You’ve used coconut oil for your skin, your hair, and your coffee. But is using coconut oil as lube a good idea?
That question is trending on TikTok thanks to the viral reactions to a NSFW video. In the vid, coconut oil is poured into a kettle, heated, and then poured—a clever if not slightly scary hack. (It should go without saying that you should never pour hot oil of any kind onto your body, especially the most sensitive areas of your skin. Stick to warm, people!)
TikTok trends aside, coconut oil does often come up as a natural-lube option. Vaginal dryness can result from a number of things, everything from a yeast infection to menopause, the latter of which decreases the body’s estrogen levels. “Estrogen is the hormone that is responsible for providing more blood flow to the vagina, making it more elastic,” says Shari Martin Lawson, M.D., division director of general obstetrics and gynecology at John Hopkins Medicine. The lack of fluids down there can make intercourse uncomfortable, even painful, while being mentally frustrating. This is where lubricants can be your best friend.
The good news is that are dozens of lubricants for women on the market for women to explore, in addition to topicals that your doctor may prescribe. But for women looking for an all-natural (and wallet-friendly) alternative, heading to the kitchen for a jar of coconut oil is a compelling idea.
Is coconut oil safe for lube?
Extracted from mature coconuts, coconut oil is rich in saturated fats. These fats, the majority of which are made up of lauric acid, are what cause it to thicken up and turn solid at room temperatures and melt into a slippery liquid when it heats on your skin. It’s pretty much accepted that the oil is like the OG Dr. Bronner’s all-in-one, but how does it factor as a natural lubricant?
“I recommend coconut oil for select patients of mine, and it is absolutely safe to use as a lubricant,” says Lawson. (In addition to coconut oil, extra-virgin olive makes a great natural lube as well.)
If your vaginal dryness is related to a health condition, an all-natural alternative like coconut oil can be an especially good idea. Says Lawson, “We usually will recommend that patients use topical estrogen, but there are some patients, in particular patients that have estrogen-sensitive cancers—most commonly breast cancer—that can’t use or choose not to use estrogen.”
Not all coconut oils are created equal however, so it’s important to be mindful of which one you’re picking up when it comes to using it as a lubricant. You’ll want to make sure you’re grabbing a food-grade type that is free from any preservatives or additives, says Lawson. “I find that people get a lot of irritation, in general, when they use fragranced soaps and body washes in the vulva and vaginal areas.”
To keep the jar as sterile as possible, just add a sexy-time spoon (our words) “to take some of it out of the jar and it will warm up in your hands and melt at your body temperature,” Lawson says. You can store the oil in a cupboard or cabinet, where it should be “shelf-stable for at least 6 to 12 months.” Of course, expiration dates are good to keep in mind, but trust your senses: If there’s a strong odor coming from the oil, it’s probably best to toss it.
Benefits of using coconut oil as lube
Part of what makes coconut oil so appealing is its versatility—you can lather it on your skin postshower for a luminous glow or work some of the solid into your hair for an intensely moisturizing overnight mask. Even better, “it’s easy to come by and is cost-effective,” says Banafsheh Kashani, M.D., a reproductive endocrinology and infertility specialist.