A Beginners Guide to Cleaning and Caring for your Sex Toys Part 1

sex toy cleaning

Whether you’ve just purchased your first ever sex toy or your 100th, knowing how to care for these products is paramount to not only their longevity, but also your intimate health. Make sure to clean your toy thoroughly at least once before using it for the first time.

First and foremost, you’re going to need to determine the material of your toy, considering the large array of options when it comes to this, I’ll narrow it down a bit for you. Sex toys generally fall into one of two categories: soft or hard. By this I’m not referencing the flexibility of your toy, soft toys are generally made of; silicone, TPE, TPR, rubber or some type of hybrid material such as silaskin or super-skin, all of which are flexible on their own but many act as a barrier between you and the motor/internal hardware of the toy. While, in contrast, hard toys are made of materials such as; glass, ceramic, wood, steel (stainless or surgical) or a hard plastic such as ABS, hard toys are a lot less likely to absorb any bacteria and are generally easier to clean, most soft toys will also have a handle made of a hard plastic for increased usability, such as Fun Factory’s entire range.

There are also several other aspects to consider when it comes to cleaning and caring for your sex toys, are they electronic in any way? If yes, are they battery powered, rechargeable or plug in? What’s the intended purpose of your toy? Is it made specifically for anal use? Or perhaps it’s not meant to be inserted at all. Overall, there are a multitude of defining factors that influence what we can and cannot do with our toys, especially when it comes to something as rudimentary as cleaning and storing.

Cleaning

First things first, PLEASE DON’T PUT YOUR TOYS IN THE DISHWASHER, I understand why you’d think that to be a good idea but not only is that where you wash dishes, cutlery and other food related items, it will actually melt or severely compromise the structural integrity of most toys.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way let’s begin with non-electronic toys, these products can be made from any soft or hard material, or a combination of both, the main defining factor is of course that they have no electronic or mechanical components. It’s important to note that most poseable and thermoreactive toys will fall into this category. Let’s start with the easiest materials to maintain; steel, ceramic and glass, these toys are both hypoallergenic and non-porous so bacteria is completely unable to penetrate the toy on any level. Because of their extremely high melting point, you’re able to boil toys made solely of this material to completely remove any bacteria, but if you’d prefer to keep your toys out of the kitchen you can also use an antibacterial toy cleaning spray or foaming wash, but make sure to rinse off your toy completely before using these. They are designed to sanitise your toys as well as be both toy and body safe, I cannot emphasize enough that you shouldn’t be using any type of household cleaner on your toys, so please be sure to pick up a toy cleaner and not use Dettol wipes or any type of spray ‘n’ wipe.

After the aforementioned toys, silicone is the most hygienic, and a medical grade silicone is the golden standard when it comes to soft toys. Any toy made of 100% medical grade silicone that is non-electronic, can also be boiled for up to 2 minutes (similar to a menstrual cup), although you’ll find that many lower quality toys will say they’re made out of silicone, be sure to check it’s 100% silicone before purchasing and medical grade before boiling. For lower grade silicone, toys made of a hard plastic and any other soft material toy DO NOT BOIL, the best way to clean these toys is by using an antibacterial toy cleaner (either spray or foaming), after rinsing. Surprisingly enough wooden toys aren’t in a whole different ball park when it comes to cleaning, these products are generally handcrafted and given a medical grade polymer coating or some type of other varnish to ensure the wood won’t absorb any moisture or bacteria. And because of this coating, we can clean them the same way we clean our hard plastic toys.

Part Two Sex toy Cleaning

Madison is a consultant at the Oh Zone Adult Stores.

Condoms for all – Care and storage

condom storage

It is a big and equal responsibility for each of us to do our bit for safe sex these days. Condoms are an easy and relatively safe option for safe sexual practices in this day and age and have been for quite some time.

If using a condom to absolute perfection, a condom can be 98% accurate in protecting against pregnancy and STIs. That’s if you use them to absolute perfection. Catering for human error lets say the margin is more likely 85%. To achieve absolute perfection you need to do the following;

  • Put the condom on the right way (and if you put it on the wrong way – throw it out and start again)

  • Put the condom on before any foreplay

  • If using extra lubricant don’t use any oil based lubricants as it may cause the condoms to break.

  • Pinch the tip before rolling down the shaft

  • Roll all the way to the base

  • Wait until you have removed the shaft from the body to roll the condom carefully off the penis, keeping the semen inside.

  • If possible, tie the condom before throwing it away.

 

As stated above, everyone can carry condoms, in fact it is highly recommended. The best prevention is preparation and you should never expect a date to be packing; bring your own. This is also good advice in case you have any sensitivities or preferences in condoms.

 

But where to keep them?

 

Most of us immediately think of the movies, or the books or even our own experiences of having a trusty condom stashed in a pocket of our wallet for emergencies or on the go – This is in fact a grave error.

 

Condoms should be kept out in cool dry areas and there is nothing cool about the pockets where wallets are kept. Pockets of clothes, right next to the body conduct a lot of heat, add a mobile to the mix and we are cooking. This heat damages the structural integrity of a condom which in itself will leave it vulnerable to breaking.

 

What else is dangerous about wallets and pockets? Keys, sharp things, pens anything and everything that could poke, prod and dent into your wallet and therefore your condom. Seems like a pretty big risk to put on accidentally leaving a potential hole in a condom that you might be using.

 

Also when was the last time you checked the condom in your wallet? One of the biggest oversights with condoms is that they expire. They do last a long time, but you still need to check the use by date. That use by date is also greatly affected by where they are kept, are they kept in the sun? Somewhere hot? Dry? Always check your dates periodically to ensure that you are getting the best use out of your condoms and staying the safest you can be. If you’ve moved house several times and they aren’t stored correctly you might want to rethink that emergency few that you own

 

So where can you keep them?

 

Glasses Case:

A great alternative to your wallet, throw them in your car, your bag, whether it be your reading, your sunglasses any old case will do.

 

A cigarette case:

Go into a smokemart and buy a steel case for cigarettes. This will perfectly hold a couple of condoms, perfect for those emergencies, they’re sleek and slim, so they will fit into your pants or your clutch while keeping those little shields cool enough and making sure that they don’t get poked or damaged en route to wherever the night leads you.

 

A deck of cards:

A particular favourite of mine. Super elusive, ever seen a friend with a deck of cards in their bag that says they play solitaire by themselves or they’re missing a few cards or say they can’t really play group games in their work bag or uni bag? Chances are they may have removed some of the deck so that they can fit a few condoms in their well concealed deck of many things. Under stated and very clever.

 

Container:

Not necessarily the classiest but sometimes the most practical. Tupperware and small plastic containers can be beautiful and fancy little ways to store the odd condom in bags, handbags or cars on the go.

 

At home, keep them boxed in your underwear drawer, in the bathroom, in the bedside drawer but ensure that you check the dates often and don’t use them past the expiration date. And whatever you do, don’t try putting them in the fridge or the freezer for a cooling effect, we have Lubes for that. By putting them in the freezer, you will dry out the condom which again opens you up to the risk of it breaking it.

 

My pick is definitely the Skyn condom range: the non latex range means that anyone can use them without irritation, and without worrying that someone will say I can’t use a condom because I have a latex allergy- Done solved here I have a non latex one I prepared earlier!

 

Another huge pointer is check in with the nominal width of the condom when buying. Brands and varieties differ. The nominal width can make a difference in desensitizing and the feel, finding the right nominal width will have a big impact on how comfortable the experience is for the wearer. But remember-not too loose, you need it to stay on after all.

 

At your Service

Tiffany

Oh Zone Sales Assistant, Sexual health Advocate and Carrier of Condoms.

Dealing with an unusual sex drive

crazy sex

Now, I know there are other women out there who, like myself, who have no idea what they want or desire sexually. Sometimes its crazy and you can’t even look at your significant other without mentally undressing them and jumping their bones as soon as the opportunity arises. But also, at other times when the opportunity presents itself, its just shrugged off like meh. But then other times you might really want it but then you also kind of don’t at the same time. Well, I’m here to tell you, you’re not alone.

To some, yes this may sound crazy, but it can be really frustrating.

I have been dealing with these kinds of issues through my entire sexually active life. It’s almost like there’s a little gremlin in your head pushing all the wrong buttons at the most inconvenient of times. And this can sometimes really ruin the mood, especially if you have made all the moves to hint that you are up for it but then all of a sudden, it’s gone and your partner is left extremely confused.

I’ve had partners in the past who I had never confided in about these feelings as they where never willing to talk or communicate about much sexual stuff. To them it was “sex is sex”. So, let me tell you, COMMUNICATION IS KEY! If they don’t know how you feel or what you want, then you’ll never be satisfied or content with the sex you have with them and it may even be the other way around, how will you know what they want if they don’t communicate it with you.

When I first met my current partner, of course like any relationship at the start, every time you’re with them you want to go at it like rabbits but that doesn’t last forever and if you’re like me, that period is even shorter again. So naturally, we grew out of that stage, but we still went at it a fair amount, it never just stopped and for some reason that amazed me, especially because I was very rarely up for sex as it was. Surely enough we moved in together, my sex drive went back to its normal wacky self, but he naturally has a high sex drive. This is where the communication started where I had never had it before. All he wanted was to please me, that’s what got him off, he wanted to know exactly what I wanted, where I wanted it and how long I wanted it for! I was absolutely blown away (no pun intended).

I’d never experienced a man, so hell bent on pleasing me. At this point I somewhat started to open to him about what I wanted but was still too shy to completely lay out what I thought was wrong with me as I though it may affect our relationship and how he saw me.

Turns out I should have told him straight up, like I said communication is key 100%. We got further into our relationship and he would occasionally ask questions like “You don’t seem like you want it, what’s wrong?” or “Are you still into me?”. When these questions started becoming more frequent and concerning, it made me realise that not only was this affecting me, but he was slowly noticing more and more that something wasn’t quite right, and it was starting to affect him too. So, we sat down and spoke about it all and I mean ALL, there was emotions, tears and feelings being released like nothing else. He comforted me and made me feel okay with who I am and these feelings I had that made me feel not normal.

The fact that I had finally spoken to him and opened up about how I felt helped not only our sex life but also helped our relationship. He now knows that if I seem a bit off chances are, I’m not up for it and he will realise that rather than going just ahead with it.

 

  • COMMUNICATION!   Always remember that this should be your first thought. Like I said earlier, how will either of you know how you feel or what you want if you don’t discuss and understand each other.
  • I found that sex toys really helped me cope with what I was dealing with. For example, if I really didn’t feel like doing anything but he was raring to go. Pull out the toy and go to town! I enjoyed and was more than happy to help him because I knew he was enjoying it and I was still helping him. At other times I wouldn’t have felt like physically doing the deed but for some reason I felt comfortable using toys. Let me tell you, men are more than happy to watch that! You can still enjoy each other’s company in a different and possibly more personal way.
  • Watching porn together.  Now I know this one may be a bit of a grey area as some couples don’t agree on watching porn at all. But if you’re open to it and they want to get down and dirty but you’re just not sure, ask them to watch porn with you beforehand. You may find you where in the mood for it you just didn’t know yet.
  • Physical foreplay. If you know what turns you on and you know what might get you in the mood, hell even if you don’t know but you want to do the deed, try some foreplay, go with the flow, and see where it goes. Tell him where to go, guide him and tell him what feels good.
  • Being relaxed. Always be sure that you are comfortable and relaxed with your significant other and environment when getting freaky. At the end of the day, its your body. They may be your partner but if you’re not comfortable, NO MEANS NO and they need to respect that and vice versa.

Kaylah and Oh Zone Adult Store consultant.

ARCWAVE Ion is here: What is it?

ion arcwave

It seems like just this week we were discussing the impending release of WOW Tech’s (We-Vibe, Womanizer, Pjur) newest brand line, ARCWAVE. What’s that? It was this week? Time flies when you’re waiting on new sex toys! As I was browsing the interwebs hoping to find different information about the impending release of anything ARCWAVE, I decided to check out their website once again. A new layout, an inverted colour scheme, and something called the Ion were staring me down. New stuff! Let’s discuss!

 

Wait, what happened?

So, we’ve got the first release. The Ion, seemingly the first of a few new toys, is not your average masturbator. Before we discuss what it is, let’s talk about what it isn’t. In my previous article, ARCWAVE – Why You Should Be Excited, we had a few hopes and dreams for this line. What the Ion reveals is that I was off with a few things, but on with a few. The Ion doesn’t seem to support any sort of phone connectivity, which was something I assumed would be standard on this new line. I’ll be totally honest, this caught me off guard; why would you take a step backwards? The entire current We-Vibe line, barring 2 toys, are compatible with the WeConnect app. While Womanizer toys aren’t compatible with any sort of app, this often comes off as a weakness; more and more couples are desiring that internet-interconnectivity, and for ARCWAVE to skip out on it seems like a mistake. However, there might be more to this toy, as although accessories are available for purchase, the toy is not. Are there more updates coming? Assuming there are more toys on their way, it only seems right! Considering we saw app connectivity in the trailer (we broke-down the trailer in that article I linked earlier), it might just be a feature we haven’t seen yet. 

 

So what IS the Ion?

Think the ever famous Womanizer Premium for PH’s! (Just read the damn article). The joys of sharing a parent company with Womanizer means you can use their amazing technology for anything! Touting PleasureAir Technology right on the frenulum (or banjo string, if you prefer), the Ion focuses it’s faux-vibrations on “The Right Nerve Every Time” and says the impending orgasm will be “The Closest Thing to a Female Orgasm for Men”. While I would be hard pressed to explain the toy better than ARCWAVE can (check out their website here), it seems I was off base in assuming these toys would be the We-Vibe equivalent for men. These toys are going to be more like the Womanizer line, and for that, I am VERY excited.

 

The toy draws a few similarities to some other toys in the “Guybrator” market. First off, just as I mentioned in my original article, the JETT by Hot Octopuss has definitely been looked at, but for this toy, it’s for different reasons. The JETT focuses on the frenulum, just as the Ion does. I originally assumed the sonic capabilities of the JETT were being explored, and while that hasn’t been ruled out, this toy plays with the frenulum. Keep your eyes peeled for those sonic sensations, though! The other thing the Ion reminds me of is the Cobra Libre from Fun Factory. Advertised as a penis head toy, this “Guybrator” is not meant to be thrust into while being used, similar to the Ion. Using vibrations as opposed to the PleasureAir tech, it’s not a spitting image, but they’re pretty similar in a few ways. They’re both waterproof, they’re both static use toys, and they’re both pretty freakin awesome. 

 

What impresses me most?

I’ll go on record in saying that a major selling point for the We-Vibe Chorus is the discreet charging/travel case. The stunning charging case the Ion touts is going to be a major factor in destigmatising the sex toys for male use. It’s sleek, sexy, subtle, and could be mistaken for a luxury car part. They clearly talked with their target audience here, and props to WOW Tech for listening. The concept of the case isn’t the only impressive part about it, either. It features a “DryTech” stick to wick away any moisture that would remain after cleaning. Utilising silica gel (those little DO NOT EAT beads you get in bags & boxes) to keep things dry, and a ventilated lid to keep things fresh, means your toy, cleaning pertaining, is going to stay fresher for longer. There’s also seemingly some pretty impressive silicone based technology going on, but I’ll leave you to discover that on the beautiful ARCWAVE website yourself.

 

Final Thoughts

I know it’s just the first toy of the line, but I’m super excited. The innovation we’ve already seen with the Ion will hopefully just be expanded upon with upcoming toys. I’ll be sure to continue with the updates as each new toy comes out, so expect further updates right here on AdultSmart.com.au! Hopefully we’ll have these toys in store soon, so also swing by Oh!Zone Adult Stores in Caringbah & Penrith to see if they’ve made their landing in Australia. In the meantime, keep your eyes peeled for more ARCWAVE updates, and stay keen for the men’s toy revolution!

 

Vaginal Dilator Exercises for Psychosexual Therapy

vaginismus dilators

Although these plastic sets are called “vaginal dilators” the name is not ideal, as nothing is being dilated (expanded) when you use them.

Often dilators are recommended for a combination of reasons. They can help retrain the soft tissues in and around the vagina to behave more normally. This may include improving scar tissue after childbirth/surgery/radiotherapy, or to help train the pelvic floor muscles to relax and lengthen as part of a structured program. Dilator use can also help to reduce vulval and vaginal hypersensitivity to touch.

Exercising the pelvic floor is essential to help to improve the strength, flexibility and control of the pelvic floor muscles. For penetration to be pain free, the pelvic floor muscles need to be able to relax fully and lengthen around something in the vagina. Dilators can help you to practice this.

Plastic dilators provide a pathway, allowing you to practice relaxing your pelvic floor muscles around something, increasing in size gradually, under your control.

If the smallest dilator is too big to slip into your vagina, you may need to start with something smaller, such as a cotton bud.

Dilators come in a set of various sizes. The smallest is the size of a slim finger, or a medium to large tampon. The largest is the size of a large erection. It is worth noting that an average erection is about the size of the 4th dilator in a set of 5. Dilators with a tapered end are often easier to use than those with a blunt end.

A plain lubricant is provided with most dilator sets. You will need to use lubricant for all these exercises. You can use any lubricant that you know suits you. Advice on lubricants that don’t contain many of the ingredients that irritate genital skin is available from your doctor, physiotherapist, nurse or psychosexual counsellor.

Sometimes they are available on prescription, or they are easy to order online or from your local chemist.  Dilators are available on prescription from your GP.

The exercises

It is best to practice little and often. 1 minute (building up to 5-10 minutes), 5-6 days per week is best.

Each step is likely to take weeks. The aim is to progress slowly and steadily, being comfortable with each step before moving on. If you go too fast and provoke lots of pain then you are likely to trigger muscle spasm, vaginal tightness and therefore more pain.

If you are unable to progress up the steps after weeks of trying, see your doctor, nurse, physiotherapist or psychosexual therapist. They may refer you on to someone for a more detailed examination and advice.

You will need to set aside some time each day to be relaxed and take your time with this process. Our minds and bodies are linked and if your muscles are to relax you need to feel relaxed and not rushed. How you think and feel about using dilators can affect your experience. Try to approach it with positive, optimistic attitude (even if this doesn’t come automatically). Last thing at night is not ideal,  as it is easy to put it off when you are tired at the very end of the day.

Please remember: the idea is to do what you can without causing pain. You may feel a little discomfort when first starting the exercises.

  • Start with the smallest
  • Prop yourself up semi-reclined on a bed/chair/sofa. Bending your hips and knees a little may
  • To prepare, you could try actively relaxing your pelvic floor muscles using your breathing (see our separate information leaflet – Pelvic Floor Exercises for Psychosexual Therapy).
  • A helpful first step can be to practice resting the tip of the smallest dilator at your vaginal entrance and using your breathing to keep your pelvic floor This will help you to overcome the reflex you may have developed, where your pelvic floor tenses up at the prospect of something entering your vagina.
  • When you think your pelvic floor is relaxed, take your time to gently slip the smallest dilator (covered in lubricant) into your vagina. Most vaginas slope up and backwards towards your tailbone. It may help to focus on your breathing, to reduce any physical and mental tension. The dilator doesn’t necessarily have to be fully
  • Leave the dilator in place for 1 to 10 minutes, keeping your pelvic floor You will be able to increase the length of time gradually with practice. If you stop noticing that the dilator is in there this is great– you are really relaxed! Repeat daily until comfortable.
  • When using the dilators, try not to get too caught up with thoughts or focused on emotions. Instead, bring your attention to your physical sensations as you use the dilators, or to the sensations of your breath in your body.
  • When ready, try the next size up from the one you are using. You may find it helpful to try 1 minute of the size that you are comfortable with before using the larger size immediately after. Continue in this way until it is possible to insert the larger size straight into your vagina.
  • Gradually increase the size of dilator you are using, remembering you should be comfortable with a given size for up to 10 minutes, feeling the muscles are fully relaxed around it, before you move on to the next.  If these exercises cause bleeding, or if you have difficult thoughts or feelings about using the dilators, which you feel are getting in the way, please discuss this with your doctor, physiotherapist, nurse or psychosexual counsellor.

Cleaning the dilators

Dilators should be washed in hot soapy water and rinsed thoroughly after each use. They do not need to be sterilized. They can be stored in the case provided.