Educators have long recommended silicone lube for anal play. However, many also insist on using more low-cost, drug store-available water-based lubricants because water-based is compatible with all types of condoms. The Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health (The CSPH) reports on a pair of studies that found that silicone lubricant may actually be an all-around safer choice when it comes to anal sex.
This article is intended to illustrate the findings of these studies. Here are the main points:
- Silicone lubricants appear to be safer for anal play than many drug-store lubricants.
- Most of the popular water-based lubricants have low PH and high salt and/or additives in them that they can be toxic to rectal and cervical cells.
- Lubricants that cause irritation can triple the risk of contracting STIs.
- Silicone lubricants are less likely to carry these risks.
The following article was originally published on The CSPH website.
BY The CSPH | theCSPH.org
Finally some basic safety testing of lubricants. The International Rectal Microbicide Advocates released new study findings yesterday at the 2010 International Microbicides Conference and gave some preliminary data to prove what sex educators have been saying for a long time:
Silicone lubricants appear to be safer for anal play than most of the high profile, corner pharmacy, water based lubricants.
Here’s the basic information: Researchers identified the most commonly used sexual lubricants in a survey, then went and tested their effects on tissue and cells “in vitro”, i.e. in the lab. They found that most of the popular water based lubricants have so low of a PH and so much salt and/or additives in them that they’re actually toxic to rectal and cervical cells as well as to the healthy bacteria that keep a vagina clean and happy. On the other hand, silicone lubricants were found to be much safer and non-toxic in these same tests.
In a separate but linked study, researchers found that individuals who used lubrication for receptive anal intercourse (though they didn’t specify which types) were at greater risk of contracting an STI than those who did not. And yes people, the analysis took into consideration variables such as HIV status, gender, sexual orientation, and condom use. Individuals who used lubricants likely to irritate rectum saw their chances of contracting an STI triple.
Combined, these studies indicate that while using some lubricants can increase ones chances of contracting an STI, Silicone based lubes most likely do not.
More silicone anyone?
The CENTER for SEXUAL PLEASURE and HEALTH (The CSPH) is designed to provide adults with a safe, physical space to learn about sexual pleasure, health, and advocacy issues. Led by highly respected founder and director, Megan Andelloux, The CSPH is a sexuality training and education organization that works to reduce sexual shame, fight misinformation, & advance the sexuality field.