Relative safety of sexual lubricants for rectal intercourse

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Article (peer-reviewed)

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Objective: The current study was conducted to determine the relative safety of sexual lubricants for rectal use. Goal: Our goal was to identify a sexual lubricant that would not damage the rectal epithelium. Study Design: We describe a mouse assay to determine the degree to which lubricants cause rectal sloughing. We also tested lubricants for cytotoxicity and their effect on Herpes simplex virus (HSV-2) infection after rectal challenge. Results: Of the products tested, Delube and KY-Plus are most likely to damage the rectal epithelium, whereas Viamor, Vagisil, and Astroglide would cause some degree of rectal damage. PBS, Carraguard, and methylcellulose were not toxic in any of the assays. Conclusion: We have developed a quantitative method to assay the degree of sloughing of the rectal epithelium. Using this and other techniques, we are able to predict the degree to which lubricants could be safe for rectal use.