Many people love using sex toys or depend on their use in order to orgasm. There are plenty of extremely beneficial reasons to incorporate them into your sex life, though there is a lot that you should know before you start purchasing toys! You may take a look at our Buying Guides for information specific to certain types of toys, or read below for information about toys in general.
There is no organization, board or coalition that regulates the safety of sexual aids in the United States, Japan, Canada and the European Union. None, zero, zilch. Why does that matter? Because with no regulations, they can and do make toys out of whatever material companies want – even materials that are toxic, hazardous, or cause cancer! Regulating sex toys production would be admitting that people use them, and our government doesn’t want to do that – sex toys are illegal in several states, after all, and creating regulations would be admitting that people use toys and that the government is condoning them breaking the law.
If a company puts a “FOR NOVELTY USE ONLY” sticker on the product and you are legally free and clear – you can’t help that the consumer didn’t follow your instructions, after all. Along with our lack of quality sex education in this country, most consumers aren’t aware of the potential dangers cause by various materials.
Most toys that are sold are made of a material called Jelly Latex. Jelly Latex is made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC). If it smells like a plastic shower curtain, it’s made of PVC. This is a type of plastic that is known to leak toxins out through extended shelf life (more than 6 months), agitation (pushing it in and out of your body) and heat (such as during use). The toxins leach into your body and hang out there, which could cause kidney and liver cancer and/or damage to the reproductive organs. PVC is also in Cyberskin, mystery rubber, softskin and Ultra skin. If a product says it’s scented or has a ”touch me” area in the box for you to stick your finger into to feel the material, it’s most likely toxic.
The reason that most of sex toys are made of these materials is because it’s cheap and easy to get a hold of. Because of this, the market is saturated with affordable sex toys made from questionable materials. Most people don’t want to spend more than $35.00 on a single sex toy, which rules out a lot that are made from body-safe materials (check out this guide on Dangerous Lilly for body-safe toys under $35). Note: just because a toy is more expensive does not mean that it is body-safe!
There are toy materials that are completely safe to play with, no toxic leaching out into your fat, no slimy residue, no funky odor or gummy feeling. These safe materials are silicone, glass, Pyrex, or stainless steel. They all tend to be pricy, ranging in digits from $35.00-150.00 and they all have positives and negatives to them. For instance, silicone is amazing as it heats up to the body temperature, can be sterilized, can be soft or hard – but it can’t be used with silicone lube or it will be ruined. Stainless steel is wonderful if you are looking for a little extra weight inside of you. Glass rocks for it’s wonderful ability to be used in hot and cold play.
So, how can you avoid purchasing sex toys made of these materials? First and foremost, buy your products from organizations/companies that promote education and positive sexuality. Ask the salesperson if you are buying live and in person, what is this toy material made of? If they list any of the above, buyers beware. If the price is under $35.00 and it’s soft, chances are you have a jelly latex toy in your hands. If the salesperson doesn’t know the toy material, raise your antennae. Ask yourself at that point, why isn’t the salesperson aware of the type of products they are selling? Reputable sex toy salespeople know the material toys are made of, how to care for them, positives and negatives of the toys and what the best usage for the toy is. Most sex toy shops that advertise ADULT Videos sell novelty-use-only toys, the ones made of toxic materials.
What about the internet? The Internet can be a great way to purchase toys! Not only is it discrete, but also you have the option of picking from the crème of the crop of sex toy Shoppes. You can purchase your toys, videos, reading material, erotica from places that promote healthy sexuality/attitudes and education. They will inform you of the material your toy is made of, what the best usage is for it, how to care for it, and the positives and negatives of its construction. Most of these shoppes are feminist run and owned and they are spread throughout the country. Places such as The Smitten Kitten in MN (which doesn’t sell ANY toxic toys), Babeland in NYC, Pure Pleasure in CA, Good Vibrations in MA, Enigma in OR, A Woman’s Touch in WI, Oh My in MA, Early to Bed in IL are just a few reputable stores that provide as much education and empowerment as the enjoyment that they sell.
So, before you stock up for Masturbation Month, know what you are buying. Silicone, glass, Pyrex or stainless steel is the safest of the bunch. If you’ve had a toy sitting in the drawer next to your bed for over 6 months and it’s soft, throw it out and buy a new and improved one. Besides, you deserve a new way to get off every six months, don’t you? Happy Sex Toy Shopping!