Lubricant is an essential element needed for bareback sex, as it provides the key ingredient to help a raw cock slide nicely inside a bare ass. Some barebackers might use various forms of lubricant including saliva or oils rather than regular lubricant, but results from a study of forty-one commercially-available water-based personal lubricants for sale in the United States found that most damaged human rectal and colonic cells in the test tube and compromised the integrity of the single-cell layer that forms the surface of the rectum.

The study by the Population Council recently published in the AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses journal tested forty-one popular lubricants from hundreds of brands available. The aim of the study is to develop and introduce safe, effective microbicides for vaginal and/or rectal use to prevent transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.

It is important to point out that the findings are from in vitro studies and that what happens in the laboratory environment does not always replicate in the human body. Personal lubricants have been available for many years, but little is known about their impact on the transmission of sexually transmitted infections, which is why this study is welcomed. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires manufacturers to test lubricants for vaginal irritation, but does not require similar studies to ensure safety for rectal use.

The tested lubricants are listed below in alphabetical order based on their product name:

  • Anal Lube™ Original Formula
  • Astroglide® Gel
  • Astroglide® Glycerin & Paraben-Free Liquid
  • Astroglide® Liquid
  • Astroglide® Silken Secret™
  • Astroglide® Strawberry
  • Astroglide® Warming Liquid
  • BabeLube
  • Carraguard™
  • Duane Reade® Lubricating Jelly
  • Durex® Play More
  • Durex® Play Piña Colada
  • Durex® Play Soothing
  • Durex® Play Warmer
  • Elbow Grease® Thin Gel
  • FemGlide™
  • ForPlay® Gel-Plus
  • Gun Oil® H²O
  • ID® Glide
  • ID® Juicy Lube Cherry
  • ID® Pleasure
  • ID® Sensation
  • KY® Jelly
  • KY® Natural Feeling Liquid
  • KY® Sensual Silk™
  • KY® Sensual Silk™ Tingling Ultragel®
  • KY® Sensual Silk™ Warming
  • KY® Tingling Jelly
  • KY® Warming Jelly
  • Lifestyles® Excite Sensual Gel
  • Lifestyles® Liquid (with Aloe & Vitamin E)
  • Lifestyles® Warm Lovin’
  • Liquid Silk
  • Maximus
  • Moist Again® Vaginal Moisturizing Gel
  • O’My® Natural Lubricant
  • Probe® Personal Lubricant
  • Replens®
  • Slippery Stuff® Gel
  • Wet® Light
  • Wet® Original Gel Lubricant
  • Wet® Warming

The study found that four out of the forty-one tested lubricants appeared to increase HIV replication in cells came from the same manufacturer and were the only lubricants containing a compound called polyquaternium-15, which when tested, was found to be the cause. Polyquaternium-15 is a commonly-used cosmetic ingredient, which has the property of facilitating HIV’s attachment to cells. The four lubricants identified were Astroglide® Liquid, Astroglide® Warming Liquid, Astroglide® Glycerin & Paraben-Free Liquid and Astroglide® Silken Secret™. In contrast to the results showing that most of the lubricants damaged rectal cells, the researchers found that a gel formerly tried as an experimental microbicide named Carraguard did not damage rectal cells.

All of the lubricants tested were water-based; the recommended lubricant to use with condoms, as oil-based lubricants cause damage to most types of condoms. It appears based on the above findings that water-based lubricants may not be the safest lubricants for barebackers to use and a good alternative are silicone-based lubricants, which do not appear to damage rectal cells and are also safe to use with condoms. It would be interesting to see a study showcasing a more extensive number of brands to help consumers choose products based on their specific needs.

This article does not explain the testing procedures used in this study, it only explores some of the findings of the lubricant study. It is recommended that you read the source documents and detailed report to obtain more comprehensive information about the research undertaken and the findings.


  1. Identification of Personal Lubricants That Can Cause Rectal Epithelial Cell Damage and Enhance HIV Type 1 Replication in Vitro – Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. Publishers
  2. Study Shows Personal Lubricants Amplify HIV Replication and Cause Rectal Tissue Damage In Vitro – Population Council
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