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A Closer Look at Dildo Materials - How to Know Your Toy is Body-Safe

A Closer Look at Dildo Materials - How to Know Your Toy is Body-Safe


While there’s no denying how pleasurable sex toys can be – for couples and individuals – little regulation is in place, leading to unfortunate safety risks. It’s just as important to know what you’re inserting into your orifices as it is what you’re eating and what you’re putting on your skin (i.e. cosmetics). Here is a short guide to body-safe and not-so-safe toys. 

Best Sex Toy Materials

The best materials include silicone, stainless steel, glass, lucite, and borosilicate. There are some unexpected entries on this list too, like wood. 

Steel

Stainless steel is not porous, making it easy to clean. It’s also visually appealing. You can clean it using hot water and soap, bleach, or even stick it in the dishwasher. Aluminum is also commonly used for adult toys.  

Borosilicate 

This material is ideal for sex toys. It withstands high temperatures just like stainless steel and can be washed in the dishwasher with it. It is neither toxic nor porous.

ABS Plastic 

ABS is commonly used as a low-cost material for sex toys. It is also completely safe. One disadvantage is that it can be stiff and hard, not always creating the best of sensations. This is why lubricant is indispensable when using ABS plastic sex toys. There are cheap materials that feel soft and smooth, but they’re – you guessed it – harmful. 

Glass 

Glass is one of the best sex toy materials. Some people say it’s even better than silicone because it’s firmer. It is smooth, easy to use, and needs very little lubricant if any. Glass toys also look very beautiful, bordering on works of art. They are easy to clean and can be frozen or boiled. Clean them with soap and water or just use the dishwasher. 

Silicone

Silicone is one of the best materials. Not only is it safe, but it also makes toys more flexible and realistic. It is also highly durable. All of these advantages are reflected in the price. One particularly recommendable variant is dual-density silicone, guaranteeing flexibility and firmness at the same time. Have a look at these soft skin dildos to get a better idea. 

Lucite

This material’s firm texture makes it ideal for pelvic muscle exercises, such as kegel exercises, apart from other relevant uses. You can wash it in the dishwasher after. 

Wood 

While wood is very rare as a sex toy material, it is used sometimes, so it would be a good choice if you’re looking for something different and unique. High-quality wooden toys are finished with special coverage, making them non-porous. There is no risk of getting a splinter down there. These toys also tend to look very attractive. 

Worst Sex Toy Materials 

This category includes jelly, latex (more specifically rubber), PVC, vinyl, and more. Jelly is probably the worst offender. Its only plus is that it’s cheap, hardly making up for the risk. 

The reason it’s so dangerous is that it contains chemicals called phthalates, which we’ll go into more detail about later.

Latex

Clearly, latex sex toys are no-go if you’re allergic to latex. Repetitive use of such toys will cause rashes, burns, and breakouts. Obviously, most condoms are made of latex, so if you use them, you can use latex toys too. Be wary of rubber though. Some toy manufacturers still use rubber to make dildos. It causes allergies and smells bad. It’s also porous, making it impossible to clean. Use rubber dildos with a condom. 

PVC 

PVC is quite affordable, but it also contains phthalates. They are used to make toys more malleable and softer. Older products are made of PVC or vinyl, which is not the best sex toy material either. 

CyberSkin Toys

Some toys marketed as having a “real feel” are made of what’s known as CyberSkin. In fact, most penis strokers are made of it because of the realistic sensation, including some modeled on porn actors’ privates. CyberSkin (or Fanta Flesh) is highly porous, making it easy to get infected. Porous toys cannot be cleaned no matter how many times and how rigorously you wash them. 

About Unsafe Chemicals

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Photo by Dainis Graveris on Unsplash

Chemicals that are not body-safe cause rashes, burning, itching, and even tissue damage in case of prolonged or overly frequent contact. Phthalates are used to bind materials together and make plastic more flexible. As mentioned, they’re found in jelly, PVC, and some other offenders on our list. Exposure to these chemicals has been associated with asthma, obesity, neurological conditions, male fertility issues, type 2 diabetes, and more.

A lot of products contain phthalates, not just sex toys. People even have byproducts in their urine. Never buy toys that contain phthalates. Most modern toys are labeled "phthalate-free", but not all of them are free of hazardous materials. 

What Chemicals to Look Out For

You also need to look out for phenol, trimethyltin chloride, carbon disulfide, cadmium, and toluene. These have been linked to central nervous system issues and can affect someone who is pregnant or breastfeeding.

Let Your Nose Lead 

Again, we encourage you to invest in glass, silicone, or stainless steel toys. You’ll find they have no smell when you open the package. That means no unsafe, cheap materials were used. Conversely, if you detect a strong smell, that indicates the material could be harmful to your body.  

Avoid Porous Toys Like the Plague

Porous sex toys make a nice host for bacterial growth. You can’t sterilize porous toys properly, so all kinds of germs will flourish and thrive in them. If you can’t bear to throw out a porous toy you love, use it with a condom.

Nonporous toys are water-resistant and smooth. They can be washed in dishwater, in bleach, or simply in boiling water. 

Don’t be Afraid to Ask

When you’re browsing a sex shop’s website or are physically in a shop, ask questions about safety. The staff should be able to answer them and help you choose the best and safest toy for your needs, whether in person or through chat.