Lube 101 Definitions

Lactic Acid

An acidic compound produced in muscular areas of the human body. The vaginal canal naturally produces some lactic acid.

Lactic acid affects the acidity (pH) of the vagina, which can in turn affect the growth of vaginal flora. Some studies suggest that lactic acid can promote growth of lactobacilli, and that healthy amount of lactic acid can reduce the risk of yeast infections. Some sexual health supplements and lubricants contain lactic acid as an active ingredient for this reason.

Lactoperoxidase

A enzyme with strong antibacterial properties. Its primary function is to eliminate microorganisms in milk and in various mucosal membranes.

Lactoperoxidase is included in some lubricants and sexual health products as a natural antibacterial agent. Proponents claim that the enzyme promotes a healthy vaginal ecosystem, reducing the risk of yeast infections and other conditions caused by microorganisms. It is also used in some cosmetics as a preservative. As lactoperoxidase is often derived from animal milk, some vegans and vegetarians avoid products that use this substance.

Lactobacillus

A genus of bacteria commonly found in the vagina, mouth, and gastrointestinal tract. There are over 180 distinct species of Lactobacillus, and all of the species can live with or without oxygen.

Lactobacillus plays an important role in vaginal health, as it converts sugars into lactic acid. This process can affect pH levels in the vagina, which can decrease the chances of an infection—a health pH limits the growth of Candida albicans, the fungi that causes yeast infections, along with other potentially harmful microorganisms.

L’Arginine

L-Arginine is a common amino acid that stimulates blood flow. It is produced naturally by the human body and is commonly found in meat and dairy products.

Because of L-Arginine’s ability to reduce anxiety and promote sexual responsiveness, it is often used as a libido-enhancing ingredient in personal lubricant products. L-Arginine is generally considered a safe lubricant ingredient, but in large amounts, it can worsen the symptoms of asthma and other inflammatory lung conditions. L’Arginine is also known to be a vasodilator which increases blood flow to the area which the product is applied to. Many personal lubricants and sexual stimulators on the market today contain L-Arginine. L-Arginine should be avoided by individuals who have herpes as the vasodilator has been known to cause outbreaks.

Lidocaine

Lidocaine is a local anesthetic and numbing agent commonly used in personal lubricants. It allows for delayed ejaculation in some users by limiting physical stimulation. It is also used to treat sex-related chronic pain syndromes such as vulvodynia.

Some partners use lubricants with lidocaine to reduce pain during anal or oral sex, but physicians generally oppose any use of anesthetic that could prevent the body from processing pain signals. Lidocaine and other anesthetics can increase the chances of infection and other complications by blocking pain from tears and fissures.

Latex

Latex is a polymer commonly used in condoms. It’s extremely resistant to tears and breaks, and manufacturers can safely coat latex condoms with spermicide, lubricants and other fluids without increasing the chances of a condom failure.

Latex condoms protect users from both pregnancy and STDs. However, people with latex allergies should use condoms made from polyisoprene, lambskin and other non-latex materials.

Lubricant

Also known as sexual lubricant or personal lubricant, is a liquid, gel, or cream solution designed to reduce friction during sexual activity and enhance pleasure to induce orgasms. Lubricant is available in a variety of formulas such as water based, silicone based, oil based, warming and flavored.

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Spermicidal Lubricant

Spermicidal lubricant, generally a clear, unscented water-soluble gel, is used as lubrication against friction and a deterrent to unwanted pregnancy. Commonly containing nonoxynol-9, a sperm eradicator, it is thought to be about 80 percent effective, is often used in conjunction with other birth control methods, and may cause yeast infections.

Lube 101 Definitions