What if buying a personal lubricant was an act of empowerment instead of an act of embarrassment?
The first time that I went to buy lube for myself, I was curious about the products out there. I wanted to know what they were made from. Corrie and I have long discussions about every topic under the sun and this one had us captivated.
Was it true that personal lubricants were made to apply to women’s most absorbent tissue without a care in the world about what it was made of?
This idea seemed preposterous, and I had to know more. Was there truly a room somewhere full of proverbial old white men nodding in approval over the idea to sell products made of who-knows-what, with the explicit intent of ending up on the sacred portal to all life?
The day after our “pop-up lube think tank” found me in the tall aisles of the grocery store studying ingredient panels. Every time another customer walked past, I felt like a spy. My children played on the floor of the lube aisle while I studied as quickly as possible.
I decided that I had to buy a few bottles of lube in order to really have the time to research each ingredient. I chose self check-out in order to avoid the surely judgmental gaze of the teenage boys working the register.
I felt like a thief! I was sweating bullets- trying to get through the check stand without the kids wandering off, any alarms going off, the check stand monitor seeing what I was buying, any other customers seeing what I was buying. What sort of mom brings her children to buy a basket full of personal lubricants?
Short story- I made it through. No one stopped me or arrested me for illicit lube purchasing. I made it home to study each ingredient at my leisure.
Fast forward a few years. We own a lube company. We were horrified but not surprised to find out that the rumors were indeed true. Most lubricants were not made with ingredients that any of us would choose to put in our bodies. There were ingredients that could cause bacterial infections, change the delicate ph of the body, even cancer causing preservatives. All for what? The ease and comfort of men? This clearly hadn’t been thoroughly thought out?!
So on a lark, we created our own herbal creations and shared them with many grateful friends. Corrie and I became vagina advocates. No one was more surprised than we were, but once we had the knowledge of what was going into lubes, we just couldn’t let it go. We dreamt up what a vagina would truly deserve to be adorned with. We interviewed many a vagina. They were pleased to have finally been asked!
What began as a truly embarrassing trip to the grocery store became an empowering journey for us and all of our friends along the way. Discussing the ups and downs of vaginas became an interesting and important discussion. Saying the words mattered. The physical nature of a vagina changes throughout a cycle of days, weeks, months and certainly lifetimes. Having these conversations went from a giggle in between hushed concessions, to declarations of honesty and pride. We actually talked about lube enough to stop being embarrassed by lube.
I gave myself a test last week. I wanted to check the evolution of the commercial personal lubricant market and so I returned to the same shelves of the grocery store. Not a lot of progress in overall ingredient quality- but definitely a little. I read unapologetically. Two people walked past. They didn’t seem to notice or care in all honesty, but more importantly, I didn’t either. I felt solid, like any shopper checking the ingredients on a box of cereal or herbal tea. I own my body and I’m empowered to treat it right. So cheers, to the luberation.