• Lube 101 Definitions

    Benzyl Alcohol

    Benzyl Alcohol is a naturally occurring solvent that is used as a preservative. Benzyl alcohol is produced naturally by many plants and is commonly found in fruits and teas. It is also found in a variety of essential oils, gels, and lubricants.  Allergic reactions to benzyl alcohol can be fairly common, especially topical reactions and rashes.

    Benzoic Acid

    Benzoic acid and benzoates are common additions to many products such as sexual lubricants, foods, and other house hold products.  They are designed and used to kill or inhibit both bacteria and fungi.  Benzoic acid is a preservative which is safe when used in small quantities.



    Borosilicate Glass

    A type of glass commonly used in the production of sex toys. Borosilicate is more resilient than other types of glass; it uses silica and boron oxide to prevent cracking and shattering. It is exceptionally smooth and completely non porous.

    Borosilicate sex toys can be cleaned with soap and water or with specialized toy cleaners. Many glass toys can also be boiled, allowing for complete sanitization.

    Ball Gag

    In BDSM, a ball gag is a sex toy consisting of soft ball and head straps. The wearer puts the ball into his or her mouth, then uses the straps to prevent it from coming out of place. This can be erotic for both partners – the gag provides a visual stimulus while limiting the submissive partner’s speech, adding to a sense of submissiveness or helplessness.

    Most ball gags are made from silicone, plastic, or rubber. Because the gag can prevent the wearer from breathing normally through the mouth, these toys aren’t recommended for people with respiratory issues or medical conditions that might increase the risks of asphyxiation. Partners should agree on a non-verbal signal to use in place of a safe word (this will allow the submissive partner to indicate that he or she wants to stop sexual activities).

    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.

    Butt Plug

    A sex toy designed to be inserted into the anus. Typical butt plugs have a thin tip and a wider midsection with a flared base. The flared base prevents the toy from slipping completely into the user’s rectum, which can cause a medical emergency.

    Plugs are available in a variety of designs, with different textures, materials, and shapes to accommodate the preferences of different users. As the anus is not self lubricating, people typically use a personal lubricant to make insertion more comfortable.

    Due to the risk of infection, regular cleaning is essential when using plugs. Users should avoid sharing their plugs, although people can safely share penetrative toys by using condoms. Inserting a plug into a vagina after it has been in the user’s rectum can cause an infection.

    Benzyl Nicotinate

    A type of nicotinic acid, somewhat similar in structure to niacin. It can draw blood flow to the surface of the skin when applied topically, and it can widen the blood vessels (an effect known as vasodilation).

    Benzyl nicotinate may enhance sensitivity and create a mild warming sensation, and it is also useful as a topical pain reliever. It is considered a safe ingredient in personal lubricants.

    Because benzyl nicotinate can widen the blood vessels, people with blood pressure disorders should consult their physicians before using products that contain this substance.

    Bacterial Vaginosis

    A condition that occurs due to an overgrowth of one or more species of bacteria in the vagina. The bacteria temporarily takes over the vaginal ecosystem, causing a range of symptoms including itching, burning, unpleasant odors, and discharge.

    Because of their similar symptoms, bacterial vaginosis is often confused with yeast infections (overgrowth of the Candida albicans fungus). Both conditions can occur due to imbalances in vaginal pH levels, both are types of vaginitis, and both require basic medical treatment. Physicians will typically prescribe antibiotics to treat bacterial vaginosis.

    It is important to note that microorganisms naturally grow in the vagina, including many beneficial bacteria; see “vaginal flora” for more information. Women who are especially susceptible to bacterial vaginosis should use a pH-balanced lubricant.

    Butea Superba

    An herb found mainly in Thailand. Prized for its purported qualities as an aphrodisiac, butea superba is found in some newer male enhancement products. It is said to improve libido, allowing for larger erections. Some manufacturers also claim that butea superba gives men more control over their orgasms.

    While there are currently no studies to show that butea superba affects sex drive, some compounds found in the plant may affect blood flow. This could account for some of the claimed aphrodisiac effects.


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    Ginkgo Biloba

    A species of tree. In an extracted form, the leaves of the ginkgo biloba plant may promote healthy blood circulation when applied topically.

    Ginkgo Biloba is sometimes used in lubricants to provide a stimulating effect, which may allow for heightened sensations and a better overall sexual experience. Ginkgo is generally a safe substance when applied topically, but it may cause serious side effects for people with circulatory disorders when taken internally. However, most “stimulating” lubricants contain a relatively small amount of this ingredient.

    Lube 101 Definitions

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