The V-Spot: Are Tasty Lubes Giving Me Tonsillitis?

Hi Yana,

I have been using flavored lube for mostly oral, but recently this has been causing tonsillitis for me. I forgot to read the fine print, “Use within 3 months,” so now I must chuck out a full bottle (I hate wastage!).

What brands of flavored lube would you recommend using to avoid wastage? What are the best brands to use? Also I live in Australia, so would it be okay to order it online if it’s not available in the shops?

— Lickety Sick

Hi LS,

Tonsillitis? From expired lube? I gotta say I’ve never heard that one before and my research isn’t coming up with any definitive answers. As tonsillitis is caused by bacterial infection I would say to get thee to a doctor to get that checked out. Bacteria and oral sex do not mix well and you certainly don’t want to be tossing something back and forth with your partner/s or be chronically contracting something that’s bad for your health.

Oral thrush — which can cause pain similar to tonsillitis like a sore throat, difficulty swallowing, and white pustules on the inner cheeks and back of the throat — can occur via performing oral sex on someone with a yeast infection, for example. (And yeast infections can find home in both the vagina as well as in the cozy folds of an uncircumcised penis, btw!)

I myself learned an itchy, unfortunate lesson about the joys of lube and lover-licking many years ago as a college freshman. For months on end I was coming down with yeast infections — itching, burning yeasties that would not quit. Finally I went to my campus’ health services and pleaded with the nurse to help me put an end to this vicious cycle. She asked me two questions: Is your boyfriend uncircumcised? Are you using KY Jelly? Answers: yes and yes.

Anyone who has attended my workshops or reads my column knows I hate glycerin-containing lubes (KY and Astroglide being the biggest offenders) with a fiery, yeasty passion. And that, well, memorable time during my freshman year in college is exactly why. The nurse enlightened me to the fact that my boyfriend could harbor a yeast infection and that the glycerin in the lube we were using (ahem, KY!) was off-setting the pH balance of my precious pussy, tripping up yeast infections which I was then passing to my boyfriend and he back to me again.

Is this happening between your partner’s bits and your throat, LS? Maybe! Investigate a little with the help of your doctor or local sexual health clinic. Though yeast infections and oral thrush put a damper on going down, they do happen and they’re treatable so there’s no cause to feel slut-shamed or slut-shaming about it. Just make sure to get it checked out so you can get back to lickin’ without becoming a sick’un because of it.

As for lube, telling your partner to eat your cherry pie can be fun and all, but flavored lubes are more often foe than friend when it comes to your body. Fake flavoring often means more glycerin (see above) and other sugary additives famous for throwing off the vagina’s natural pH balance and breeding bad bacteria in the booty. If you simply must lick a lollipop-flavored labia or poptart-tasting penis, Sliquid Swirl’s flavored lubes are all-natural and glycerin-free. They come in three flavors: Cherry Vanilla, Blue Raspberry, and Tart Green Apple.

If you want that dick to taste downright decadent, Hathor Lubricant Lickeurs are water-based lubes sweetened with stevia (a natural botanical sweetener) and pumped up with Horny Goat Weed (presumed to be an organic aphrodisiac). Funky flavors like Hazelnut Caramel, Coconut Orange, and Chocolate Strawberry should surely sweeten the pot.

But for how long? Most lubes should be used within a year of opening and will hold up better away from a sunny windowsill or other heat source and can last for seven years unopened. I’m sure flavored lubes have a shorter post-opening lifespan, though I don’t know it.

Get your throat checked out, LS, and then browse a full selection of glycerin-free, sugar-free lubricants shippable Down Under.

Yana Tallon-Hicks is a pleasure-positive writer and educator living in the Pioneer Valley. She has a website bursting with sexual advice, resources, and workshops at

Author: Advocate Staff

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