Gwyneth Paltrow's 'Goop' Says Lube Is Toxic

Olive oil... it's not just for salads.
Gwynnie is also a fan of vaginal steaming and vegan condoms.
Gwynnie is also a fan of vaginal steaming and vegan condoms.

Ah, Gwyneth. Whether she's touting the benefits of vaginal steaming or recommending the purchase of a 24-carat gold dildo, the actor and founder of lifestyle publication Goop certainly has some interesting ideas.

True to top Gwynnie form, her latest Goopy offering concerns the potential toxicity of lube, with the Academy Award winner even suggesting you make your own, as per this instructional video. (You're welcome.)

So, we just had to ask. Is there any truth to Paltrow's claims that most commonly sold lubes contain toxic ingredients which could be detrimental to our health? And are the suggestions of Goop interviewee, Dr Maggie Ney (i.e. to use "organic coconut oil, olive oil, aloe vera gel, or almond oil" instead) any safer?

To be fair to Gwyneth, this topic proved to be more complex than it may originally appear. One thing the experts do agree on, however, is that when it comes to lube, natural is best.

Lube in the sky (with diamonds).
Lube in the sky (with diamonds).

"Using a lubricant is a very common thing women may need to do," Dr Gino Pecoraro, a practicing obstetrician and gynaecologist in Brisbane told The Huffington Post Australia.

"Especially when a woman is breast feeding, she can have a lack of estrogen which can affect the body's normal lubrication process.

"At various other times, it could be due to stress, anxiety, a whole heap of medical conditions... and it's wonderful to be able to offer women in that situation a safe lubricant to help them enjoy sexual activity with their partner.

"By far, without question, the best lubrication is the natural lubrication the body produces. This occurs with excitation, which makes the blood vessels in the vagina open up. Fluid normally found within the blood then comes through the vaginal walls.

"It's balanced in pH, electrolytes, protein... it's just the best lube. Everyone agrees."

We're not saying this is Gwyneth's actual shopping list... but it could be.
We're not saying this is Gwyneth's actual shopping list... but it could be.

Of course, Pecarano acknowledges there are situations such as menopause in which your body may stubbornly refuse to produce this magical natural lubricant, in which case you may have to look at other options. This is where expert opinions on the best kind of lube begin to differ.

According to Pecarano, the lubricant our body produces is water based,so it would therefore make sense that people are encouraged to use water-based lubricant as a replacement.

Pecarano argues all ingredients in such a lubricant has to be approved by the TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration) and as such, "we should be able to have faith that... products which are released to the public have been approved by various committees and are safe."

"Though the actual ingredients involved in each brand may be a commercial secret, they each have to be passed as safe by professional bodies," Pecarano said. "The assessment each product goes under is rigorous and it should be reassuring to women, if for whatever reason they can't have intimate contact without lube, that the professional bodies have certainly gone through all the hoops in terms of safety assessment on their behalf."

However, Dr Ross Pagano, Head of the Vulva Disorders Unit at The Royal Women's Hospital in Melbourne, says he hasn't recommended water-based lubricants to any of his patients for years.

Olive oil... not just for salads.
Olive oil... not just for salads.

"I specialise mostly in women who have sexual pain and sexual problems," Pagano told The Huffington Post Australia. "And I have actually gone off recommending the water-based lubricants, which is what is most commonly used as lubricants. I don't recommend them to my patients at all, ever."

Instead, Pagano prefers oil-based lubricant such as olive oil, vegetable oil and coconut oil.

"The lubricants that Gwyneth Paltrow is talking about, what they are designed to do is to help a woman start having intercourse, with the idea her natural lubrication will then take over," Pagano said.

"But the women I deal with, say if they are post-menopause, don't lubricate. Those water based lubricants then dry out. When they dry out, they cause irritation. It's not because they are toxic.

"But that's why I recommend oil based lubricant. It's a bit messy but it lasts the distance and as such, won't cause damage the skin."

WARNING: These condoms are NOT vegan.
WARNING: These condoms are NOT vegan.

Organic, vegetable-based oils are also what Gwyneth recommends, though even she questions whether or not oil-based lubricants would have an effect on the effectiveness of latex condoms. On this point, Pagano and Pecoraro are divided.

"Using an oil-based lubricant can weaken condoms, meaning they could break and therefore lead to unwanted pregnancies or STD's," Pecoraro said.

Pagano, however, says it's petroleum based lubricants such as Vaseline that are to blame.

" I heard recently all oils do that [weaken condoms] and I can't agree with that," Pagano told HuffPost Australia. "I have been recommending natural oil-based lubes for ears and my patients have never had problems in this regard.

"Petroleum based lubricants -- those are the ones which affect the condoms. So I have been a bit skeptical of those. But a vegetable based oil lubricant such as olive oil or coconut oil, I am not in complete agreement with those as a threat to the effectiveness of a condom."

Pagano says coconut oil has proved to be a very popular alternative to water-based lube, probably because of its recent popularity.
Pagano says coconut oil has proved to be a very popular alternative to water-based lube, probably because of its recent popularity.

Basically, when it comes to lubricant, it depends on the individual. While lube doesn't appear to be 'toxic' (Pagano dismisses Gwyneth's claims that parabens are endocrine disruptors as "far fetched") different lubricants could very well suit different people.

One thing to be aware of, however, is whether or not you have any allergies before you try any sort of new lubricant, and, if you suspect your body is disagreeing with anything you are using, to seek the advice of a medical professional.

"My advice is, in the perfect world, you wouldn't need to put anything in the vagina for lubrication because the vagina produces its own lubrication, which is the best," Pecoraro said.

"Failing that, seek the advice of your gynaecologist. It is actually an important thing and you need to take it seriously. Women need to have sex that is satisfying, comfortable and not painful. It's an important part of life."