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How does oil-based lube break down latex condoms?

Everyone just seems to know that!

Latex condoms are the most popular type of condoms. They are made of natural rubber and have a large stretch ratio, high resilience and extremely waterproof. Although the advantages of latex make it the most widely available, it also has some drawbacks. Latex condoms can be damaged when used as a lubricant with oily substances, such as petrolatum, baby oil, mineral oil, sunscreen, cold cream, or body lotion.

As little as 1 MINUTES of exposure to oil can degrade latex condoms.

Oil-based lube can be used as a personal lubricant during intimate activities, it can also be used as a relaxing oil for foreplay or massage. A study has shown that as little as 60 seconds of exposure to oil can degrade latex condoms, as the oil can break down the latex causing it to split or break, increasing your risk of pregnancy and STIs.

Although olive oil and coconut oil have other health benefits, people should avoid using them as sex lube when they use latex condoms.

Coconut oil

Coconut oil has a natural antibacterial, helps vaginal dryness and alleviates friction during sex. However, the downside of using it as lube is that you may be at risk of sexually transmitted infections or pregnancy due to cracking of the latex and causing the condom to break.

Olive oil

Olive oil can also damage latex condoms and dental dams. This damage can cause these items to tear or break, increasing the likelihood of a person getting pregnant or contracting a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Cleaning up after sex can also be a lot of work because oil is not water soluble, which means it may take longer to remove.

Petroleum jelly or baby oil

Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) surveyed 141 sexually active women between the ages of 18 and 65 and found women who used vaginal products such as petroleum jelly or baby oil as a lubricant could increase a woman’s risk of getting a yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis.

What to use instead of oil?

Most doctors recommend water or silicone-based lube for vaginal sex and when using sex toys.

  • Check that you and your partner aren’t allergic to the product. If your skin is sensitive or allergic, look for lubes with a shorter ingredient list and perform a field test on your wrist or other exposed skin.
  • Make sure the product doesn’t contain sugar or glycerin because it can increase a woman’s risk of having a yeast infection.
  • If you are not sure what the condom you are using is made of, please always choose a water-based lube for safety. It is compatible with all condoms and sex toys and is usually more friendly to the body.
  • Pay attention to any reactions or symptoms after you use a lubricant.  Try switching brands if you notice irritation.

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