Is Using Vaseline as Lube SAFE for Vaginal and Anal Sex?

Vaseline is an accessible lube alternative because it is simple to find, easy to put on, and lasts a long time, BUT is it really safe to use Vaseline as lube?

vaseline as lube

You may believe it’s more convenient to use Vaseline as a personal lubricant. But it’s much safer to use ANOTHER lube alternative from the store.

So what’s exactly wrong with using Vaseline or petroleum jelly as your go-to lube?

Well, that is what this article is covering in-depth, which leads us to our first question to answer.


Is Vaseline As Lube A SAFE Option To Use?

The short answer: NO.

You shouldn’t have Vaseline and other petroleum jelly products as personal lubricants. And there are several crucial reasons for this.

What you should know before using Vaseline as a lubricant is as follows:

  • Condoms made of latex and polyisoprene will fast disintegrate with Vaseline.
  • It may make you more susceptible to bacterial vaginosis or yeast infections.
  • It will discolor bedding and clothing.
  • It is challenging to get rid of the skin.

Because they remain on the skin longer than lubricants made expressly for sex, petroleum jelly products like Vaseline frequently cause infections. 

That is why you must NEVER apply Vaseline to the vagina or the anus.

Vaseline fosters an environment in which yeast and bacteria can grow. And if that weren’t alarming enough, research indicated that women who used petroleum jelly vaginally had a 2.2-fold increased risk of developing bacterial vaginosis.

Mineral oil is also present in Vaseline, which we’ll cover in detail later.

Mineral oil dissolves latex condoms, diaphragms, and dental dams. This reaction extends to other products such as baby oil as well.

A latex condom’s strength will decrease by 90% in less than a minute when exposed to mineral oil, leaving you susceptible to several STIs and increasing the possibility of an unwanted pregnancy for you or your partner. 

Condom degradation is a particular issue during anal sex. The potential injury to the anus makes it more vulnerable to infection, increasing the chance of an STI transmission. 

Due to its thick texture, petroleum jelly (which you should not consume) can contribute to aspiration or choking during oral sex.

Vaseline can also leave stains on clothing and is challenging to remove because it is not a lubricant in the first place. As a result, they are even more challenging to remove than silicone-based or oil-based lubes.

Certain sex toy materials, especially latex and jelly rubber, are incompatible with Vaseline because they will deteriorate them.

And don’t even think about using a silicone sex toy.

The bottom line is to avoid using Vaseline for sex because there are so many options that are FAR SAFER to use. 

So give it a thought. Think for your own benefit. And think for the benefit of your partner.


Vaseline For Vaginal Sex

Can Vaseline be used as lube vaginally? NO.

You shouldn’t use Vaseline as a vaginal lubricant. You should NEVER use it on the vulva or vagina in any other situation.

As mentioned above, Vaseline has mineral oil content, which can irritate the vagina and lead to pain, burning, itching, and even a skin rash.

Vaseline can raise your risk of getting an infection, including yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis, during vaginal sex.

Vaseline and other similar products have a barrier effect on the skin, which makes them challenging to remove, especially in the case of the vaginal canal.

Even though mineral oil is non-comedogenic and won’t clog your pores, you should not use them for external masturbation because it can irritate the vulva’s sensitive skin.

You cannot remove Vaseline without soap and a lot of scrubbing. So even if Vaseline doesn’t affect your skin, washing it off probably will.

Finally, sex toys made of latex, rubber, and silicone will disintegrate with Vaseline and other petroleum jelly products.

Again, you’re in a lose-lose situation if you decide to use Vaseline as lube during vaginal sex.


Vaseline For Anal Sex

Can I use Vaseline as lube for anal sex? Sorry folks. The answer is again a big NO.

You shouldn’t use petroleum jelly or Vaseline products as an anal lubricant. 

Vaseline can be applied topically on the anus to relieve hemorrhoids. HOWEVER. You should not use it as a lubricant.

Due to its thick nature, petroleum jelly is frequently used for anal intercourse or during pegging. However, using Vaseline as anal lubrication can put you and your partner at risk.

According to one study, people who use Vaseline as a substitute for anal lubrication may be more likely to give HIV to their partners.

The most plausible explanation is that petroleum jelly causes latex or polyisoprene condoms to deteriorate.

Unaware users may use and lubricate condoms with Vaseline, believing they are safe against STIs, without realizing they are increasing their risk.

They might also be less likely to follow other preventive measures, like taking the HIV prevention drug PrEP (or pre-exposure prophylaxis). 

Vaseline can irritate delicate rectal tissue, increasing the likelihood that it will become infected. This danger will increase when the condom starts to break down. 

Using petroleum jelly as a lubricant will still raise your risk of getting anal discomfort or infection while degrading your toys, even if you use them for pegging or anal sex. 

Something to note

A body-safe anal lube made for anal play is your best option in this case. 

So maybe do a little research on this matter. There are many lubes created explicitly for anal play. Think anal sex, anal toys, etc. We have a lot of good anal sex-friendly lube recommendations on our site.

Check your options. Expand your possibilities.


So, What Is In Vaseline? Are Its Ingredients SAFE?

Petrolatum sometimes referred to as white petroleum jelly, is the main component in Vaseline.

They come from extracted crude oil via the drilling process. And depending on where it is from, it can contain hundreds of different petroleum chemicals. 

The oil must undergo extensive refinement to remove the wax and oil components.

While refinement makes it “clean,” distillation is a demanding procedure. The product is triple-filtered to get rid of any contaminants.

Vaseline is therefore regarded as low-risk when used as a recommendation on the skin.

While petroleum jelly products, in general, are thought to be safe and are purified to remove any potentially dangerous chemicals, this may not be the case for all petroleum jelly products. 

It’s hard to determine the purity of various petroleum jelly products because untreated mineral oils are carcinogenic.

Mineral oil is also frequently used orally as a laxative, despite being present in several cosmetic products.

When using Vaseline as a lubricant for oral sex, it’s unlikely that you would swallow enough mineral oil to have this effect. But you probably don’t want to take a chance because of its thick texture and potential choking hazard.

In some petroleum jelly products, glycerin may also be an additional ingredient.

Glycerin is a substance best avoided in lubricants because it is known to harm the anal and vaginal tissue, even if it can be helpful when applied topically to less sensitive skin. 

This information is crucial because Vaseline is used frequently for anal and vaginal intercourse. Therefore, it is another reason for you to look for a better option when choosing a lubricant. 

Is Vaseline Water-Based?

Vaseline is NOT a water-based product. Petroleum jelly is what Vaseline is made of, as we already discussed. It is an oil-based ointment that is neither water-soluble nor does it include any.

You can find a lot on our website if you’re looking for water-based lube options. There are water-based lubes that you can use for certain sexual activities. The best part about this type of lube is that you can use it for ALL types of sex toys and LATEX condoms.


Better Lube Alternatives You Could Use Instead of Vaseline

We strongly advise using a body-safe personal lubricant from the store in place of Vaseline.

There are numerous choices for personal lubricants, including:

  • Water-based lubricants
  • Silicone-based lubricants
  • Oil-based lubricants
  • Natural or organic (either water-based or oil-based)

Here’s a quick rundown of each lubricant of choice: 

Water-Based Lubricants

These are the best option for anyone who wants to utilize sex toys and requires a product compatible with dental dams and latex condoms.

People who like something that feels more like their body’s natural lubrication frequently choose lightweight, slippery, water-based lubes. 

Something to note

However, water-based lubes are NOT waterproof.

So avoid using these things in the shower or hot tub. Instead, silicone lubricants are probably your best bet if you enjoy water play.

To decide which type will best meet your needs, you can learn more about the distinctions between water-based and silicone-based personal lubricants by reading more about them on our website. 


Silicone-Based Lubricants

If you’re looking for a long-lasting, waterproof lube that you can use with condoms, these might be a great option.

Silicone-based lubes are often thicker, which can be ideal for anal sex

However, you should not use silicone-based lubricants with silicone or porous toys since they will cause the toys to disintegrate.

We don’t suggest or endorse using silicone-based lubes that contain desensitizing agents for anal sex or pegging, even if they produce a numbing effect. With desensitizers, your body doesn’t react to pain as it usually does. So, you won’t know if enough is enough.

Again, if you don’t know where to start with silicone-based lubes, we have great lube guides that provide you with a wide array of silicone-based lubricants. We also have different silicone-based lube recommendations that you can use for different sexual activities.


Oil-Based Lubricants

Anyone looking for a moisturizing, thicker lube should use this option.

Due to their thick but slippery viscosity, oil-based lubes are frequently recommended for anal intercourse, just like silicone lubes. In addition, anyone who experiences vaginal dryness may also benefit from oil-based lubricants.

Something to note

However, oil-based lubricants are NOT COMPATIBLE with latex condoms, toys, or dental dams.

So if you don’t want to go a little wild, then maybe alternative options are your best bet.


Natural Lubricants

If you are worried about having harmful components in your lubricants, then this choice may be a suitable option for you.

Natural and organic lubricants are usually either oil-based or water-based. So you have plenty of variety on your plate. Just make sure you check out the ingredients ahead of time.

Yes, lubricants are typically safe. But there could be a thing or two that may ruin your experience in bed. 

So, maybe do some double-checking first. 


Lube Alternatives At Home

What To Consider for Lube Alternatives

Compatibility to Condoms

Some types of lubricants do degrade the quality of a condom when used simultaneously. And just like those, home alternatives can also cause the same reactions. 

It all just depends on the base ingredients present in the used substance. 

Lucky for you, there are many items available on the market right now that are safe and useful. Of course, some of them require extra effort, but nothing too on the extreme side. 

So without further ado, here are some best lube alternatives to try.


Ease of Use

Here’s the deal, no one wants to figure out a Rubik’s cube when using lube or a lube alternative. 

That’ll just destroy both your moods in the process.

What you want is something quick and easy. You want something straightforward. You want something one and done in case you try it for the first time. 


Safety

Not everything liquid and gel-like in your house can serve as a lube alternative. Some substances can cause discomfort. 

Some can cause irritations. And some can even cause pain. 

So don’t just grab the nearest solution you can find. Maybe consider your options first (and read our guide). Think about it for both of your sakes. 


Vaseline Alternatives At Home

There are various products at home if you’re seeking easily accessible personal lubricant alternatives to Vaseline and other petroleum jelly products, including:

  • Pure aloe vera gel
  • CBD oil
  • Extra virgin coconut oil
  • Vitamin E oil
  • Argan oil
  • Shea butter
  • Avocado oil

Something to note

Please be aware that the components in some of these recommended Vaseline substitutes might not be compatible with condoms if you use them.

Many people believe extra virgin olive oil to be a safe choice for home lubrication. But we don’t recommend using it because many other, better solutions are available.

Oils can trap bacteria in the vagina and anus and may lead to infection.

Yes, most people aren’t allergic to these oil options. But there’s a slight chance you could be. 

To know you won’t react allergically to the chemicals, you should always perform a patch test on your skin first.

If there’s a sign of a rash, then you’re allergic. If not, then it could be a viable option for you.

According to research, using oil in the vagina could increase a woman’s risk of having a yeast infection, but the study didn’t mention the type of oil used. 

Some of these store-bought personal lubricants also contain at-home substitute chemicals.


Substances To Avoid

There are also substances you might want to steer clear of if you plan to have sex and run out of lube. Common examples include:

  • Honey
  • Vegetable oil
  • Baby oil
  • Lotion
  • Butter
  • Shortening
  • Spit

In using lube, having common sense is always a good thing. 

However, there are lube alternatives to avoid when having sex. And we’re going to dive into some general categories right now. Here are some lube alternatives to avoid if or when you find yourself getting ready for the nasty: 

  • Body lotion – While it may seem like a no-brainer, lotions are also not an ideal lube; they can break down condoms. In addition, lotions and soaps can also contain chemicals that may cause discomfort.
  • Mineral-based products – Vaseline, baby oil, and petroleum jelly can break down latex, latex-based sex toys, and diaphragms. Baby oil can also cause skin irritation and can damage the vulva. Therefore, vaseline and other mineral-based products are best used on our external body parts.
  • Butter or margarine – Butter and margarine are staples of any household. But do not use them as lube. Why? Well, they both spoil when not refrigerated. Also, if the hole that comes into contact with the butter or margarine isn’t cleaned properly after use, the chemicals can cause a foul odor.
  • Parabens – Parabens are a preservative used in many personal care products and cosmetics, including a few lubricants. There’s a growing debate about parabens, specifically their impacts on the endocrine system and human hormones. There are even concerns that parabens are associated with cancer. So, ensure you don’t buy any lube or lube alternative with paraben content.

You have the right to do what you want with your body. Just make sure you do research and understand the benefits and risks of the lube you use.

And most importantly, know when to ask for help if you notice unwanted reactions from your lube or alternative lube of choice.

Selecting a natural lube alternative can be challenging. However, many people choose natural lube alternatives to avoid exposure to unnecessary ingredients.

So if you’ve run out of lube in your household, I’ve given you a few ideas above. There’s no need to go through all the hassle of going to the nearest convenience store if you’re really feeling like being in the moment.


Final Thoughts

It makes sense for you to reach for Vaseline when you need to grab something quickly. Even most medical cabinets at home have Vaseline as a staple.

But, it is highly advised NOT to use them as a lubricant in any situation. It may result in several health problems, some of which may be serious. 

So, best to continue using Vaseline or any petroleum jelly product for minor cuts, burns, or dry skin only and NOT DOWN THERE.

Dainis Graveris

Dainis Graveris

Over last 4 years Dainis have helped millions of people through his advice on this site (200+ guides and 1M+ visits/monthly). His work & advice has appeared on sites like: Healthline, Vice, Cosmopolitan, Men's Health, WomensHealthMag, MindBodyGreen & more. Read More

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