A Beginners Guide to Sex Toy Materials

July 03, 2023 3 min read

A Beginners Guide to Sex Toy Materials

 

Sex Toys. We've all got one (or two...or three!) but what's the main thing we look out for when buying one? Is it the size? Or maybe the speed? Sure we want it to look pretty and have a nice colour. But did you ever stop and think about the materials used to make the toy? This is not widely known but the sex toy industry is not well regulated. Manufacturers sometimes use chemical processes to soften plastics in sex toys which produce harmful chemicals that might be toxic to the body. Phthalates are one example of this. Phthalates are a known carcinogen. They are also linked to causing neurodevelopmental disorders and are known for causing reproductive complications. This is why they are banned from children's toys and all medical devices. Sadly the sex toy industry isn't up to the same standard so it's important to educate yourself about which materials are safe and which are potentially harmful.

 

What's the problem?

As sex toys degrade over time, the toys containing these phthalates often excrete chemicals which are dangerous and harmful to the body and even more so when we stop to consider the fact that people are inserting these items internally. 

Some sex toys (even if they do not contain phthalates) are made of porous materials, meaning they will absorb any bacteria on your body which soaks into the interior of the toy. This bacteria cannot be removed no matter how many times you scrub your toy and in turn can cause a lot of discomfort in the form of bacterial vaginosis or yeast infections.

 

    What Materials are considered unsafe?

    • Jelly¬†- both porous and contains phthalates.¬†

    • Rubber¬†- porous

    • PVC¬†- porous

    • Silicone-jelly or silicone-rubber hybrids (i.e. ‚Äúsiligel‚ÄĚ)¬†- porous and may potentially but not always contain phthalates

    Jelly, PVC, and rubber are very common materials used in the adult toy industry, particularly in dildos. Jelly usually comes in bright fluorescent colours, mostly transparent. PVC and rubber tend to come in the form of more detailed and realistic looking toys that feature a unnatural gleam to them. They tend to feel sticky and can come with strong smell which sometimes get more potent over time. The only reason manufacturers use these materials is because they are cheap and the industry is unregulated. We strongly recommend avoiding jelly, PVC and rubber toys and throwing away any that you may already have.

    If you do insist in using toys made from these materials, PLEASE use a condom. 

     

      What materials are the safest to use?

      • Silicone (100% pure silicone)¬†- it is completely non-porous and makes great toys both that feel amazing and are extremely hygienic (when looked after properly). This material can be used in diverse ways to make solid or vibrating toys and even masturbation sleeves. It is often used in medical devices
      • Glass or Pyrex¬†- very easy to clean and also non-porous, we wrote a full blog about glass sex toys previously, which you can read here

      • Stainless Steel or Aluminum¬†- works similarly to the glass sex toys

      • Hard Plastic¬†- hard plastic is not porous the way the softened ‚Äújelly‚ÄĚ plastics are. Magic wands fit into this category as well as many prostate massagers

      • Wood - (yes wood!) Wooden sex toys finished to a medical grade are safe to use and look stunning, a strong coating ensures they stay waterproof and non porous

      Years ago, the shelves of sex shops were littered with toys made from cheap, porous materials but times have changed. These days, there's no need or reason for people to be putting their bodies at risk by exposing themselves to these harmful materials. The main reason people are still using such toys is simply because they don't know any better. A lot of people operate on good faith and live under the presumption that if it wasn't safe, the shops wouldn't sell it but this is simply untrue and naive. Be smart when it comes to purchasing your next dildo, vibrator or masturbator and do a little research.

      Remember that these guidelines are for toys and devices that are to be used in and around (and inside) your genitals. PVC, leather, vinyl, rubber etc. are all fantastic materials for fetish wear and items of kinky clothing amongst other things.

      Please make sure and always demonstrate safe practices when using sex toys. Always clean and store them properly (more about that here) and use condoms if sharing with others. 


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