Unsafe Sex Toys: How To Identify Them And Avoid Them

Unsafe Sex Toys: How To Identify Them And Avoid Them
Martin Moore
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I see my partner sterilize her menstrual cup every month. I see her using it, cleaning it, and storing it without a second thought. It comes sort of naturally to her – this is something that she does regularly. But what if tomorrow I found out that the cup was made of some toxic materials? What if it had been harming her month after month without her knowing it? 

The thought of my partner putting something unsafe inside her body makes me shudder. It’s the same with everything around us that we use intimately – especially sex toys. When we put something inside our body, we put our trust in it. We trust it to not harm us. Often, we don’t even think twice before using something we know is safe. But how often is this trust misplaced?

This is a much-needed article on how to differentiate between what’s safe for you to use and what isn’t when it comes to sex toys. Trust me, that 13-inch black PVC dildo might look appealing to you but your body probably won’t like it. It’s time we were a bit cautious about this. I mean, none of us wants toxins making us sick… especially from things that are only supposed to give us pleasure.

Why Should Unsafe Sex Toys Be Avoided?

What do these allegedly unsafe sex toys do to us? The obvious answer would be that they harm us. But how do they do that is the question. And I’m sorry to say that unsafe sex toys almost always harm women a bit more than men. I mean, let’s talk a bit openly about this. Women have to actually insert something inside their bodies…men, mostly don’t.

Besides for anal purposes, sex toys designed for men usually don’t involve them inserting anything into their bodies. Penis plugs are also an exception to what I’m saying. I don’t want to be sexist here but I’ve heard stories of infections and also UTIs, mostly from women. And using an unsafe sex toy can very well be the reason behind it.

How is this happening?

You know how everyone has heard of those stories where women, before the invention of sex toys, (or maybe even after that) would use various things to satisfy themselves? This has given some people the idea that a vagina can take just about anything. Be it a sex toy, a vegetable, or a stick. That my friend is a dangerously wrong idea.

I read this fantastic article once about how back in the witch-burning ages, people allegedly saw women plucking dicks from a tree and using them. (Oh yeah, they believed that there were such trees where the fruit was, very much, a dick. Don’t just listen to me, Google it.) So my idea is that women simply broke a sweet-looking branch and made sure to lubricate it well enough…

Anyway, that’s not the point of this article, so I’ll not talk about that anymore. But the point is, starting from sticks to mushrooms, sticking anything in the vagina has an effect on the entire body. It’s all in those sweet nerve endings present in the vagina, actually. Most people, including druggies, think the vagina is the gateway to heaven…why do you think that is? 

Anything at all – psychedelics, sex toys, or chemicals that come with those toys, gets absorbed in the body and affects it when inserted vaginally. Absorption of toxic materials is extremely high through a vaginal cavity because it’s the good old mucous membrane. Therefore, again, not to be sexist here, but women need to be extra careful while putting anything inside them.

Unsafe Sex Toys Are Harmful For Multiple Reasons

Now, women aside, let’s talk about why unsafe sex toys are harmful to just about everybody using them. (And this is very important so I’m going to use bullet points.) Anyone, regardless of how they’re using an unsafe sex toy, who comes in contact with an unsafe material or an unsafe chemical, can experience the harmful effects.

Poor quality plastics 

Poor quality plastics (Bisphenol A, PVC and phthalates) use plastic softeners that make the material softer and more flexible. (Basically, not everything can be as great as silicone but they try.) These softeners are harmful because they contain chemicals that mess with the endocrine system.

That system right there is responsible for regulating our daily hormones. Endocrine disruptors cause a raft of health problems because they completely mess up the body’s natural hormone balance and levels. It is also said to affect our mood. So, there’s that.

Porous sex toys

Porous sex toys can lead to serious infections. You might as well can clean your sex toy, but if it isn’t non-porous your vagina will never be clean enough. Porous sex toys can never be sterilized properly – there’s just no scope for them to be clean enough. This increases the risk of infections with viruses, bacteria, or yeast manifolds. A good way to deal with this issue would be to always put a condom on a sex toy while using it.

Or, you could, you know, just buy a non-porous sex toy that is super safe to use. I say this because even when you’re using a condom if you’re sharing your sex toy with a partner you’ll have to change the condom multiple times. If you don’t do it, the material can potentially transmit one infection to another because condoms can break with non-porous sex toys. And that’s a risk you shouldn’t be willing to take lightly.

Outgassing is always a bad indicator

In that case, your sex toy would have a strong chemical smell and is probably made of cheap plastic. Outgassing means when your vibrator smells a bit too much. And it usually indicates that you never should have bought it. Or you should just throw it away. Or maybe you should put a condom over it and be generous with the lube

All of this is completely subjective on my part, outgassing in the most common terms means that your sex toy is releasing unhealthy chemicals. Jelly see-through vibrators often leak a film or an oily secretion. Do not mistake that for lube, for that is the added softener. Yes, the softener that will mess up your hormones. Yes, that one. It’s leaking, don’t get that vibrator anywhere near you.

Besides, exposure to unsafe materials can lead to serious health problems, infertility being one of them. Breast cancer and prostate cancer are also possibilities that aren’t to be taken lightly. Some noxious materials can also lead to heart diseases.

And on top of it all, these materials can harm the fetus of a pregnant woman or a woman who is breastfeeding. Cheap, harmful materials have adverse effects on the user’s central nervous system.

Learn To Identify Unsafe And Toxic Materials

caution sign

So, your friend or acquaintance bought this amazing sex toy they’ve been raving about and you’re thinking…why shouldn’t I get this for myself as well? Well, you cannot just go off and buy something as intimate as a sex toy without putting some research into it.

You must learn to identify the material that goes into the composition of your sex toy. The first and foremost thing to do is read the list of ingredients used to make your sex toy. You can look out for these unsafe materials down in the list below that you need to take a note of and avoid.

  • Jelly: Contains phthalates, so no.
  • Rubber: It’s porous, so make sure you have plenty of condoms to go around before you start using it.
  • PVC and/or vinyl: It’s extremely cheap but most definitely contains phthalates. 
  • Ejaculating sex toys: Even though Bad Dragon makes a wonderful case for those ravishing squirting dildos, ejaculating sex machines are usually a headache. To begin with, they’re extremely hard to clean. That’s technically an invitation to bacteria. Plus you don’t really know what’s in that cum that’s being squirted out. If you’re too much into using it, don’t forget to check out each and every substance and material it’s made of.
  • Chemicals that you must also check for and avoid include Phenol, Carbon disulfide, Toluene and Admium.

Make Body Safe Choices

The handiest trick to knowing if your sex toy is safe is to smell it and then touch it. If it smells back, it’s outgassing. If it’s moist or slippery, it’s leaking chemicals. Look for silicone (I hail thee, medical-grade silicone, as the God of safe sex toy-making materials), or stainless steel (if you don’t mind your toy being on the harder side.)

When you’re picking a glass sex toy, make sure it’s non-porous. Borosilicate glass is non-toxic, non-porous and extremely easy to clean. This brings me to the cleaning of your sex toys. Just a gentle reminder, soap and water almost always does the trick. If you want to go the extra mile, get a disinfectant or a sex toy cleaning liquid, that is all.

Another material to consider when buying sex toys is lucite. The texture of this material is firm and it can simply be washed in the dishwasher. You also need to prioritize your sexual health by choosing a good brand of sex toy manufacturers. Always look for reviews when buying online. 

And if you’re physically present in a shop, don’t hesitate to ask questions about the sex toy you’re interested in. Online or otherwise, make a habit of reading the ingredients list to check for any harmful materials in it. Most sex toys claim to be phthalates-free in bright colors on the front…then you check the back.

Another safe body choice would be to pay attention to the anatomy of the toy as well. If it’s made with anal/vaginal safety on mind, you wouldn’t have to worry about it getting lost inside you. Anal sex toys missing handles or butt plugs with no base are to be avoided, at all costs. Even a tampon comes with a string…and some people freak out when they can’t find it. Imagine losing a sex toy inside you. It screams ‘unsafe’.

An Added Note Of Caution

Finally, it isn’t just the material of a sex toy, but also the object you’re inserting inside you. Let’s see…A pen because it’s long? A stick because it’s thick? An unwashed soft toy that’s not even so soft anymore? What are you even thinking? Just spend some dough on a proper silicone dildo already. 

This article isn’t just for all the grown-ass adults who can make informed decisions, even if you’re a grown-up reading this. Teenagers use things – unimaginable objects – and experiment with them sexually. I read articles, as such, on the internet regularly where people share stories about what they’ve been substituting a sex toy for. 

Putting a condom over a banana is not the way to go, people. Bananas are harder than actual dicks. Whatever you may think, bananas don’t have that curve that hits the right spot – a vibrating dildo does it much better. Maybe I’m not speaking for everyone here but even a banana without proper lubrication is landing in the lap of trouble.

Making a safe choice for yourself is necessary when you’re looking for some self-pleasure. And also if you’re looking to introduce something extra in the bedroom with you and your partner. All those things that are not meant for pleasure but you’re still willing to use them for it, they’re unsafe.

And you know what those things are…spoons, sticks, vegetables, even unwashed hands are a big no-no. Of course, do not pleasure yourself or your partner after you’ve used a hand sanitizer – alcohol on private parts might burn, and we don’t want that. Good old soap and water will most absolutely do the trick.

Adults, you’re sensible enough to make the right decision. At least I think you are. Kids, and by kids I mean 18 (or 21 based on where you are) year olds or above who can legally consent to sexual practices, your pocket money should go to a proper sex shop, not to a drug dealer. Take care of that body, you.

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