Illustration by Robin Eisenberg
The hype around coconut oil is a big, fruity, delicious lie—or at the very least, a big, fruity, delicious inaccuracy. According to a recent report from the American Heart Association, coconut oil may not be the perfect, cure-all superfood it was reported to be at the height of the oil-pulling craze in 2014. Instead, coconut oil’s reported 82 percent saturated fat content (that’s more than what’s found in butter, beef fat and palm oil) could be—surprise!—unhealthy.
This is unfortunate for coconut oil lovers who may have heard that its “good fat” is beneficial, from whitening your teeth to helping you lose weight. Marie-Pierre St-Onge, the researcher behind coconut oil’s association with weight loss, told Time in April that eating the oil’s “higher proportion of medium-chain triglycerides may increase the rate of metabolism.”
This turned out to be true only with the “designer oil” St-Onge reportedly used in her research, however. For civilians who use the mass-market kind found in grocery stores, coconut oil doesn’t really help. And while it probably isn’t all bad, coconut oil definitely isn’t magic. It’s oil, from a nut, containing more saturated fat than lard.
The good news, though, is that there are tons of other ways to use coconut oil. You can put it on your skin, in your hair, or in your butt. Yes, I just said you can put coconut oil in your butt! It may not be a food you should consume regularly, and it may not even be a food at all, but it does make an excellent lube for sex, and especially anal sex.
I first came to know about the delights of using coconut oil as a lubricant from an ex. She kept a tub of it under her bed and told me it was natural, convenient and would make my crotch smell tropical and delicious. She was right.
I haven’t used conventional lubes extensively, but in my experience, they tend to smell like plastic and taste even worse, thanks to the petrochemicals, glycerin and preservatives found in some brands. Unrefined (or virgin or extra-virgin) organic coconut oil, however, is all-natural and preservative-free. It also lasts longer than water-based lubes, which is perfect for anal sex. Speaking with my friends who too have used coconut oil during sex, comments ranged from “No cons, only pros. It leaves you feeling hydrated” to “It works well and smells nice.”
Like with any sexual activity, coconut oil comes with some health risks. There haven’t been any defining studies on the effectiveness of coconut oil as a lubricant, but many sexperts have reported that the oil has antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory benefits. That being said, any foreign substance can impact a woman’s vagina negatively by upsetting her natural pH levels. Also, oil-based lubes and latex condoms don’t mix, as oil causes latex to deteriorate, rendering the condom less effective. It goes without saying that if your partner has a coconut allergy, you should not use coconut oil during sex.
Coconut oil isn’t a perfect lube, but it is a delicious-smelling alternative to going dry, something you should never do to yourself or someone else, because no one deserves that kind of suffering.