April 16, 2019

The Truth about Coconut Oil & your Vagina. {Partner}

This post is shared via our (real-life) friends at Foria—they’re dedicated to enhancing pleasure & diminishing pain with ancient plant medicines, and we’re honored to share their offerings with you. ~ ed.


There are definite drawbacks to living on the internet.

One of which is the absolute din of alarmism about what is and isn’t good to put in our bodies—whether into our mouths or into other orifices…

Alarmist doomsaying is everywhere. Alarmism drives clicks. It drives clicks because it promotes anxiety, which isn’t a particularly nice way to encourage web traffic. But that’s the world we live in these days, and it’s important to understand that reality is a lot more nuanced—and, dare I say, dull—than whatever makes it onto the clickbait sites.

Which brings me to coconut oil. Coconut oil is one of those things that first enjoyed a mega-rush of enthusiasm as a panacea. “It makes your hair and skin beautiful! It’s delicious in coffee! It cures just about every condition you can think of, from asthma to dandruff!”

Then, as so often happens, it suffered a just-as-dramatic backlash. “It will actually make your heart explode! It’ll give you diarrhea for days! And don’t you dare even think about getting it anywhere near your precious vagina…”

You might be asking, “Why would anyone want to smear coconut oil on or in their yoni anyway?” Well…

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It feels really nice. It smells and tastes good. It can be a great lubricant for sex—with oneself and with others. Plus, it doesn’t have the creepy, chemical vibe of silicone, and it isn’t sticky, like water-based lubes can be.

There are also some coconut oil lubes on the market with cannabis added to enhance sensation & pleasure—as well as versions you can safely order online without triggering a visit from the Feds.

Of course, coconut oil absolutely can’t be used with latex condoms, since oils of any kind deteriorate latex, but for solo sex (or partner sex where everyone’s been tested for STDs) coconut oil has a lot to recommend it.

As always, though, there are coconut naysayers, often quite noisy—and sometimes they’re not completely full of crap. Given that the truth is usually more nuanced than catchy bullet points, it’s important to consider the actual data behind the anti-coconut-hysteria. (This applies to everything really, not just using coconut grease for sex lube, but I digress.)

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Let’s take a look at some claims, pro and con, and learn whether we should apply liberally, and not just on our labia—or whether we should bar our doors against it forever.

The claim: “Coconut oil increases your risk for a vaginal infection!”

The truth: This claim is unsupported.

There are several articles floating around that claim—with quotes from very authoritative-sounding gynecologists—that coconut oil makes people more prone to bacterial vaginal infections—up to eight times more! Terror!

Except if you look at the original study, it doesn’t mention coconut oil at all. The research subjects who reported using oil on their genitalia mostly mentioned baby oil—a product that’s loaded with synthetic perfumes, which are implicated in vaginal bacterial infections. (Side note: it’s a good idea to be careful about using perfumed soaps, body washes, and detergents Down There. Many people with vulvas have bad reactions to synthetic scent chemicals in their nethers.)

And, once again, coconut oil hasn’t been studied in this context.

The claim: “Coconut oil will destroy your vagina’s pH!”

The truth: Not so much.

Healthy vaginas are acidic. This is good! If vaginas get less acidic, for whatever reason, it can throw everything out of whack and lead to the yeasties. That’s bad.

Coconut-oil alarmists claim the pH is too damn high for a vagina to endure. Coconut-oil partisans, on the other hand, claim that it’s perfectly pH-balanced.

They’re both wrong. Coconut oil doesn’t have a pH. Neither do any other oils, including mineral oil, baby oil, vegetable oil, motor oil…. only water-based substances have a proper pH. (Oils do have a measure of acidity, which is a highly sciencey thing having to do with triglyceride bundles and free-floating fatty acids and…oh look, my eyes just glazed over.)

For the purpose of picking a personal lubricant, none of that stuff matters. Vaginas are (ideally) wet. The fatty acids found in coconut oil aren’t soluble in water. The pH claim just isn’t a thing.

The claim: “Coconut oil is antibacterial?!”

The truth: Not exactly.

There are two ways to spin this one:

  1. coconut oil kills beneficial bacteria and throws off the delicate balance of the vaginal microbiome, or
  2. coconut oil kills bad bacteria that can make us itchy and drippy. (Ewww!)

Once again, both sides have it wrong. Studies on the subject generally report the same thing: virgin coconut oil has no effect on bacteria, whether friendly or villainous.

The claim: “Coconut oil is antifungal, yay!”

The truth: IDK, maybe?

First, to clarify: “antibacterial” and “antifungal” aren’t the same thing. Bacteria and fungi are both tiny microbial critters that can cause problems if there are too many of them in a given place, but you take antibiotics for a bacterial infection and antifungals for a fungal infection for a reason: they’re different beasts, they reproduce differently, and they respond to different environmental pressures (including, possibly, the presence of coconut oil on or around your genitalia).

Many women swear up and down that coconut oil has cured their yeast infections. It’s a popular natural remedy. The jury’s out on how effective it is, but it probably can’t hurt.

The claim: “Coconut oil will screw up your vaginal flora forever!”

The truth: It depends!

Vaginas feature a complex microbiome of native bacteria working together in a happy little collective that keeps everything running the way it ought to…. and everyone’s microbiome is different. Different people are populated by different bacteria in different combinations (billions upon billions of bacteria…which can inspire a New Age vision of oneness with all life or get kinda creepy, depending on your outlook).

In the same way that different folks digest different foods differently, our vaginas vary in their ability to tolerate various substances. Some freak out at the tiniest droplet of anything that might disrupt their precious natural flora — others are as bombproof as a concrete bunker.

We’ve already established that the effect of coconut oil on one’s nether realms is probably negligible. However, it’s not possible to test every be-vulva’d person on planet Earth for coconut oil tolerance, so…YMMV.

The claim: “Don’t use coconut oil with latex condoms, ever!

The truth: Oh gosh, yes, absolutely true! Please, please don’t use coconut oil—or any oil—with latex condoms, at all, ever.

Don’t. The very thought is making me anxious. This isn’t coconut oil’s fault. All oils and oil-based substances (from Vaseline to artisan cold-pressed pistachio oil to crankcase grease) deteriorate latex, put holes in it, and make it break. No bueno.

For the same reason, you’ll want to be careful with oils and toys. Silicone toys are probably fine, but pairing mystery plastic toys with any oil is a bad bet. (Heck, pairing mystery plastic toys with yourself might be a bad bet.)

Don’t cheap out on sex gear, folks. “Bargain dildo” just isn’t a good combination of words.

So…Now What?

Now that we’ve established that coconut oil is pretty benign all around, if you’re eager to get slippery with it—solo or with a partner — here are some other things to keep in mind to ensure you have the best possible time.

Do a Patch Test.

If you have an allergy or sensitivity to coconut, don’t use coconut oil for any kind of personal care. If you’re not sure—or even if you are pretty sure you’re not allergic, but not 100% — dab a tiny bit on the skin of your inner forearm and wait a couple of days. If you don’t see a reaction, try it again on your yoni. If she’s still happy after 48 hours or so, you’re good to go.

Put a Towel Down.

You can get coconut oil out of sheets with baking soda and a wash in hot water. A towel or a dedicated sexy-time sheet makes cleanup even easier.

Not in the Shower.

Don’t slip! Coconut oil is great on people, not so much on porcelain. ER visits ruin sexy time, every time.

Consider the Source.

To indulge in a tiny bit of alarmism, there are a lot of cheap, questionable coconut oil products out there. For anything that’s going on or in your vulva, you’ll want the best you can get.

Virgin, organic-certified, expeller-pressed from young coconuts (NOT from sun-dried, mold-covered coconuts, aka “copra”) is the only way to fly…

…and that’s the only coconut oil Foria uses in our legendary Awaken Arousal Oil, available everywhere. We’ve been sourcing the highest-quality materials for our products since 2012, with a commitment to beyond-organic quality for impact on your health and on the environment.

Or you could branch out to other members of the plant kingdom and try Foria Basics CBD Suppositories, with broad-spectrum hemp extract in pure cacao butter, soothing for menstrual cramps and any uncomfortable tension down there. Better living through friendly plant-based oils—for you and your yoni.


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author: Kiana Reeves (Director of Communications—Foria)

Editor: Khara-Jade Warren

Image: Cover: @foriawellness/Instagram