The Best Sex Toy Materials – Diary Of A Shopaholic

Sex Toy Materials

Do you know what your sex toys are made of? No? Me either. I never paid much attention to sex toy materials; honestly I spent more time thinking about the colour. But now as my sex toy education continues I am learning that what your toy is made of it almost as important as what it does.

Potentially Unsafe and Unregulated

Unfortunately the sex toy game is widely unregulated, hence the “sold as novelty only” stickers on most toy packaging. Because of this, a sex toy manufacturer doesn’t have to be particular about what goes into their toy meaning that there could be potentially harmful or unsafe materials contained inside the toy.

An example of one of these unsafe materials is plastic containing phthalates previously being used in the production of adult toys. Phthalates for those of us who aren’t scientists is something that can be added to the plastic generally to make it softer and feel more real. The problem with phthalates is that is has been proven to have really strong links between some types of cancer and even birth defects. Phthalates have been banned for all children’s toy manufacturing, but because of lack of regulations it has yet to be banned from adult toys.

Quality Increases Pleasure and Safety

Look at it this way, the sex toy you purchase is going inside your body and because of that you owe it to yourself to firstly be informed about the toys make-up and materials but secondly when purchasing a new toy, you owe it to yourself to get the quality item, if for no other reason than your safety.  I’m going to break down the most common materials used in the making of sex toys, I will give you some information about them so you can make informed choices and finally I will throw in a few recommendations your way so when it comes time to buy a quality product you know what you should be on the lookout for.

The Good – Sex Toy Materials


These toys are the goal. Silicone is one of the best materials for sex toys because it is non porous (so it can’t harbour any bacteria or germs), easy to sterilise, incredibly soft and is a great material for transferring vibrations (meaning you will have a quieter and more effective toy). Silicone toys with proper care and treatment (regular cleaning, proper charging or battery care, storing it correctly) can last a very long time, so even though silicone toys generally sit at a higher price point it can work out cheaper in the long run to make the investment.

Think of the cost of replacing a $50 vibrator twice a year for 5 years, that adds up to $500. A single silicone toy could easily last you longer than that and you would be having a better experience with the silicone toy during that time than you would with the cheaper ones.

Silicone Toy Recommendation: The Rabbit Company The Kissing Rabbit

Bestselling rabbit vibrator
Buy Now | Rabbit Vibrator Shopping


In my opinion the most beautiful toys are made from glass. Amazing shapes, colours and textures can be made from glass which is a great material for sex toys. Like silicone, glass is non porous which makes it easy to keep clean as it doesn’t have anywhere for germs or bacteria to hide, glass can also withstand both high heats and low colds which makes it a great toy for temperature play. Glass sex toys are not as fragile as people think.  They are normally either hand blown, which mean much attention has been paid to strength or they can be made from Pyrex, yes Pyrex that unbreakable stuff that mum’s baking tray is made out of.

Glass Toy Recommendation: Icicles No 12 Hand-blown Rose Glass Dildo

Bestselling glass sex toy
Image: Icicles No 12 Hand-blown Rose Glass Dildo

Stone And Wood

Yes seriously and as long as they are finished correctly they can be a great safe and clean material for your toy.

Wooden Toy Recommendation: Treezez Wooden Butt Plug

Butt plug made with wood
Image: Zeus Butt Plug

ABS Hard Plastic

This material is slightly falling out of favour for the more real feel options (more on those later) but ABS hard plastic still remains a great option for a sex toy material. It is non porous and easy to sterilise. I love ABS plastic for bullets as it can provide a welcome firmness when held in the right spot.

ABS Hard Plastic Toy Recommendation: We-Vibe Tango

sex toy materials
Image: We-Vibe Tango

The Problematic – Sex Toy Materials


Thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) is a soft type of plastic that is durable and should be phthalate free. The issues with this material is that it is porous which makes it hard to clean and sterilise. This becomes a massive issue for cleanliness and hygiene as removing all bacteria from these toys can be very difficult. If you are sharing a toy made from this material it becomes more risky again because of cross contamination.

There are stories of people catching or becoming reinfected with an STI because of poorly cleaned TPE toys. An antibacterial toy cleaner is required for these toys. The reason is, that it would take 5 minutes of “just running it under water with some soap” to get the toy anywhere near as clean as one spray of toy cleaner. Also some soaps can cause thrush, anti-bacterial toy cleaners do not do this.

Genuine Feel Rubber (CyberSkin, UR3, Real Feel etc)

Sex toys made with this material are difficult. On one hand they feel amazing, this material will give you the closest experience to the real thing and that’s why it is becoming very popular. We run into issues again with the cleanliness. Genuine Feel Rubber is porous and prone to tears which can be breeding grounds for germs and bacteria.

You must use a toy cleaner with this type of toy. You must also pay special attention to the drying of this toy. Genuine feel rubber is often used for masturbators and these are toys that are designed to be tight fitting around the penis, because of this after cleaning you must turn the toy inside out to allow it to dry. Also think of investing in some renewing powder for the toy, it will help dry it and keep it feeling like new.

Jelly Toys

These are some of the most problematic toys out on the market today. Because sex toy manufacturers aren’t very open with their exact plastic recipe (to keep it from competitors etc) it is hard to know what is actually in these toys. Some have been found to contain phthalates and due to the nature of these materials they are in a kind of slow state of decomposition meaning that unless you are sure what they contain this can be a risky option.

Jelly toys are very hard to clean, extremely porous and it is recommended that with these toys you use a condom. Many adult stores refuse to sell jelly toys because of their potential dangers.

When buying a toy it makes good sense to pay extra attention to what it is made out of. My best tip to avoid anything potentially harmful is to go to a reputable adult store (like Oh! Zone Adult Lifestyle Centres) and their trained staff will be able to walk you through the options and provide you with more information.

Author: Jamie is a consultant from Oh Zone Adult Lifestyle Centres

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