Lube 101 Definitions

Acacia Senegal Gum

(also known as gum arabic) Sap pulled directly from the acacia tree. Acacia Senegal Gum has been known to be added to many different everyday products such food, inks, and paints as an emulsifier. An emulsifier acts as a stabilization agent for products with different ingredients.  It keeps ingredients of different densities from separating out when the lube has been sitting too long (like oil sitting in water). Acacia Senegal Gum is considered generally safe and is consumed by humans daily in types of foods and soft drinks.

Anal Probe

In a sexual context, “anal probe” refers to toys that are designed for rectal use. They are typically used for partner play, as opposed to dildos and plugs that might be used for solo anal masturbation. Probes are available in a variety of styles, including designs created specifically for male prostate stimulation.

Anal Beads

A type of sex toy with multiple attached balls, which are inserted into the anus (often with the help of a personal lubricant) and gradually drawn out one at a time. The movement of the beads through the anus can be pleasurable, particularly during orgasm.

Anal beads are often made from silicone, rubber, or plastic; non-porous materials are typically recommended for anal play. Hygiene is important with any anal toys, and non-porous materials are easier to clean. Many products have a ring at one end to prevent the string of beads from slipping into the rectum, which can necessitate medical treatment.

ABS Plastic

A type of plastic created with acrylonitrile, butadiene, and styrene, sometimes referred to as a “hard plastic” in product documentation. It is a relatively tough, durable plastic with a light weight.

ABS plastic is commonly used in the production of adult toys, and it is compatible with all condoms and personal lubricants. It is safe for vaginal, anal, and oral use.

Because hard plastic transmits vibrations extremely well, it is a popular choice for vibrators. ABS toys can be cleaned with specialized toy cleaners or rubbing alcohol.

Anal Bleaching

The act of lightening the skin around the anus to make the area more visually appealing. The goal of anal bleaching is usually to achieve an even tone and look.

Anal bleaching is often carried out with topical creams containing kojic acid, hydroquinone, and other substances. The process can also be carried out professionally at some beauty salons and doctors’ offices.

While anal bleaching can be safe, it can cause skin sensitivities, irritation, and other side effects depending on the products used and the length of each treatment.

Anilingus

A sexual act in which a person orally stimulates his or her partner’s anus. Anilingus (sometimes spelled “analingus”) is commonly known as a “rimjob” or simply as “rimming.”

Anilingus has more health risks than other forms of oral sex due to the high concentration of harmful bacteria surrounding the human anus. Washing immediately prior to sex can limit these risks. Dental dams can make the act significantly safer; when using a dental dam, a personal lubricant can improve sensation for the receiving partner.

Acrylate Crosspolymer

A type of thickener used in some personal lubricants, sunscreens, and cosmetics. Acrylate crosspolymers (sometimes listed as Carbopol) can also act as emulsifiers in some substances; by evenly blending dissimilar substances, the ingredient can give a product a more consistent texture and viscosity.

Acrylate crosspolymers are safe and effective in small amounts. In rare instances, they can cause skin irritation and burning, but they are generally considered safe and well-tolerated.

Agar

A jelly-like substance derived from algae. For hundreds of years, agar has been a popular food product in Japan. It is often used as a gelatin substitute, and it may also have medicinal properties; agar is a popular folk remedy for a variety of conditions including constipation and diabetes.

Agar is safe for diabetics, and it is an excellent source of iron, fiber, and calcium. The substance is used in some cosmetics and personal lubricants as a thickening agent.

Aromatherapy

The use of aromatic compounds to induce relaxation or to positively alter a person’s mood.

Aromatherapy can be relaxing, and massage parlors frequently incorporate aromatherapy into their services. Specialized aromatherapy candles or incense sticks can contain essential oils and plant materials, which are said to have a beneficial effect on the user. Different ingredients are used to achieve different results; for example, peppermint oil can provide a refreshing, energizing effect.

Current research suggests that aromatherapy cannot directly cure any medical conditions, although the practice may support a healthier immune system by relieving stress.