Materail of Sex Toys
A sex toy should be safe to play with. It should have a design that works with your anatomy and be finished so that it won't cause scratches or abrasions in your most sensitive flesh. It should also be made of a material that is safe and won't cause physical reactions to its chemicals. One size never fits all, and some of us are more sensitive than others. As consumers you need to educate yourselves. Where do you find that kind of information? It's here right now.
Before we go over all materials though, we would like to explain about phthalates. You probably haven't ever heard of a phthalate, but you've certainly smelled them. They are softeners added to what would naturally be a hard material. Phthalates are "new car smell". They are respiratory inhibitors and carcinogens. In novelties, you can recognize them as soon as you open the packaging; they smell.
When you can smell a toy you can be sure of one thing; that the chemistry is unstable and the toy is out gassing. Studies have mainly been done on exposure to animals and the results are the things that horror stories are made of. The latest studies indicate that phthalates are endocrine disruptors interfering with s and boosting estrogen levels. Besides a possible link to the reduction of sperm count and the rise in frequency of testicular cancer, this disruption of s may counteract breast cancer medicines. And any transmen should really think twice about what they are playing with. Baby product manufacturers and pet product manufacturers have voluntarily eliminated phthalates from their product lines, but with novelties... we're back to buyer beware.
Novelty Materials Facts
- Mystery Materials: Let's face it; there is a lot of mystery meat in our toy chests. Who can tell what it really is... only a chemist. And in a store with no material listed on the packaging you either have to be psychic or you're taking major gambles. Are these products safe? I'd recommend using a condom on them. If your latex sensitive- don't take a chance. And some of these materials melt if you look at them funny. Keep them out of the sun and away from any other toys.
Over the condom you can use water soluble lubricant or a silicone lubricant. If you are using these toys condom free, then use only water based lubes and dedicate them to one person. Chances are the pores are open on your mystery material toys; you will be sharing any bacteria no matter how much you attempt to clean them. And cleaning can be tricky. A special toy cleaner is the safest bet. A soft soap is also possible. If the toy has electronic components (no matter what material it's made of), you want to very gently use a wash rag to soap it up and then to rinse.
- Jelly Rubber: Is your toy translucent with lots of bubbles? Does it smell like a chemical factory? If so, you have Jelly in your collection. Jelly is PVC with a phthalate softener. Now PVC is perfectly safe- your water pipes are PVC and it meets all food grade standards. It's the phthalate that really makes Jelly a problem. Upon exposure you may find your intimate parts enflamed and burning and you may have a discharge that is very similar to a yeast infection. The only safe way to enjoy jelly is to put a condom over it.
Only water soluble lubricants should be used because other lubes will melt the jelly material- in fact a jelly toy may melt sitting too close to a toy of another material. Dishwashing liquid soaps are too harsh for this type of toy and alcohol will dissolve it. Toy cleaners are really recommended. To store your jelly make certain it is dry and separated from other toys, you don't want to clean the puddle you may wake up to.
- Latex: Latex is probably the most common material used for toys. It's certainly been around the longest (since the 30's). It's inexpensive and it's made into every shape and size. Latex is always opaque and often flesh toned. You have probably heard of latex allergy or sensitivity; it is getting more and more common. The more exposure you have to latex, the more likely you are to begin getting reactions. Health workers using latex gloves day in day out are especially at risk. But after many years of safely using your toys, if you wake one morning to reactions mimicking yeast infections: inflammation, rash and discharge, throw the latex away.
The pores on latex are semi porous, so funny as it sounds you should cover your latex toy with a latex condom. As any safe sex student knows, never use an oil based lube on latex- it breaks down and destroys the structure of the material. Alcohol will also break it down. Latex should be cleaned with a soft soap or a special toy cleaner.
- CyberSkin™, SoftSkin™, and UltraSkin™ feel almost real. They are soft and subtle and certainly ideal for packing. The base materials are combinations of silicone and latex and the like. If you are latex sensitive- Beware.
Tantus has done experiments combining latex with silicone, the softer we make it (the more latex we use) the more it seeps. Oil is released. You can do a blot test on a clean sheet of paper at home to see how your toy stands up. I don't know about you, but I put toys in either my pussy or my ass- both of which have very sensitive skin separating the toy from my blood stream. When we speak of chemicals not being stable remember where they are escaping.
Because of the silicone you don't want to use silicone lubricant with these materials. Because of the latex you don't want to use oil based lubricants. Lubricants in fact, seem to degrade these materials. They make a nice soft stiffy absolutely flaccid. The safest way to use these products if they are for insertion is to wrap it in a condom.
Cleaning is of the utmost importance with these skin-like materials in order to maintain the texture. They are semi porous and if you rub them firmly you will tare the surface. Special toy cleaner or mild hand soap is recommended. And then you need to dry this material inside and out. To keep it from getting sticky, you need to dust all surfaces with cornstarch before they are put away (not talcum powder, which may cause cervical cancer).
- Elastomers are the latest innovations. We are seeing them in our kitchen ware, our toothbrushes and finally our sex toys. Elastomers are soft patented polymers and while they sound like a mystery, they are phthalate free and some even have closed pores and are remarkably durable.
The biggest problem that I see with these products is that they aren't really getting the recognition they deserve. Vibratex new soft vibrator bodies are made of safe Elastomers; California Exotics also has a line that has "Phthalate Free" printed across the front of the package.
But as these sex smart materials are so diverse, and as yet unknown by retailers and consumers alike, they are hard to recognize and even harder to generalize about as to care and cleaning. When in doubt use a condom and a water soluble lubricant and wash with soft soap. Hopefully packaging will include more details soon.
- Silicone is hands down the safest soft material for anything you're going to put into your body. Granted, I'm not unbiased- but I don't know any sex educator who is unbiased in this area. The more you research the issue of safety and sexuality the more you will resolve that silicone is the best product in the marketplace right now.
Silicone is hygienic because it has no open pores to harbor bacteria and it is so easy to clean. It is stable in high temperatures and will be fine up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit. You can boil or autoclave it. You can also bleach it in a 10% bleach solution or use alcohol swabs. Considering where your toys go- hygiene should be of the utmost importance. Yes, you may put it in your dishwasher.
Silicone is also hypoallergenic. It's inert so it doesn't react to any other materials and it is stable so it doesn't disintegrate or react when sitting beside something else.
Now all silicones are not the same. There are different grades of silicone: tin and platinum. They have different chemical make ups, longevities, and compatibilities. While all of the above facts are true for either silicone, only platinum grades can be medical grade quality. No silicone used in toys (that I know of) has had the FDA qualify its materials. It's time consuming and expensive and to get medical liability insurance would make the cost of your toys more than triple.
Because of the different qualities of silicone out there, and the different qualities of silicone in lubrications, some silicone lubricants bond to some silicone toys. The only thing that will stick to silicone is silicone. That bonding quality is why you calk your windows (also a silica based product). It's impossible to give you all the exceptions- thus we make a blanket statement that silicone lubricants are incompatible with silicone toys. If you love silicone lubricant, try a test patch on the bottom base of your silicone toy. If the patch doesn't get gummy, so the only way to clean it is with your thumb nail, it's probably going to be just fine.
The pursuit of pleasure... what could be more wonderful! The adult toy industry is full of amazing people creating amazing products. The dynamics of what get you off is our business. Your satisfaction is very important- and every time a case of product leaves eS Silicone we think about the potential orgasms going out the door. But the reality is as a consumer you have to take responsibility for what you put into your body.