Is Coconut Oil Safe For Vagina?
Many people use vaginal moisturizers or lubricants to help ease vaginal discomfort and to make intercourse more comfortable.
Although there are several vaginal lubricants available in the personal health aisle, some people prefer a more natural approach – coconut oil.
We know it’s excellent on your dry elbows and your sweet potatoes, but is it also good for your vagina?
Vagina: A Delicate Balance of Bacteria
If you already know how natural bacteria keep vaginas acidic and healthy, just skip this section.
Behind every healthy vagina is a healthy community of hard-working bacteria: vaginal flora. Understanding this simplifies how we decide what should — and should not — be put in our bodies.
Similar to gut bacteria, the microbes in our vaginas can keep us healthy or make us sick. That’s why people take probiotics. And for most of us, our vaginas’ V.I.P. bacteria are Lactobacilli — which you’re probably familiar with if you eat yogurt or take probiotics.
These little workers convert natural starches (glycogen) in our vaginas into lactic acid, which keeps the pH low (acidic) and prevents malicious microbes from gaining a foothold in the community. Women without strong populations of Lactobacillus suffer more frequently from bacterial vaginosis (sometimes known as “BV”).
Anything that affects your flora could disrupt your vagina’s natural balance: antibiotics, chemical preservatives, your own shifting hormones, unfamiliar bacteria on shared adult toys or on a new partner’s skin.
That’s why some women get vaginal infections after taking antibiotics, getting intimate with a new partner, or re-enacting scene from films. (Don’t put sugar in your vagina!)
The claims about coconut oil as lube
Here’s what we found:
- Coconut oil increases your risk for a vaginal infection — UNSUPPORTED
- Coconut oil is the wrong pH for your vagina — FALSE
- Coconut oil is anti-bacterial — NOPE
- Coconut oil is antifungal — POSSIBLY
- Coconut oil can change your vaginal flora — UNTESTED
- Don’t use coconut oil with latex condoms — TRUE!
How to use coconut oil safely?
Anyone with an allergy or sensitivity to coconut or coconut oil should avoid using such products on the skin or as a personal lubricant.
Before using coconut oil, it can be helpful to perform a patch test. To do this, rub a small amount of the coconut oil on the inner skin of the forearm and wait for 24 hours to see whether there is a reaction.
Stop using coconut oil on the skin or as personal lubricant if it causes:
irritation or discomfort
To use coconut oil as a personal lubricant, apply it around the opening of the vagina and on the vulva. Also apply the oil to any objects that will enter the vagina, such as the penis, fingers, or sex toys(Latex condoms and plastic sex toys not included).
4 tips before you use coconut oil as lube
- Before bringing it to the bedroom, first test coconut oil on the sensitive skin of your inner forearm. Two days later, try a little in — and around — your vagina. If all goes well, it’s time to have some fun!
- Use only unexpired, high quality coconut oil as lubricant. If it’s discolored or tastes sour, it’s time to get a new jar.
- Keep coconut oil fresh and contamination-free by using small containers. Don’t get it wet and avoid finger-dipping.
- You might want to lay out a towel to protect your sheets from oil spots. But if you end up with oil on your bedding or underwear, don’t worry - it’ll come off in the washing machine with hot water and detergent. You can also pre-treat with baking soda to soak up the oil before washing.
Skip the coconut oil when you meet these circumstances
Latex condoms: Yes we just said this, but seriously, latex condoms and oil DO NOT MIX. If you’re choosing between the two, condoms take priority over coconut oil. And when using condoms, beware that oil on your vulva or even in the opposite hole might compromise the protection. Silicone-based lubricants are a great option if you dislike the stickiness of water-based lubes.
Plastic sex toys: Not all toys are oil-compatible. Pure silicone toys (even the wiggly ones) should be all right, but keep oil away from mystery plastic toys. In fact, you should probably keep mystery plastics out of your body. But if you absolutely crave skin-soft toys, they’re safest when paired with a condom and water-based lube. In general, the softer the plastic, the quicker that oil will destroy it.
Coconut allergy: This is probably intuitive, but if you have an allergic reaction when eating coconuts, you should skip trying out coconut oil as lube. Another highly recommended natural lubricant is olive oil - try that instead!
Alternatives for you
There are also many different commercial personal lubricants that are widely available in pharmacies and online.
Commercial lubricants come in three main forms:
Water- and silicone-based lubricants are best for people who use latex condoms or diaphragms.
Some products cause irritation when a person uses them on the delicate tissues of the vulva and vagina. These include:
petroleum-based products, such as Vaseline
products containing glycerin
products with warming, cooling, or tingling properties
Although spermicidal gel does provide lubrication, it can sometimes cause irritation, and it has an unpleasant, chemical-like taste and smell.
Please ask your doctor for professional advice before you use any kind of personal lubricant on or in your body.