When purchasing a sex toy not many people consider the material it is made of, but it is too often that companies cut corners and create toys that may cause harm to the consumer. Many companies will skirt around responsibility of this by including the phrase “for novelty use only” on their packaging. Toys that may cause consumers harm contain cancer causing agents, components that cause chemical burns, and pores that can hide bacteria and cause infections! Learning about what different materials are used in sex toys cause be the difference between a pleasurable night or a trip to the ER!
Silicone is one of the most commonly used materials to create sex toys, ranges from soft to firm, and transfers vibrations very well. They are body safe, able to be sanitized, and do not contain phthalates or latex. True silicone sex toys are safe to store with other silicone toys and can be used with any lube.
If a “silicone” toy melts or melds with silicone lube – it was not true silicone. If you are questioning the quality of your silicone, you may always do a flame test on an unimportant portion of the toy. If it is true, pure silicone it will react to the flame in one or more of the following ways: It will develop a pale gray ash or black marks that are easily removed, there will be a small amount of damage that resembles flaking or a sticky patch, there may be a black mark that doesn’t completely rub off, or there may be no change at all.
ABS Hard Plastic
ABS Hard Plastic does not contain phthalates or latex. It is slightly more porous than silicone, but can be sanitized. This material can be used with water-based or silicone based lubricants. Many vibrating silicone toys have an ABS Hard Plastic core, but if you’re looking for that silicone feel without the silicone price – you can find that with Coated ABS Hard Plastic.
Glass sex toys are incredibly popular for their nonporous attributes paired with their ability to be used for temperature play. While many toys can be used for temperature play, glass retains heat and cold well and is safe to use. Glass can also be sanitized via a boiled pot of water (if it is borosilicate) or a 10% bleach solution. Glass can be used with any lubricant and the only downfalls is that it needs to be checked for cracks or breaks before every use and that it can be too hard for some users.
There are two types of glass used to create glass toys: soda lime and borosilicate.Borosilicate is basically pyrex glass and can be boiled to sanitize or thrown in the freezer for temperature play. Most glass toys are made of borosilicate. Soda lime, on the other hand, is what glass blowers use and sex toys made of this material should not be boiled as it will cause cracking and damage to the toy.
Metal is another wonderfully, conductive material that sex toys are made of. They are used for temperature play, nonporous, and do not contain phthalates or latex. Like glass, metal can be used with any type of lubricant and can be sanitized. Metal toys are shiny and smooth but have a lot of weight to them and can be strenuous to use.
This material types is used to describe many sex toys that are made with a natural look or feel. Other names for this material include CyberSkin, Real Feel Super Skin, Better-Than-Real, Fanta Flesh, Futurotic, Loveclone RX, UR3, Sensafirm, and more. These may or may not contain latex and phthalates – and you should check with the individual manufacturers to see if they do. This material retains heat well and will provide the use with the most lifelike experience out of all the material types listed here. Realistic materials are porous, though, and should be cleaned well and powdered with cornstarch to keep that realistic feel. Cleaning this material is time consuming as it needs to be thoroughly washed and then completely dried. This type of material can only be used with water-based lubricants. They can have a strong rubbery smell and taste, but as long as they do not contain latex and phthalates and are cared for properly, they should be body safe. Sadly, since toys made with this material are porous, they should be replaced every 6 months.
Jelly material is the most porous, unsafe material. Most toys made with this material contain phthalates or latex. Jelly toys often have a strong odor to them and can cause an uncomfortable feeling during use. Jelly toys should always be used with a condom as they cannot be sanitized and harbor bacteria. Jelly toys should also be replaced every 3 months.
While jelly toys are cheap and easy to come across, they are not worth the money you will pour into them when it comes time to replace them and require more preparation to use than their more expensive, longer lasting counter parts. Jelly toys should be avoided if you’re able to.
Rule of thumb: if it smells like a shower curtain (or any chemical smell) or if it melts or melds with other toys you shouldn’t put it in your body. While silicone and glass are the best, body safe toys that offer a phthalates and latex free experience, they aren’t the only safe options on the market. Knowing what material you’re looking at can save you from a bad experience.