Well, this is unfortunate: Most pleasure-boosting lubricants make conception more difficult for couples, according to a new study published in the journal Fertility 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 productsÃ¢â‚¬”like Astroglide and KY WarmingÃ¢â‚¬”reduced sperm mobility. KY Tingling actually cut sperm speed by more than half (luckily, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s no longer on the market). Oils, howeverÃ¢â‚¬”like canola and baby oilÃ¢â‚¬”had much less of an effect on sperm.
MORE: The Best New Condoms For Your Pleasure
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 donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢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 activeÃ¢â‚¬”although further research is needed to know if it can actually boost conception rates.
We know what youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re thinking: Do people really use cooking oil as lube? Chohan says that many people do use it to avoid vaginal drynessÃ¢â‚¬”but hereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢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 NeuroLoveology. WhatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s more, previous research has found that mineral oils can reduce a latex condomÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s strength by approximately 90 percent.
The takeaway: If youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re hitting the sheets just for a big finish, feel free to experiment with the lubes youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll find on store shelves (and remember to use contraceptionÃ¢â‚¬”lube isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t a foolproof measure against pregnancy, after all). But if youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re trying to get pregnant, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s probably better to try to go without if you can.
MORE: The Easiest Way to Have an Orgasm