Bedroom MacGyver: Household Items You Can Totally Use as Lube
It’s hours before daybreak, you’ve got half a pack of condoms, a beautiful woman next to you, you’re getting laid, and... you’re out of lube. With the threat of this moment skidding to a devastating halt, you need to MacGyver your way out of Dry City and into Pleasure Town -- and fast. Don’t worry, Angus: chances are good you have something at your place (or in your girlfriend’s medicine cabinet) that will do just the trick. Let’s start in the kitchen.
Coconut oil has become the Big Fat Greek Windex of the yoga-and-kale set. Got dry skin? Rub coconut oil on it. Dull hair? Coconut oil mask. Bad gums? Gargle with some of that magical, tropical grease. You can now add one more job to the list of things coconut oil can do. It’s got a low melting point and a nice, slippery feel. Not to mention, it smells like vacation. Chances are good that you or your foodie roommate have a big jar of lube -- er, coconut oil -- waiting for you in your kitchen cabinet next to the cumin. Not the Mexican cumin, either. The smoked kind from that cute little shop.
Your grandma used it to make biscuits, your mom to make flaky pies, and now you can use it to get elbow-deep with minimal effort. Crisco has long been beloved by gay and straight fetish communities for things like anal play and fisting. Because this vegetable shortening is so heavy, it stays where you put it with an almost putty-like consistency. It’s hard to remove, though; so be aware that it probably shouldn’t be your first choice for quick p-in-v sex if you don’t want to commit to a lingering, greasy feel.
Olive, grapeseed, avocado, and sesame oil
Plant-based cooking oils will never steer you wrong as long as they are high-quality and not blended with any flavoring agents. On the lighter side, grapeseed and olive oils are great for vaginal and anal sex. Heavier oils like avocado and sesame will last longer and provide more skin-to-skin comfort. Though plant oils take a lot longer to become rancid, it does happen. Play it safe and always check a bottle’s expiration date before smearing its contents on and around your genitals.
This all-natural solution has been popular with granola lovers for decades. In fact, many natural medicine practitioners swear by the yogurt treatment for all kinds of yeast and bacterial imbalances in the vagina, as the lactobacillus cultures help balance the internal pH and create a more hospitable environment for healthy bacteria. But it’s not just a good probiotic! As long as the yogurt has no sugar in it (which can cause a yeast infection), you’re good to take it in the bedroom with you.
Though it’s been around in various forms for more than 200 years, modern margarine is basically emulsified vegetable oil with water, salt, coloring and stabilizers. You’re looking for whatever has the least amount of artificial irritants. It’s unlikely that the content of additives would cause irritation in most people, but it will still wreak havoc on latex condoms like all other oil-based lubes, so why take a chance? White margarine with low salt is your best-case scenario; something to keep in mind next time you’re picking some up at the supermarket.
While you’re rummaging through kitchen cabinets and the fridge, watch out for these items in order to avoid a MacGruber:
NO to fish oil
My god, the smell. And it’s expensive. But, the smell.
NO to butter
Despite what Marlon Brando made famous in one of the worst sex scenes in the history of cinema, you should definitely not use butter as a lubricant. It contains casein proteins from the milk, which can become rancid pretty quickly. You want to keep rotting animal proteins away from your genitals, as a general rule.
NO to sugar: syrup, honey, agave nectar, lentil syrup
Nothing with sugar! There is nothing worse you could do to a vagina than get a bunch of sugar right where yeast are most likely to grow. Not only will this cause possible infections, but it will also just be a sticky nightmare to clean up even if you’re using it for anal. Avoid at all costs.
NO to lard
Why do you have lard in your house? Are you baking 19th-century pies? Trying to mimic the consistency of that terrible grocery store bakery icing? Are you Amish? You’ve already been warned: no animal proteins!
NO to bacon grease
It’s just lard with more personality! Unless you’re buying uncured, unpreserved bacon and thrice-filtering your grease, you’re just going to be jamming little bits of bacon and preservatives up into your sex partner who, may I remind you, is not the mammalian equivalent of a turducken. “But bacon makes everything better! What could be better than bacon-flavored sex?” you say. If you feel this way, get yourself some bacon-flavored lube and call it a day.
Hair treatment and body oil
If you or your bae have oils for your scalp, shower time or dry skin, you’ve also got perfect sex lubes… as long as they have minimal amounts of other irritants like fragrances or dyes. A lot of hair treatment oils are blends of heavy plant oils like black castor oil with synthetic silicone smoothers, so they’re a great alternative in a pinch if you happen to have them in your cabinet. You can use dry oil, too, but expect frequent application as it’s intended to absorb into the skin rapidly.
Unscented anti-frizz hair serum
Most hair products have a considerable amount of scent added to them, rendering them useless for lube because of their potentially irritating qualities. But if you’re lucky enough to find unscented silicone-based hair serum in a medicine cabinet, you’ve struck pay dirt. Common brands like Frizz Ease work perfectly, though this double use of an expensive brand will drive up drugstore costs considerably. As to the obvious reverse question, yes, you could most certainly use your silicone lubricant on hair to tame hair flyaways. In fact, one company is betting you will: Uberlube can be used on your hair as well as your junk.
Sensitive skin lotion
Cetaphil: recommended by dermatologists and sex therapists! Not really, but sensitive-skin friendly lotions are a great option for extemporaneous lube. After all, it doesn’t get much more sensitive than your most sensitive parts, and you can choose which texture you want. “Cream” usually means a heavier feel (think: Crisco), and bottles labeled “lotion” are going to have a more liquid feel. As long as it’s fragrance-free and formulated for sensitive skin, you’re all good to lube up with it.
All-natural face primer
Brands like Hourglass are known for making irritant- and preservative-free makeup beloved by Madonna and Gwyneth “Goop Don’t Stank” Paltrow. Their oil-based face primer, as well as some other natural primers labeled “hydrating” or “silicone-free” will be unlikely to cause irritation. This is an indulgence you should only save for once-in-lifetime one night stands involving celebrities though, because natural cosmetics of lube quality are definitely not cheap.
Petroleum-based products are not ideal, as they absolutely destroy the integrity of latex. But they’re not bad if you’re in a monogamous, birth-controlled situation. Baby oil is going to be about as thin and slippery as it gets. Some people like to use it as a dual lube and massage oil, and more power to them for getting their money’s worth. It’s cheap, it’s slick and it smells like innocence. What could go wrong?
You’ll find it generically labeled “petroleum jelly,” which is a tidy way to strip it down to its least-sexy components. That is what it is, however: an extra-thick petroleum distillate that does as good of a job lubricating a rusted nut as it does lubricating your nuts until they’re rusty. You know, from overuse. Vaseline can ultimately dry the skin out, though, as it doesn’t actually absorb but stays on top of the skin like a barrier, making it much harder rub or wipe off than natural oils or water-based things.
Since it’s used for the most sensitive skin of all, aloe gel makes a perfectly safe lube to use both vaginally and anally. Water will help thin the thick and sticky gel down; but expect it to get a little… tacky as it dries. Nonetheless, it’s definitely not going to cause you any irritation, assuming it’s the straight-up stuff with no fragrance or cooling agents.
You might have a bottle of liquid Vitamin E in your medicine cabinet if you’ve recently treated a burn or scar. Now you can trot that humble medicinal out for its most interesting curtain call of all time. Keep in mind that the highly viscous liquid will mean that you’ll have to keep it slow and easy if it’s the only lube you have, but you’ll still get the satisfaction of knowing you outsmarted the forces of nature and Murphy’s law trying to keep your dick or vagina from getting wet.
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Sarah Murrell is a Thrillist contributor, sex and relationships writer and columnist based in Indianapolis. Channel her sensual consciousness by following her on Twitter: @likesquirrel317.