Lube 101 Definitions

Trifolium Pretense

A flowering plant also known as red clover. It is commonly used in alternative medicine due to its ability to affect blood flow and coagulation.

Red clover is used in some lubricants as a sexual enhancement ingredient, usually in coordination with other herbal extracts. There is limited research regarding trifolium pratense’s effectiveness as a libido-enhancing agent; however, it does contain isoflavones, chemicals that can affect inflammation.

It is generally safe, but large doses can cause some side effects including topical irritation and upset stomach.

Tocopherol – Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E)

Tocopherol  also known as Tocopheryl Acetate or Vitamin E.  A compound that contains Vitamin E. Tocopherols promote healthy skin and hair, and as such, they are often included in lubricants and skin care products.

Tocopherols can also prevent oils from decaying. They are a popular class of preservative and are generally considered to be safe for topical application and consumption. Some individuals may experience contact dermatitis or other mild skin conditions when using products with tocopherols, although this is rare.

Thickening Agent

A substance primarily used to add thickness to a liquid.

Lubricant manufacturers use a number of different ingredients to affect the viscosity of their products. Cellulose, propylene glycol, and xanthan gum are common examples; these products add a gel-like quality to lubricants, allowing for a better texture. Most thickening agents don’t cause side effects of any kind, and most use vegan-friendly ingredients.


Triethanolamine is clear, colorless, viscous liquid with ammonia-like odors in cosmetics and personal care products. It is used in makeup, sexual lubricants and creams, fragrances, hair care products, shaving products, sunscreens and cleansing products.

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.


A synthetic antiseptic commonly added to specialized sex toy cleaners. It is also used in toothpaste, mouthwash, cleaning supplies, and dozens of other common household products. Triclosan kills bacteria and fungi, preventing overgrowth that could lead to infection.

According to the United States Food and Drug Administration, there is insufficient safety evidence regarding orally administered triclosan products. The additive is currently under FDA review. However, toy cleaners with triclosan are considered safe, as they are not meant for internal use.


The principal sex hormone in males, testosterone plays a major role in sexual development and health in both sexes. Men produce about 20 times as much testosterone as women. Conversely, women produce a greater level of estrogen, which is the principal female sex hormone.

Testosterone promotes muscle growth, bone mass stability and body hair growth. It can also affect the libido (sex drive). As men get older, they naturally produce less testosterone; women begin to produce more testosterone during menopause.


A flowering plant (scientific name: tribulus terrestris) commonly used to as a supplement to improve sexual function. Some personal lubricants incorporate a tribulus extract to promote erections in men and sexual receptivity in women.

While some product manufacturers claim that tribulus can increase testosterone levels, there is limited scientific evidence to support this claim. However, some studies have shown a correlation between tribulus supplementation and enhanced sexual performance in animals.


Thermoception is one’s perceptive sense of temperature. Personal lubricant gels used as an aid in allaying the pain caused by friction during sexual encounters will induce heat thermoception when made with ingredients used to create this sensation. These warming lubes typically contain glycerol or propylene glycol and may also have capsaicin or other herbal extracts added. A warming effect is felt upon skin contact.


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A substance used to blend two liquids that would not otherwise mix due to differences in their chemical compositions.

Emulsifiers play an important role in many personal lubricant formulas. They work by altering the lubricant’s chemical kinetics, allowing opposing substances to work together – for instance, water and oil – and preventing those substances from separating.

Common emulsifiers include methyl cellulose, cetyl alcohol, methosulfate, and hydroxypropyl cellulose.

Lube 101 Definitions