A sex toy can be an interesting way to spice up your sex life whether you are single or with someone. Sex toys are being used by almost everyone, at least sometimes in your life give them a try! Even you do not plan on using them often, or you think of toys as of necessary spice in your bedroom, you should learn some tips on how to care for them. Sex toys can vary from those that will tickle you to those that vibrate; they can be used externally or inserted into the vagina or anus. Some are supposed to be used slowly and gradually, while others are used for domination and submission: cuffs, whips, other spanking toys. You have probably heard of vibrators for women, vibrators for men, butt plugs, dildos, anal beads, cock rings…
Sex toys are being produced from different materials.
Leather, latex, rubber: these are materials usually used for production of various BDSM toys and costumes. Price for these varies, depending not only on material but also on the type of toy. It is good to keep in mind that natural materials always should have an advantage, unless you or partner have fetish for certain material (such as latex).
Phthalates are often used for production of insertion toys, such as vibrators and dildos. Phthalates are chemical compounds used for production of various plastic products because they increase mobility of plastic polymers. Problem with phthalates is that these days more and more research point out to their negative impact on human health and the environment in general. Phthalates diminish the level of hormones our body produces, and certain research has indicated that these can affect in a negative way uterine growth of fetus. Additionally, phthalates are said to cause diabethes type II, asthma and various allergies, liver problems etc. These are reasons why phthalates have been forbidden in child toys in EU and Danish Greenpeace asked that they should not be used in sex toys production.
Having this in mind, it is a better choice to go for maybe a little more expensive but better and less problematic sex toy ingredients. Sylicone and elastomers are equally good for sex toy production and there has not been report so far that they are causing similar problems as those that are connected with phthalates use. Look at product information while surfing online and looking for the right toy for your bedroom. While sex toys are made from a variety of substances, most use these materials:
Cyberskin, besides known as a thermal plastic, is the brand-name of a moderate elastomeric material that mimics the human skin; it’s humid and soft to the touch. Sex toys made of these substances are more durable than latex, but also regularly carry over high price tags. If your Cyberskin (or equivalent material) ever becomes unpleasantly sticky, just give it a clean with a bit of cornstarch or talc to return it to its original texture. While some sites promote talcum powder to restore sex toys and the various finishes, I advise to avoid talc as it has been linked to cancer when used in the genital areas. ALSO: it is better to use water-based lubricants on these materials; silicone or any petroleum or oil-based lubricant can destroy Cyberskin. Toys prepared of these materials are extremely porous; hence sharing of toys without a condom is not safe.
Care and cleaning: You should fully clean the sex toys made of these materials between uses, and coat them with an appropriate renewal powder to ensure that it retains its texture. You can also use cornstarch and a soft cloth to renew your sex toys and return them to their former glory, though the manufacturer is against such “home remedies.” These materials are extremely averse and should be cleaned with only appropriate substances or only warm water and an antibacterial soap. Do not use alcohol-based or other household cleansers as they will damage the material. After cleaning, dry it with a towel and make sure your Cyberskin product is completely dry before applying any renewal powder. This will stop discoloration and protect your toy when not in use.
Silicone is a soft and lifelike, hypo-allergenic material, and it warms up quickly to build temperature. It is non-porous and so is easy to clean with a mild soap and water. It may also boil for sterilization to allow for sex-toy sharing with the use of condoms of course. Unlike jelly rubber and contrasting porous substances, silicone can be sterilized in several temperatures spreading to 300 °C (572 °F). In addition, they can be bleached in a 10% bleach solution. Sex toys made of silicone are more expensive than those made of jelly and rubber, but they are particularly durable and will stay on for years to come if they receive the appropriate care.
Care and cleaning: as with all sex toys, you should clean this material before and after use. Use an antibacterial soap, or, as mentioned above, boil the toy to sterilize it completely. When using lubricants with silicone sex toys it is important that silicone or silicone-based lubricants are NOT used, because these may cause adverse effects and damage the toy.
Jelly sex toys are from a mixture of PVC and rubber, resulting in a jelly-like texture and feel. Sex toys made of this material feel reasonably realistic, and are relatively moderately priced. The sextoys often look translucent and sometimes have a rubber odor due to its porous character, but most people are not troubled by this. One drawback to Jelly sextoys is that they are made with phthalates. Phthalates are “plasticizers” or softeners added to plastics to make jelly more flexible, also transparent and permit them to last longer. Studies have shown that phthalates can have health risks and are one of the most watched materials in the United States and European Union for health concerns, particularly in products which are consumed by mouth, commensurate as food packaging and water bottles. Although no conclusive studies on the health risks for jelly sex toys have been conducted, I recommend that you always use a condom when using a sex toy made of jelly for better protection. This material may contain toxins. However, there are again jelly-like materials, called Elastomers. Care and cleaning: Cleaning sextoys that are similar to Cyberskin, I advise you to use a mild anti-bacterial soap and warm water, and be sure to dry the toy completely and store it safe in a cool, room temperature place directly from touching other objects – especially other jelly sextoys. Use only water-based lubricants to clean jelly toys and you’ll have more fun than bungee jumping!
Similar to jelly, the elastomer is less dangerous and of higher quality. An elastomer is a material that does not include phthalates. As you may have read, phthalates are “plasticizers” used to soften PVC vinyl. If vinyl does not contain any softeners, it will be a very hard PVC material. There are several grades of vinyl, from food grade for your handy food storage containers or baggies (which don’t give off a smell) to the more economical grade that is used in shoes and other products. You can quickly make a distinction out of the vinyls and plasticizers (phthalates) using your nose and noticing the scent. The more odors you smell, the lower the phthalates used. You are probably aware of the terrible chemical smell that several of the “jellies” vibrators allot drown. This is basically the gassing of large amounts of phthalates. Elastomers are a fully disparate structure. They start out soft and have a property that makes them harder. This product is therefore removed by vacuum so there are no residual hardeners. No solvents are used for this process. This type of material is marvelous for manufacturing a variety of textures.
Care and cleaning: Using a water-based lubricant will be the ideal option to give the best results for cleaning sex toys that come from elastomers, and considering these toys are great and can be frequently used, they should be cleaned before and after each use with just a mild anti-bacterial soap and water.
Simple latex rubber is commonly used for the making of dildos, which isn’t as soft as silicone or jelly; rubber dildos tend to be not very realistic to the touch. They fall for one major drawback. If you are sensitive to latex are not for you, but if you don’t have latex allergy, they can perform well through many uses when properly maintained. Finally, like jelly toys, rubber dildos are porous, so they need frequent cleaning and can’t be used with other partners if you are not using condoms. If this seems to you a material that holds a lot of negatives, consider the price: rubber dildos can be very inexpensive.
Care and cleaning: Cleaning with a soft cloth, an antibacterial soap and water after each use is mandatory when using a rubber sextoy. Be sure to use a condom if sharing this type of sex toys, and water-based lubricants are best for keeping the long-term properties of latex rubber and remember the rules about sharing sex toys, as you run the risk of STI’s!
TPR (Thermoplastic rubber) is a polymer material that has a thermoplastic character. TPR is hypoallergenic, nontoxic and phthalate free. TPR is less porous than Cyberskin but more porous than Silicone, in consequence it is better to be used with a condom to prevent the spreading of bacteria and other infectious agents.
Care and cleaning: TPR sex toys should be cleaned with an antibacterial soap and or specific antibacterial sex toy cleaners. This material cannot be sterilized by boiling and I recommend the use of a condom when sharing sex toys made of TPR.
Glass sex toys are commonly made from fine medical grade glass (”hard glass”) of which Pyrex is one well-known brand. This material is fully non-toxic and can withstand extreme temperatures. Glass toys are completely safe. Glass dildos are also non-porous and can be sterilized to help reduce the risk of infection with reuse or sharing. These types of sex toys are not only durable, but also visually appealing, often considered by some to resemble a true work of art. Glass sex toys are a long-lasting choice to less valued toys. These toys can be used once warmed or cold. Some high end glass dildos feature Swarovski crystals; sextoys are covered in 24-carat gold.
Care and cleaning: These sex toys may be boiled or get heated for sterilization, but if you are not sharing them with others, you can wash them with anti-bacterial soap and water. As with acrylic, this type of toy may be used with any lubricant; silicon-based, water-based or oil-based.
Sex toys made of chrome are non-porous, can be easily warmed to high temperatures, are pleasurable, and beautiful.
Care and cleaning: No special precautions are needed for stainless steel sex toys, all of which are resistant to almost everything. You clean stainless steel sex toys in bleach and water, or put them in the dishwasher.
Roulla was a contributor on the adultsmart blog in 2014. She has since returned to her homeland in Greece where she has taken up a career in hairdressing. We wish her well.