Lube 101 Definitions

Prostatitis

Inflammation of the prostate. Prostatitis can be caused by bacterial overgrowth, but this is not always the case; inflammation can also occur without any type of infection. Some of the most common symptoms of the condition include difficulty urinating, burning during urination, painful ejaculations, and even erectile dysfunction. Symptoms vary depending on the exact cause of the condition.

Physicians sometimes recommend prostate massage to relieve the symptoms of prostatitis. However, this depends on the cause of the condition. People with prostate inflammation should consult with their physicians to choose effective treatment plans.

Bacterial prostate infections are not thought to be sexually transmitted.

Penis Pump

A device that applies even pressure to the penis by creating a vacuum. This can give the user an erection, and with enough pressure, the pump can increase the length and girth of the penis.

Penis pumps consist of a cylinder, usually made of plastic or glass, and a pumping mechanism, which may use air or water to create the necessary pressure. Many pumps also have gauges to allow users to monitor progress from one session to the next.

Penis pumps are sometimes recommended by physicians as a treatment for erectile dysfunction, especially for patients who have poor blood circulation due to diabetes or another disease. When used appropriately, pumps are safe, but excessive pressure may cause pain. Men with blood disorders such as leukemia should check with their doctors before using penis pumps.

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)

A material commonly used in hundreds of different applications, including the production of sex toys. In its purest form, PVC is a hard, brittle substance. However, chemicals are often added to PVC to create a softer, more durable surface.

PVC is usually considered to be a body-safe material. It is compatible with all types of lubricants. Phthalates are often added to PVC, which has led some users to question the overall safety of the substance (see “phthalates” for more information).

Paddle

A tool with a broad, flat surface. Paddles are frequently used in BDSM and roleplay. They can be manufactured from a variety of materials including leather, faux leather, rubber, plastic, and silicone.

In BDSM, paddles are often used to strike (or “punish”) the receiving partner for erotic effect. Different techniques and materials can be used to alter the experience. For example, some paddles have textured surfaces, which can compound the intensity of each strike.

Priapism

A medical condition that occurs when the penis remains erect for an extended period of time without any stimulation. If left untreated, this can result in serious damage.

Some types of erection rings (cock rings) can cause a priapism if used for more than the recommended time frame of 20 to 30 minutes. Certain medications and diseases can also cause persistent erections. Men should seek emergency medical assistance if an erection lasts for more than a few hours.

Peristaltic Responses

Refers to the activation (contraction and relaxation) of a muscle group. Also known as peristalsis, a peristaltic response occurs when muscles are exposed to a stimulus; it occurs in a wave.

In sexual health, peristaltic response often refers to the muscles surrounding the anus or on the pelvic floor. These muscles can experience peristalsis during sexual penetration, particularly when using prostate massagers and similar objects. Many toys are designed to cause peristalsis in order to engage and strengthen the muscle groups of the pelvic floor.

Pubococcygeus (PC) Muscle

A muscle in the pelvic floor. The pubococcygeus contracts during orgasm, and strengthening the muscle can allow for longer, more intense orgasms in some individuals. The muscle also controls the flow of urine, a stronger pubococcygeus can lower a person’s chances of urinary incontinence.

Kegel exercises can strengthen the PC muscle, and both sexes can benefit from a stronger pelvic floor. See “Kegel exercise” for more information.

Planned Parenthood

A nonprofit organization based in the United States that focuses on sexual health. Planned Parenthood administers medical care, reproductive counseling, and family planning services throughout the country through more than 820 clinics.

Also known as PPFA (for Planned Parenthood Federation of America), Planned Parenthood is sometimes considered controversial for its pro-choice stance on abortion rights. Some of the organization’s clinics perform abortions, although this varies from location to location. PPFA also provides affordable access to various forms of birth control and free or low-cost sexual health examinations.

Pre Cum / Pre Ejaculate

A fluid that leaves the male urethra during arousal and prior to orgasm and ejaculation. Pre-ejaculate is not the same as semen, although it bears some of the same chemical traits.

There is some controversy as to whether it contains sperm. While scientists once believed that pre-ejaculate was a concentrated form of semen, recent research suggests that the fluid has a low or nonexistent sperm count. Its biological function is probably to provide a small amount of lubrication during penetrative sex and to neutralize acids that could kill sperm.

Sexually transmitted infections (including HIV) can spread through contact with pre-cum, and the fluid may be able to cause a pregnancy in some circumstances. To limit risks, men should wear a condom before engaging in any sexual contact with a new partner.