K-Y Jelly

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
K-Y brand logo
Product typePersonal lubricants
OwnerReckitt Benckiser
Previous ownersJohnson & Johnson Van Horn and Sawtell

K-Y Jelly is a water-based, water-soluble personal lubricant, most commonly used as a lubricant for sexual intercourse. A variety of different products and formulas are produced under the K-Y banner. [1]


A tube of K-Y Jelly

According to the manufacturer, "The origins [and meaning] of the brand name 'K-Y®' are unknown. Two popular myths are that (1) it was created in Kentucky and (2) the letters represent the key ingredients used to make the lubricant. . . . [W]e can confirm that neither of these myths are true . . . ."[1]

Introduced in January 1904 by pharmaceutical company and suture manufacturer Van Horn and Sawtell of New York City,[2] and later acquired by Johnson & Johnson, K-Y Jelly's original stated purpose was as a surgical lubricant, and it was often chosen by doctors because of its natural base. The product is now more widely used as a sexual lubricant.

Reckitt Benckiser purchased the brand in 2014.[3]


Unlike petroleum-based lubricants, K-Y jelly a is biologically inert and contains no added colors or perfumes.[citation needed]

The lubricant remains extremely popular[weasel words] because it is easy to clean up, staining neither fabrics nor other surfaces, and does not react with latex condoms and silicone-based sex toys. Despite having a thick consistency and a tendency to dry out during use, it can be "reactivated" by the addition of saliva or water.[citation needed]

The product contains no spermicide and thus cannot be used to prevent pregnancy. A formulation containing nonoxynol-9 was removed from the market after the spermicide was found to facilitate the spread of HIV.[4]

K-Y Jelly has been available over the counter in the United States since 1980.[5]


K-Y NG uses glycerin and hydroxyethyl cellulose as the lubricant, with chlorhexidine gluconate, glucono delta-lactone, methylparaben and sodium hydroxide as antiseptic and preservative additives. The liquid form of the product combines glycerin with propylene glycol, sorbitol, and Natrosol 250H (a brand of hydroxyethyl cellulose) for lubrication, with benzoic acid, methylparaben and sodium hydroxide as additives.[citation needed]


While K-Y Jelly can be and is used for a variety of different purposes, it is most commonly associated with being a personal lubricant used to enhance sexual intercourse and masturbation. One or more of the participants will typically apply a small amount to their genitals to enhance or supplement the moisture required to perform sexual acts.

K-Y Jelly is also used clinically to perform prostate examinations in men and gynecological examinations in women. For prostate exams, physicians use K-Y Jelly to lubricate a finger to ease insertion into the rectum for prostate assessment. Similarly for female pelvic exams, K-Y Jelly is used to lubricate a physician's index and middle finger to be inserted into the vagina to assess pelvic muscle tone and tenderness. A rectovaginal examination is also often performed in which the index finger is inserted into the vagina and the middle finger into the rectum. The physician's other hand is then used to assess the structure of pelvic organs put into place by the intra-vaginal hand.

As stated in documentaries such as The Terror Takes Shape found on the DVD and Blu-ray Editions of John Carpenter's The Thing, K-Y Jelly has also found use in the horror-movie industry by special effects technicians like Stan Winston and Rob Bottin to create a "slimy" appearance for monster puppet effects. Cinematographer Peter Kuran reminisces during The Terror Takes Shape how a major studio ordered multiple "five-gallon pails of K-Y Jelly" in order to "slime up" the Dog-Monster for the infamous "kennel" scene from The Thing.

Copious amounts of K-Y Jelly were also used to simulate saliva and to give the eponymous Alien of the 1979 film an overall slimy appearance as well as the blood of the eponymous Predator of the 1987 film which was mixed with chemiluminescence fluid from green glowsticks. K-Y Jelly was used for the Dilophosaurus's venom in Jurassic Park.


  1. ^ "K-Y FAQ's: What is the meaning behind the brand name 'K-Y®'?". Retrieved 2018-06-10.
  2. ^ Antiseptic non-fatty and soluble lubricating jelly
  3. ^ Ballard, Ed (2014-03-10). "Reckitt Benckiser Buys K-Y Brand". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2017-03-09.
  4. ^ Zimmerman, Rachel (2002-09-25). "Some Makers, Vendors Drop N-9 Spermicide on HIV Risk". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2017-03-09.
  5. ^ Sauer, Abram (2006-08-27). "K-Y's Brand Identity Makeover". BusinessWeek. Retrieved 2017-03-09.

External links[edit]