Lube 101 Definitions

Xanthoparmelia Scabrosa

A type of lichen. Lichens consist of fungi and algae growing together symbiotically; xanthoparmelia is a specific type of lichen commonly found on the United States’ mid-eastern coast.

Because it is a vasodilator (a substance that promotes blood flow by expanding blood vessels), xanthoparmelia is included in some sexual health supplements. Manufacturers often claim that this ingredient improves sensation or enhances arousal. It has also been promoted as a treatment for erectile dysfunction. However, there is limited clinical evidence supporting these uses.

Xanthoparmelia seems safe in small amounts, but it may be dangerous in large amounts. It is not safe for pregnant or breastfeeding women.


A polyalcohol found naturally in fruits, vegetables, and mushrooms. It is naturally sweet, but unlike sugar and some artificial sweeteners, it actively fights against infection. Some studies suggest that xylitol could help to prevent yeast infections when included in personal lubricants. However, more research is necessary to verify this claim.

Xylitol is safe for diabetics, and it is commonly used as a sweetener for medicines, chewing gums, and in various other applications. Extremely high doses of xylitol can cause some side effects, including bloating, gas, and other short-term intestinal issues.

Xanthan Gum

A common additive, created by fermenting glucose with Xanthomonas campestris, a species of bacteria. Manufacturers sometimes refer to xanthan gum as simply xanthan.

Xanthan gum is often used in personal lubricant formulas as a thickening agent. It can cause topical irritation and other minor symptoms for people with corn or wheat allergies. However, small amounts of xanthan gum are typically safe; there is no evidence to suggest that xanthan gum increases users’ risks of yeast infections or other common bacterial/fungal health issues.


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Ben-Wa Balls

A sex toy consisting of hollow balls (often attached), which are inserted into the vagina. The balls often have inner moving parts, which can create pleasing vibrations for the wearer. The accessory is also known by various other names including Burmese balls and Venus balls.

Ben Wa balls can strengthen the pelvic floor muscles over time, allowing for stronger orgasms and a tighter feel. Like many vaginal toys, Ben Wa balls are often used with added lubrication.

Lube 101 Definitions