It's no secret that coconut oil, which is widely touted as a cure-all of health and beauty, can stir up a lot of feelings. And if the internet is to be trusted, there's a chance those feelings could even be of an intimate nature. Shape spoke with Jennifer Gunter, MD, an Ob/Gyn of San Francisco's Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, about the risks and benefits of using coconut oil as a lube. Related: Your Top 21 Sex Questions — Answered!
"So far, it seems safe," Dr. Gunter says, adding that she hasn't "had any patients report any negative side effects." She explains that women with vaginal dryness or sensitivities to chemicals actually prefer coconut oil to other lubes. Plus, it's anti-fungal and could even help prevent STIs — just don't forget to clean it off after use. Dr. Gunter quickly identifies one scenario in which coconut oil is an absolute no-go: "Don’t use coconut oil if you’re using latex condoms." Oils can cause latex to weaken and even break, and no amount of lubrication is worth that risk.
Related: 3 Easy Breathing Exercises That Lead To Better Sex A major part of coconut oil's appeal (regardless of its application) is that it's all-natural — that's why women with sensitive skin gravitate toward it, after all. But just because something is natural doesn't mean it's perfect across the board; it's still important to know how your body interacts with natural products, particularly on your or your partner's genitals. Spot-test the oil on your hand or arm before moving it downtown. And at the end of the day, you know your body best, and if the idea of using your go-to cooking oil in a sexual context is just too much, there are plenty of alternatives out there.
Click through to Shape for more info on sexual wellness. (Shape) Related: 5 Masturbation Tips For A Mind-Blowing Solo Session