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 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 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
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.