Nov 14 2009

LubeWatch ’09

Tiny Yella Fungus
Unidentified terrestrial object, September 2009.

Fellow heartwarming nature crappists will recall that, although spinster aunts are closely related to mushrooms (in terms of a shared propensity to sprout on rotting logs), my mycological chops are not, perhaps, as finely honed as might be considered ideal. Thus I will refrain from positively identifying this appealing, orange, and minuscule (1 cm) mushroom as some gnarly species of Hygrophorus. I mean, let’s face it. It could be elf dung for all I know. Interested parties are invited to submit their theories.

Meanwhile, it has not escaped my notice that the company what manufactures K-Y has come out with a product called “arousal gel.” They make it out of “niacin” and “sensory enhancers.” It’s just for the straight ladies! According to the annoying commercial, using the stuff will cause you to have sex with a doofus dude, will make your orgasm resemble a fog horn, will mess up your hair, and will render you both mute and incapable of preventing the doofus dude from addressing an audience that has apparently gathered at the foot of your bed. The subject of his speech is your enormous satisfaction “down there.”

I Blame the Patriarchy is the world’s #1 science blog, so naturally I ran this K-Y commercial through the old Patri-O-Meter. Results:

— Heteronormativity? Check!
— Dudal interpretation of inarticulate woman’s sexual experience? Check!
— Association of woman-targeted product with romance novel clichés? Check!
Odd psuedo-science website with pink orgasm juice exploding out of Erlenmeyer flask? Check!

“The use of K-Y® Brand personal lubricants is a personal preference, much like the use of champagne, chocolate, candles, soft music, and perfume.”

Well, count me out, K-Y; spinster aunts are strictly beer, weed, and prog-rock. And dude-free.

Also, since I Blame the Patriarchy is, as I mentioned, an Internetially-acclaimed science blog, I conducted a study on the efficacy of the product. I didn’t feel like coughing up $20 bucks for a bottle, so the study consisted of Googling “KY Intense” and reading a product review on some woman’s product review blog. She had this to say:

“Just because it made me numb, doesn’t mean it will you.”

The comments on her K-Y post contained this gem:

“i have a collection of junk products like this and have no idea what the heck to do with them now because NONE of them work. god, i hate sex…”


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  1. slashy

    I have encountered such things as “pleasure-enhancing lubes” before, and they are a horror that essentially consists of substances designed to irritate your skin so that blood flow increases. Bad, BAD! I have met some of the “warming” varieties, which are like a diluted tiger balm product for your crotch, and I was brought to wonder: for who in the world is the sensation of pins’n’needles in the clit an erotic one? You can achieve a similar effect by masturbating after chopping hot chili peppers, but it’s not going to be a fun time.

    The lube industry in general is ridiculous. Lube should be easy to find, cheap, ubiquitous, and not full of ridiculous yeast-promoting, ph-imbalancing, allergy-causing crap. The most common, easily available & cheap ones are glycerin based, which is a fast track to thrush-town for many. My personal spinsterly life is greatly enhanced by the presence of lube, but it fucking annoys me having to pay insane sums of money for extra-spendy “hypo-allergenic” slippery stuff that isn’t going to set my pants on fire. The packaging is always hideous, and I usually have to go into a “sex shop” full of misogynist porn to purchase it. IBTFP.

  2. Citizen Jane

    I assume this is the commercial in question:

    Also some nice racial stereotypes in this one:

  3. katipo

    Your teeny tiny fungus reminds me of a miniature Laetiporus sulphureus. I don’t think it is one, though; they usually only attack hardwoods and rotten stumps. I’ve never seen one in Central Texas. It’s usually too dry.

  4. Comrade PhysioProf

    Looks like a nicely toasted marshmallow to me.

  5. slythwolf

    The patriarchy continues to insist that the manufacture of products intended to alter (however temporarily) women’s bodies can solve problems caused by men. If some straight dude can’t satisfy his female partner, it’s not because she doesn’t have enough blood flow “down there”. It’s because straight dudes don’t care enough about women’s humanity to see partnered sex as something people do together so they can both enjoy it, as opposed to something women have that men must convince us to relinquish. Maybe these dudes should be paying attention to what their partners actually want, like and enjoy instead of going for the quick fix of lube designed to do the work for them.

    There are some women who have trouble getting aroused and/or having orgasms, for various reasons, who would like to be able to do so. But slapping some gel on their cooches is not going to get it done.

  6. aag

    I abhor “enhancing” lubes, and you’d be better of lubing up with veterinary lube than anything made by KY.

    Pure silicone lubes are my favorite. You can find good ones (like Eros Pjur Bodyglide) on Amazon. I first learned of silicone lube though Metis Black. You can read several articles here where she describes some of the issues with other lubes and the very good qualities of silicone.

    No creepy misogyny, no foghorn, no orgasmically inarticulate women.

  7. DaisyDeadhead

    I recommend GOOD GLIDE by Collective Wellbeing, but I admit, the name (haha) sucks.

    Speaking of that, they have assorted flavors! :D

    GOOD GLIDE claims to be the “natural” K-Y. (Am I allowed to talk about so-called “natural” lubes on what is now an official science blog? Shouldn’t we be talking about chemicals?)

  8. Finisterre

    Twisty, you crack me up. Your way with words is fucking brilliant. Apologies for the complete lack of insight, profundity or originality in this comment, but at least, for your sake, it has been ruthlessly purged of ‘I’s. :-)

  9. yttik

    Did anyone take the virtual science lab tour? It’s got fun, clickable secrets to discover. Besides the pinkness that explodes out of a flask, there’s also a drawing hiding in the chalkboard in the “arousal room” that seems to resemble a vagina. (At least I think it’s a vagina, a disembodied one. It could also be a life vest or perhaps a harness for a plow horse, but that wouldn’t make any sense.) Anyway, you can click until you hit the correct spot. If you click wrong it will say, buzz, “wrong spot!” Silly you, it doesn’t go there. Try again. My speakers are out, but I suspect when you hit the correct spot there may even be positive reinforcement applause.

  10. Bonnie

    The 1 cm orange UTO is a warp bubble encasing the Enterprise-C.


    Katipo: It hasn’t been dry in Central Texas Lately! THank GOddess!! I have seen mushrooms in places that I have never seen them before…mushrooms and moss in the desert, I tell you what!

  12. AileenWuornos

    ‘“The use of K-Y® Brand personal lubricants is a personal preference, much like the use of champagne, chocolate, candles, soft music, and perfume.”

    Well, count me out, K-Y; spinster aunts are strictly beer, weed, and prog-rock. And dude-free.’

    Seconded. Although, swap beer with more weed ideally.

  13. PandanCat

    Made of niacin, eh? I assume that by ‘niacin’ they actually mean crushed green M&Ms, oyster extract and Tiger Balm. Gets the ladies all hot and bothered, you know.

  14. Isabel

    It looks like the fruiting body of a slime mold, and the size sounds about right. Were there others in the vicinity? Slime molds are awesome. Hope awesome is okay to say here.

  15. Jill

    “Slime molds are awesome. Hope awesome is okay to say here.”

    OK, I guess I asked for that.

    Everything is OK to say here unless otherwise specified in the FAQ.

    Moving on: slime molds are indeed awesome. As one of the world’s foremost authorities on slime molds, its a wonder I didn’t think of’em before. Thanks!

  16. me

    Astroglide is lots of fun. It’s the one the astronauts use.

  17. Comrade PhysioProf

    OK, I guess I asked for that.


  18. ChelseaWantsOut

    “Arousal” is fairly easy to misread as “aerosol,” which makes this product funnier or more confusing or both.

  19. Tess

    “Well, count me out, K-Y; spinster aunts are strictly beer, weed, and prog-rock. And dude-free.”

    Turn down your volume before you click on this link – http://www.thebeerlube.com/

    Yes, correct, that would be Beer Lube. Though I like a rich, dark Belgian beer every now and then, I’m pretty damn sure I’ll never be ordering a bottle of this stuff.

  20. Mordant Espier

    KY pays attractive but relatable women to pretend they need KY to have the heteronormative, penis centered sex that KY maintains is our dream. This benefits KY, because while a woman could have a foghorn sounding orgasm with a little tongue and saliva, that’s free.

    KY found a great under exploited market. Because, while you don’t need KY to have an orgasm, your man won’t be feeling manly and dominant unless he’s boning you. Also, as we know from porn, women always want to be boned. The only problem is that

    1) many women find penetrative sex uncomfortable, especially if they’re supposed to be ready for it at any time. Though good sex actually requires communication about a what a woman wants, needs, and is feeling, that’s not “hot.”
    2) women have complicated bodies, and monthly hormone changes, and just plain old differences from woman to woman, not to mention that things like menopause or environmental endocrine disruptors means her body may respond un-ideally. It would be so unfortunate to have a human sex partner instead of a sexbot.

    As slythwolf also noted, it asks women to buy a product to fix themselves, when nothing’s necessarily wrong or when there are more satisfactory solutions that are more complex. Like ending patriarchy.

    The women KY features are cute, normal, feminine, normal, pretty, normal, and normal, since they’re almost always white. They aren’t gay men, masculine women, fat, pierced, deviant, ugly, middle aged, or chronically ill. They can’t be prudes or chastity pledge takers in a lube ad, so they have “normal” “healthy” “feminine” attitudes towards sex. In other words, they want a huge orgasm during a hyper-feminine, innocent romance: “champagne, chocolate, candles, soft music, and perfume.” Because that’s normal, not cheap or slutty.

    Marketers try to exploit old norms, colonize your imagination, define your possibilities, and place their product at the center. And when anyone calls them on it, they’ll call it preference. Unquestionable, inarguable.

    KY isn’t trying define your sexuality for you. First of all, this is what women want. Second, it’s just a “personal preference.”

    Warming lubes are atrocious. But most lubes are vile, as other commenters have noted. Regular old KY gives me yeast infections, and it burns my very sensitive partner, probably because it contains propylene glycol. Lubes and sex toys are poorly regulated for something that goes where they go. But can you imagine the God Bag uproar if we used federal money to test these products for safety? If you are enough of a sinner to use a lube, it’s your fault for getting arsenic in your crotch.

    Why is KY the “#1 doctor recommended brand”? Probably because the doctors use it for digital rectal examinations, not for their own vaginas during sex.

  21. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    It’s so junior-high, but the Erlenmeyer flask thing reminded me of nothing so much as a pink fart.

    As for the whole sex-thang, it just wears me out. Especially the commercialized parts. All of the weird, expensive, rash-inducing toys and slippery goo confuse the cornchips outta me. Who finds rubbing something on their delicate bits that either a) numbs them up as if for a dental procedure or b) burns like a brisk dose of capzasin arousing?

    Anybody who thinks I am parting with $20 for the privilege is even crazier than me.

  22. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    Sorry for posting twice on the same thread, but from which end of me am I meant to emit the foghorn sound?

  23. ew_nc

    Not to mention the shiz costs $25 for a 2 oz. bottle. Bet it would be a buck-fifty if it were a male enhancement product.

  24. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    ew_nc, if it were a male enhancement product, health insurance would cover it. Because every guy is entitled to a boner, dontcha know.

  25. Sandi

    Tess; oh dear me. Beer Lube? This has me laughing and spewing Octoberfest right out my nostrils. Wow! This nifty product will match Beer Shampoo quite nicely, right? Glistening tresses all ’round!

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