Why don’t you carry any warming lubricants?

Dear Sex Educator,

I’ve noticed that lately a lot of “warming” lubricants have shown up on the market. However, I can’t find any of these warming lubes on your site. Does A Woman’s Touch carry them?

A Woman’s Touch does not carry any warming lubricants. Why? I’m so glad you asked!

The key ingredient in the majority of the warming lubricants on the market is glycerin. Other, non-warming lubricants like  ID GlideProbe, or Pjur Med Repair Glide also contain glycerin, but in smaller quantities.

What’s the problem? Glycerin is a close relative of glucose, otherwise known as sugar. When used in small amounts, a woman who is not prone to yeast infections will most likely experience no problems with using a non-warming glycerin-based lubricant. However, if a woman is prone to yeast infections (if she gets them fairly regularly or has recently had one), inserting glycerin into the vagina gives the resident yeast extra food, bringing on another overgrowth of that yeast that results in itching and irritation (that’s what a yeast “infection” is – an overabundance of the naturally occuring yeast in the vagina).

What makes the warming lubricants (which we don’t sell) different from the glycerin-based lubricants (which we do sell) is the amount of glycerin they contain. The warming lubes contain a higher amount of glycerin than non-warming lubes – because it’s the combination of glycerin and friction that causes the warmth, a high glycerin content is necessary. Inserting such a large amount of glycerin into the vagina can cause yeast infections, irritation and overall discomfort. Also, the more glycerin in a lubricant, the more quickly it will get sticky and tacky – which is no fun in the middle of sex!

Not all the warming lubricants on the market contain glycerin, but the ones that don’t have other ingredients that could cause the same (if not worse) problems like infection, irritation and discomfort. Acacia honey is one such ingredient – and if glycerin causes problems for a woman’s vagina, you can imagine what honey could do! Another common “warming” ingredient is capsacin, an ingredient in many topical arthritis pain-relief creams and the chemical in hot peppers that makes them hot (that sensation in the vagina? Ouch!). Some lubes contain menthol (the “tingly” ingredient in some lip balms and cough drops) as a “cooling” agent.

There are also several brands of condom on the market that advertise a “warm sensation”. These condoms contain the same type of lubricant described above – a high-glycerin “warming” lube.

You will notice that A Woman’s Touch does sell products called “warming gels,” which are meant for topical (external) use. These can be fun toys for creating some interesting and new sensations on sensitive body parts (like behind the ears, behind the knees, on nipples), or for use during massage, but we recommend that they only be used externally.

But ordinary lube is so cold and uncomfortable to put on my genitals! Isn’t there some way to warm it up?

There are several do-it-yourself methods to turn your favorite water-based lube into a warm lube.

One method is to pour some lube into your (or your partner’s) hands and rub them together to warm up the lube before putting it on anyone’s genitals.

Another method is to set your bottle of lube in a bowl of hot (but not boiling) water for several minutes before use. This will give the whole bottle of lube a nice, warm temperature that will make it more comfortable for genital use. (But note that you should not put a bottle of lube in the microwave!)

Of course, everyone should decide for themselves what they are comfortable putting on and in their own genitals. A Woman’s Touch simply made the decision not to carry warming lubricants because of the high potential for infection, irritation and discomfort that can result from their use.

The Sex Educator