While many women are getting more discerning about detergents, shampoos, face wash and other household products, it seems that sexual lubricants are still a bit too taboo to discuss. But given how, ahem, intimate these products are, you should be as selective, if not more so, when it comes to selecting personal lubricants.
Last year, HealthDay News reported on a study from the University of California, San Francisco, that drew a connection between using petroleum jelly vaginally and developing a common infection called bacterial vaginosis. This can result in an unpleasant discharge and a burning sensation, though many women with the condition don't actually develop clear symptoms. However, when left untreated it may leave females more vulnerable to various sexually transmitted infections and may, in rare cases, precede pelvic inflammatory disease.
Researchers recruited 141 women for the study, about half of whom reported using sexual lubricants, baby oil, petroleum jelly or douches in the last 30 days. The participants were tested for vaginal infections, at which point the scientists found that those who used petroleum jelly were much more likely to have bacterial vaginosis – more than twice as likely, in fact.
It's important to note that this is a small-scale study that requires further research to corroborate, and women who used sexual lubricants in general did not display this risk. Even so, the next time you're looking to stock up for a night of pleasure, consider water based lubricants and other natural alternatives. That way, you can make the most of every sensation without subjecting your body to potentially harmful chemicals or undue risk.