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A Dive Into Coconut Oil As A Lubricant

A Dive Into Coconut Oil As A Lubricant

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No matter the quality of your sex life, lubricants are a great way to enhance things in the bedroom and some of the best sexual interactions are often accompanied by lube. Looking back at its history, lubricants have been used around the world for 1000’s of years with natural olive oil use dating back as far as 350BC. Fast forward to today, now there is a multitude of lubricants to accompany everybody’s varying preferences, and each one comes with its own pros and cons. 

Personally, we believe in taking things to its natural roots at Soma Goods and that is why we use organic MCT coconut oil as the base for our Intimacy Lubricant. Coconut oil is a staple in many households with its multifaceted uses and is a base ingredient in many natural lubricants today, and for good reason. Because of its silky moisturising properties, it lasts longer than water-based and silicone lubes. And as a bonus, also has no artificial ingredients which suits the more health-conscious consumer today. But if you have browsed our Intimacy Lubricant and got to searching on whether coconut oil can be safely used a lubricant, you’ll have come across some conflicting articles/research and are more than likely not sure what to do.

On one end of the spectrum, you will have people stating that coconut oil is a magic remedy for the vagina while on the other end, you have people claiming to avoid it. From both ends, there is a lack of reliable and conclusive data or studies on females using plant-based coconut oil as a lubricant and its interaction with the vagina's natural flora which has created a lot of misconceptions, confusion and questions so we have decided to consolidate all the credible research we discovered around coconut oil and bring you the facts of what we actually know. (We think you’ll be grabbing yourself a bottle by the end of this blog!)

Vaginal Flora

First, we need to get into where the misconceptions are developing from. They surround on whether coconut oil is safe to interact with the vagina’s flora and PH balance. Now, if you already understand the science behind your vagina’s microbiome, feel free to skip this section, but for the sake of educating the unknowing we will quickly explore the subject.

The vaginal flora is the healthy community of bacteria that live inside the vagina working similarly to how our gut bacteria does in whereas what we decide to put in our bodies and interacting with the bacteria, can keep us healthy or make us sick. The healthy vaginal flora is dominated by Lactobacilli, which is one of the most common types of probiotics (the good stuff!). These little things have been generally considered the gatekeepers of the vaginal ecosystem by converting glycogen into lactic acid and other substances to protect the vagina by keeping the pH low and acidic which prevents the growth of unwanted organisms. 

It’s important to learn what does or doesn’t interact with our bodies as the disruption of this normal vaginal flora and a loss of lactobacilli results in more frequent episodes of bacterial vaginosis (commonly known as ‘BV’) for women. This discomfort can be caused by anything that affects your floras natural balance, such as harsh antibiotics, fragrances, sex with a new partner, chemicals (glycerine, soaps) or sometimes simply hormonal fluctuations.

The common claims about coconut oil

Let’s dive into the most common claims the internet is making on the subject of coconut oil as a lubricant and break it down.

It may weaken latex condoms

Yes this is likely true. It is well known that oil and latex don’t mix. This was put to the test in a study where couples tested different combinations of condoms and lubes in the bedroom. The result was that latex condoms with oil-based lube broke more frequently. 

Whilst the results of the study doesn’t give a conclusive answer that coconut oil in particular will immediately break the condom every time, it is better to be safe than sorry so if you strictly use latex condoms, it’s important to stick with water-based or silicone-based lubes to stay on the safe side but if you’re just like us and love using the Intimacy Lubricant, fortunately polyurethane condoms are compatible with oil-based lubricants! 

If you (luckily) don’t require condoms for intimate moments, coconut oil can be the perfect all-natural and additive free inclusion to the bedroom. 

Coconut oil is antibacterial

This one has been found to be untrue. This statement is derived from the fact that virgin coconut oil commonly contains an average of 50% lauric acid. Lauric acid is one of the fatty acid components in coconut oil and is scientifically confirmed to have anti-microbial properties; people claim from this that coconut oil can either reduce the good bacteria or kill the bad bacteria. Makes sense, right?

What they fail to include is that most of the studies surrounding the effectiveness of coconut oil as an anti-bacterial are not the result of coconut oil, but instead just lauric acid. This study found that the lauric acid was able to reduce the growth of bacteria, but the virgin coconut oil had no effect. This may assume the lauric acid in coconut oil is bound up in Medium Chain Triglycerides (fats) along with other fatty acids which means there is likely none or low interaction with any bacteria as compared to a more concentrated form.

In addition, the organic MCT oil used in our Intimacy Lubricant only contains lauric acid in miniscule amounts due to the natural refining process that removes the majority of it as well as allows it to be fractionated creating an enhanced non-sticky moisturising experience in comparison to virgin coconut oil which is another score for our lubricant!

Coconut oil is antifungal

Yes, this is likely true. The antifungal properties of coconut oil stems from again, lauric acid, which is why you’ll see that coconut oil is commonly touted online as an effective home remedy for natural antifungal treatment. It’s important to note that antifungal and antibacterial are different properties. For bacterial infections such as BV, doctors commonly prescribe an antibiotic whereas antifungal medications are prescribed for cases such as yeast infections. 

Although research on its use for yeast infections is limited, there’s established evidence to suggest that this method of treatment is promising. This study set out to test the effectiveness of virgin coconut oil on various Candida species (fungal infection) and concluded that coconut oil compared to fluconazole, a first-line solution for a variety of Candida yeasts, was shown to be more effective than the medication. This either means that the lauric acid in coconut oil is more effective to fungal species than it is to bacterial or there were possibly other elements in coconut oil that also had antifungal properties. Regardless of this, it is still advised to explore other options for treatment as there may be more effective therapies for particular cases. 

As a lubricant, it may increase the risk of vaginal infections

This one is simply unsupported since there are no conclusive studies or data surrounding this claim. Along with our 5-star reviews from happy customers, there are many women that regularly enjoy coconut oil in the bedroom.

But online some people warn that using coconut oil as a lubricant could lead to an infection (despite studies even showing antifungal effects can reduce yeast), but scientists haven’t worked on proving or disproving this particular claim. Any data or studies out there surrounding oil as a lubricant don’t state any use of natural plant-based oils but instead bacterial disruptive synthetic oils that are infused with additives and fragrances. 

This can clue us in that the risk is derived from synthetic products and ingredients which can commonly affect our vaginal flora. So always check the ingredients when shopping around for your lubricant making sure that it is all-natural, preservative-free and fragrance-free. 

After digesting the facts and the available studies, you may still be wondering what will coconut oil do for your vaginal flora? As always, every body is unique and responds differently so it’s hard to say just how your vaginal flora will react especially since every lubricant (even saliva) could potentially affect your flora. Just as each of our ability to digest foods is determined by our unique gut microbes (which is why different people suit different diets), our vaginas have a unique flora and differ in their abilities of what they can interact with. 

Although you highly likely won't have an issue with high quality organic MCT oil, nobody will be able to tell you what coconut oil will do to your flora as there just hasn’t been enough studies and you will likely have a highly personal experience. Our vaginal flora thrives on a healthy community of bacteria, and just how you would approach finding the best diet for your gut bacteria, you’ll want to explore the many lubricants to discover what works best with your vagina. So why not start off with something that’s all-natural?