What sex toys are really body-safe?
If we are inserting things inside of us, we want to be sure it is the best quality, right? With a lot of miss-leading information on the Internet, what does the terms like “body-safe”, “medical-grade” and “no-nasties” really mean?
Just about everywhere our bodies insides meet the outside, there are mucous membranes. These membranes prevent pathogens and dirt from entering our bodies, however they are more permeable than then skin. Mucous membranes can absorb fluids and chemicals into the body very easily. For a sex toy to be considered safe for repeated use where it makes contact with our insides, they need to be non-porous and inert. When purchasing toys, buyers should always try to check if the toy was manufactured with non-toxic & cancerous free ingredients. Better toys should also be inert and none-reactive.
- Don’t insert porous toys
Like a sponge that holds water, a sponge is also capable of holding gross things in it. A porous sex toy will also allow nasties to be stored which gives the germs chance to settle down and spread. Even if the toy is cleaned well, at a microscopic level these nasties may not be entirely eradicated. It would be a buzz kill if someone fell ill after a rampant session with a not so body-safe sex toy.
- Use non-reactive toys
Non-reactive body-safe sex toys need to be chemically and biologically inert. Inert simply means non-reactive. Practically nothing is truly inert, but relatively speaking non-reactive materials in sex toys are; materials at a chemical state where they are neutral towards body tissues. The term “medical grade” is a standard of inertness, but even toys with a medical grade label will still react to some things.
Sex Toy materials
Plasticisers: additives to make solid materials malleable without chemically bonding to the material. Think of this is mixing water and clay; the clay become soft and malleable until it dries and becomes hard again once the water has evaporated.
Phthalates (PDF): a family of plasticisers used to turn hard plastics into elastomers. Elastomers are a polymer with both elasticity and viscosity. Since the pdf is not chemically bonded to the plastic they modify, they leach out. Leaching is the problem as they are carcinogens and harmful to the reproduction system. Although readers will may have heard not all pdfs are proven dangerous, it is best to consider all phthalates as bad to be sure.
Silicone: A elastomer comprised largely of silica. Silica is inert and many silicone rubbers are too. Silicone is used in premium sex toys as well as medical devices, kitchen products and children’s toys. Silicone sex toys are more expensive to produce than other non-silicone-based toys and although the price is dropping a little on them, they are more expensive to buy. However not all silicones are non-porous or medical grade, they have to be manufactured that way on purpose. Silicone sex toys may still have additives like plasticizers or colorants added to the blend that may pose a medical risk. Readers may have come across companies selling sex toys as “novelty items” which is their way of saying potentially non-body safe. In short, a toy made from silicone does not automatically mean it is “body-safe” so still be weary. Silicone toys should never be used with silicone lubricants as they can cause the toy to break down. Instead use a water-based lubricant. As a core value, we do our best to only sell products that have been described as body-safe from manufactures and do not list cancerous materials.
Latex: Natural rubbers are made of latex. Its natural nature means it is not inert and some people are allergic to it.
Jelly Rubber: Novelty gifts and cheap sex toys are made from Jelly Rubber. Jelly Rubber is made from materials that are not chemically stable, safe or non-porous. Transparent, wiggly and mainstream for years, but readers should avoid Jelly Rubber toys unless used with a condom over it.
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC): Flexible PVC is used for sex toys, which means plasticizers are added to the PVC to make it flexible. Until recently the plasticisers used where phthalates and there are a few toys on the market such as several from Doc-Johnson that have been labelled as medical-grade and PDF free. PVC doesn’t mean bad; the brand needs to be considered on a case by case. Any PVC toys found on our shop are listed as PDF free and medical grade where appropriate.
Glass: Inert and non-porous and generally safe. The sex toys made from glass are sturdy and unlikely to break in normal use. To add some excitement, glass toys can be heated or cooled and can be used with any lubricant.
Stainless Steel: Stainless refers to its inertness and is an easy to clean material ideal for sex toys that need to remain firm and clean.
Thermoplastic Elastomer (TPE): TPE toys are Polyvinyl chloride (PVC), Bisphenol-A (BPA), Lead, phthalates (pdf), dioxins and other notorious offender free, so they are generally considered body-safe. The blend of synthetic materials in sex toys are considered non-toxic but the raw blend materials used my manufactures are not normally not disclosed. TPE is another common material found in sex toys.
Just because silicone toys are purchased for their body-safe properties, this doesn’t mean they are body-safe. High profile brands manufacture safe PVC and Silicone toys, but lesser known brands may still produce silicone or PVC toys that are not inert or nasties free. We make it a point to only sell products from reputable manufactures and their products which are described as body-safe and contain no harmful toxins.
Keep in mind;
- When re-using a sex toy use common sense. If the toy is becoming stick or developing a weird slick film this is a sign of plasticisers falling out.
- A change in colour indicates a chemical reaction which is not always dangerous. I once left a skin coloured dildo under the hot tap while cleaning only to return to a darker brown patchy toy.
- Changes in smell can be a sign of it leaking chemicals or hosting something nasty. Most toys will have a different smell when first purchased to the smell given after they have been cleaned. That smell is normally the cleaning product used on the toy before packaging.
- Does it look clean? If it doesn’t then the chances are it isn’t.