Lube 101 Definitions

Pine Bark Extract

An extract created from the maritime pine tree. Some studies show that a chemical in pine bark extract could potentially reduce inflammation, and it may have an antioxidant effect as well. It is thought to temporarily shrink enlarged prostates and is used in some supplements to promote normal prostate function. Pine tree extract is also marketed as pycnogenol and pygenol.

While generally safe as a supplement, the extract may cause mild side effects including nausea. It may prevent clotting, and people with blood disorders or blood pressure conditions should exercise caution when using products with this ingredient.

Pygeum africanum

A species of tree found in Africa and also known as red stinkwood. In traditional medicine, Pygeum africanum is used to treat many different conditions including fevers, indigestion, inflammation, and sexual dysfunction.

Some clinical studies suggest that parts of the plant could be beneficial for prostate health; it appears to shrink enlarged prostates and may even lower the chances of prostate cancer. However, more testing needs to be completed before the plant is approved for this use.

Pygeum is safe, although it can cause nausea when taken in large amounts.


A naturally occurring compound that may cause the human body to release dopamine, resulting in feelings of elation. It has been touted as a natural aphrodisiac, and some cosmetics contain added phenylethylamine for this reason; however, there is no evidence that phenylethylamine can cause attraction or sexual receptivity when taken in small amounts.

Phenylethylamine is safe in the low concentrations found in over-the-counter products. In extremely large amounts, it can cause skin sensitivity, liver damage and other side effects.

Pelvic Floor

Also known as the pelvic diaphragm, the pelvic floor is the base area underneath the pelvis. It consists of several muscle groups.

By strengthening the muscles of the pelvic floor through Kegel exercises (with or without added weights), men and women can reduce or eliminate the symptoms of urinary incontinence. A stronger pelvic floor also limits the chances of pelvic prolapses, and in many cases, regular exercises can improve sexual function.

Prostate Stimulation

Also known as prostate massage. Refers to a sexual or medical act in which a man’s prostate is manually stimulated through the anus; this can create an immediately pleasurable sensation for some men, and can even cause an orgasm. However, prostate massage is not always a sexual experience, and it is a viable medical treatment for prostatitis.

As is the case with any type of anal penetration, prostate stimulation carries some risks. It is important to use adequate lubrication to prevent damage to the rectum and anus. When using toys, men should only use products with flared bases (the large base prevents the toy from going too deep into the rectum).


An organic compound commonly used in cosmetics, lotions, and some lubricants to prevent freezing and to provide a consistent texture. It also acts as a solvent. Propanediol is a safe ingredient and does not pose any known risks when applied to the skin. It is also a renewable substance.


A slang term for a penetrative sex act in which a woman penetrates a man’s anus with a dildo (typically a strap-on dildo). Pegging can stimulate the man’s prostate and cause pleasurable stimulation. Some men also masturbate during pegging. While the act does not directly stimulate the female sex organs, it can be psychologically pleasurable for some women.

Pegging requires significant preparation, as is the case with any form of anal intercourse. Many couples use thick water-based or silicone-based lubricants to make penetration easier and more comfortable. Oil-based lubricants are also an option, although oils can damage some types of sex toys and increase the risk of infections.

Potassium Sorbate

A common food preservative. Potassium sorbate is usually a synthetic substance, although it can be naturally derived from berries. It’s effective at preventing some types of mold from forming, and it is occasionally used in water-based personal lubricants for this reason.

Large amounts of potassium sorbate can cause rashes and other types of skin irritation, but most lubricants contain very minute concentrations of this ingredient.


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Male Masturbator

A type of sex toy. The user inserts his penis into the toy to enjoy pleasurable sensations.

Male masturbators often use materials that mimic the feel and texture of the vagina, anus, or mouth, allowing for more realistic sex. As male masturbation toys are not self-lubricating, a personal lubricant can greatly enhance the experience.

Depending on the material used to create the masturbator, users may be able to choose from water, silicone, or hybrid water-silicone lubes (oil-based lubes will often break down the soft materials used to make these toys). Many high-end male masturbators use Cyberskin, a material made from silicone, and they may break down and become tacky when used with a pure silicone lubricant.

Lube 101 Definitions