It’s important to consider both enjoyment and safety when you’re looking for products related to sex. If you’ve searched for a lubricant to use, you may have noticed that there are several options. You may have come across baby oil and wondered if it was a good choice to use as a lubricant for sex.
What are Lubricants for Sex?
Lubricants can help you achieve better sex. Vaginal lubricants help make the vagina wet, which helps relieve pain and friction. You can apply them to the vagina and vulva with your hands before having sex or apply them directly to the penis or sex toy before it’s inserted.
Lubricants also can improve anal sex. The anus doesn’t have enough natural lubricant, so without a lube, anal sex can be uncomfortable. You can apply lube to the anus or to the penis or toy being inserted.
There are many types of lubricants available. Some people want to use lotions and other products they already have, but these can cause problems.
Risks of Using Baby Oil as a Lubricant
Can you use baby oil as lube? The short answer is no. While baby oil is safe to use on the skin as a moisturizer, it shouldn’t be used as a sexual lubricant.
Baby oil and other mineral oil products used as lubes can cause condom problems and skin irritation.
It weakens condoms. Baby oil can weaken male and female condoms. Contact with mineral oil for as little as 60 seconds lowers condom strength by 90%. The mineral oil breaks down latex and can cause the condom to break. Broken condoms cause a greater risk of unplanned pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
It weakens diaphragms. A diaphragm is a silicone or latex cup inserted into the vagina. It's a barrier method to protect against pregnancy and has to be used with a spermicide. Diaphragms do not protect from sexually transmitted infections. They are made of latex and silicone, which means that baby oil, mineral oil, and other oil-based products can damage them and stop them from working.
It irritates the vulva. The vulva is the outside part of the female genitals. This area is sensitive to chemicals and moisture. Baby oil or other mineral oil products can irritate the vulva and cause skin problems. Symptoms include:
It's hard to wash off. Baby oil doesn’t wash off the skin very easily. It can irritate the vulva, and if you scrub your skin, you can make skin irritations worse.
It can cause vaginal infections. Using baby oil or mineral oil as lube can lead to a vaginal infection. People who inserted petroleum jelly were 2 times more likely to get an infection called bacterial vaginosis. People who used oils were more likely to get a yeast infection.
It's slippery. The point of a lube is to make your body wetter to increase ease and enjoyment of sex. Lube can make things extra slippery, and this can cause condoms to slip during sex.
What Else to Use as a Lube
There are many types of lubricants available.
Water-based lubricants. These can safely be used with condoms and diaphragms. They tend to dry out quickly, but you can always reapply as needed.
Silicone lubricants. These are also safe to use with condoms and last longer than water-based lubes.
Vegetable oils. If you already have a vulva irritation, using natural oils like olive oil, coconut oil, or vitamin E oil can be a better option. These wash off easily and won’t irritate your skin. They'll break down condoms, though, so don’t use them with condoms or diaphragms.
Make sure to check the ingredients list before you use a lube. If petroleum is listed on the label, it shouldn’t be used with condoms.
To protect your health and prevent pregnancy, don’t use mineral products and oil products that can damage condoms, including:
- Baby oil
- Massage oil
- Petroleum jelly
- Hand and body lotion
You can get a sexually transmitted infection through unprotected anal sex. It’s important to use a condom. Don’t use baby oil as lube for anal sex because this can cause the condom to fail and can raise your chances of getting an STI.
What if You Don’t Use Latex Condoms?
Some people are allergic to latex and have to use other types of condoms. These can include:
- Non-latex polyisoprene
- Nitrile FC2 female condoms
- Natural lamb
Polyisoprene condoms are just as sensitive to oil products. Mineral oil, baby oil, petroleum jelly, and natural oils will damage these condoms and cause them to break.
While some people say you can use oil-based lubricants with polyurethane, nitrile FC2, and natural lamb condoms, the CDC says you shouldn't use these lubricants at all.
If you’re considering lubricant options, it’s best not to use baby oil. Your doctor can help you figure out a better option.