In vitro effects of coital lubricants and synthetic and natural oils on sperm motility

Effects of coital lubricants and oils on sperm motility were evaluated. Astroglide, KY lubricants (Sensitive, Warming, and Tingling), and sesame oil reduced sperm motility significantly, and mustard oil exposure caused sperm hyperactivation.

Ranjit S. Sandhu, B.S., Timothy H. Wong, B.S., Crystal A. Kling, B.S., Kazim Chohan, Ph.D.

Volume 101, Issue 4, Pages 941-944


To evaluate the effects of coital lubricants and oils on sperm motility.

Comparative prospective in vitro study.

University Andrology laboratory.

Twenty-two normozoospermic donors.

Semen samples were incubated in modified human tubal fluid (mHTF) control and in 10% Pre-Seed, Astroglide, and KY products (Sensitive, Warming, and Tingling) and baby, canola, sesame, and mustard oils. Total and progressive sperm motility was evaluated before and at 5, 30, and 60 minutes of incubation.

Main Outcome Measure(s):
Sperm motility.

Control samples exhibited no significant decrease in sperm motility. Pre-Seed showed a slight (∼4%) but significant drop in progressive motility after 30 minutes. Total and progressive sperm motility significantly declined under Astroglide, KY products (Sensitive, Warming, and Tingling) and sesame oil incubation. Canola oil significantly decreased total motility after 30 minutes and progressive motility after 5 minutes of incubation. Similarly, baby oil decreased total motility after 60 minutes and progressive motility after 5 minutes. After initial decline, total and progressive sperm motility under Pre-Seed and canola and baby oils remained high. Exposure to mustard oil caused persistent hyperactivation of sperm in each sample with no decrease in motility.

Sesame oil and synthetic coital lubricants impaired sperm motility and may hamper fertility. Pre-Seed and canola, mustard, and baby oils showed no deleterious effect and may be considered sperm-friendly coital lubricants. Mustard oil exposure resulted in hyperactivation of sperm and needs to be studied further.

  • Good article that finally tests what we have been telling our couples that use lubricants for coitus. It confirms that there are good lubricants (Pre-Seed, oils – canola, mustard, and baby) and there are bad lubricants for sperm motility. For most couples that have normal fertility, I’m not sure lubricant choice (if needed) will really make a difference. But for those with fertility issues, they need all the help they can get to optimize the environment in which sperm is produced and has to function within.

    It will be interesting to see what comes of the mustard oil and sperm hyperactivation. I wonder if it has anything to do with the allyl isothiocyanate found in mustard.

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