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.
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.

Sex Toy Materials vs Lube

sex toy 101

Going into buying sex toys can be scary enough if you’ve never gone into a sex shop (it shouldn’t be, all workers at the best adult shops in Sydney are amazing, helpful, open minded, and just want you to have good orgasms), and then when faced with all the choices of lubes it can be overwhelming, not knowing what’s safe with what is another hurdle, so here are the common materials and what they can be used with, with the added bonus of how they should be stored and cleaned!

You would be amazed what are the most popular sex toys in Australia!

Silicone – smooth, no real smell or taste, some with a silky finish. Medical grade silicone is body-safe and is 100% hypoallergenic with no latex or phthalate.
Lubes: safe with water-based, oil-based, and hybrid lubes. (Extremely high quality is safe with silicone lube, Colours triple density dongs are safe.)
Cleaning: 100% silicone can be boiled, others should be washed with a toy cleaner!

Glass – most are made from the same glass as Pyrex, they are heat resistant and shatterproof. They are smooth and sturdy and perfect for temperature play. Glass is incredibly skin safe but be sure to check for cracks and fractures before each used!
Lube: Glass is safe with all lubes.
Cleaning: Can be washed with toy cleaner and water, or even thrown in the dishwasher, or boiled.

Plastic – most commonly made with ABS (the same material as LEGO), used for it’s cheap production value, these toys may be blended with latex. These are hard with no distinct smell or taste. Generally a skin safe material but could be blended with phthalates and latex, which are common allergens and harmful to skin.
Lubes: safe to use with all lube types
Cleaning: can be cleaned with sex toy cleaner, anti-bacterial soap and water, or through boiling.

PVC – man made plastic, can be hard or more flexible, has an intense plastic smell and more often than not contains phthalates and latex so isn’t the most body-safe option in the world.
Lubes: this material should be used with water-based lubes only, as oil and silicone can melt the material.
Cleaning: rigid PVC is non-porous and very easy to clean, flexible PVC can be porous so may be harder to clean. Store these toys away from other materials and preferably in their own casing to avoid chemical reactions and damage to toys.

TPE – the material used to create Real Feel, Cyberskin, Softskin, or Ultraskin. Frequently used for male masturbators. Realistically fleshlike, warms to the touch, incredibly flexible, due to it’s softness it isn’t a great option for vibrators as it can weaken vibrations. Can tend to have a rubbery smell and taste. TPE is non-toxic but is porous so it’s prone to bacterial growth, and can be mixed with product softeners which can be allergens.
Lubes: use water-based only with this material.
Cleaning: as this is a porous material it can be hard to clean, best to use just water and a toy cleaner.
This should be kept away from other toys in storage to be on the safe side. Any discolouration can be a sign of growing mould in the pores of the material, so throw it away. These toys should be replaced every 5 months.

Metal – usually made from medical grade stainless steel, they can occasionally be mixed with other metals (such as nickel WHICH SOME PEOPLE ARE ALLERGIC TO), so be sure to check this. These toys are rigid and smooth but perfect for temperature play, higher densities are good for weighted and pressure play.
Lubes: all lubes are safe to be used with metal! 😊
Cleaning: this is a non-porous material which makes cleaning a breeze, toy cleaner, soap, dishwasher, or boiling all work.

Wood – if made correctly these toys are beautifully smooth with a non-toxic resin coating to prevent splinters. The weight and look will depend on what kind of wood was used to create the toy. If made correctly these toys are super body safe and environmentally friendly. Some manufacturers use scrap wood which is great for conserving rainforests.
Lubes: wood is safe with all lubes, due to it’s smooth finish you only need a small amount.
Cleaning: best washed with just water to prolong life, be sure to check for any damage before and after each use.

Rubber – one of the cheapest materials, will be flexible with a very strong rubber smell and chemical taste. To ensure body safety it is strongly recommended to use a condom with rubber toys as they often contain phthalates which can be harmful to the skin. (They have produced body safe rubber recently but it is not widespread).
Lubes: best used with just water-based, however if using a condom with rubber silicone is okay to be used.
Cleaning: best washed with soap and water and stored away from other materials, just to avoid chemical reaction with other toys.

 

My personal favourite lube is the Wicked Hybrid as it’s super vagina friendly and can be used with most toy materials out there, it has the benefits of the longevity and silkiness of a silicone lube, but the easy cleanup of a water-based!

Sex Toys That You Will Want For Christmas

Xmas sex

With Christmas just around the corner, you may be looking for some presents for your partner, whilst jewellery or the latest games console are good fall back presents, what if you want something to help with your intimacy?

In any case, sex toys are a sure fire way to bring a bit more fun or spice into your sex life, then sex toys are the way to go.

As a generation, we are much more open to talking about sex than every before, and sex shops are no longer called ‘private shops’ they are well known brands, with store fronts on most high streets.

However, sex toys remain something that many people are embarrassed about, so let’s go through some tips on buying the right sex toy for you and your partner.

 

Talk To Your Partner

The best thing you can do when thinking about adding sex toys into your life, is to have an open conversation with your partner about what you both like, and what you’d be open to.

This doesn’t have to be an in-depth, therapist type conversation, but it should be as open as you can be, with some discussion about what you both would like.

Sure, it can feel a little embarrassing, but the more you talk about it, the less embarrassed you will be, and you will find yourself enjoying sex even more – if that’s possible!

 

Solo Toys For Women

You may want to start looking at some solo toys to give to your partner, for the times that they are alone, and want to have some fun.

There are so many different types of toys out there that it can be a little confusing.

Some of the more well known toys are the rabbit type vibrators, which are penetration devices, with different vibration speeds and those well known rabbit ears for clitoral stimulation. These toys are the classic ones, and were probably the first sex toy to become fashionable and start people having more honest conversations about sex.

The massager wand type is another classic, beloved by many women around the world. This toy however, is not suited to everyone, as it can be a bit more on the forceful side, so choose the model with care.

There are so many newer types on the market now, including some which even claim to imitate oral sex, the Lelo Ora 3 review gives a good overview on this highly praised toy.

There are different types of clitoral stimulators available that work in different ways, such as the bullet types, some of which come in waterproof varieties.

 

Solo Toys For Men

If you are looking for a solo toy to give to that special man in your life, there are many options too for them.

The most well known solo male toy is probably the fleshlight. These toys have played their part in  making male sex toys less taboo, but they are falling out of fashion now, in their place are the far more discreet and just as pleasurable newer designs of mastrubation sleeves.

Cock rings are available in many different varieties. These can be used solo, to provide extra vibration, or when with a partner, as they are bound to enjoy the vibrations too!

Prostate massagers are also very popular these days, and many come with a remote control to allow you to fully enjoy a solo experience.

Butt plugs are another classic, and much safer than inserting a non-sex toy into this are – always use a flared base! Butt plugs have also expanded their varieties. The bog standard ones are still available of course – everyone loves a classic. But, newer vibrating designs are available, some with a remote control to make everything a lot easier.

 

Toys For Couples

Many of the toys we have already gone through can also be used with your chosen partner, or partners, but there are some toys that are specifically geared towards couples.

We have already discussed vibrating cock rings, that give pleasure to both parties.There are also some toys that can be used whilst giving or reciveing a oral sex, such as the BlowYo which is a silicone ring that covers the bottom portion of the penis, that makes oral sex feel much more, well, orgasmic.

The WeVibe, and it’s imitators, is a toy beloved by couples. One end rests against the clitoris, whilst the other inserts into the vagina providing G-spot stimulation, as well as vibrating against the penis shaft.

If you are away from your partner, there are even toys that can be controlled via an app, so that you can come together even when you’re apart.

Whichever toy you decide to go for, remember to be safe and enjoy yourself, and always discuss consent.

Nature’s Wonders for Sexual Health

Earthly Intimate

So a week or two ago we got a good lesson in store in terms of lubes, specifically Intimate Earth’s Defense Protection Glide. Now this was a great lesson about how Intimate Earth has healing and protection properties which includes (but not limited to): helping thrush, preventing thrush, and protecting against HPV.

While these points absolutely excited me because there are so many women out there who suffer constant thrush, and having an extra layer of protection for HPV – which is the virus that causes cervical cancer – I’m a sceptic at heart and this sounded very *essential oils will cure my life*, plus I’m a sucker for a good science deep dive… And I’m talking hours long.

So here’s how my journey went from “That sounds fake” to “Oh my god, Algae is a miracle”

Now Intimate Earth is great for the fact that it’s Vegan and cruelty-free, including great organic ingredients, being glycerin free (glycerin is okay in the right formulas, but that’s rambling for another day!), and paraben free; but these aren’t the winners for me. Defense Protection Glide has 2 ingredients that get me very excited now and those are Guava Bark, and Carrageenan.

We’ll start with Guava Bark, this plays an enormous part in traditional medicines across the globe, the study I read was specifically related to rural India, due to many factors the struggle to access good health care means many are still using traditional medicines to this day.
Studies have been able to show that Guava Bark is effective in fighting:

  • Gastrointestinal Issues
  • Malaria
  • Respiratory Infections
  • Oral/Dental Infections
  • Skin Infections
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Pain
  • Fevers
  • Liver Problems
  • Kidney Problems

And on top of all that it has amazing antimicrobial abilities having efficacy against 34 bacterial species, 19 fungal species, 6 protozoal (little single cell organisms) species, and 4 viruses.

“But what does this have to do with my lube?” Great question! Due to the vaginal being such a delicate little thing, you can look at it the wrong way and bam a little bit of thrush/yeast infection has begun, this ingredient is exciting due to it’s ability to kill off the overgrowth of the fungus that creates them (yes, it’s really a fungus, it naturally occurs but thrush/yeast infections happen when there is an overgrowth)… There is so much history behind guava bark being used as a douche, treating BV and thrush, being used in a Sitz Bath for post pregnancy or any kind of relief of pain around the genitals.

As someone who has had her fair share this ingredient makes me do  a little happy dance thinking about how good this can be for all vagina havers out there. Not only is there years of traditional medicine showing the uses, but for those skeptics like myself there is studies dating back to the 1940s that show it’s effectiveness (not saying years of culture and traditional medicine means nothing if not backed by western sciences, I just like to know the ins and outs of everything, like the nosey person I am).

 

Here we are moving onto Carrageenan, I had no idea what this was until I did my research (couldn’t even pronounce it, but that’s just the blonde in me coming through). This ingredient is derived from red edible seaweeds and is often used as a thickener in foods and gels. “Why do I care about a thickener?” well you see, algae lack an immune system so they’ve developed these really elaborate chemical defense compounds against bacteria, viruses, and fungi. These compounds have been shown to be effective against infectious and pathogenic microbes, and show promising results fighting some human diseases.

So the key excitement with carrageenan being included in Defence Protection Glide is the protective properties it has, this ingredient can prevent this bind of HPV virions to cells, lowering your chances of getting the virus. This excites me for various reasons (including the link to cervical cancer that HPV has) there is an estimated 291 million women with a HPV infection at any time and there’s believed to be a similar amount of men too and while most of these infections don’t cause noticeable symptoms persistent infections with some HPV strains can lead to cervical cancer or other anal/genital cancers+, so including carrageenan in a lube is such a genius move to try and protect us all against something so common within the communities but the ability to be so serious and life changing at the same time.

 

While there has yet to be clinical trials to show all of this there is quite a lot of evidence pointing towards all benefits and no downsides yet, I will happily be using Defense Protection Glide in the future knowing what I know now, and hopefully you will be too… Because there’s nothing sexier than looking after the health of you and your sexual partners! 😉