The Lube That Makes It Harder to Get Pregnant
Well, this is unfortunate:Most pleasure-boosting lubricants make conception more difficult for couples, according to a new study published in the journalFertility and Sterility.
For the study, researchers tested the effect of nine different lubricants on semen samples to see how they affected sperm movement (faster sperm can increase the likelihood of egg fertilization). Shockingly, many of the brand-name products—like Astroglide and KY Warming—reduced sperm mobility. KY Tingling actually cut sperm speed by more than half (luckily, it’s no longer on the market). Oils, however—like canola and baby oil—had much less of an effect on sperm.
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Why the difference? Many popular brands of lube are created for the sole purpose of pleasure and may contain spermicidal ingredients, says lead study author Kazim Chohan, Ph.D., professor of pathology and OB/GYN at SUNY Upstate Medical University. Oils don’t have these sperm-killing components, though. While using oil as lube may drown out some weak sperm, the stronger ones appear to be able to adjust to the oil and continue moving, says Chohan. Interestingly, mustard oil seemed to make sperm more active—although further research is needed to know if it can actually boost conception rates.
We know what you’re thinking: Do people really use cooking oil as lube? Chohan says that many people do use it to avoid vaginal dryness—but here’s the thing: Oil-based lubricants can change the pH balance in the vagina, increasing your risk of infection, says Ava Cadell, Ph.D., author of the upcoming book . What’s more, previous research has found that mineral oils can reduce a latex condom’s strength by approximately 90 percent.
The takeaway: If you’re hitting the sheets just for a big finish, feel free to experiment with the lubes you’ll find on store shelves (and remember to use contraception—lube isn’t a foolproof measure against pregnancy, after all). But if you’re trying to get pregnant, it’s probably better to try to go without if you can.
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