How Important Are Personal Lubricants?

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A very popular television advertisement proudly proclaims: “Having a baby changes everything”. A truer statement has never been uttered, as birth is definitely one of the most amazing occurrences that life has to offer. The growth, development, responsibility, and awe that follows is nothing short of spectacular, though often frightening and exasperating as well. Sleep becomes a premium, as well as peace and quiet, but nothing in the world will ever replace the wonder a baby can provide. Birth is magical, but birth can never occur without the often misunderstood and quite complicated nexus of sperm and egg that is conception. Just the right conditions have to be present, and many couples become thwarted by this process, adding strain and stress to their relationships.

Stress, as we all know, affects not only our mental attitude, but also our bodies. In women, stress in their mind often manifests itself in their bodies as vaginal dryness, hindering both the desire to have sex and the ideal chemical situations for successful conception. Millions of couples each year turn to the personal lubrication market in their effort for more enjoyable intercourse, and among these couples are those who are also trying to conceive. Reading the labels to make sure the lubrications they choose are spermicide-free, couples feel safe to proceed, often looking at their calendars, checking their body temperatures, and amping up the romance, although achieving conception after failed attempts can often feel programmed or rudimentary, in efforts to conceive naturally. Could their choice of lubricant, though free of spermicide, actually be thwarting conception for other reasons of which they are not aware?

Fertility aside, the vulnerable mucous membranes of the vagina are very susceptible to irritation by preservatives and other ingredients often found in personal lubricants. Women feel protected by using preservative-free lubricants, but the slippery, gooey, viscosity lubricants provide, that is indeed part of their allure and a much-touted selling point, actually hinders the migration of the sperm to the cervical mucous where conception can take place; though the vagina might feel more hydrated and penetration is aided by this slipperiness, overhydration caused by lubrication can reduce sperm motility. Another detriment to the successful sperm migration to egg is the acidic environment created by the vaginal secretions at all times except just before ovulation, when the secretions and vaginal pH become more alkaline and advantageous for sperm survival. The advantageous pH needs to be between 7 and 8.5, and many personal lubricants actually have a pH as low as 3.5, resulting in a harmful and disadvantageous vaginal situation for sperm prosperity. Thankfully, there are several lubrication products (as well as common household products) that promote sperm migration and survival, so don’t dismay. These methods will be profiled in detail in a successive article.

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