What Is My Adult Toy Made Of?
There’s a lot of talk in the industry lately about toxic toys. The problem is that the sex toy industry is currently completely unregulated. Because many places consider adult toys to be a novelty, they don’t use the same sort of medical ranking system befitting things you will be sticking into your body. They just kind of say, “Oh, whatever, this feels good!” and aren’t held to any legal ramifications for what they list as the actual ingredients.
It is also difficult to tell you exactly which toys to buy from which places because some manufacturers may have a line of toys that are safe right on the shelves next to toys which aren’t safe. So we’ve come up with a little guide to help you figured out, even before you bring it home from the store or order it online, what toys and materials are best for you.
For vibrators and dildos, silicone is the key word. One of our most popular silicone vibrators is theCouture Collection Rhythm. It’s fairly soft, not irritating on the skin, non-porous (which means you can share it between partners without having to worry about bacteria), and the best silicone products can even be used with silicone lubricants, ideal for anal play. If your product comes labeled as silicone, you can make sure you’re getting the right thing by looking at these factors:
- Is it clear or opaque? Silicone is not see-through, no matter what color it is. It is opaque, although it can be dyed. Here are some examples:
- Does it melt, become hot, or otherwise react when it touches silicone toys or silicone lube? Pure silicone should not react at all when it’s paired with other silicone. That quality comes from impurities in the silicone. If you’re nervous, take a dab of silicone lube and place somewhere unnoticable on your favorite toy– like near the handle. Leave it for a couple minutes. If something changes, you’re not dealing with real, 100% silicone. If nothing changes, lube up the rest of your toy and celebrate having spent your money well!
- Does it melt or otherwise react when it’s exposed to heat? Medical-grade silicone is safe in temperatures up to temperatures of 300 degrees C or 572 degrees F. They can be left out in the sun or even boiled to stay clean. If your toy says that it is made of silicone but can’t take the heat, it’s not 100% silicone.
- Was it cheap? If you’re like me, you’re always looking for the best deal, but you could potentially be compromising your health. I realize that cost is relative depending on where you bought the toy from and what type of toy it is. But if you compare your toy to others of the same sort, you’ll find that the ones made of 100% silicone are far more expensive than the ones made cheaply. That is because making toys safe can come at a hefty cost to the manufacturer, where as just throwing together some a bunch of ingredients that are potentially toxic is not such a big deal. Now, just because you got a toy for cheap doesn’t mean that it isn’t safe. There are some cheap, but still safe alternatives to silicone which we will get to below.
If you thought your toy was made of silicone but it doesn’t hold up to one or more of these tests, here’s what you may have instead:
These so-called jelly products are a big problem in the toy industry because it’s hard to tell what they’re made of. Jelly toys sent away to labs to be tested for their ingredients have come up all over the charts. Sometimes they’re part latex, part silicone, part whatever else was lying around at the time.
Apart from their potential toxicity, these toys are impossible to clean completely– they’re porous, which means that bacteria can actually get inside of the toy. And they are often made with phthalates, which are toxic. Boiling them will destroy the toy. If you do happen to have a jelly toy of some sort, many places recommend using it with a condom, if you don’t want to just throw it out.
TPR stands for thermoplastic rubber. It is a type of hypoallergenic rubber that is less porous than CyberSkin, non-toxic and phlanthete-free. While this sounds awesome, it’s not quite up to the same quality standards as silicone. It’s still porous and it doesn’t tend to last nearly as long as silicone toys, although they are a much cheaper option. But, if you’re going to share it with a partner, a condom is a good idea– like I mentioned, it’s still porous.
Gina Lynn’s Pink Harness With Stud is a popular toy we sell that is made of high-quality TPR.
Latex is a common ingredient in the adult industry. Not only is it found in condoms, but it can also be found in sex toys. In fact, many male masturbators are made entirely of latex. You can usually tell when something is made of latex by the way it smells. If you’re unfamiliar, the next time you have a latex condom handy, give it a good sniff. That smell is damn near impossible to get off your hands after putting a condom on. If your toy smells like that, it’s made of latex. Which isn’t such a bad thing, although latex can be porous and difficult to clean.
If you’ve had previous reactions to latex gloves or condoms, latex toys are, of course, something to stay away from. But if this isn’t a problem, you can keep your toy clean by using a condom, like our favorites, Crown Skinless Skin.
Gina Lynn’s Bendable Wireless Harness is a big seller in the latex toy category.
Elastomers look similar to jelly, but they are much safer. They don’t contain phthalates, are non-toxic, and resemble jelly toys. You can tell the difference between elastomers and jelly by giving your toy the good old sniff– if there’s a bad, or chemical smell, it’s probably an unsafe jelly toy.