• Lube 101 Definitions

    Honeysuckle Extract

    A substance made from the flower, leaves, and/or seeds of the honeysuckle plant, a sweet vine. It is often used in folk medicine for its anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties.

    Honeysuckle can soothe irritated skin, and it is sometimes used in lubricant formulas for this purpose. It has a pleasant taste and is generally well tolerated.

    Some people are allergic to honeysuckle and should not use lubricants with this ingredient. Negative reactions typically manifest as an itchy or painful rash.

    Horny Goat Weed

    A type of flowering plant also known as epimedium, ying yang huo, and barrenwort. It is well known for its aphrodisiac qualities.

    Horny goat weed contains a relatively large amount of icariin, a compound with antioxidant and antidepressant properties. Icariin may also inhibit an enzyme kown as PDE5. This is significant, as many western impotence drugs work as PDE5 inhibitors. As such, epimedium may act as an effective anti-impotency treatment for men.

    Many sexual enhancement products contain extracts made from the epimedium plant. Lubricants occasionally include this ingredient. Horny goat weed is fairly safe in low doses, but possible side effects of overdoses include upset stomach and low blood pressure.

    Hand Job

    A non-penetrative sexual act in which a person masturbates a partner with his or her hands. The term “hand job” usually refers to an act performed on a man; the term “fingering” refers to the same type of manual stimulation when performed on a woman.

    Compared with oral, anal, and vaginal sex, handjobs carry a relatively low chance of causing pregnancy or spreading sexually transmitted infections (STI). While some diseases such as herpes and HPV can spread through contact with the genitals and semen, the risk of transmission is low. To limit risks, you should always use condoms.

    For many people, using a personal lubricants during a handjob improves the experience.

    Hemp Oil

    Also known as hempseed oil, hemp oil is derived from the pressed seeds of the hemp plant. It does not contain THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Hemp oil is used in some lubricants, and it is a safe, hypoallergenic ingredient that contributes to lube viscosity. It is safe to ingest, and is low in saturated fatty acids.

    Unless an oil-based lubricant is specifically advertised as condom safe, it will break down latex and silicone. However, many hempseed oil lubricants are latex safe. This is because the base of the lubricant is water or silicone, not petroleum or vegetable oil.


    A group of viruses that can cause sores to outbreak on the lips, genitals, and anus. Two herpes simplex viruses, commonly known as HSV-1 and HSV-2, cause most symptoms.

    Herpes sores can be painful and unpleasant, and there is no known cure for the condition. Most people contract herpes from a person with an active outbreak; more of the virus is present when symptoms are present. Other names for herpes outbreaks include “cold sores” and “fever blisters.”

    People with herpes may not see symptoms for extended periods of time, but they still carry the virus. You can decrease the risk of contracting herpes by using condoms when having any type of penetrative sex.


    Refers to Human Immunodeficiency Virus, a retrovirus that affects the immune system. If left untreated, HIV eventually causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), which compromises the immune system. AIDS is typically fatal.

    HIV is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) that can spread through blood-to-blood contact. According to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV-AIDS, about 1.2 million people in the United States are HIV positive. Sexually active persons can dramatically decrease their chances of contracting HIV by using condoms properly when having any type of penetrative sex.

    Sexual lubricants do not affect the chances of contracting HIV/AIDS, although products with nonoxynol-9, a spermicide, may raise chances of transmission.

    Hybrid Lubricant

    Products made from a mix of water-based lube and silicone-based lube.

    The base of a typical hybrid lube mainly consists of water with a small amount of added silicone. Hybrids offer long-lasting slickness when compared with water-based lubes and are fairly easy to clean (unlike pure silicone lubes).

    Users should avoid pairing hybrid lubes silicone sex toys, as this will rapidly degrade the toy. However, silicone-water hybrids can be safely used with latex condoms.


    Short for hydroxypropyl cellulose, a common ingredient that improves lubricant functionality. It is water soluble and safe for topical and internal use.

    Manufacturers often use hydroxypropyl as a thickening agent in personal lubricants and some eye care products. It emulsifies liquids, providing a more desirable texture. Lubricants with hydroxypropyl can be safely used for anal, oral and vaginal use, and side effects are extremely rare due to the inert nature of cellulose.

    Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

    Human Papillomavirus (HPV)is a family of viruses that infects humans and spreads through sexual contact. While most HPV infections produce no symptoms, some strains of the virus cause skin or genital warts. Research has also linked the virus to some cancers, notably cervical cancer.

    Consistent and correct condom use can drastically decrease the chances of HPV transmission during penetrative sexual intercourse. Vaccinations are also available for some of the most dangerous strains of HPV.


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    A genus of grass characterized by its fragrant smell. In some cultures, lemongrass (also known as Cymbopogon) is said to have an aphrodisiac quality. It is also used as a preservative, a medicinal herb, and as a natural pesticide.

    Personal lubricant manufacturers primarily use lemongrass for its purported libido-enhancing effects and for its pleasant fragrance. While it is generally safe, it can cause reactions in people with grass allergies. Some evidence suggests that lemongrass can stimulate menstruation, and because of this, pregnant women should not use products with this ingredient.

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