Mar 062018
 

Coconut Oil and Silicone Sex Toys - A jar of coconut oil is surrounded by various silicone sex toysThe world is divided on their feelings about coconut oil as lube, but I didn’t know that people truly believed that coconut oil and silicone sex toys were incompatible. It doesn’t work well as a lube for everyone; it’s not the perfect lube (there isn’t one perfect lube). But it does work well for many folks! It’s not good for those who use condoms – unless you can use the hard-to-find polyurethane or nitrile condoms – but it is great with all body-safe sex toy materials.

I’ve talked about the fact that coconut oil and silicone sex toys are compatible but then recently a sex toy shop published a Very Incorrect article on why they hated coconut oil as lube. Among their many opinions touted as (incorrect) facts was that they claimed it would destroy silicone sex toys, making them look “decayed”. That’s…that’s not a thing that happens…ever.

Despite myself and other bloggers chiming in about their long-time use of coconut oil lube with silicone sex toys, the shop’s social media manager was not swayed and they got really shitty with folks. But since they were not the only ones surprised that coconut oil and silicone sex toys can have a long, happy marriage I decided to run a little experiment. Y’all know how much I love experiments.

Geeky Metrics

I wanted to be sure I could tell you that there was no change to the silicone with no doubts, so I had to use proof beyond my pictures and my words. I borrowed a durometer to tell me the shore strength (squish level) of the sex toys before and after their exposure to coconut oil. I weighed them in grams to make sure that no oil was absorbed. I photographed them before and after each time they bathed in coconut oil.

Coconut oil and silicone sex toys - showing various silicone sex toys with coconut oil on themThe first time I put the coconut oil on the sex toys I had melted the oil and brushed it on with a basting brush. I did it this way because once the coconut oil is in your body it’s warmed up enough to liquify. But this meant that I was worried there wasn’t enough oil on the sex toys to be convincing because the oil slid right off the shiny Tantus dildo and dripped off the others in slow motion. Because we keep our house temps at 68F, though, the melted oil eventually solidified on the sex toys. I waited 30 minutes before I washed and dried them. 

The second time around I scooped out some slightly-softened-mostly-solid coconut oil and spread it on the sex toys. This time I left it on the TPR toys for only 2 hours and decided to leave it on the silicone sex toys overnight. The coconut oil and silicone sex toys marinated for 15 hours the second time.

Coconut Oil and Silicone Sex Toys

My first test time of 30 minutes “marinating” the coconut oil and silicone sex toys was based on this poll I ran asking people how long their sex toys were usually covered in lube.

My second test time of 15 hours1 was because I wanted to make sure that a cumulative effect of many uses would also not have any effect. I was too impatient / couldn’t gaurantee the consistent cleanliness of my kitchen to run 5 or 9 half-hour tests so I figured that a long exposure would be fine. 

As expected, the coconut oil had no effect on the silicone. There was no absorption of oil into the silicone. There was no change in shore strength. There was no “decayed” look. There was no effect: coconut oil and silicone sex toys are perfectly compatible.

Coconut oil and silicone sex toys - close up views of silicone sex toys before coconut oil was applied and after the final 15 hour test

Coconut Oil and Fun Factory Toys

It came to my attention tonight, thanks to Epiphora, that it does void the warranty on Fun Factory toys if you use coconut oil or other oils – however, it’s not because of the silicone. I find this kind of ironic because one of the toys I tested was Fun Factory. WHOOPS. The toy is fine, though. Anyway, it’s because oil damages their plastic handles / the controls. I’ve never personally experienced any issues with coconut oil and other plastic sex toys or their plastic handles but I cannot tell you to risk voiding your warranty when the manufacturer is so explicit.

Which Coconut Oil?

I did my tests with “extra virgin, unrefined” coconut oil. When I first did my research on coconut oil as a lube information seemed to point to unrefined, organic, extra-virgin as being the “best” and healthiest. Refined goes through processes to sanitize it but those processes also destroy a lot of the good stuff. According to LiveStrong:

Of the two options, refined oil remains a cheaper choice. While the refined product still contains the valuable medium chain fatty acids, the damage done to many nutritive factors such as the polyphenols during processing means that the unrefined oil stands out as a healthier choice.

Some refined coconut oils can have partially-hydroginated fats added in, which could increase the pore-clogging factor of oil for some people. I think that as long as you make sure it has nothing added and it’s organic, there’s no harm. Fewer benefits, but reduced cost.

If you’re someone who is most worried about pores being clogged because you’re prone to that then you could try liquid coconut oil – it has the solidifying fat removed so it’s considered non-comdedogenic. Of course this is also the most refined and it removes most, if not all, of the health benefits you may want from coconut oil (anti-fungal, anti-microbial, etc).

You can also try out the new options on the market that are specifically marketed as lube, which includes Coconu and Sliquid. Both are combinations of various plant-based oils and butters; I have no idea how much of the anti-fungal -microbial properties would remain in these lubes so if that’s an aspect that is important, go back to unrefined coconut oil. It’s also considerably more expensive that buying plain coconut oil – 2 ounces of Sliquid is $12, but 32 ounces of organic, unrefined coconut oil is $14.

There are no studies on coconut oil as a lubricant that I’ve found, but a number of studies showing that coconut oil is great at killing candida. I’ve found a study on mineral oil and vaginal use, which is bad, but not coconut oil. No studies talk about the pH because, as far as we know, oils don’t have a pH. Some people have reported increased vaginal infections with coconut oil and feel it’s down to the fact that oils can help bacteria hang out for longer in your vagina – they can, but unrefined coconut oil is anti-microbial. So what could be the problem?

Well, it could be how you’re getting the coconut oil on your bits. Are you digging a finger into the tub of oil? You’re introducing bacteria. I suggest “decanting” an ounce of oil into a smaller container with a lid. The article linked above also suggests that using too much coconut oil can disrupt the flora balance and make an existing yeast infection worse, not better, so it’s a delicate balance. People who easily get yeast infections may want to take caution.

“The fact that coconut oil kills candida and yeast can help with yeast infections and candida issues, but can also cause a healing crises or candida die off when used internally. If you have never used coconut oil internally before, start with a 1 teaspoon (5 grams) and test your body’s response.”

A little goes a very long way with coconut oil as a lube.

Oil and Silicone Elsewhere

A few months ago the myth of “silicone toys touching in storage” came up again on social media in part because of Lovehoney’s incorrect assertions that some silicone wand toppers shouldn’t be used on silicone-headed wand vibrators and my jar experiment of a few years ago didn’t seem to be “enough”. I went to a kitchen supply store, I looked around my own house and pointed out the many many silicone kitchen ephemera that exists peacefully as a group, all touchin’ up in each others’ business. The silicone items at the kitchen store touching in long-term storage. Nothing. Happens.

People seem to forget that silicone exists in the world outside of sex toys. Silicone wedding bands, and gasket rings, and various kitchen and bath items, and cell phone cases. How many times do you use oil in your cooking and baking and it comes in contact with a silicone item? For me it’s a lot – spatulas and basting brushes and measuring spoons. Many people wear a silicone wedding band and I’ve not heard of one problem with the band being destroyed due to contact with oils. They don’t warn you in the care instructions to avoid oil.

Like the myth that silicone-touching-silicone will result in damage to your sex toys I think this myth is something that has hung on from the unchecked industry issues of companies or retailers saying that something is silicone when it’s actually TPR. If your sex toy is damaged, melts, deforms from storage or oil? It’s not silicone. You’ve reached an timely end in your adventure, now turn back to page 14 and start over, this time by flame-testing that sex toy to make sure it’s actually silicone.

Bonus Section: Coconut Oil and TPR

I expected to see visible destruction given the results of my jar (the liquid in the jar is the oil that’s leached out of the toys and my theory is that that speeds up and encourages more breakdown of material). What actually happened mildly surprised me. 

I could not find any change in the texture or softness of the two TPR sex toys. One was more firm than the softest silicone and one was so squishy it reminded me of a masturbation sleeve and it was softer than the Shore A durometer could measure. What I did notice, however, was how the oil behaved. The liquid oil on the TPR never solidified. The solid oil on the TPR started to melt AND seemed to draw out some of the oil in the material. You can see the differences in this video. The oil on the cutting board beneath each TPR sex toy was slightly sticky, too. 

I even left the softer TPR dildo in contact with coconut oil for an entire day – the coconut oil in the dish solidifed (I’d melted it) but the oil I’d put on the dildo was gone and the oil that dildo was touching in the bowl also remained liquid. It’s really strange. I couldn’t see any damage like visible material distortion or anything but I could see some literal holes in the dildo that teared easily when I pulled on the material a little.

Without having access to more in-depth scientific tools I can’t tell you exactly what happened to the TPR. It’s a known thing in the industry that you can’t mix TPR or PVC with oil lubes so this wasn’t a thing to prove – it was merely a “compare and contrast” and “because I can” addition to the test.

 

Do you use coconut oil as lube? What have been your experiences?

  1. In the video I said 10 hours but that is because I have no concept of time, and guessed. But when I looked at my IG post from the day before to see when I’d actually put the oil on the toys the second time, it said 15 hours
Jun 102014
 

Yes, the coconut oil in your pantry serves another purpose! Often, people complain that water-based lubes don’t last long enough. They dry up fast or get sticky or just aren’t cutting it for anal lube. Silicone lube solves all of those problems, but not all silicone lube is perfectly compatible with all silicone sex toys.  Plus, silicone lube is not at all natural, whereas coconut oil is. While coconut oil as lube is not the perfect solution for all people, I think it’s pretty great and needs to be considered.

Coconut Oil and Condoms

Coconut oil also is not compatible with latex condoms. Oil lubes in general are a no-no to mix with latex condoms. I’ve read casual at-home studies from fellow sex geeks that showed that other oils degraded a latex condom very quickly, while the coconut oil took longer to do so but it still did weaken the latex. Coconut oil will also degrade polyisoprene condoms. If you want to use it, then you need to stick with polyurethane condoms – Trojan Supra is so far the only one I can find on US sites. The internal/”female” condom FC2 is made of nitrile which is compatible with coconut oil. This also means that nitrile gloves are compatible with coconut oil.

I have yet to find any studies that state how long is the appropriate amount of time to wait between using an oil-based lube (any oil) and latex condoms during PIV sex. If you like to use coconut oil as a lube but use condoms for partnered sex then you need to keep polyurethane or nitrile condoms on hand.

The Benefits of Coconut Oil as Lube

Coconut oil has unique properties that could be a benefit for use as a sexual lubricant: anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and excellent at moisturizing. It’s recommended for treating / preventing yeast infections — those who get yeast infections easily should absolutely consider switching to coconut oil. It’s often recommended for vaginal dryness, too. I’ve used it successfully for vaginal lubrication and have never experienced any issues with pores clogging, etc.

It works well as an anal lubricant, too. The delicate tissue of the anus can be susceptible to tiny micro-tears if you try to go too quickly to a large item, and/or there isn’t enough lube but if the skin is well-moisturized it is more elastic (which was how a nurse explained it to me).  And oil-based lubes can keep things lubricated for a lot longer than water-based lubes. They do absorb into the skin, so reapplication may be needed during anal sex – just keep tabs on the situation (but you should anyways, no matter what type of lube you use).

It’s not just for sex! Coconut oil makes an excellent massage oil. You can easily transition from massaging the body to massaging the genitals to sex all using the same product.  I really like using coconut oil as a massage oil in part because coconut oil is solid at room temperature – but will quickly liquefy on skin as it warms up. Too often in the past I’d end up with oil drips on bedsheets when someone was poring massage oil from the bottle to the body – this doesn’t happen when using coconut oil. Since it’s an oil it still can leave an oil stain on your sheets but it comes out fairly easily in the wash.

Coconut Oil and Sex Toys

Coconut Oil and Silicone Sex Toys - A jar of coconut oil is surrounded by various silicone sex toysCoconut oil is perfect with silicone sex toys, glass, metal, ceramic, etc. It is not compatible with the low grade sex toy materials – the ones I don’t think you should be using anyway: TPR, TPE, jelly, rubber, latex, vinyl, PVC, and so on. These are all porous and some are potentially toxic.

I’ve actually heard anecdotally that covering a silicone sex toy in coconut oil (make sure some of the oil goes in your butt, too, of course) can prevent the silicone from retaining odors as is common with anal play for most people. Silicone is considered non-porous but it still can retain odors (just try freezing coffee ice cubes in your silicone ice cube tray and you’ll see what I mean….*sigh*), yet a few people have told me that the oil seemed to act as a barrier. These people have been exclusively using coconut oil as their lube of choice with a few butt plugs and so far they aren’t retaining any discernible butt odors.

Gritty Coconut Oil

One issue about coconut oil lube is that coconut oil is a little finicky about melting. If it melts and solidifies too slowly it can become gritty and grit is absolutely not something you want in your lube. Gritty, grainy coconut oil is easy to fix, though: heat it up in the microwave (in a glass container) until it is 100% melted and then put the liquid coconut oil in the fridge to solidify.

You’ll find that this happens the most frequently when it’s kept between 72-76 degrees. Some of the fats in coconut oil melt at 72 and some don’t melt until 78. So if your house is kept at 74 some of the fat particles will be solid and some will be liquid. When things cool down and all of the oil solidifes, that’s when the gritty grainy texture comes into play.

The Downsides

 

The condom issue is a big one for some folks. Locating compatible barriers can be tricky, as latex is the standard and polyisoprene the non-latex standard. Your local store may not carry polyurethane condoms.

There are no studies that talk about how long it would take for the oil to vacate your orifices enough to make latex or polyisoprene a reliable barrier.

Coconut oil can go rancid but it’ll take a lot longer if it’s pure coconut oil vs something blended like The Butters. Rancid coconut oil will look yellow, be weird and lumpy, and smell bad. Fresh, unrefined coconut oil smells like…coconuts. Or like you just broke open a yummy Mounds bar.

People have talked about the difficulties of using the oil; as soon as it warms up to your body temp, it’s very runny and probably more runny than a nice, thick, water-based lube. My fix is to create little 1/8 teaspoons dots of coconut oil, freeze it on a baking sheet, and then keep those little nuggets in the freeze. Insert one like you would a suppository.

Which Coconut Oil to Buy

Coconut oil as lube - Coconut Oil jar from Costco! This ends up being something like 30 cents an ounce. Very affordable!

When I first did my research on coconut oil as lube, information seemed to point to unrefined, organic, extra-virgin as being the “best” and healthiest. Refined goes through processes to sanitize it but those processes also destroy a lot of the good stuff. According to LiveStrong:

Of the two options, refined oil remains a cheaper choice. While the refined product still contains the valuable medium chain fatty acids, the damage done to many nutritive factors such as the polyphenols during processing means that the unrefined oil stands out as a healthier choice.

Some refined coconut oils can have partially-hydroginated fats added in, which could increase the pore-clogging factor of oil for some people. I think that as long as you make sure it has nothing added and it’s organic, there’s no harm. Fewer benefits, but reduced cost.

If you’re someone who is most worried about pores being clogged because you’re prone to that then you could try liquid coconut oil – it has the solidifying fat removed so it’s considered non-comdedogenic. Of course this is also the most refined and it removes most, if not all, of the health benefits you may want from coconut oil (anti-fungal, anti-microbial, etc).

You can also try out the new options on the market that are specifically marketed as lube, which includes Coconu and Sliquid. Both are combinations of various plant-based oils and butters; I have no idea how much of the anti-fungal -microbial properties would remain in these lubes so if that’s an aspect that is important, go back to unrefined coconut oil. It’s also considerably more expensive that buying plain coconut oil – 2 ounces of Sliquid is $12, but 32 ounces of organic, unrefined coconut oil is $14.

There are no studies on coconut oil as a lubricant. I’ve found a study on mineral oil and vaginal use, which is bad, but not coconut oil. No studies talk about the pH because, as far as we know, oils don’t have a pH. Some people have reported increased vaginal infections with coconut oil and feel it’s down to the fact that oils can help bacteria hang out for longer in your vagina – they can, but unrefined coconut oil is anti-microbial. So what could be the problem?

Well, it could be how you’re getting the coconut oil on your bits. Are you digging a finger into the tub of oil? You’re introducing bacteria. I suggest “decanting” an ounce of oil into a smaller container with a lid.