After diving into the unknown, i’ve learned quickly how misinformed the average consumer is when it comes to adult toys, and the materials they are made of. Not only that, but they are misinformed about the value of buying directly from the manufacturer or there affiliates, as opposed to a 3rd party site (amazon, ebay, etc) With my newly acquired knowledge, I am going to run down the basics of what to avoid, and what to look for when buying a toy. (Ranked from safest to least safe)
1. First we have Silicone. It is 100% medical grade and non-porous. They are phthalate and latex free, hypoallergenic, odorless and overall far superior to any other material. They are flexible unlike glass or metal, and can be easily cleaned with a toy cleaner, being boiled, or in the dishwasher. You want to use a water based lubricant when using a silicone toy so it doesn’t break down the compounds in the material. For some added fun try warming your toy in warm water before use.
Glass toys are made from pyrex or borosilicate glass. Unlike silicone they are not flexible so be cautious using this toy with a harness and go slow. It is non-porous and easily sterilized, they come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors so you can pretty much find one that will fit your style. Glass is the best material for temperature play, just throw it in the freezer or hot water and experience new sensations.
**Be sure to warm your toy slowly to prevent cracking**
Metal toys are hard, smooth and tend to be heavier then other toys. Like glass and silicone they are non-porous and easy to clean. They can also be used for temperature play and you can even find them in gold and silver. Same recommendation goes for metal as far as using a harness with this toy, they are unforgiving so you want to make sure your partner is comfortable when using this toy.
Thermoplastic Rubber (TPR) &
Thermoplastic Elastomer (TPE)
TPR & TPE are lightweight and affordable compared to there silicone counterparts. They are flexible and resemble jelly but are phthalate free. TPR is porous so it is not recommended for sharing unless used in conjunction with a condom. They cannot be disinfected in boiling water and can have a subtle to noticeable odor and taste. They can be used with silicone or water based lubricants.
Superskin or Cyberskin
Superskin retains heat well and has a realistic softness and smooth texture. This is more porous then TPR or TPE so it should not be shared. To clean rinse the toy in warm water and dry before storing. DO NOT USE SOAP TO CLEAN IT! Instead use a dash of isopropyl alcohol and then sprinkle some corn starch when dry to maintain that soft feel. Lubricant used with this material should be water based.
PVC (aka Jelly)
PVC is a soft, rubbery material frequently made using a combination of polyurethane and a number of other chemicals. PVC is known to contain chemicals such as phthalate. This chemical slowly leaks out and can cause chemical burns in severe cases. It is extremely porous so always remember to clean your toy after use, and do not share your toy without using a condom. Some newer versions of PVC don’t contain phthalates, but unless you are 100% sure the seller is reliable, assume it contains phthalates. You should also be aware they can carry a heavy odor.
Tips on spotting toys
- Smell is a dead give away in most cases. If you open your toy and immediately notice an aroma, thats the chemicals releasing gases into the air and most times the smell won’t go away even after washing.
- Can you see through it? Well then most likely it is toxic. Some see through dildo’s are safe (i.e silicone or glass obviously) but most are not. TPR and TPE can also be used to make see through dildos and are safer in terms of not containing harmful chemicals, but are not non-porous.
- Lastly, you guessed it, you get what you pay for. Cheaper dildos to buy, mean they were cheaper to make. I have also found that most toys manufactured in China are almost always made with “Jelly” which is a huge red flag word when it comes to buying toys.