Sex - Dr. Dick

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Well-Oiled Machine

Dear Dr. Dick,

I'm kinda embarrassed to ask, but what are "Crisco Balls?"

-Big Mac

Dear Mac,

Thanks for asking! I guarantee you're not the only one in the dark. Some guys use Crisco Balls for fisting and anal sex. They're made by shaping the popular baking shortening into balls, and then freezing. Before sex play, a frozen ball is put into the anus, where it warms up and lubricates the rectum. Guys tell me they choose Crisco because it's thick, cushiony, and long-lasting.

It may sound like I'm endorsing Crisco, but actually, I tell guys to try to avoid it. Oil-based products like Crisco, Vaseline, baby oil, lip balm, and oil-based lubes can leave a coating in the rectum. This coating can cause bacterial infections and other bugs. Plus, they can leave a nasty-ass smell.

Oil-based products also damage latex barriers like condoms, dams, gloves, and finger condoms; they can also lead to condom breakage.

So, what are safer options? Use condoms for sex and elbow-length gloves for fisting.  There's a lot we don't know about lubes and which ones are safest.  Still, we have decent evidence that not all lubes are safe! While more research is needed, here's what we know so far: some lubes have been found to hurt the cells in the lining of the rectum, and other lubes may increase HIV replication (the virus making copies of itself).  It's a good idea to look at the lube ingredients before you buy one.


Here's some more info:

  • Stay away from lubricants that contain nonoxynol-9. Nonoxynol-9 is a spermicide that can hurt the delicate lining of the rectum and vagina, increasing the risk of HIV and other STIs.
  • Some evidence suggests that lubricants containing an ingredient called polyquaternium-15 may INCREASE HIV replication. Some of the lubricants that contain polyquaternium-15 are in the Astroglide family of lubes: Astroglide Liquid, Astroglide Warming Liquid, Astroglide Glycerin and Paraben-Free Liquid, and Astroglide Silken Secret.  It's probably best to avoid these.
  • Steer clear of lubes that contain sugars. Lubes with sugar can increase the chance of an infection in the rectum and vagina.
  • Some evidence suggests that certain lubricants can damage the cells in the lining of the rectum. These lubricants include: Astroglide, Elbow Grease, Gynol II, KY Jelly, Replens, and Boy Butter.
  • Water-based lube is probably the safest option.

Here's to a great lube job!

-Dr. Dick