Rewarding as it is, sex can be a chore. Vaginal dryness affects women for a variety of reasons, be they stress, menopause, or simply that the magic is gone. When you’re not in the mood, it’s hard to get wet. And few things are more irritating, or painful, than dry sex.
A vaginal lubricant is a cream or gel that lubricates the vagina. This decreases friction between body parts, or between the vagina and various sex toys or objects. Lubricants increase desire in women, and make it easier to orgasm.
You’re probably familiar with some of the more well-known lubricants. K-Y and Astroglide, among others, are common items in bedrooms throughout America and around the globe. At first glance, they appear similar to the natural female enhancement creams that are increasing in popularity. But there are differences that should be mentioned.
This article defines vaginal lubricant as an water, oil or silicone-based product that is available in most drugstores and pharmacies, and female enhancement cream as a natural product, typically bought over the internet.
A water-based vaginal lubricant is a water-based soluble product. Mention “lubricant” and this is usually what comes to mind. Water-based products are the best-selling lubricants in the United States, and for good reason. They’re simple, relatively effective and easy to clean. They’re usually condom-compatible.
Water-based lubricants, while popular, have several disadvantages. They tend to dry out quickly, leaving a sticky residue and unpleasant smell after use. Some products contain glycerin, which can trigger yeast infections, and being water-based, they don’t do well in water, which precludes them from use in a bath tub or shower.
In addition, some water-based lubricants contain skin moisturizers, like carrageenan, which can inhibit sperm, and therefore are often inappropriate for couples looking to conceive.
That’s not an issue for oil-based lubricants, because they’re not condom-compatible. Oil products, though less popular, fill a specific niche. That niche is couples in a monogamous relationship, and because some oil products are irritant-free, women who are prone to latex allergies and irritations.
Silicone-based lubricants usually have fewer than four ingredients, and unlike water and oil-based products, don’t absorb into the vaginal membrane. They tend to last longer, but many are not recommended for use with sex toys or objects made of silicone as they can dissolve the surface. Silicone lubricants can be difficult to clean after use.
There’s no question that vaginal lubricants are popular and readily available. But they come with disadvantages, and in some cases, safety concerns. Most products contain artificial ingredients and phytochemicals, including nonoxynol-9, an irritant that can cause micro-tears in the vaginal walls, and increase risk of HIV and HPV infection. More over, new studies link some lubricants to decreased sperm quality and motility. For couples looking to conceive, that’s a concern.
Female enhancement creams may be a safer option, especially for women concerned with irritations and synthetic ingredients. These are natural products, with ingredients used since ancient times to stimulate blood flow to the genitals and increase ability to orgasm. Enhancement creams act quickly (less than 60 seconds), are water-based and condom-compatible.
Female enhancement creams are a relatively new offering. You’ll be hard-pressed to find them in a drug store and don’t offer the product variety of vaginal lubricants – Vigorelle and HerSolution Gel are two of the few offerings in this niche. But with their combination of natural ingredients, condom-compatibility and absence of irritants, female enhancement creams appear to be safer than vaginal lubricants, with no reported side effects.
That said, both vaginal lubricants and female enhancement creams deliver what they promise. Both lubricate, increase desire and put pleasurable orgasms within reach. Time will tell whether female enhancement creams can attract a large following, or simply remain alternatives to better-known vaginal lubricants.