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The Green Project: Being a Slick Consumer

The Green Project: Being a Slick Consumer
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Understanding what makes a good sexual lubricant can be a slippery business. After all, unless you’re buying one of the few all natural, organic products that are available, the list of ingredients reads more like the supply catalog for a chemistry class than a recipe for a hot night.

  It’s All About the Chemistry

There are also other types of specialty lubricants, for example ones that are designed to either increase genital sensitivity or reduce it. Ingredients to increase sensitivity include capsicum, peppermint, and menthol. Capsicum is the chemical in hot peppers, such as jalepenos, that makes your skin burn and your eyes water when you touch it. It is a mild irritant and produces a warming sensation. Peppermint is also plant based, and provides a pleasant scent and a cooling sensation. Menthol produces warming, cooling, and tingling sensations, depending on how it is used. It is most often associated with cold and flu care rubs such as Vicks Vapo-Rub. The main thing to watch out for in “tingling” or sensitivity increasing lubricants is the fact that “tingling” is basically a mild form of skin irritation that can quickly become pain. If you choose to use one of these lubricants it’s good to start with a small amount at first, because too much could end up being extraordinarily unpleasant.

In the other direction there are, of course, numbing lubricants. Benzocaine is a topical anesthetic agent that is often used in these products. It is important to know that benzocaine can be absorbed through the skin, and excessive or inappropriate usage of products containing it can sometimes lead to toxic side effects. These side effects are rare, but there is another potentially serious problem with numbing lubricants. Pain is the body’s way of warning you that something may be wrong, and numbing agents may make you less likely to notice if damage is occurring during sex.

These are only a few of the many chemicals you will find in most commercially produced sexual lubricants. If you’re scared off by all the syllables, it is possible to find natural and organic alternatives, and some particularly crafty individuals have been known to cook up batches of lubricant themselves. Still, there are advantages to the use of chemistry – including longer “slide time”, better feel, and a reduced chance of bacterial contamination that could lead to an infection.

Oh, and for the record? Polysorbates are basically components that allow manufacturers to mock the chemical maxim that oil and water don’t mix. They help components such as essential oils stay mixed into the lubricant base instead of separating out like salad dressing. After all, when you’re having sex you want to think about keeping your partner all stirred up… not worry about making sure your lubricant is shaken.

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Comments

nice

01/31/2012
Jon Leonhard  

Elizabeth, i love the article! I have recently started working for a lube company that is greatly up and coming. Simply slick is an organic (and healthy) lube with 7 simple ingredients and were also one of the only lube companies that are in the business to promote health and not just try to spin off of someone else's lube. I really enjoy seeing that there is other people out there that realize what is in other lubes, deodorants, or even lotions. Thanks for the great article!

02/14/2012

Sexis asks: How do our sex lives—and the industries that support them—affect the earth? Starting with the basics, we present an open-ended dialogue on how our sexual choices impact our relationship with the planet and its ever-dwindling resources.

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