The Low-Down on Sex Toy Materials
A beginner’s guide to sex toy materials brought to you by Playful Aging!
Never before has the world of adult pleasure been so accessible and so overwhelming.
Curious what type of toy will fit you best?
Intimate products are really a personal preference. Different materials deliver different sensations. When deciding which type of toy to try think about the give of the material. A silicone toy will typically bend; whereas, a glass or metal toy will be rigid.
A wood toy is generally lighter than its silicone or metal counterpart. A glass toy can be boiled. A wooden toy can be submerged but you wouldn't want to boil it.
Have fun and experiment!
Don't forget safety. There's little oversight in sex toy materials safety so look for products that are non-porous and body-safe. You'll also want to make sure you understand the recommended lubricants and cleaning options.
For the nitty-gritty on materials:
Borosilicate glass is the gold standard material for glass toys. It’s the same type of glass that's commonly found in laboratories and kitchens. Borosilicate glass is thermal and chemical resistant, meaning it can handle temperature changes well and resists chemical corrosion. This makes a glass dildo a perfect temperature play toy.
Borosilicate glass is sturdy. In a rare instance that it does break, it’s more likely to crack than shatter. Before using a glass toy, inspect it to ensure it retains a smooth surface feel and there are no visible cracks.
A Borosilicate glass dildo is impact-resistant, non-porous, long-lasting and eco-friendly.
Premium wood toys are smoothed and polished then sealed with an impermeable polymer coating. This coating protects the toy and you from getting hurt by sealing out moisture, the leading cause of rough or splintery wood. Look for manufacturers that use Phthalate-free inert, odorless and colorless finish. This will ensure your toys are impermeable to chemicals and bacteria.
Wood may be especially suitable for people who experience reactions to other materials or sensitivities to odors. Wood toys do not have the recommended lube restrictions that silicone does. Feel free to use a variety of lubricants including oils, water/glycerin and silicone-based. Start small – a little lube goes a long way on smooth toys.
Keep in mind, impact has the potential to damage a wood toy. To test the integrity of the toy, immerse it in water for a few seconds. Does the area in question darken after being submerged? Wipe the toy down. If the area that darkens remains damp when the surrounding area is dry, the toy should no longer be used.
A wood dildo is light-weight, non-porous, long-lasting and eco-friendly.
You may be familiar with the term medical-grade or surgical stainless steel. This refers to a category of steel products that exhibit strength and corrosion resistance and are often used in biomedical applications, prostheses and body piercing jewelry.
Metal toy products made with authenticate 316 stainless are a chromium, nickel, molybdenum alloy commonly used in industries to minimize metallic contamination. If you have a bone fixation screw in your body, chances are it’s made of the same material. When shopping for metal toys, look for 316 grade stainless steel. These toys should be non-magnetic. A word of caution – if you’ve experienced ill effects from a stainless body piercing, you may want to avoid metal toys. The nickel may cause an immune system reaction.
Metal toys do not have the recommended lube restrictions that silicone does. Feel free to use a variety of lubricants including oils, water/glycerin and silicone-based. Start small – a little lube goes a long way on smooth toys. Metal toys can be cleaned and sterilized in a variety of ways. Avoid abrasives which can damage the toy.
A metal dildo accepts temperature readily, is non-porous, and long-lasting.
The wonderful world of sex toys is not governed by the same types of standards you find in the medical or food industries. The common advice used to be, "don't let your sex toys touch." When sex toys were more a novelty than a health and wellness product, many manufacturers used ingredients that had the potential to break down. Today, if you purchase quality, safe toys-you shouldn't have an issue. Quality toys will not disintegrate.
When searching for a silicone toy you'll want to look for materials that are phthalate and toxic free. Look for phrases such as 100% medical-grade silicone or body-safe PC-ABS plastic. Typically these products will be offered by a higher end manufacturer and the price tag will reflect that. If the material gives off an odor it may not be pure silicone and should be avoided. If you aren't sure, reach out the manufacturer. If they aren't able to answer your questions, be cautious.
When selecting lube, water-based is recommended for silicone toys. Silicone degrades silicone, which basically means that if you use a silicone lube, there is a potential that the toy will bond with the lube - this feels like a gumminess. It will destroy your toy and potentially release toxic materials into your body. Because of the science around bonding compounds it isn't an easy answer - each toy and each lube has the potential to respond differently based on their chemical composition. It's possible to find a silicone lube and toy that doesn't bond. High quality silicone toys can be cleaned and sterilized in boiling water, a bleach solution, or with toy cleaner. If your toy has a motor, the wipe down method is best. Don't ever boil or place a mechanical item in the dishwasher.
A good silicone toy is non-porous and long-lasting and can be eco-friendly.