Sex and KY Jelly (Everything You Ever Wanted to Know…But Were Afraid to Ask)

ky jelly

Let’s talk about lube, baby. Let’s talk about it because no one really likes to mention it… Lube, like KY Jelly, is one of the reasons I was inspired to write my most recent book, “Eco-Sex: Go Green Between the Sheets and Make Your Love Life Sustainable.”

Many people use it religiously, but no one was talking about the scary toxic ingredients in conventional brands. (I’m talking to you, KY Jelly and Astroglide.)

Lube is the unmentionable that hides in your night table drawer until it’s needed in the heat of passion. Picked up at your local pharmacy, where it’s stocked next to the Neosporin, your lube usually comes out in the dark, and is stored away again, the label never to be examined in detail. But examine it well you should. If you care about eating organic produce and using BPA-free water bottles, you should definitely worry about the substances that come in contact with your nether-regions. Mucus membranes are not the place to experiment with your health, as they readily absorb whatever they touch, and take it straight to your bloodstream.

Aside from nasty parabens, the carcinogenic, endocrine-disrupting “preservatives” pushed by Big Chem, many conventional personal lubricants are made from every environmentalist’s arch enemy: petrochemicals. Lubes often contain other known toxins like propylene glycol, an irritant and allergen that, according to the Skin Deep database, have a high rate of absorption via the skin.

Then there’s glycerin, a substance that isn’t, on it’s own, considered a toxin, but it’s not necessarily something you want inside of you. Glycerin, a derivative of the soap-making process, changes the natural pH of the vagina and interferes with its natural ability to self-clean. It can also strip the vagina of moisture, causing irritation that can lead to yeast infections and exposure to STDs. Even some of the “natural” lube brands still had glycerin in them until very recently. This is your reminder: always read labels, even if a product is on the shelf at Whole Foods and claims to be green.

But lucky for us, there are a few truly conscious, safe, and excellent quality brands of lube available. Even better news – some of these brands are actually USDA organic certified. You can order them online, find them at the aforementioned Whole Foods, or visit your local, conscious sex shop. Live near a BabelandCoco De Mer, or Good Vibrations? (Be warned, you may go in for the lube and leave with more fun items than you bargained for.)

Note: when using lube, remember one very important thing: oil-based products are NOT compatible with latex condoms. This is incredibly important, because the oil can break down the condom and cause it to tear. I am a huge fan of pure coconut oil as a DIY massage oil and lube, but never with a condom.

With all that in mind, here is a list of my faves. Buy these healthy brands so that soon they replace the toxic KY on the shelves:

Blossom Organics is my hands-down, absolute favorite brand. It’s free of parabens, petroleum, silicones, alcohol, hormones, artificial dyes, glycerin, flavorings or fragrances. It’s latex condom friendly, aloe-based, and pH-balanced. Bonus: their Warm Sensation formula is deliciously flavored with stevia and peppermint. You want to try it, trust me.

Firefly Organics is another great brand made from shea and sunflower seed extract. Note: this is an oil-based formulation that’s not meant for use with condoms. It’s great for use with silicone toys, however.

Yes is an organic, chemical-free UK-based line that’s beautifully packaged in sexy Tiffany blue bottles. They have both water-based and oil-based formulas, depending on your needs.

Image: look catalog







Stefanie Iris Weiss

Stefanie Iris Weiss is the author of nine books, including her latest title–Eco-Sex: Go Green Between the Sheets and Make Your Love Life Sustainable (Crown Publishing/Ten Speed Press, 2010). She keeps her carbon footprint small in New York City, where she writes about sustainability, sexuality, reproductive rights, dating and relationships, politics, fashion, beauty, and more. Stefanie is a regular contributor to British Elle, and has written for Above Magazine, Nerve, The Daily Green, Marie Claire, EcoSalon and Teen Vogue, to name a few. Her HuffPost blog is sometimes controversial. Stefanie is an on-and-off adjunct professor when not busy writing and teaching about sustainable love. A vegetarian and eco-activist since her teen years, Stefanie has made her passion into her work, and she wouldn't want it any other way. She believes that life is always better when there's more pleasure, and sustainable satisfaction is the best kind. Learn more about her various projects at and follow her on Twitter: @ecosexuality.