Five lubes we love for returning to sex after baby

The Rundown

Not all lubes are created equal. We break down our favorites below.

Stephanie Stamas, PT, DPT, ATC, PRPC
Stephanie Stamas, PT, DPT, ATC, PRPC
Mom of a 2yo and 4yo. Doctor of Physical Therapy. Pelvic Floor Expert.

If needing lubricant feels taboo, time to get a new mindset!  Needing lubricant doesn’t mean you’re broken. Things are different down there after having a baby, and that’s ok. The female sexual response is nuanced and arousal takes time. 

The #1 female erogenous zone is the brain, and if there’s one thing that’s on major overload postpartum, it’s your brain. The exhaustion, never-ending to-do list, anxiety, being touched-out, etc - there’s a lot working against you getting in the mood. Even if you want some sexy time, sometimes your body’s expression drags behind. This is why lube should become your best friend. 

Here’s the thing. When you’re not naturally lubricated, there’s more friction. Friction causes pain, and pain makes you tighten up or pull away. This leads to fear and anxiety and now you’re in a cycle that suppresses your natural sexual response. Lubrication can help you get over this hump. So ladies, start slathering it on. 

But it’s much bigger than your brain. Hormones & hydration are also major players. Vaginal lubrication is actually plasma pulled into the vagina from a collection of blood vessels surrounding the vagina and vulva. 🤯 If you’re dehydrated (hello all nursing mamas) that will decrease the blood flow affecting lubrication. If you’re nursing, your body is also producing high levels of Prolactin, which naturally reduces your estrogen production. This leads to many moms feeling dry as a bone. 

Birth control pills also decrease your natural lubrication by lowering estrogen and testosterone levels. Estrogen is crucial for vaginal moisture and testosterone is responsible for your body's sexual response. Studies upon studies have shown that oral BC pills lead to a smaller vaginal opening, increased tearing and dryness, increased risk of infections and decreased libido! No thanks. I’ll pass. 

Overall, if you’re postpartum, still nursing and feel like you could use some help down there, start by grabbing some lube.

But which one? Not all lubricants are created equally. First, figure out which one best fits your needs. Depending on your sexy situation, you’ll want to choose a water-based, silicone-based or oil-based lube.

Water-based is the most similar to natural lubrication, but dry out quickly and needs to be reapplied often. They are also the only safe lubricants when using condoms. You also want to pick one that’s matched your vagina’s natural pH level, so look for one between 3.8-4.5.

Silicone-based lubricants are a bit slippery and last longer than water-based lubricants. If you’re young and wild and free, they’re the preferred choice for having sex underwater. 

Oil-based lubricants, such as coconut oil and Vitamin E oil, are great options for vaginal dryness. You can use them to help relieve discomfort throughout the day. For sexy time, however, they can’t be used with condoms, latex or rubber (including diaphragms) since the oil can break down those materials. 

One last thing. Lubricants can have nasty ingredients so watch out for these five main culprits: 

  1. Parabens (methylparaben and propylparaben): These are preservatives that are similar to estrogen and can cause irritation of vaginal mucosal wall, disrupt endocrine (hormone) function, and have been linked to both fertility problems and genital rashes.
  1. Glycerin: This gives lubricants the sticky consistency but can feed yeast.
  1. Chlorhexidine gluconate: This disinfectant kills off the good bacteria in the vagina (lactobacillus) which is necessary for fighting infection. It is associated with a 100-fold increased susceptibility to chlamydia.
  1. Glycols: This helps maintain moisture but high levels can increase risk for herpes simplex virus 2, bacterial vaginosis, and yeast infections.
  1. Cyclos (cyclomethicone, cyclopentasiloxane and cyclotetrasiloxane): Found in some silicone lubricants, these have been linked to reproductive harm and uterine cancer in mice studies.

And now...the lubes we love:

Good Clean Love (website)

Water & Silicone-based

 

Desert Harvest Aloe Glide (website)

Water-based

 

Sliquid Organic H2O (website)

Water, Oil & Silicone-based

 

Ah YES! (website)

Water & Oil-based

 

Slippery Stuff (website)

Water-based

 


Don't be afraid to lube up, mamas!

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