Lube 101 Definitions


In BDSM play, the partner who submits to punishment or domination. This can take the form of bondage, whipping, spanking, or a number of other actions. The submissive person is sometimes referred to as a “bottom.”

A submissive person will usually define his or her limits prior to sex. This ensures that the dominant partner (sometimes called the “top” or “dom”) will not take actions that cause injury or discomfort for the submissive. BDSM couples often use safe words to establish clear boundaries.

Role Playing

The act of changing behavior during intimacy to take on a specific role. Two or more sexual partners may choose to roleplay in order to fill out certain fantasies; for instance, one person may play the part of an abductor while his partner assumes the role of the hostage.

Sexual roleplay may be basic or extremely detailed. Some people choose to incorporate special toys and clothing into roleplay to enhance the experience.


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.


A whip commonly used in BDSM play. Floggers have numerous strands of leather, vinyl, rope, rubber, or another soft material on one end. The other end is a harder handle.

Floggers can be used in a variety of ways. The strands of the whip can be drawn slowly across the surface of the skin to create a tickling sensation. Alternately, strong flicks can inflict pain, which can be erotic during sadomasochist (S&M) play.

Riding Crop

A type of whip originally developed for horse riding. A riding crop does not have a long lash; instead, the end of the whip usually has a firm rectangle made from leather or fabric.

Riding crops are sometimes used in roleplaying and BDSM. Crops designed for use as sex toys may use hypoallergenic materials such as faux leather in order to provide a better experience for users.


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.


Typically refers to two muscles located in the anus (although the term “sphincter” can refer to any circular muscle), the internal anal sphincter and external anal sphincter.

The external anal sphincter can be voluntarily controlled, and in order to engage in penetrative anal play, individuals need to relax and expand this muscle. Some toys are designed to strengthen the external sphincter, and some desensitizing lubricants are designed to numb the muscle in order to allow for easier relaxation and penetration. The internal anal sphincter cannot be voluntarily controlled.

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.


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Titanium Dioxide

Titanium Dioxide is a naturally occurring mineral derived from oxide of titanium. Titanium Dioxide is used to color cosmetics and personal care products that are applied to the skin. It absorbs or scatters light which can help protect products from deterioration. Titanium Dioxide is an important ingredient used in sunscreen products and are regulated by the FDA.

Lube 101 Definitions