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Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013

Choosing the Right Lube for Anal Plugs

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You’d mentioned in your “Anal Explorations, Part 2: Long-Term Plug Wear” article of July 2010 that one aspect to be careful of was the tendency for lubricants, especially water-based, to be bodily absorbed and leave one stuck in a dry situation. I’m curious as to how you would suggest remedying such a dilemma. Secondly, should males be concerned about any effects on the prostate? As we grow older, it naturally enlarges and does make urination take a bit longer than it once did! There is also the question of increase in the possibility of cancer.

I’m really glad that you asked this question, since our knowledge about silicone toys and silicone lubricants has changed since 2010. Silicone lubricants are the longest-lasting type of lubricant, and many people prefer them for anal play. They don’t get tacky or sticky like water-based lubricants, and a small amount stays slippery for quite a while. However, conventional sex-toy-store-owner wisdom has been that you can’t use silicone lubricants with silicone toys, such as butt plugs, because the lubricant will damage the toy. As chemists say, like dissolves like, and the liquid silicone in the lubricant will begin to liquefy the solid silicone in the toy. This causes the dilemma you refer to if someone has a silicone butt plug that they would like to wear for a long time, but can’t use the longest-lasting type of lubricant.

However, over the past year or so, some manufacturers of high-quality silicone toys (like Tantus and We-Vibe) have begun to say that using a similarly high-quality silicone lubricant (like Pjur brand) will NOT damage their products. This is great news! Tantus has a great range of anal plugs, including some new ones like the Neo, Juice and Twist, which have narrower bases that are comfortable for longer wear. Pjur makes one of the only thicker gel silicone lubricants that I’ve seen, and I usually recommend gels (rather than thinner liquid lubes) for anal play. So, the combo of Pjur silicone gel lubricant and a Tantus silicone plug may be one solution to our dilemma. I only recommend using Pjur silicone lubricant (not other brands) with toys from manufacturers who have publicly stated that this brand will not harm their silicone products, so this doesn’t mean that all silicone lubes are compatible with all silicone toys. Using silicone lubricants with metal plugs (like those made by njoy), glass plugs (like those made by Crystal Delights), and plastic prostate stimulators (like those made by Aneros) is also an option.

Speaking of the prostate, you also ask if wearing anal plugs could potentially be harmful and/or increase the risk of prostate cancer. To my knowledge, there have been no scientific studies on the impact of anal toy use on prostate health, although I sincerely hope that this happens someday. There have been studies that show that regular prostate massage and regular ejaculation increase prostate health and lower the risk of prostate cancer. Based on this information, if you are wearing a plug that stimulates the prostate, it is likely that this will be helpful rather than harmful to you. The Ultimate Guide to Prostate Pleasure, published earlier this year, has a lot more great information about anal play and prostate health (I even got to interview one of the authors earlier this year!).

Laura Anne Stuart owns the Tool Shed, an erotic boutique on Milwaukee’s East Side. She has a master’s degree in public health and has worked as a sexuality educator for more than fifteen years. Want Laura to answer your questions in SEXPress? Send them to laura@shepex.com. Not all questions received will be answered in the column, and Laura cannot provide personal answers to questions that do not appear here. Questions sent to this address may be reproduced in this column, both in print and online, and may be edited for clarity and content.

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