Lube 101 Definitions

Diazolidinyl Ureas

A preservative commonly used in cosmetics, personal lubricants, and skin care products. It is a synthetic substance with antimicrobial properties; diazolidinyl urea can prevent bacteria and fungi from growing, significantly improving the shelf life of a sexual lubricant.

Diazolidinyl urea is a fairly safe ingredient in small amounts, but it can cause an allergic reaction in some users. Potential side effects include contact dermatitis and skin irritation.

Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)

A hormone produced by the human body in response to prolonged stress or extreme stimulation. It is a steroid, and the body produces less DHEA as it ages.

Some lubricants and health supplements contain dehydroepiandrosterone to improve sexual function. The steroid may improve the chances of conception, and limited research suggests that DHEA could be a treatment option for erectile dysfunction and some menopausal symptoms.

Pregnant women should avoid lubricants with DHEA. It may also endanger people with hormonal issues, liver diseases, diabetes, or ovarian cysts, so talk with your doctor before using products with DHEA if you have any ongoing medical condition.

Potential side effects include high blood pressure and depression. However, side effect severity and likelihood vary greatly.

Dioscorea Villosa Extract

Extracts made form the leaves or root of Dioscorea villosa, a North American vine also known as Wild Yam. It is sometimes included in lubricant formulas as a natural treatment for some of the symptoms of menopause, and some manufacturers claim that Dioscorea villosa extract mimics certain human hormones, particularly progesterone. Extracts contain a high amount of diosgenin, a substance used to synthesize progesterone.

However, there is no peer-reviewed scientific evidence to suggest that Dioscorea villosa extract can effectively treat menopause symptoms. A report published in the International Journal of Toxicology stated that the extract is “”safe as used in cosmetic formulations”” when properly prepared.

Delayed Lubes

Lubricants designed to decrease users’ sensitivity, usually to delay ejaculation. Most delayed lubes include numbing ingredients, which can affect both partners; common examples include benzocaine and lidocaine.

These are generally safe ingredients, and allergies are rare. However, some users are genetically resistant to anesthetics and may not benefit from delayed lubricants.


A common abbreviation for diethanolamine, a compound used in some personal lubricants to achieve a creamy texture. Several ingredients may contain DEA, including oleamide DEA, cocamide DEA, DEA-cetyl phosphate, and lauramide DEA.

Some studies suggest that diethanolamine could be a carcinogen, and while lubricants use a fairly small amount of DEA, it is an extremely controversial ingredient. Many lubricant manufacturers offer DEA-free products.

Deionized Water

Deionized Water also known as demineralized water or DM is simply water with all of the mineral ions removed.  This high quality water is often used in the production of cosmetics and personal care products. Process water is monitored according to the Good Manufacturing Practices outlined in the FDA Guide.  Deionized Water is found in many of the most popular water based lubricants on the market.  It is completely safe to ingest or put in your body.

Dental Dam

A thin, latex barrier used during oral-anal and oral-vaginal contact. When used correctly, dental dams have been shown to reduce the risk of orally transmitted STIs such as herpes, HPV, and hepatitis.

Many physicians recommend the use of dental dams as a standard sexual practice, especially during casual sex. Dams can be purchased individually or made from condoms and latex gloves; a small amount of personal lubricant can enhance sensations for the receiving partner.


Also known as polydimethylsiloxane, dimethicone is a silicone compound that is similar in composition to plastic. It is a popular ingredient in personal lubricant products. Lubricants that use dimethicone are more effective than water-based lubricants due to the long-lasting slipperiness of dimethicone as well as the water repellent effect. Silicone-based lubricants are safe for latex condom use, unlike oil-based lubricants. Dimethicone is extremely well-tolerated, and very few people experience irritation or other side effects when using pure silicone lubricants.

Desensitizing Cream

Desensitizing creams were manufactured to be used as a topical numbing agent. Uses for desensitizing cream can be for anything from numbing the anus for anal sex or numbing the penis for delayed ejaculation. Common Ingredients in desensitizing creams is Benzocaine.

Benzocaine is a topical anesthetic, found in over-the-counter toothache remedies, as well as in products specifically designed as sexual enhancers.

Canadian products containing benzocaine must be labeled with information warning consumers of potential health risks, including benzocaine’s link with a rare but potentially fatal blood condition called methemoglobinemia. While the FDA doesn’t require a warning, the agency continues to monitor benzocaine usage carefully.


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Anal Beads

A type of sex toy with multiple attached balls, which are inserted into the anus (often with the help of a personal lubricant) and gradually drawn out one at a time. The movement of the beads through the anus can be pleasurable, particularly during orgasm.

Anal beads are often made from silicone, rubber, or plastic; non-porous materials are typically recommended for anal play. Hygiene is important with any anal toys, and non-porous materials are easier to clean. Many products have a ring at one end to prevent the string of beads from slipping into the rectum, which can necessitate medical treatment.

Lube 101 Definitions