You can’t buy K-Y Jelly in a drugstore, pharmacy, or grocery store in Japan.

Posted on 22.07.2015


If you’re planning to come to Japan for any reason and K-Y Jelly is a THING YOU NEED, then bring your own. Because I just spent 2 months searching for the stuff and finally just gave up and resorted to buying it on US Amazon, and having it shipped internationally.

It is THAT serious.

The last tube of KY I had expired in 2013. I JUST read the label a few months ago, and decided to toss it. Since I’m prone to a bit of a heat rash in my nether-regions during the summer months, KY is something I tend to use. It’s cooling, soft, and doesn’t make me smell odd. I thought I could just walk into any old drugstore and get another tube of it, no problem.

This is Japan. Nope.

To begin, a month into my search I learned that you can’t even really buy condoms in a convenience store, let along the lube that might go along with them. My thought process seemed logical enough: although I generally use KY for summer rash, MOST people tend to use it for sexy time. In EVERY other country I’ve ever been to, the KY was always in the same aisle as the condoms.

I should have known that Japan’s never-ending shame culture would extend to having protected sex: If you want condoms, you need to go to a damn pharmacy and ask at the counter for them. In case the fact that you’re having sex and looking for condoms isn’t embarrassing enough for anyone, now you have to ASK someone to get them for you at a register. You might even have to make eye contact with a pharmacist. OMG think about what the people standing behind you in line must be thinking!

Talk about laying it on thick.

Being the shameless bitch that I am, I had no issues walking up to a register and showing them a photo of KY on my phone, and asking ‘do you have this?’. Let’s see who gets embarrassed. It won’t be me.

After a few giggles or confused looks, or consulting with older male head pharmacists, everyone told me they didn’t carry it. I’m sure they all  had condoms, but I guess sex should not actually be pleasurable. That being said, I have a feeling that if I had shown them a photo of Astro-Glide or maybe asked specifically in Japanese for some kind of ‘personal lubricant’, they may have had that. But we won’t be sure for certain unless my Japanese gets a lot better. I’m sure asking for an American (?) brand of lube wasn’t the best way to go about it.

As it turns out, you can only really get KY or lube in general in an *actual* sex shop. And sadly, being the lame 33-year old that I am who already has all of the sexy toys she needs, I have had no reason, until this point, to ever bother to find or visit a sex shop in Japan. I don’t even know where any are.

But now the crisis is over. Because of VitaCoco coconut oil, which is sold in ALL major import grocery stores, in effing VATS. Sadly, due to the excessive heat and lack of central AC in my home, my oil is some straight oil and not hard, white, or pressed. But I’d imagine it works the same, regardless. Maybe even better, since it’s already in liquid form?

My vag smells magical, my summer burn is gone, and I can now take the time to try to find these mythical sex shops, wherever they may be, at my leisure. Report to follow.