Your health should be your No.1 concern. This guide to sex toy materials will empower you with knowledge, so you will always know how to pick sex toys made from body safe material and stay on the safe side.
It’s easy to choose a new sex toy, right? Well sure…and it’s also cheap! You can get a realistic dildo or cheap masturbator for a couple of dollars. Isn’t that swell?
Oh wait, but there’s a problem. Cheap sex toys look ridiculous! They’re also poorly designed (meaning they don’t work at all like the preview says they do), oh yes and they’re also TOXIC.
Many people don’t realize that and assume just because a sex toy is listed for sale, it surely must meet very high industry standards.
Well, it doesn’t! In fact, the sex toy market is so poorly regulated and you can end with a new sex toy, made from material that will hurt your health.
Since there are no regulations it’s up to you as an educated consumer to understand what kind of sex toy you’re buying.
Of course, you’re probably interested in the dynamic features of a new toy (such as vibration or suction) as well as a reasonable price. But your FIRST consideration should be materials that sex toys are made from – not the extra perks.
In this guide to sex toy materials, we’re going to discuss the pros and cons of each type of material manufacturer’s use, as well as what the major health risks are.
Now let’s start considering which sex toy materials are safe, which might feel uncomfortable, or even be dangerous.
Non-Porous and Non-Toxic Body Safe Sex Toys
Sex toys made from silicone are 100% body-safe. Silicone is soft, safe and easy for entry. It can be used for dildos, butt plugs, masturbators, vibrators and for any product you can imagine. Silicone is one of the most popular types of material for high-end products. The best kind is “medical grade” silicone. Medical grade 100 percent silicone can take many extremes!
- Durable (lasts forever if you maintain it properly!)
- Pliable (can be shaped into a number of textures from firm-soft to squishy soft)
- Soft (easy going on)
- Retains heat
- Best material for vibrating toys
- Non-toxic (safe as can be!)
- No latex or phthalates, hypoallergenic
- No odor or taste
It’s best used with water-based lube only. It can be cleaned with hot water and soap. For more detailed cleaning, silicone sex toys can be also boiled and cleaned with a bleach solution.
The only disadvantage to silicone (besides the higher price) is that some companies offer inferior grade silicone or scam non-silicone products altogether, meaning it’s harder to find reputable companies, especially when buying on Amazon, eBay, Aliexpress or any other marketplace.
Sex toys made from ceramic, tend to be harder and inflexible. Depending on the design, they can be solid or hollow. They can be used with any kind of lube.
Ceramic sex toys come with a few advantages:
- Can easily be warmed or chilled
- Are waterproof and can actually be filled with warm or cool water thanks to hollow designs
- Non-porous and body-safe
The downside is that ceramic is fragile and can easily be shattered if dropped.
While you might think glass seems gimmicky, it’s actually a body-safe option that’s comparable to ceramic. Glass toys are the most aesthetic and very easy to clean. Glass toys are typically made from Pyrex or soda lime. While glass sometimes has the reputation of being durable in boiling water or freezing cold, it can compromise the quality of the glass and can hurt you.
- Easy to clean and sterilize
- Fun to look at
- Can be dipped in warm or cool water for extra thrills
- Non-porous, no phthalates, safe!
- Tasteless and odorless
On the other hand, glass is also:
- Not soft or realistic
- Not as durable as steel, stone or wood
- Dangerous, if chipped or cracked!
Sex toys made from ABS plastic are generally NOT flexible or soft but feel like hard plastic. If you’ve ever used a vibrator then it’s likely you were using one made with ABS plastic. If the toy is waterproof (though not all of them are), cleaning is easy and can be done with regular soap. Air drying is usually recommended.
ABS plastic is:
- Fairly inexpensive
- Non-toxic and non-porous (safe!)
- Can be used with any lubricant
- Sterilized cleaning is OK
The negatives are:
- Harder texture, meaning it’s a more advanced toy for anal play
- Some inferior products may contain phthalates or other questionable materials – research well!
Sex Toys made from stainless steel are very aesthetic and safe choice. They’re hard, stable and yet very smooth and great for temperature play. Sex toys made from stainless steel can be easily cleaned with soap or antibacterial toy cleaner and will go well with any lube.
Metal toys are:
- Easy to sterilize or boil for cleanliness
- Great for use with temperature play
- Will stay thermal and adjust to your body temperature
- Non-porous and phthalates-free
- Very durable
But they are also:
- Heavier than other solid toys, can actually hurt if you drop them on a foot or toe 🙂
- Has a bit of an extreme reputation because of the hard texture
Wooden toys are firm but smooth pieces that are flexible and safe to use. They can be used with all kinds of lube and be cleaned with soap and water. Depending on the production process, some wooden toys can be sterilized but some cannot.
- Free from all chemicals
- Smooth and contoured to perfection – they won’t give you splinters!
- Much lighter than other solids like stone or metal, which means easier to handle
The disadvantage relates directly to wood because wood is not necessarily non-porous. It depends on the exact finish the manufacturer used to create to toy. Natural finishes are made with oil and oil layers can wear out eventually, meaning it would become porous. If you want more assurance, choose wooden toys with a medical-grade polymer, which is made to resist bacteria and moisture.
Non-Toxic but Porous Toys
Porous Sex Toys will harbor mold and bacteria!
A “porous” sex toy is about as gross as it sounds. What comes to your mind when you hear the word porous? Tiny holes, just like skin, which lets the skin breathe or sweat. Sex toys that are made from porous materials do have tiny holes in the material. This means there is a much higher risk of sexual fluids and lubricants getting caught in the pores of the toy.
Sure, you could try to clean your toy but because holes are so microscopic, there is no way to clean it properly. Your sex toy will harbor mold and bacteria which will endanger your health, without knowing that.
But you will surely smell it after a while! Eventually, the sex toy will be too unhygienic to use and can even make you sick via infection. That’s the last thing you need – a sex toy that gives you an STI!
Porous toys might be useful on a short term basis, but the longer you keep them, the higher the risk for the toys attracting germs, mildew and mold.
TPE/TRP, Elastomer, TPR-silicone, SEBS
Sex toys made from TPE/TPR, elastomers, Sebs and TPR-Silicone are realistic and stretchy. Essentially, TPE/TPR is a thermoplastic elastomer, which means a combination of plastic and rubber. Most popular sex toy brand names like Fleshlight, Doc Johnson and Pipedream use this kind of material. The word “skin” in the name usually indicates it’s this type of material.
However, sex toys made from TPE/TPR aren’t toxic but still subject to mold and bacteria infiltrating the pores over time. So it is advisable that you dispose of your toy after a few months.
They are porous in nature and so water lubricant works best.
UR3, Cyberskin, SexFlesh and most Lifelike materials
Those sex toys are made from thermal plastic elastomer mixture and are designed to mimic the feel of human skin. Material has a very soft feel and is made to simulate the touch of a real partner. Those sex toys are porous and in some cases also toxic.
- Realistic feeling
- Hypoallergenic, free of phthalates (in most cases, but please check material with retailer or manufacturer before purchase)
- Recommended for few month usage only, because of its porous material
- It is subject to bacterial, dirt and germs accumulating because of its pores
- It should be cleaned before and after use
- In fact, condoms are recommended for older toys
- They leave a bad scent after some time because of porosity
Sex toys made from Porous and Toxic materials
Sex toys made from TOXIC materials are full of chemicals that are dangerous for your health. One of the most dangerous are Phthalates. Phthalates seems like a fairly common name. Most manufacturers mark their sex toys as phthalate-free, although this is far from the truth in most cases. Whatever, phthalates are added to make sex toys more flexible and softer.
Unfortunately, no company is going to admit the truth that phthalates are toxic and really bad for your health. The toxins in phthalates are not safe and some people may even be allergic to them. Some negative reactions include skin irritation or a burning sensation.
Examples of toxic and porous toys would include:
Sex toy made from TOXIC materials:
- Contain phthalates,
- Easily harbors mold and bacteria,
- Smells and tastes like rubber,
- Might melt together when stored with a similar toy, especially jelly toys,
- Could cause an allergic reaction because of chemicals or latex content,
- It’s so unsafe, many advise you to wear a condom when using a porous toy.
It is crucial to choose sex toys based on HEALTHY and body-safe materials.
There an infinite number of choices but you don’t need to be “sold” on most of them. Aim to toys that are authentic, come with manufacturer warranty and made from body safe materials.
To stay on the safe side, you need to avoid buying sex toys on Amazon or any other marketplace.
Only certain kinds of sex toys last indefinitely. Others will degrade over time, some much sooner than later.
When shopping for a new toy, choose long-lasting non-porous and non-toxic products. If you must go with one of the cheaper and “lifelike” alternatives, don’t plan on using them forever.
Masturbation is supposed to be “safe sex”, right? It won’t be if you order every crap product off of Amazon. Have some higher standards. You’ve got to have the moral fortitude to turn down a nasty sex toy that’s bad for your health – even if that sex toy sweet talks you with all kinds of kinky promises.
Shop smart and spend your money wisely and pick only sex toys made of body-safe materials.