Lube 101 Definitions

Sesame Seed

A flowering plant found throughout Africa. The oily seeds of the sesame plant are a popular food.

Sesame seeds and sesame oil (derived directly from the seeds) have a high concentration of protein, Omega 6 fatty acids, and antioxidants. They may provide some anti-aging effects, and in some cultures, sesame is considered to be a powerful aphrodisiac.

Some sexual health supplements and skin care products use sesame oil for its purported health benefits. It is important to note that sesame oil can trigger a severe allergic reaction in rare instances; people with seed allergies should avoid this ingredient.


A calorie-free synthetic sweetener. It is sometimes added to flavored lubricants to provide a sweet flavor. It stores well, and unlike sugar, it does not increase the risks of yeast infections or bacterial vaginosis.

In the 1970s, saccharin was linked with bladder cancer in rats, which greatly diminished the sweetener’s popularity. However, there is no evidence that saccharin is carcinogenic to humans, and the original study did not account for specific features of rodent biology. Saccharin is now widely accepted as a safe food additive.


An artificial sweetener found in some foods, flavored lubricants, and cosmetics. Sucralose is much sweeter than natural sugar, and it stores easily. It is a calorie-free sweetener, as it does not break down in the digestive tract.

Compared to other sweeteners, sucralose is well-tolerated, and side effects are rare. It is thought to be safe for vaginal use. There is no evidence to suggest that sucralose has any effect on carcinogenic activity.


A genus of plants grown for their sweet leaves. The extracted sweeteners of some stevia species are commonly used as sugar substitutes.

Stevia is a low-calorie food as compared to sugar, and its sweet compounds do not feed the fungus that causes yeast infections (candida albicans). For this reason, it is often used as a sweetener in flavored lubricants.

While stevia is generally safe, it can aggravate ragweed allergies in some instances. Possible side effects include nausea and bloating.


Mineral salts that use sulfur. Sulfates are commonly used as preservatives and foaming agents in shampoos, cosmetics, and other personal care products.

In very large amounts, sulfates may cause irritation, but most topical products do not contain enough of these chemicals to cause a reaction. Sulfates can also build up in the environment, causing acid rain; many environmentally conscious consumers avoid sulfate-rich products for this reason.

It is important to note that sulfates are not the same thing as sulfites, which can cause severe reactions in some people.

Soy Bean

Refers to the protein-rich bean of the soybean plant.

Soybeans are a popular food in dozens of countries, and soybean oil is commonly used for a variety of purposes. It has a high concentration of healthy fats, which allows it to lock in moisture, and it is an excellent massage oil. Soybean oil may have some additional health benefits benefits; some studies suggest that it could minimize pain from arthritis and similar inflammatory conditions.

Soybean allergies are rare, but side effects can include itching and swelling. People who have peanut allergies are sometimes allergic to soybean oils due to cross contamination.

Stimulating Gel

An intimate product that contains a relatively high concentration of “”stimulating”” ingredients, which create unique sensations for the user.

Stimulating gels are rubbed around the penis, clitoris, nipples, and in other erogenous areas. Their active ingredients can include l-arginine, menthol, peppermint oil, capsaicin, and other substances that create tingling, cooling, or warming feelings on application. This can make the user feel more sensitive, allowing for enjoyable sex and masturbation.

While many stimulating gels have a lube-like texture, they’re not used in the same way; a small amount of stimulating gel is usually enough to provide sensation, while a large amount of gel can create an overwhelming effect. Most people use a separate lubricant when using stimulating gels.

Stimulating Lubricant

Lubricants that stimulate nerve endings, usually through the use of cooling, warming, or tingling ingredients.

Users often find stimulating lubes pleasurable, as these products allow for a different set of sensations than what a person would normally experience during sex. Common active ingredients in stimulating lubricants include menthol, capsaicin, l-arginine, peppermint oil, and vanillyl butyl ether.

Like other types of lubricants, stimulating lubes can use a water, silicone, or oil base. Most commercial stimulating lubricants are safe for everyday use, although some people are sensitive to the active ingredients in these products.

Synthetic Additives

A general name for any ingredient that is not derived directly from a plant, animal, or mineral source. It is considered the opposite of a “”natural”” ingredient.

Common synthetic lubricant additives include petrochemicals and manufactured chemical preservatives. While synthetic additives are not necessarily dangerous or ineffective, some people prefer to use products with all-natural formulas.