These days it seems like everything will give us cancer. A new report comes out each week saying that sunscreen, potato chips, styrofoam or your cell phone is slowly killing you. At this point, we might as well live in a bubble.
While we can’t avoid everything that may or may not be bad for us, we can certainly steer clear of the products we know for a fact are harmful–especially products we use in our most intimate areas, like sex toys.
Unfortunately, the FDA does not regulate sex toy production, meaning that while many are safe for us, others have some less than appealing chemical make ups. Without regulation and education, many men and women are getting theirs and possibly getting something else and as sexy as chemical induced sexy time is… it isn’t.
Use this guide to make sure you know your sex toy materials, what is and isn’t safe and what you should look for.
Sex toys come to us a in a variety of materials like silicone, metal, plastic, jelly and glass. Many can look the same at first glance, but we’re told a different story under the microscope.
Silicone–This is one of the most popular materials used in sex toys and for good reason. It’s non-porous, hypoallergenic, hygienic, and pliable. These are all great things to find in a sex toy. Silicone, especially medical-grade, is a great and healthy choice.
Metal–Typically made of stainless steel, these super safe toys are a wonderful non-porous, durable option. These toys pair well with lubes and will last you a lifetime if taken care of properly. Kick your safety up even higher by looking for medical grade stainless steel.
Hard Plastic–Plastic toys can be confusing. Make sure yours is in fact hard plastic to ensure that it doesn’t contain any harmful chemicals. Hard plastic is an okay option for sex toys. It’s completely safe, non-porous and durable, but it doesn’t have much bend and can be very uncomfortable.
Jelly–These toys are made from a mix of PVC and rubber and should be completely avoided. You will commonly find cheaper toys made out of this material. Jelly not only contains phthalates (more on that later), but it’s also porous meaning it will collect (and grow!) bacteria. You will find that no amont of cleaning will truly remove all of the bacteria and your toy will eventually begin to smell.
Glass–Glass toys are typically made out of medical-grade borosilicate glass (think Pyrex) and are another great sex toy option. Glass toys are non-porous, durable, beautiful, and very hygienic due to the fact that you can disinfect it by dropping it into boiling water. Fun fact: glass retains temperature, so you can heat or cool these toys down. You can find beautiful glass options and other sex toys at Adam and Eve.
You should also avoid any toy made with PVC, rubber, soft plastic, or worse, any toy that does not list it’s ingredients. All of these products are likely to contain phthalates. And unlike potato chip, phthalates are actually proven to harm your body.
Phthalates are chemical softeners used to soften plastic. The chemical itself is unsafe for intimate contact, but it also has the tendency to breakdown over time and can begin outgassing through the seams of a toy.
Look for toys that specifically state they are phthalate-free or are made from glass, medical grade silicone, metal or hard plastic.
Buying a body safe toy doesn’t necessarily mean you’re safe though. Keeping your toy clean and stored properly are important components to you and your toy’s health.
Uncleaned toys can allow bacteria to build up over time, bacteria that can ultimately cause infections and/or spread disease. Be sure to clean your toy after every use. Use this toy cleaning guide to know how to properly clean each kind of toy material.
When it comes to storing, make sure you keep your toys separated. When mixed with others, certain toys can cause the material to break down or even break other toys. Wrap them individually in small cloth bags and keep them out of reach of children and animals. Take the batteries out in between use to ensure you get the longest battery life possible and avoid any battery leakage.
Now that you know, be proactive! Have any toys you aren’t 100% sure about? Don’t risk it. Throw them away and get toys you can be confident in. Plus, it was probably time to change them out anyway!