Working in this industry it is really easy to forget that people may not know information about sex toy materials. Perhaps one out of ten customers have a concern with the material in a specific toy, as a sex educator I try to make it a point to point out whatever material is in each toy I am describing only rarely does it go beyond that. I thought it might be important to share a few quick observations in what I think is crucial information for many of the materials that make up many sex toys today. I will include any concerns you might have using the material and how best to clean each of them.
Sex Toy Material’s And Allergies and Cleanliness
Some of the things you as a consumer might be concerned with might be allergies, common materials people are allergic to in sex toys are but not limited to, Latex, Nickel and even MCS ( Multiple Chemical Sensitivity). MCS sounds worse than it is, it’s basically an umbrella description for people with sensitive skin. This can, of course, present itself in varying degrees depending on the person. Another concern one might have is cleanliness. Some materials are more bacteria prone, these toys tend to be porous in nature, having tiny holes for microscopic bacteria to fester and grow. These toys need extra care when cleaning and should be replaced more regularly. Also important is to use a condom if you’re ever sharing these toys specifically.
What Are Phthalates?
The most recent surge in ingredient fear is Phthalates.
Let’s discuss what Phthalates are. To be specific they are a group of chemicals that when combined aid in softening and increasing flexibility in plastics. There is no conclusive study that tells us in what quantity do phthalates become harmful. Further studies are required to conclude how much phthalates are considered non-toxic. Some of the side effects of Phthalates have been linked to affecting: fertility in both egg and sperm, breast cancer and hormones. Again these are linked not necessarily directly affecting.
It is important to keep in mind that when a label reads “Phthalate free” They are only referring to the specific material of the toy itself. This means that any additions to the toy like handles, buttons or painted details may not be phthalate free.
Common Sex Toy Materials
Now that you have an idea of what concerns you might want to pay attention to for yourself have a read through of the most common materials.
Many would argue this is the most life-like feeling material with strong durability. Silicone is Non-toxic, it is also considered hypo-allergenic and has the potential to last a life time. Silicone is non-porous so less worry for bacteria making a home on your favourite toy. One of the major drawbacks to the silicone toys is that they cannot be stored together. Each individual toy must be stored in its own bag. This will keep the silicone from degrading against each other, it will also help keep lint off your toy.
Because of the way silicone reacts with other silicone, you will want to avoid using silicone or combo lubes with these toys. Better to use a water based lube like the new “WICKED Aqua” found at Oh Zone stores now!
For those who like to live within the realm of reality, Cyberskin might be what you’ve been looking for. This material is the most life like texture and even warms in response to use like real flesh. Cyberskin is a collection of chemical materials that create soft flesh like material. This material is Phthalate free, however, studies on the effects of the specific materials over long-term have not taken place. Cyberskin is very very stretchy and surprisingly durable. Much like silicone, Cyberskin must be stored separately from other toys as it tends to stick or almost melt to other toys. Also, only water based lubes will do.
Easily the most durable of toy materials. Stainless Steel is easy to care for and user-friendly. Works well with all lubes, and easy to care for, simply wash in warm soapy water or you can use your favourite antibacterial sex toy cleaner. My Choice would be the “Tom of Finland Pleasure Tools Cleaner”, found on the Adultsmart website.
As it is a dense metal we can rest assured that these toys will be phthalate free as well it won’t have pores to host bacteria growth (care must be taken when cleaning if the toy has ridges or grooves). These toys can be relatively heavy but generally sit mid range in price point for those interested.
One thing to consider before using Stainless Steel toys is that they may have traces of Nickel in them, so if you have nickel allergy its best to avoid.
You can always try an Aluminium toy if you’re worried the Nickel in Stainless steel. Aluminium is much lighter weight than the Stainless steel and can be damaged easier. However, they are pore free and easy to clean.
PVC has been a long-time favourite toy material, it is soft and pliable. PVC is Latex free however it can be quiet porous. No guarantee against phthalates, this is because of the porous nature of PVC. There is no phthalate in the actual makeup of PVC.
When playing with PVC water based lubes are always best. Another easy way to clean the toy is to use warm soapy water or a good anti-bacterial toy cleaner is recommended.
TPR & TPE (Plastics)
Both of these materials are commonly used for their benefits during manufacturing. Both are a heat reacted plastic, TPE becomes much more elastic like with a strong durability level. TPR is much like rubber and has a very high tear threshold. TPR is considered to be hypo-allergenic. Because these materials are soft, to begin with, there will be no phthalates added to them in the process, they are also latex free.
These materials are however porous and require care when cleaning. Like silicone, the TPR and TPE toys cannot be stored with other toys of similar materials as they react with each other.
These toys tend to be inexpensive to make and therefore sold. While the popularity of rubber toys is on the decline with other like Hypo-allergenic toys making their way to shelves, these toys are still great. Perfect for a first timer wanting to try something new before spending the big $$.
As rubber is naturally soft and flexible no phthalates are added to the material, it does, however, contain latex. Rubber is also very porous naturally and requires extra cleaning care. Due to its porous nature, I don’t recommend keeping these toys too long.
This is not a complete conclusive list of all materials, but I think it should give you the reader a better idea of what you should be looking for or at least what to avoid. Don’t forget the staff at all Oh Zone stores are willing and eager to answer any question you might have.
About the author: KrizPatrick BA(Hon) Psychology- Human Sexuality
Patrick Kriz has a Bachelor Degree (Honours) in Psychology – Human Sexuality. Patrick is a wonderful man that has a wealth of knowledge and is happy to share this with those around him. He is articulate, educated and the provider or interesting and educational writings.
Having been a regular contributor to this blog for the past couple of months he has consented to add his profile to our ever expanding list of bloggers that provide us with the great content provided to you. We thank all our contributors and authors and a special thanks to Patrick whom we deem to be an expert on all things relating to sexual wellness and adult lifestyle with quality writings. Be sure to follow Patrick on Instagram.