SEX TOYS 101: A MOST COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE TO SEX TOY MATERIALS
When I initially began purchasing and using sex toys, I was inexperienced, paying little attention to the composition of the materials and their potential impact on my health. At the time, I had no notion that I might be jeopardizing my well-being. Today, I am far more discerning when it comes to deciding what to insert into my body.
First and foremost, allow me to state that I intend to provide a factual overview of available options, potential risks and hazards, rather than to lecture you. Ultimately, it is up to you as a consumer to decide what products to purchase and use.
Why is toy material so crucial, and why does it pose such a considerable concern? Unfortunately, the sex toy industry currently lacks regulation, which allows unsafe materials to be used in their creation. You may even find labels on packaging that read "FOR NOVELTY USE ONLY," absolving manufacturers of any liability should you experience any injuries or illnesses associated with their usage. The investment required for certification is often-expensive and therefore overlooked by most companies.
However, not all sex toy manufacturers are neglectful of their consumers’ health and wellbeing, instead aiming to foster a healthy and secure relationship. Therefore, being conscious of what you are placing inside your body is important to ensure safe use. Nevertheless, some manufacturers may fabricate the materials in their products, making it difficult to make an informed decision.
Always trusting your instincts as a consumer, if something appears too good to be true, it likely is. The information presented in this discussion is intended to educate and inform you. Ultimately, the decision of what to purchase and use is yours.
Let's begin by examining…
Rubber is one of the most commonly used materials in the production of sex toys on account of its relative inexpensiveness and high flexibility. This renders the manufacturing of customised toys feasible in terms of both size and appearance. Rubber is typically used to create lifelike dildos, butt plugs and anal beads. Most rubber toys contain latex, which means they should be avoided if you have a latex allergy.
Due to their cost-effectiveness, rubber toys are generally cheaper to purchase, making them a viable option for those on a tight budget. It is important to treat rubber toys with care as their porous nature means they possess microscopic ‘holes’ that can facilitate the growth of bacteria if they are not adequately cleaned and sterilized. The best approach is to clean thoroughly with water and anti-bacterial toy cleaner. It is recommended that toys composed of rubber not be shared with a partner. The chances of bacteria accumulating can be lessened by using a condom.
It is common for rubber toys to possess a conspicuously strong scent as a consequence of the materials and processes used during creation. However, this scent usually fades with time and becomes less noticeable after several washes.
Phthalates are sometimes utilized in rubber toys to make them more pliable, but they may adversely affect reproductive health and well-being, as certain studies have indicated. Ongoing research makes it difficult to make definitive claims in this regard, so consumers must ultimately decide for themselves.
Users of rubber toys should use good quality water-based lubricants when applying lubrication. While silicone lubricants may also be used, a patch test should be conducted beforehand. Oil and petroleum-based lubricants should never be used, as they may cause toys to degrade.
When storing rubber toys, it is recommended that they be stored separately from other toys, if possible, and in their original packaging. If two rubber toys come into contact during storage, they may deteriorate and fuse together, rendering them unsuitable for further use.
Thermoplastic Elastomers (TPE)
Thermoplastic Elastomers (TPE), also known as CyberSkin, UR3, Fanta Flesh, among others, is a material commonly referred to as "flesh-like" due to its texture and appearance. Dingfoo, Fleshlight, TENGA, Doc Johnson, and Pipedream Toys typically use TPE in toy production. It is a mixture of plastic and rubber, often devoid of PVC, Latex, or Phthalates. TPE toys are soft, squishy, and silky to the touch because renewal powder, often cornstarch, is applied to their molds during production to prevent them from sticking to the mold.
TPE toys are relatively more expensive than common rubber toys and require prompt maintenance considering their porous nature. Anti-bacterial toy cleaner must be utilized for thorough cleaning after each use, and toys made from TPE should be kept separately. Sharing these toys is not advised, except with partners you're fluid bonded with; using a condom can mitigate any risk and optimize the toy's durability.
Although technically non-toxic, inserts from TPE are not advised due to their porous nature. They could retain odours from anal use even after washing, and are not suitable for anal use. Cleaning TPE toys should involve water and toy cleaner, and then patted dry with a lint-free towel or air-dried. For proper upkeep of toys like masturbators or strokers, cleaning and drying the internal canal are crucial. Renewal powder should be applied to preserve the toy's velvet feel.
Only water-based lubricants should be used for toys made of TPE since silicone/oil-based lubricants can cause material deterioration.
Silicone is one of the safest materials used in sex toy production, and it is commonly used to manufacture or coat dildos, butt plugs, anal beads, vibrators and male toys. Although expensive to produce, silicone toys are highly priced thanks to their varied textures, firmness, squishy feel, and body-temperature compatibility that offer more comfort during insertion.
Silicone is non-porous, and as such, bacteria and contaminants cannot infiltrate the toy or spread to users. It is also extremely easy to clean, requiring only a mix of water and toy cleaner, boiling or even bleaching in a 10% solution. Companies such as Tantus and Bad Dragon use platinum-cured silicone, making it body-safe and appropriately labeling them as medical-grade silicone.
It is advisable to use only water-based lubricants for silicone toys, as silicone-based lubricants can damage them, especially if they are not 100% silicone. Proper storage is essential, and to avoid attracting dust or lint like a magnet, it is recommended to store silicone toys in an original storage bag or packaging and rinse them before use.
Glass is a prevalent material in sex toy production, particularly in the dildo market. Most glass products are made with Borosilicate glass, the same material used for Pyrex dishes in the kitchen. The choice of glass as a material for sex toys is due to its durability and resistance to thermal stress and shock. This means that glass toys are strong and able to withstand pressure, as well as extreme temperatures without shattering or breaking into small pieces upon collision with hard surfaces.
Glass is also a safe material for sex toys because it is non-toxic and non-porous, which makes it body-friendly. It is versatile as well since its high thermal shock tolerance allows for warming or cooling the surface to intensify the user’s experience. However, caution must be observed because applying extreme temperatures could cause injury. Warming or cooling for about twenty minutes in warm water or the refrigerator is sufficient.
Moreover, glass toys are visually appealing and can be stored easily in a storage bag. The popular Icicles range by Pipedream is a prime example of the artistic appeal of glass dildos, almost like mini sculptures.
Cleaning glass toys is easy and hassle-free, and they can be sterilized using methods similar to cleaning silicone toys. Furthermore, glass toys are non-porous, making them safe for sharing. One great advantage of glass toys is that they are compatible with any lubricant of choice.
In conclusion, glass is becoming the go-to material for sex toys, especially dildos, because it is safe, durable, versatile, and visually attractive.
Metal is a material that is increasingly popular in the sex toy industry. Steel and aluminum are the most commonly used metals for toys such as anal beads, butt plugs, dildos, and chastity cages.
Steel toys tend to be heavier than aluminum toys, but both are non-porous and body-safe. Julian Snelling offers a diverse selection of steel and aluminum butt plugs and is a notable brand in the steel toy market. As metal toys are often heavier, they are generally better suited for those with some experience.
Metal toys, like glass, can be warmed up or cooled down to add an extra level of sensation. You can clean steel toys in the same way that you would glass and use them with any type of lube you desire. You can store metal toys safely with other toys, and with proper care, they will remain functional indefinitely.