I’ve been writing about male sex toys for a while now, covering various devices such as male masturbators, sex dolls, and prostate toys. One thing I haven’t thoroughly covered is sex toy safety. Specifically, how to avoid devices that could be harmful to you or your environment.
As time passes, we as a society have become more conscious about our health and what we put in our bodies. Nearly every type of food we consume has a nutrition label that spells out exactly what what we are ingesting. And, in the United States, food safety is serious business, tightly regulated by government agencies such as the USDA and FDA.
One thing that isn’t covered, though, is the safety of sex toys. There are really no meaningful regulations to ensure consumer safety. I believe it’s a taboo topic that folks in congress (state and local) are scared to touch. Kind of like a hot potato. It’s easier to sweep this uncomfortable topic under the rug and hope nobody brings it up.
Obviously we don’t eat or ingest sex toys! But we do get intimate with them, by shoving them up our asses or jacking ourselves off. Because of this close proximity to the most sensitive and important parts of our bodies, it makes sense to pay special attention to the materials in these toys. It’s of the utmost importance to avoid materials and chemicals that could have negative effects on our well-being.
So, how do we do that? Keep reading…
When buying a toy that will be exposed to your genitals or ass, you want something that’s safe and won’t hurt you, right? Inferior materials can cause allergic reactions, or worse. Sometimes a cheap toy simply doesn’t hold up well, to the point of breaking apart over time. That’s what phthalates do. They leach from the device to the body. Gross…
This is why silicone and stainless steel are always my preferred material: they’re phthalate-free.
Other common materials are rubber and plastic. These are usually phthalate-free, but this should be verified before purchase. They’re not as sexy, and they don’t feel as luxurious. But they’re definitely cheaper.
All of the toys I review on this site are phthalate-free.
In case you don’t know what phthalates are, and why you should avoid them, here is an informative article from About.com.
From that article:
Phthalates — pronounced “thal-ates” — are a family of chemicals used to soften hard plastics to make them more flexible. Derived from phthalic acid, and often called a plasticizer for its plastic-softening properties, phthalates have been produced since the 1920s and have been used in everything from perfumes to pesticides and medical instruments to sex toys.
The disturbing part:
Preliminary studies on humans (where they have measured phthalate levels in the body and compared them to other health markers) have suggested a relationship between phthalates and poor semen quality and a relationship between phthalates and genital development.
And, from Kinsey Confidential:
No safety regulations currently exist for the sex toy industry, which means that any “phthalate-free” claims that adorn sex toy packaging are unverified and may be false.
So why do shady manufacturers use it? Because it’s cheap!
Furthermore, since the sex toy industry is largely unregulated by the government (at least in the United States), it’s up to the consumer to do their own research. Fortunately, some countries around the world are already taking action.
Again, from Kinsey confidential:
Sex toys aren’t regulated: Currently, safety regulations do not exist in the sex toy industry; this is why sex toys are often labeled “sold as a novelty only.” The manufacturers are therefore not responsible for the negative consequences of any “unintended” (i.e. sexual, internal) use of their products. This also means that manufacturers are not obligated to report the chemicals and materials used in a product to any higher regulatory body, and that they may report them inaccurately on their packaging without consequence.
So how do we avoid these nasty chemicals? It’s quite simple, actually. Buy from a reputable manufacturer that clearly states what’s in their toys! Buy from the main players, like Aneros, Tantus, Lelo, Njoy, etc. Any cheap, no-name brand sex toy should be viewed with suspicion, until the material composition can be confirmed.
Remember: any REPUTABLE manufacturer will clearly state what’s in their toys.
*The skull and crossbones logo is from Wikimedia Commons, and was modified by me.