Lube is always a great idea during sex. Lube, which is short for lubricant, enhances pleasure and prevents pain and chafing during sex. If you’re looking for an all-natural product for your next sexual adventure, or you just don’t have time to get to the store, olive oil may seem like a good option.
The good news is that olive oil is likely safe to use during sex. However, there are some cases where you wouldn’t want to use olive oil or other oils as lube. Most importantly, you shouldn’t use olive oil as lube if you are using a latex condom to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Olive oil can cause the condom to break. Otherwise, you can try using olive oil as lube, but be warned — the oil can stain your sheets and clothing.
Is it safe to use olive oil as lube?
There are three main kinds of lube: water-based, oil-based, and silicone-based.
Olive oil, not surprisingly, fits in the oil-based category. Oil-based lubricants, like olive oil, are often thicker and may last longer than other types. Water-based lubes won’t last as long and can dry out quickly, but they’re safe to use with condoms. Silicone-based lubricants last longer than water-based lubricants, but they will destroy silicone toys.
The main issue with using olive oil as a lubricant is that oil causes latex to break down. So, if you are using a latex condom (which is what most condoms are made of) or another latex barrier like a dental dam, the oil may cause the latex to break. And the breakage can occur in as little as a minute. This puts you at risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection (STI) or becoming pregnant.
You can, however, use oil-based products with synthetic condoms, such as polyurethane condoms.
Another issue is that olive oil is a heavy oil and is not easily absorbed into the skin. If you’re prone to acne breakouts, you might not want to use olive oil during sex. It can clog your pores and make your breakouts worse, especially if you don’t wash it off afterward.
Clogged pores can lead to irritation, which can then lead to infections. A recent study, for example, found that olive oil actually weakened the skin barrier and caused mild irritation to the skin of healthy volunteers. Oils can trap bacteria in the vagina and anus and may lead to infection.
Most people aren’t allergic to olive oil, but there’s a small chance you could be. Before using olive oil as lube, do a patch test by applying a small amount of olive oil to an area of skin on your arm. If you develop a rash or itchy hives it means you’re allergic to olive oil and shouldn’t use it as lube.
A small study also found that using oil in the vagina could increase a woman’s risk of having a yeast infection, but the study didn’t mention the type of oil used. Still, if you’re prone to yeast infections, you may want to think twice before using olive oil as a lube.
What to use instead of olive oil
Here are the three most important factors to consider when deciding on a lubricant for sex:
- Check that you and your partner aren’t allergic to the product.
- Make sure the product doesn’t contain sugar or glycerin because it can increase a woman’s risk of having a yeast infection.
- Don’t use oil-based products with latex condoms.
If you’re just looking for lube for personal use (i.e., masturbation) or you’re planning not to use a condom, olive oil will likely be a good choice. You’ll just have to be careful to avoid getting it all over your clothing or bedsheets.
A better option would be to head to the store to purchase an inexpensive, water-based lube like KY Jelly. With a water-based option, you can ensure that a latex condom won’t break down. You’ll also have a much easier time cleaning it up. Water-based products are water soluble, so they won’t stain your clothes and sheets. KY Jelly also contains chlorhexidine gluconate, which has antibacterial properties.
There are many water-based options available for under $10, which is likely what you’ll end up paying for a small bottle of olive oil anyway. Olive oil is one of the more expensive types of oil on the market.
The bottom line
Olive oil is likely safe and effective to use as a lube when penetration isn’t involved. But if you’re having vaginal or anal sex with a partner, don’t use olive oil as a lube if you’re relying on a condom to protect from STIs and pregnancy. Olive oil can cause skin irritation in some people. If you notice any signs of a rash or infection from using olive oil, immediately stop using it.
If you decide to use olive oil as lube, make sure to use old bedsheets and avoid getting it all over your clothes because they’re likely to get stained. Make sure to take a shower afterward to wash it off. Unless you have nothing else, it’s probably better to use a high-quality water- or silicone-based lube from the store that’s created with your safety and pleasure in mind.
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