It isn’t well known, but the sex toy industry isn’t as regulated by the FDA as other industries, if at all.
Many companies cut corners to keep the price low and to churn out as many toys as possible. Sadly, this can create toys that may cause harm to consumers. If you’re as outraged as I was when I discovered this, you may be asking yourself “how do they get away with such heinous acts?!”
And the answer is simple, they add a “for novelty use only” disclaimer to their packaging and when faced with the responsibilities of their cheap and shady business practices – they say “well, there was a disclaimer for a reason…”
Some of the ingredients used in cheaper, mass-produced sex toys can include known cancer-causing agents, chemicals known to cause chemical burns on the genitals, and pores that can easily hide bacteria and cause a nasty infection. Or worse, repeat infections.
Learning about the materials used in the sex toy industry and which ones are safe can be the difference between a pleasurable night and an embarrassing trip to the emergency room.
Body-Safe Materials For Sex Toys
Silicone is the most commonly used material in sex toys and arguably the safest – when used responsibly.
As I have already said, too many companies try to cut corners on the quality of the sex toy in order to produce as many as they can for as cheaply as possible. This can include mixing silicone with other materials to rack up the price.
Mixing silicone with other chemicals can cause the surface of the toy to become porous, a chemical reaction between the two components, or cause your toy’s quality to be less than ideal. When you hear of silicone vibrators, dildos, or masturbators “melting” into other toys or when it comes into contact with silicone lubricant, this is more than often due to the silicone in the sex toy being mixed with other chemicals.
When an adult toy is made pure silicone it is body-safe, can be sanitized, and does not contain any phthalates or latex. True silicone is fine to use with silicone lube and can be stored with sex toys of any body-safe materials. This texture ranges from soft to firm and vibrations transfer through the entire device well.
Lelo sex toys are made with 100% body-safe, medical-grade silicone, but if you bought your adult novelty item from somewhere else and you are concerned about the quality of the silicone, there is a test that you may perform to check.
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To test the quality of your silicone toy, simply run a lit lighter along an unimportant area of the toy and assess the “damage.” If black ash or a gray mark appears that is easily removed, then the toy is made of real silicone. If it melts, appears damaged, flakes, or creates a sticky patch, then the toy is not made with true silicone and should probably be used only with a condom.
ABS Hard Plastic
ABS Hard Plastic isn’t the second safest material, but it is the second most common. While this sex toy material does have the potential to be porous, it isn’t nearly as porous as some other materials.
Like silicone, it doesn’t contain phthalates or latex and it can be sanitized. I don’t recommend using lubes other than water-based or silicone-based to avoid trapping bacteria in any pores this material may be hiding. It’s also worth noting that ABS Hard Plastic does break down faster than silicone and sex toys made of this material should be replaced sooner.
If you’re looking for that silicone experience, without the price of silicone, ABS plastic is the way to go.
Adult products made from glass are incredibly popular and for good reason. Glass sex toys aren’t porous, are phthalate-free, and latex-free. These sex toys are great for temperature play and retain both heat or cold extremely well.
You can heat up glass sex toys by running them under water (never use glass on your genitals if it is too hot to place on sensitive skin) or cool it down by placing it in the fridge for a few minutes (never use glass on your genitals that is too cold).
Glass may be sanitized by placing the sex toy in a pot of boiling water (if it is borosilicate, but we will talk more about that in a minute) or wiping it down with a 10% bleach solution. Glass is great because it can be used with any sexual lubricants and is easy to clean. The only downfall to glass is that it needs to be checked for cracks before every use and it may be too solid for some users.
There are two types of glass that can be used to create sex toys, the one I already mentioned is borosilicate, (which is basically pyrex glass), and soda-lime. Borosilicate can be boiled or tossed into the freezer, while soda-lime is a bit more delicate. Either way, it’s best to check glass toys for cracks before any use to avoid bodily damage.
Metal is another fantastic material for temperature play!
Metal toys are nonporous, body-safe, and can be sanitized. This material can be used with any type of lubricant and is great for sharing. There are no phthalates or latex in metal and are smooth to the touch. I love the shine of metal sex toys but the weight of them can quickly become strenuous.
When I think of Realistic Feel sex toys, my mind immediately goes to Fleshlights.
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Fleshlight is the best-selling quality sex toy made with realistic material on the market today. Other types of real feel materials on the market include CyberSkin, Better-Than-Real, Loveclone RX, UR3, Sensafirm, Fanta Flesh, Futurotic, and of course, Fleshlight’s own RealFeel SuperSkin.
Many of these may or may not contain phthalates or latex, although Fleshilght’s RealFeel SuperSkin does not. If you are buying from a manufacturer other than Fleshlight, I recommend checking with them to ensure that your product is body-safe. These materials are known for holding heat well, heating up quickly, and providing the most lifelike experience.
These materials are known for being porous and should be cleaned well. When taken care of properly, they can last a very long time, and Fleshlights have been known to last a lifetime. I recommend only using water-soluble lubricants with these materials to avoid unintentionally trapping bacteria or bodily-fluids in your toy.
It is best to get into the practice of thoroughly cleaning any realistic feel toys, letting them dry completely, and applying cornstarch before storing. Practicing proper product-care will help to ensure that you get the most use out of your sex toy. Cheaper toys made with this style of the material may only last 6 months.
At the risk of sounding biased, jelly sex toys are collectively the worst and most unsafe materials on the market. While this may not apply to every jelly sex toy ever made – the majority come with a higher risk and lower quality.
These are porous and are often made of hazardous materials. Toys made with this material are notorious for causing burns, infections, and for having a horrible odor. These sex toys can not be sanitized and should always be used with a condom. Replace jelly sex toys every 3 months and do not share them with anyone.
While these types of materials may be appealing for the price, they are truly not worth your money. If you’re looking into treating yourself with a sex toy it is worth saving up to buy something from Lelo or Fleshlight to get the most out of your money.
Check our sales pages or affiliate links to get the best deals on these luxury deals. Or check out our Cheap Fleshlights Guide to get great toys for a fraction of the cost. In my expert opinion, jelly sex toys just aren’t worth risking your health over.
Tips for Buying Sex Toys Safely
If your sex toy has a strong odor or comes with a warning that it can “melt” with other toys or lubes, it may be unsafe to use in or on your body.
Silicone and glass are the best, body-safe toys that offer a nonporous, safe experience, but there are other materials on the market that may be worth looking into.
Know what materials are the best, what is worth investing in, and what to avoid when looking to purchase a sex toy. Again, knowing what’s safe and what isn’t can be the difference between a pleasurable and fun night or a trip to the ER.
*Disclosure* This review contains affiliate links and purchasing from one of these links doesn’t cost you anything extra. I earn a small commission from each purchase made from my links, which helps to keep Tugbro up and running.
I don’t recommend products just because I am an affiliate, I recommend them because I enjoy them and hope you will, too. I respect and value you as a reader and you can always expect my honest and unbiased opinion.