When choosing a sex toy, you probably focus on things like function, size, speed and colour – but have you ever thought to check what materials your toy is made from?
Materials look, feel and perform differently, but most importantly – as the sex toy industry is almost entirely unregulated – it’s important to know which materials are safe to use, since they’ll be in contact with the most intimate parts of your body.
Non-porous and non-toxic, silicone is one of the best body safe sex toy materials – available in all sorts of different densities, textures and colours. Silky smooth to the touch, silicone allows for gorgeous and shapely sex toys, and is a favourite material among high-end manufacturers. Silicone toys are odourless, tasteless, and phthalate and latex free. Some silicone-based lubricants cannot be used with silicone toys, so stick with water-based lube to keep them in top condition.
Commonly used in vibrators, ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) is a very stable hard plastic that is versatile and hygienic. Because plastic transfers vibrations extremely well this allows for strong stimulation. ABS Plastic is often cheaper than silicone and can be a great choice for affordable toys that will stand the test of time. These toys are compatible with all lubricants and easy to clean.
Latex is a smooth, flexible form of rubber with a smooth finish that can be polished to a glossy, wet-look shine. Definitely not suitable for those with a latex allergy (though latex toys are always clearly labelled as such on their packaging) this material does require some special care to prolong its life.
Sometimes labelled as TPE/TPR (thermoplastic elastomer/rubber), Skin-Safe Rubber is smooth and versatile, and used to make toys with different levels of firmness and flexibility. Not to be confused with Jelly Rubber (one of the cheapest materials around, which contains phthalates and is rather smelly), Skin-Safe Rubber is best paired with water-based lubes.
Metal may sound a little intimidating, but high-quality, stable metals such as stainless steel, titanium and aluminium – as well as precious metals like gold and silver – are actually very practical, versatile and body-friendly materials. These toys have a weighty feel, which some people love, and can be easily warmed up or cooled down for temperature play. Because they are non-porous, metal toys are durable, waterproof, compatible with all lubricants, and can be completely sterilised after use. If you have any allergies keep an eye out for cheaper metal toys which may contain nickel.
Glass doesn’t sound particularly body-safe, but borosilicate glass (the stuff cookware is made from) is very hard and extremely difficult to chip or shatter. Not only do glass toys look stunning and sculptural, the rigidity of this material means glass toys can provide excellent g-spot and prostate stimulation. Like metal, glass can be warmed or cooled for sensory play, and is non-porous, making it compatible with all lubes. Remember, not any old glass will do, so only buy glass toys from reputable sources, and avoid any designs featuring thin or narrow sections which could, if improperly made, be breaking points.
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