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Everything You Need to Know About Sex Toy Materials

June 30, 2021

Sex Toys|

Shape, size, function, and design quality aren’t the only factors to consider when choosing a new sex toy. The materials your sex toys are made from are just as important, if not more so, so never make the mistake of assuming one option is just as good as another.

Each material comes attached to its unique benefits and advantages. Some materials are also much safer from a health standpoint, while others should probably be avoided altogether. Certain materials are superior fits if you want your toys to last as long as possible, as well. Here’s a closer look at everything you need to know to make an intelligent, informed decision you can feel good about on every level.

Are Some Toy Materials Really Unsafe?

The very concept of a sex toy that might actually be unsafe to use as intended seems unbelievable. Such toys are out there, though, and the material they’re made from is the typical culprit. Some options contain potentially harmful chemicals that have been linked to serious conditions like cancer, fertility loss, or hormonal disturbances. Others can cause allergic reactions, itching, burning, and even tissue damage.

The most widely found chemicals of this nature are called phthalates. Phthalates are used in the first place to bind different compounds together. They’re also prized for the ability to make plastics and rubbers more flexible – a desirable quality in many sex toys.

Most truly high-end, trustworthy toy manufacturers pride themselves on selling only phthalate-free, fully body-safe toys. Phthalates and other harmful compounds can still sometimes be found in cheaper bargain toys, though, so always make sure the item you’re considering is body-safe before buying it or using it.

Porous vs. Non-Porous: Which Is Better?

If you’ve read much about sex toy materials so far, then you’ve probably heard some materials described as porous and others described as non-porous. You’ll want to be aware of the difference between the two, as it will affect how you should go about using and taking care of your toys.

Porous materials are substances like rubber jelly or vinyl with surfaces that feature microscopic pores. Such surfaces make it very easy for bacteria, viruses, and organisms to multiply, which isn’t great for your health. They can also break down or deteriorate over time, quite possibly exposing you to dangerous chemicals. Porous surfaces are also more or less impossible to sanitize thoroughly, so if you do choose to own one, use a condom with it to ensure your play stays safe and hygienic.

Non-porous materials feature smooth, slick surfaces that are water-resistant. Such materials can be fully sanitized via hot water or appropriate cleaning products, making them a lot safer. Examples include medical-grade silicone, plastic, metal, glass, and stone.

Which Toy Material Is Best for You?

Beyond making sure the toys you choose are both body-safe and non-porous, which material you decide on is a matter of taste. Here’s a closer look at the unique perks and benefits of the most popular picks.

Silicone: Silicone is one of the most popular options on the market for some excellent reasons. It can be remarkably silky, smooth, and appealing to the touch. It also conveys vibrations like an absolute dream. It’s also long-lasting and a cinch to take care of and clean. Silicone comes in many different styles and firmness levels, so there’s a silicone toy out there to suit just about anyone.

Plastic: Plastic is slick and quite hard, which can be very appealing if that’s what you’re into. It makes vibrations feel “buzzier” and more intense in a unique way, so the experience of using a plastic vibrator is going to be a departure from what you’d get with silicone. Plastic should be carefully monitored for integrity issues and replaced if cracks or chips develop. However, plastic is inexpensive and easy to care for – perfect for people looking to get off on a budget.

Stainless Steel: If you like rock-hard toy materials but want to take a step up from plastic, stainless steel is a great pick. It’s virtually indestructible and can take a licking, so it’s perfect for people who like to play rough. When it’s time to clean up after the fun’s over, you can toss a toy made entirely out of steel straight into your dishwasher or a pot of boiling water. It’s truly gorgeous to look at, as well.

Glass: Tempered glass is a lot like steel in that it’s hard, tough, and stunningly gorgeous to look at. It’s just as easy to clean and take care of. It’s ideal for people who love to experiment with concepts like temperature play, as well.

Many toy lovers enjoy mixing and matching when it comes to the materials they choose, so there’s no need to limit yourself to just one unless you want to. Each is incredible in its own way, so explore the possibilities all you like.

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