effect, and every body responds to these chemicals differently.

Numbing agents such as lidocaine or benzocaine are sometimes found in anal lubricants. However, experts recommend against numbing the area because it both reduces pleasure and makes it harder to tell if you’re being too rough, which could lead to damage.

Lube and Your Toys

Even if lube is good for your body, it may not be compatible with your toys, which is the case with low-quality silicone lube and silicone toys. Using them together can cause an interaction that increases the porosity of your silicone toys, so they’re not as body-safe as they once were.

Further Reading

Did you enjoy the second installment of Science of Sex? Do you have further questions or suggestions for next month’s subject? Leave me a comment!


Lip Products for Softer Skin and Better Oral

August 14th, 2014

The lovely folks at Good Vibes were kind enough to send over a tin of Smooch Me Lip Lube with my last order. This it not the first time I’ve been able to try a product like that if you recall my review of Babegloss, a liquid lip gloss and lube intended to make your lips softer, tastier and wetter. Babeland has since discontinued the product, which is a shame. I like the taste and the design. I only wish I had used it more. I still have plenty left!

Good Vibe’s take as such a product is a little more, dare I say, generic? It comes in a tin like any homemade lip gloss. Now, this isn’t a deal-breaker, but I do prefer a container that allows me to apply without getting my fingers dirty. So, I sort of just wind up sticking my lips in the tin. It’s weird, I know. Maybe I’m just being lazy.

Anyway, this gloss/lube is available in several flavors, including mint and cinnamon. I got Cherry Vanilla. It’s probably the only scent I would come to close to liking — and I do like it.  The gloss is flavored as well as scented; although it’s more artificial flavor than anything else. I wouldn’t expect much more from a product like this. The flavor can help during oral, but Smooch Me is white so it’s not making your pout look anything other than shiny.

The texture also aids in this as an oral tool. It’s softer than many lip balms in a tin, so it definitely feels more like lube. However, it’s still got the slightly-waxy balm feel. Perhaps a little less so given how how soft it is. I really like the texture and find myself reaching for it simply to moisturize my lips. But the softness makes it easier to reapply if you’re actually using it as lube and need a little more.

The final product I’d like to discuss is PinkCherry’s lip balm. You can buy it because you love the company or maybe you’ll just throw it in your cart because you’re angling for free shipping. PinkCherry’s lip balm comes in a standard-sized tin. It looks a lot like the option from Good Vibes — but smaller. It’s white, so it’s not going to tint your lips. And, yes, it’s cherry scented. Although, it’s even more artificial than the other products I’ve discussed, and there’s a weird after taste that I don’t particularly like. This balm is scented but not flavored.

While Smooch Me is soft and easy to apply, PinkCherry’s lip balm simply isn’t. It’s hard. You either have to dig into the pot with a nail or give it a pretty fierce rub to get it to melt a little. PinkCherry definitely missed the mark here, and I think this simply makes the lip balm seem pretty cheap. I mean, at only $1, it’s not going to change the world, but it’s not doing the brand any favors. Smooch Me costs seven times as much, but you get more of a better product.

To be quite frank, PinkCherry’s balm will probably go into the garbage. Or maybe I’ll do some “science” experiments with a lighter. Because who doesn’t love open flames?!

If you’re looking for a lip product that’s as versatile as these things can be, Smooch Me is your best option. However, you might simply want to opp for flavored lube, instead.


5 Lubes I Totally Recommend

July 22nd, 2013

Lube is lube, you know? Most people pick something from the pharmacy and run with it, no matter how awful it was. I used to be one of those people. I know. What I have discovered as a sex toy reviewer and blogger is this: I do not like writing lube reviews. Some of them are terrible. Many of them are just a little bit different from the next one. Most of them do the job without complaint. Few stand out. Even trying to make this list in my head was a little difficult because lubes tend to blend together in my memory. However, a few lubes have stood out from the bunch.

  1. System Jo Premium Women Lubricant
    The only silicone-based lube on this list is by System Jo. I’ve liked several of their products, but this one stands out. Silicone lube feels, to me, like wearing a plastic bag. It’s how a condom feels to men. I hate it. Add in incompatibility with so many of my toys and the general thinness, and it’s out. System Jo Premium is thicker than most silicone lubes, and it’ll last you forever if using for penetrative sex. It can also double as a massage glide.
  2. sliquid lube cubeWet Naturals Beautifully Bare
    The thing about lubes is that they’re not made from my body, and I can feel the difference. I hate it, to be perfect honest. So when I tried this lube from a company that I didn’t think was necessarily spectacular, I was surprised to note that it does feel like more of my own lubrication, at least in the water-based formula. Just don’t confuse the silicone lube and ruin your favorite VixSkin toy, guys.
  3. Maximus
    This is the go-to lube for anal lovers. It’s thick and long lasting. It’s compatible with silicone toys. Unlike most water-based lubes, it isn’t sticky. Once I tried it, I understood why everyone loved it.
  4. Frolic
    While I enjoy thicker lubes, I don’t want them to be solid. They need to come easily out of the bottle. I shouldn’t have to feel like I’m forcing a solid into my vagina. I’ve had that exact experience, so don’t think that I am exaggerating in the least. Frolic has a handy pump bottle that has a cover to lock it. It’s thick enough to stay in place but thin enough to spread, and it’s affordable.
  5. Sliquid Naturals Lube Cube
    Sliquid’s Lube Cube isn’t one lube, but it’s this awesome sampler pack that lets you try various flavors and formulas. The sweet flavors are the best I’ve ever tasted, and most people love Sliquid lube. The company actually makes four different cube options, but I reviews Sliquid Naturals.

What are your favorite lubes for activities like toy play? Vaginal and anal sex? Massage? Let us know in the comments!




Taste This

March 16th, 2011

Sometimes when we think sweet, we imagine something saccarine and sugary gracing our taste buds. To fulfill the literal take on this theme, I am happy to present Sliquid Swirl Strawberry Pomegranate lube from Babeland.

Vibrating Silicone Rose

As if oral sex wasn’t already tasty enough, Sliquid Swirl Strawberry Pomegranate sweetens the deal even further. Sliquid, creator of some of the world’s most popular lubes, brings you a delicious new variety, bursting with a fresh strawberry and pomegranate flavor you’ll love. Like all Sliquid lubes, this one is glycerin-free, sugar-free, paraben-free, gluten-free, and vegan, so you’ll be worry-free as you enjoy a lip-smacking twist on cunnilingus or a blow job

If you are based in the continental United States, Babeland wants to have a taste of this flavored lubricant and I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t. I personally enjoy both strawberry and pomegranate and have heard nothing but positives about Sliquid, the manufacturer of this product.

To win your own bottle of Sliquid Swirl Strawberry Pomegranate lube, leave your individual entries in separate comments, please. You do not need to list your e-mail in the comment text.

  • Leave a comment below for a single entry (mandatory).
  • Earn another entry by Tweeting something similar to this: The sweet treat I want from @adriana_r’s contest is the Sliquid Swirl Strawberry Pomegranate from @Babeland_Toys! Enter here: (Once per day; leave a link).
  • You can rack up one additional entry by becoming a fan of Babeland on Facebook. Leave a comment here when you do.
  • Blog about this giveaway and leave a link in a separate comment (you can enter for multiple items in a single blog entry if you specifically state what you want).

Giveaway will end two weeks from now, on March 30.

Remember to stop by Babeland to check out more sex toys and keep up to date with the store and sex in the news via the Babeland blog. You can follow them on Twitter, too!

Check out the other items in this giveaway!


Pleasurists #47

September 25th, 2009

via latexfetishheels

Pleasurists is a round-up of the adult product and sex toy reviews that came out in the last seven days from bloggers all around the sex blogosphere. Did you miss Pleasurists #46? Read it all here. Do you have a review for Pleasurists #48? Submit it here before Sunday September 27th at 11:59pm PDT. Please re-post this list on your own blog if listed.

Want to win some free swag? All you’ve got to do is enter.

Madame Editrix
Scarlet Lotus St. Syr

On to the reviews…



Anal Toys

Toys for Cocks

Lube, Massage Oil, Bath Stuff, & etc.


Adult Books

Adult Movies/Porn

Sex Furniture



Intimate Organics Hydra Water Based Lubricant

September 14th, 2009

No one could argue that Intimate Organics went wrong when naming their water based formula. In fact, I can think of no product that is more aptly based than Hydra. Plus, it gets cool points for being a mythical monster. But Hydra’s name is not the only remarkable characteristic about it so, listen up!

Hydra is absolutely, without competition, and I mean no-other-water-based-lube-even-comes-close the slickest water based lubricant I have ever used. It is so very slick that even though I knew it was waterbased and I knew its name, I still checked the bottle after first use to make sure it wasn’t silicone based so I wouldn’t accidentally, you know, ruin my toys. Yep, you read that right: it’s water based and incredibly slick and silky. And it’s not just my opinion, either. My husband, who usually thinks “Lube is lube” really enjoys this one because of its texture. So if slick is your thing and maybe you usually prefer silicone lubes, you might give Hydra a try.

However, Hydra is rather thin and I do find myself always squirting out more from the push-top bottle than I intend to. Unless you prefer thinner lubes for anal sex, I’d skip Hydra for a thicker lube (like Maximus) for back door play.

Or if you like lubes that dry so completely that you don’t even feel the need to wash your hands, you might also give Hydra a try. After rubbing some my fingers dry of excess lube, I didn’t feel tacky or gummy whatsoever. There was literally no residual lube like their frequently is.

But wait, there’s more!

If you like your lbues animal friendly, completely vegan and without harmful ingredients like parabens, glycerine or DEA, Hydra might just be perfect for you. Like other Intimate Organic products, the ocmpany has been careful to use naturally devised ingredients rather than so many chemical ones which makes Hydra a good solution for those folks who have lube sensitivities. I usually don’t and, if you recall, the only other hypoallergenic I lube caused sensitivity (ironic, isn’t it?). I had no issues with sensitivity with Hydra.

Is there a catch? I’m glad you asked. Unfortunately there is. While I enjoyed the feeling of Hydra right out of the bottle and at the end, there was some less than desirable effects in the middle of play. Hydra tends to be sticky as is dries (but, obviously, that fades when it’s dry) which requires reapplication of lube or the addition of water more than other lubes. This wasn’t a problem for vaginal sex as I usually only need a little lube to get going, if my husband hasn’t gone down on me. Past the initial penetration, I pretty quickly produce my own lube.

However, I noticed the stickiness much more when it came to clit stimulation. The hard and fast movements were really impeded by the stickiness of Hydra. I’m certain that adding a bit more lube would’ve freshened it right up but, to be honest, I don’t like to do that. I’m a one application of lube type of girl, I guess. Of course, I did apply the lube a few minutes before heading clit-side so it had time to dry. When I applied lube to a toy and used it right away, there was less sticky. All I can offer is a warning: If you want to avoid the stickiness of Hydra while it dries, be prepared to reapply fairly frequently or do have sex in an airless environment.

Not everyone minds reapplying lube, though, and if you’re one of those and the rest of Hydra’s properties sound appealing, I would whole heartedly recommend it. It’s very uncommon for my husband to like a lube as much as he liked this one and I’m fond of its slickness as well. I was really surprised that Hydra is as silky as it is, just your run-of-the-mill lube; it may be the inclusion of aloe that does it. I usually like my lube a little thicker (like ID Glide) but Hydra definitely feels great in the beginning and isn’t messy at the end. This has been my second positive experience with Intimate Organics products and, despite the fact that I don’t care a lot about organic products, the quality I’ve seen thus far really has me intrigued.


Sex Tarts Tangy Lube Sampler Set

September 10th, 2009

When it comes to flavoured lubes, Sex Tarts is a pretty common/popular brand and is readily available so I thought it would make a good brand to review for TabuToys. I decided on the Tangy Lube Sampler set for a couple of reasons, mostly because I wanted to try more than one flavour but also to have a back up just in case I didn’t like what I tasted.

This set includes 1 2 fl. ounce flip top, squeeze tube each of Green Apple Fizz, Strawberry Punch and Cherry Pop lubes – all of which are flavours I generally like. The tubes are bright green, a medium orangey red and a dark pinkish red, respectively. In the event that you are not down with size, these are much bigger than sample packets and “sampler set” might actually be a bit misleading unless you drink flavoured lube for breakfast. There’s really a fair amount of product in this set; there’s also more than enough plastic. The 3 bottles are packed in a plastic container as well and it’s really big. Upon opening the package it came in, I really thought it was wasteful both in space and materials.

Packaging aside, I gave each lube a taste/smell test. Immediately, Cherry Pop smelled most true to life, with Strawberry Punch Coming in second. The Green Apple Fuzz didn’t have much of a scent at all, maybe a sort of generic sweet scent. I found the same to be true about taste. Cherry Pop came in first being the most true to life. Strawberry Punch had a very strong, sweet and tangy flavour but tasted more like strawberry flavouring than the actual fruit. Green Apple Fizz came up short, being generically sweet and rather unlike anything apple. My husband and I both noticed that the tastes and smells seemed to be covering up something else. I thought it was sort of Nutrisweet-y but he thought it was more reminiscent of lube or even plastic. In his words, no matter how much the tastes covered it up “It’s still lube”.

Lucky for him, I seem to have less of an aversion to it and was more than happy to glob some on his cock for the sake of review. While I enjoy giving him pleasure, oral sex is generally pretty uncomfortable for me physically. I don’t need lube for oral sex – although some folks with dryer mouths might – but figured flavoured lube might distract me from my discomfort. I was sort of right.

For starters, this water based lube was pretty damned thin and came squirting out of the tube like it has a mission. I wound up with way more in my hand than I meant and forgot I had tissues on the nightstand so wound up wiping it all over my husband’s thigh. 😉 A smaller hole would easily fix that, however. I also noticed how sticky it was immediately. My hair was constantly sticking to my mouth or his cock and, while it can sometimes be a nuisance, it was generally moreso because of the lube. It was also quite sticky for giving oral sex and impeded my efforts a bit. I guess it’s a good thing that it was quickly whisked away by my tongue and mouth, allowing for my saliva to create a better environment. On the other hand, if you want long lasting taste, this is not the product.

I am glad to report, however, that Sex Tarts lube does a good job of masking the smell and taste of ejaculate (as long as there’s still some left). If you’re not a big fan of either characteristic of a certain man seed, this might making giving oral easier for you.

Though, the taste was better on him than straight from the bottle. I did enjoy licking it up and it did make it a bit more fun. I felt more eager than I sometimes am to give head. But this was easily negated by the stickiness of the Sex Tarts lube.

Although you could technically use this lube for penetrative sex and it is latex safe, I wouldn’t. Even if you love sticky lubes (but, really, who does?), Sex Tarts does contain parabens and glycerin which can be problematic for some vaginas. Interestingly enough, the Cherry Pop and Green Apple lubes have a little “sugar free” labels on them. I’m not sure if this means Strawberry Punch does contain sugar because the ingredients are nearly the same for all 3 bottles.

They all contain:

  • Water
  • Glycerin
  • Propylene Glycol
  • Sucralose
  • Flavor
  • Methylparaben
  • Propylparaben
  • Diazolidinyl Urea

Cherry Pop and Green Apple also contain Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose and Citric Acid, while The Strawberry Punch is the only lube which has Cellulose Gum- which I guess is the sugar. This definitely isn’t a lube for vaginal use for anyone who is sensitive to any of those ingredients and I honestly wouldn’t really want to use it clitorally, either.

Ultimately, I wasn’t thrilled with the Sex Tarts Tangy Lube Sampler Set. Although it isn’t the worst product I’ve ever tried, it wouldn’t hurt if it tastes a bit better, wasn’t so sticky, didn’t gush from the tube and had more body friendly materials. While I might recommend the sampler for someone as a starting point, I will probably be looking for better flavoured lube next time.

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