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Toxicity In Sex Toys

Toxicity In Sex Toys

Toxicity In Sex Toys

Sex toys are incredible! They help us explore our sexuality, both individually and with a partner, and experience sensations that we may never have felt before! And of course, they help us achieve some amazingly intense “o…o…oooOOOOOOOOOooo!!!!!!!” (orgasms!). Needless to say, we love ’em. But did you know that there are toxic sex toys?

Not all sex toys are created equal.

While many of us concentrate on shape, sensation, and price when selecting a toy, we end up forgetting the most important thing to look out for – toxic materials.

Toxic Sex Toys Are More Common Than You Think

If you’ve ever suffered from an uncomfortable burning sensation in your nether regions and remain clueless as to how it started, that old vibrator hidden in your bedside table may just be the culprit. That’s because sex toys don’t have to adhere to the same manufacturing standards as other products in the United States,

So although you won’t find any harmful chemicals in your dog’s favorite toy, you may just discover a bunch in yours!

Many sex toy manufacturers use harmful chemicals because (drumroll) they’re cheap. And they get away with using said chemicals because the FDA runs a mile as soon as it hears the word ‘butt plug’.

But far from being funny, the FDA’s prudishness means that many sex toys are out there wreaking havoc on people’s reproductive systems and vital organs. Carcinogenic chemicals such as phthalates, widely used in toy production, are also causing cancer.

How To Spot A Toxic Toy

Unfortunately, manufacturers are not required by law to disclose what materials they use to make sex toys, however, there are a few things you can look out for to keep yourself safe.

  1. Material Labels – If the sex toy label says Rubber, PVC, Jelly, Cyberskin, Realskin, UR3, Sil-a-gel or Vinyl put the toy down and step away. These materials are porous, which means they can never be completely disinfected and can spread bacterial infections.
  2. Price – If the toy is super cheap and from an unknown manufacturer, it probably skipped a few safety procedures to save on the extra cost, so avoid it if you can.
    • While price is a great indicator of quality, you can still find premium, body-safe sex toys for under $50, or under $99!
  3. Look & feel – If the toy feels very squishy and is completely clear, you should take another look and make sure it is body-safe and nonporous. If you want to be extra cautious, opt for opaque toys to ensure quality and if your toy is made out of glass, look out for seams, chipping and peeling. Similarly, if your toy is greasy or oily, it’s a sign that the chemicals inside it are breaking down, so throw it away asap.
  4. Smell & taste – If the toy gives off a chemical smell or tastes tingly, chances are it means that the chemicals used to make it are leaking. But before you throw out your brand new silicone toy, if you detect a smell you’re not sure about, try washing it with soap and water and leaving it out in open-air for 24 hours. Sometimes manufacturers do not wash their toys after production and before packaging, which can cause body-safe toys to have a smell.
  5. “Phthalates-Free” – Sex toy packaging often says “phthalates-free” to trick consumers into thinking that the toy is safe, but it’s often just a marketing ploy. If the toy isn’t from a reputable company, don’t trust it.
  6. Melting – If you’re still not sure whether your toy is safe or not, stick it under a flame. If the materials break down and melt from the heat, it doesn’t belong anywhere near the most sensitive parts of your body. Click here for more info on the Flame Test.

Finding A Toy You’ll Love That Will Love You Back

Although the market is inundated with toxic sex toys, a growing number of ethical manufacturers are working to produce toxin-free, body-safe toys that put the consumer’s safety first. These companies not only use medical-grade materials, they also market their toys in a sex-positive way, to encourage open and honest dialogues when it comes to sex and sexuality.

Some of these manufacturers include:

Products from these brands range from $20 – $200. Although their toys can be on the pricier side, you’ll be able to sit back, relax and enjoy your sexy time without worrying about a side of burning or itching.

If you’re not sure about specific brands, shop at stores like Vibrant that sell exclusively, 100% body-safe toys.

For more information on toxic sex toys, you can visit these resources:

Ariane Osman

Communications strategist, advocate and writer specializing in sexual and reproductive health, women's rights and social justice. Believer in sexual pleasure for all!

Ariane Osman

Communications strategist, advocate and writer specializing in sexual and reproductive health, women's rights and social justice. Believer in sexual pleasure for all!

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