Many personal lubricants include ingredients that claim to enhance sexual responsiveness. These “stimulating” ingredients can add a fun new element to your sex life, and when used properly, they are completely safe. However, the exact identity of these stimulating agents varies from one lubricant to the next, and you should understand how these ingredients work before using them.

Typically manufacturers will add peppermint extract, menthol or another type of mint for a cooling or warming sensation. Some manufacturers are even using capsaicin which is the active heating element in chili peppers. The intensity of the sensation varies with the amount of mint; products made for vaginal use are often milder than products designed exclusively for men. For an added kick, users may want to breathe on the warming or cooling lubricants to enhance their experience.

Some lubricants use vasodilator which increases blood flow to the area which the product is applied to. Many personal lubricants and sexual stimulators on the market today contain L-Arginine. L-Arginine should be avoided by individuals who have herpes as the vasodilator has been known to cause outbreaks.”>L-arginine, an amino acid that stimulates blood flow. This is a particularly popular ingredient for clitoral stimulation lubricants. Manufacturers claim that the L-arginine draws blood to the clitoris or penis, increasing sensitivity and improving sexual receptivity. L-arginine is also used as an ingredient in some erectile dysfunction, and physical conditions that restrict blood flow can also have an effect. Many medications can cause temporary erectile dysfunction. It is important to note that the ability to maintain an erection is not always related to sex drive.

There are a number of effective treatments for the condition, including pharmaceuticals such as sildenafil (Viagra), sexual therapy, physical therapy, and stress management therapy.”>erectile dysfunction treatments.

Staying Safe with Stimulating Lubricants

Lubricant companies use dozens of other ingredients for stimulation, including yohimbeand other aphrodisiacs. You can experiment to find out which ingredients work for you, but be sure to experiment safely. Buy your lube from a reputable manufacturer and always read the ingredient list carefully.

As is often the case with sexual supplements, stimulating lubes aren’t for everyone. The added ingredients can enhance your sexual experience, but some people many not enjoy the extra sensations. Discontinue use if you feel uncomfortable or if you see signs of an allergic reaction. Menthol derivatives are particularly problematic for allergy sufferers according to the American Allergy and Asthma Foundation.

With that being said, stimulating lubricants are generally very safe. Because some warming and cooling ingredients have varying effects on different types of tissues, however, you should exercise caution when trying a lube for the first time. Look for pH balanced lubricants for vaginal sex. Menthol has a mild anesthetic effect, and lubricants with menthol should never be used for anal sex; they can numb pain and increase the chances of an accidental injury.

While stimulating lubes are usually safe for oral sex, some people find them unpleasant for this purpose, as menthol has a fairly strong odor or the vapors can affect your eyes. Look for a lube made specifically for oral sex for the best experience. Menthol and L-arginine do not have any effect on latex, silicone or other materials. However, all oil-based lubricants can degrade latex, increasing your chances of breakage, so choose a water or silicone-based lube when using condoms.

To avoid an unpleasant experience with a new lube, you can try applying a small amount to your forearm, thigh, or any other body part with thin skin. Let the lube sit for a few minutes before you decide whether to use the lubricant on sensitive tissues.

Finally, remember to tell your partner before using personal lubricants with stimulating ingredients. Make sure that your partner is not allergic or sensitive to the lubricant’s ingredients, especially mint and menthol. As always, communication is key to great sex, and you can have a better experience by talking with your partner before experimenting.