In 2010 and 2011, newly published studies highlighted by the IRMA Lube Safety Council raised concerns about the safety of personal lubricants that were on the market. These studies raised the concern that the use of water-based personal lubricants were associated with a three times higher rate of anal STIs (gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis) than those who used none. This effect was independent of the number of partners people had, how many times they had sex, and whether they used condoms or not. Further studies showed that water-based lubricants that were hyperosmolar “were actually damaging the epithelium of the rectal and cervical tissue,” said Charlene Duzzetti, the University of Pittsburgh researcher who led the study(1). “The ones that were not hyperosmolar, that didn’t have any salts in it, and the silicone-based one did not show any damage”. The top layer of cells that provides the greatest barrier protection from disease was stripped away by the lubes. The higher the osmolality of the lube, the greater the damage. In another study, some particular brands of water-based lubricants were even found to enhance HIV replication in vivo by as much as four times(2). Silicone lubricants were not found to have these risks or cause any cell damage. (1) Russo J, Duzzutti C, et al. “Safety and Anti-HIV Activity of Over the Counter Lubricant Gels”, Microbicides 2010 presentation (unpublished) (2) Begay O, et al. “Identification of Personal Lubricants That Can Cause Rectal Epithelial Cell Damage and Enhance HIV Type 1 Replication in Vitro,” Aids Res Hum Retroviruses. 2011 Jul 20; 17(11):997-1002
Anal or Vaginal - Silicone Is The Lube Of Choice
No matter whether you are having anal or vaginal sex, silicone lube is the right choice for you. Anal Sex (from “UT Texas Healthy Horns“) Lube is a must for anal sex. Since the anus is not self-lubricating, anal sex without lube is painful and risky. Friction during anal sex can cause tears to the tissue, increasing risk of STIs, including HIV. To reduce tearing and increase pleasure, apply lube (and a condom) before penetration, and reapply as needed. Because the anus and rectum absorb water, silicone-based lube lasts longer than water-based lube, and is thepreferred choice when choosing an anal lube. Vaginal Sex (from ”Talk Sense with Brenda“) When choosing a vaginal lube, here are the many reasons why silicone lubes are safe and actually better, in most cases, than water-based lubes: 1. The three types of silicone used in lubes, Dimethicone, Dimethiconol, and Cyclomethicone, are completely inert. That means that they will not bind to anything, including bacteria or fungus. Therefore they do not promote bacterial growth. Some of the additives in water-based lubes, and some of the oils in oil-based lubes can promote bacterial growth. 2. Silicone lubricants are much less likely to drastically change the PH level of the vaginal enviroment – other types of lubes can do this which can potentially lead to infections and can interfere with conception 3. Although silicone lube does not wash off with water, there is no causes for concern with that inside the body because while it remains in the body, it is inert, not causes irritation or infection, and then is naturally flushed from the vagina as are other foreign substances 4. Women experience all kinds of microscopic damage and trauma to vaginal tissues during sex. Those small tears and irritations can create openings for viruses that live in the bloodstream, such as HIV. A personal lubricant helps to reduce the friction and therefore the amount of damage. Silicone lubricants are even more smooth and slippery than other lubes and are thus even better at this. 5. Because silicone lubricants do not wash off in water, they are perfect for play in the shower or other wet environments. 6. Silicone lubricants are not thick and sticky and so they don’t leave that awful gunky I-must-shower-right-now feeling after sex. 7. Silicone stays on the surface of the skin for a long time which makes it the perfect handjob lube – ever so much better than other lubes which have to be constantly reapplied, truly ruining the mood! 8. Silicone lubes are super-slippery so, as Cory Silverberg write on about.com, “If you live in an area where there is snow in the winter, silicone based lube is great for putting on the bottom of a sled or toboggan and going down hills!” They are also great on a slip-and-slide. Silicone lubricants are used by many manufacturers of lubricated condoms, so the claim that they are not condom-safe makes no sense at all. Really, the only danger you’re likely to face from a silicone lube is slipping in it and cracking your head open on your bathroom counter.