in collaboration with Lark Love @larklovin
originally published by Corrie Bradley (she/her) for LarkLove
Lube has been around for over 1,000 years yet still it remains a ridiculously taboo topic! Just the word lube has older people blushing and younger vulva owners falling over themselves to explain that they actually “need the opposite of lube.”
I am not at all innocent in feeding this awkward paradigm. Before I formulated and co-launched a botanical based lube company Lark Love, I had literally never purchased said product. I would use the ol’ spit trick or waddle off to the kitchen for a swipe at the coconut oil. I have even felt the guilt of needing a little help in the slip and slide department, like I was failing my partner by not producing enough of the tell-tale turn on juice.
How I came to be one of the founders of a lube company amazes me. I have always enjoyed sex, but would rather rough it then peruse the shelves at the grocery store for a tackily packaged product that signals a lack of juice. I realize now that it's lucky that I didn’t slap on the dime store personal lubricant.
What’s wrong with most sexual lubricants?
Most mainstream personal lubricants have ingredients that no right-minded person would ever want to put inside of their bodies. Ingredients such as propylene glycol — that’s an ingredient in antifreeze, petroleum, silicone, and glycerin. These ingredients are not only unhealthy for the vagina but they have also been linked to uterine cancer, infertility, and they can even cause tiny abrasions in the skin leaving a person much more susceptible to contracting an STI.
I often get asked (primarily by men) why I would not just slap on some coconut oil from Trader Joe’s rather than spending the money on a high quality personal lubricant. While I adore the less is more idea, coconut oil isn’t the best lube option for a few reasons.
What’s wrong with slapping on cooking oils?
Being an oil, coconut oil (or olive, or ghee, or butter...) can degrade or damage condoms — which are important in practicing safe sex not only to prevent pregnancy, but also act as a safeguard against STI’s. Secondly, processed coconut oil can feed bacteria if sugar or other additives are present, so if you’re prone to Bacterial Vaginosis, coconut oil will only aggravate it. Thirdly, coconut oil stains everything. Rancid sheets and stained underwear are not sexy.
Stuck without the slippery stuff & paying the price after a hot sex sesh? Here’s how to prevent pain during & after sex.
So what are my lube options then?
As a trained herbalist, I have been formulating natural products for over a decade — serums and elixirs for the face improve collagen, deeply hydrate skin, decrease fine lines, the list goes on. I have always used natural ingredients in the products that I formulate and am vigilant on my standards of any ingredients that I put on or into my body.
Once I got into my head to formulate a healthier lube, I had to know what else was out there. My partner Rainbow and I began our research by buying every lube on the shelf. Two things shocked me: how it felt to be purchasing this product and 2) what was actually inside the vast majority of lubes. The verdict? Not great, on both counts.
Rainbow and I decided that there was certainly a need for a serious lube revival, so we decided to whip up a batch of super slippery, botanically infused, personal lubricant formulated for vaginas. We gave bottles out like hot cakes to people in our community of all ages. Then we did what all humans love — we gathered, drank wine, and talked about sex.
What we learned astounded us. First off, all of the vulva owners had lube in their bedside tables but not one of them knew what was in the product that their (male) partners had purchased. Secondly, after speaking with our older and wiser subjects, we discovered that vaginas (and their needs) change immensely as we age. Not only is lube usually necessary, but fortifying vaginal tissue is a must. As we age, and our bodies no longer produce their own lubrication as abundantly, and the vaginal skin actually thins, which can make even walking around or riding a bike feel excruciating.
So Rainbow and I decided to create a line of personal lubricants that are formulated for the vagina, using active botanicals and hyaluronic acid to keep tissue supple long after use. We also decided to do away with the tacky packaging that demands being kept hidden in a drawer. Our mission became to empower people to own their sexual health by using high quality personal lubricants that celebrate people’s bodies without shame or stigma. Then we wrapped it all up into bespoke packaging that demands display on the nightstand.
Why is sexual self care important?
Sexual self-care should become a habit like any other form of self-care. Using a high quality lube is a wonderful start or addition to your current practice. Keep vaginal tissue moisturized and lubricated to help prevent tiny abrasions or microtears that can easily occur with partnered or solo sex. Vagina’s moisture levels vary for a huge variety of reasons — menopause, medications, alcohol consumption, mood swings, and genetics all play a role in vulvas producing their own lubrication and maintaining a healthy vaginal environment.
SImply put, lube is amazing. It makes sex feel better and teaches vulva owners how to treat our bodies better. Lube can help get the party started in a hurry, or can help us get out of our heads to enjoy the moment.
When the vagina owner is in charge of the purchase and use of lube, they are acknowledging the dynamic needs and nature of this very important organ and takes some of the stress off of the vulva to be healthy and ever-reactive. Feeling empowered to purchase, use, and display your personal lubricants is an investment in your sexual future. It’s like wearing sunscreen on your face — future you will thank you!
We are living in exciting times. The third wave of the sexual revolution is upon us. Vibrator companies owned by vulva owners are booming leading to the de-stigmatization of vaginal pleasure, period underwear and menstrual cups are redefining our relationship with our periods, and finally the time for empowerment in personal lubricants is upon us. It's the luberation baby. Stay hydrated!
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Meet the Author
Corrie Bradley (she/her) is an herbalist and co-founder of Lark Love, who makes cruelty and latex free luxury personal lubricants formulated for the health of the vagina.
Momotaro Apotheca and its materials are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. All material on Momotaro Apotheca is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition.