Sex toys or aids can be a great part of any sexual experience. Contrary to common opinion, these are not just for solo use. Indeed, they can enhance the sexual pleasure of couples too. However, both couples and singles have to be especially careful when it comes to toy selection and usage.
Before purchasing, carefully check the materials what the toy is made out of. In particular, check for phthalates, which are chemicals used to make plastic soft and pliable. Many experts suggest looking for “phthalates-free” sex toys since these chemicals are banned in children’s toys.
However, since the FDA does not regulate the market, any phthalates-free claim itself is not verifiable. California-based sex and relationship coach, Charlie Glickman says that the texture of the material, therefore, particularly its squishiness, is a good initial indicator of toy quality.
Be cautious about squishiness
Although the squishiness of a toy doesn’t always indicate the presence of phthalates, it does mean the toy is porous and can harbor bacteria in its pores. “You can’t get them 100 percent clean,” says Glickman. He points out that soft, jelly-like toys are often less expensive than those made of silicone – the nonporous favorite.
Elle Black, founder of adult toy shop Mimi de Luxe, recommends pure silicone, hard ABS plastic, glass, metal, and ceramic. Glass is an interesting material as it allows for temperature play, and it’s always smooth when wet.
For simple temperature play, just run it under warm water or put it in the fridge for a few minutes.
It goes without saying that sex toys should be cleaned after each use. Both the British National Health Service and the American Planned Parenthood specify that toys should not be used on one part of the body after being used on another, particularly in any penetrative act. It is ideal to use specific toys on specific parts of the body, to prevent transferring any bacteria.
Condom to cover toys
Gynecologist Alyssa Dweck notes that it is essentially impossible to “perfectly” clean a sex toy. One way to enhance their safety and cleanliness is to use condoms in conjunction with them.
Condoms prevent the spread of infection by acting as a barrier between the toy and the actual skin, while still allowing a high degree of sensation and pleasure.
Know your partner’s health status
If your partner is not a trusted spouse, you should ask early and clearly about his health status, advises Debby Herbenick, co-director of Indiana University’s Center for Sexual Health Promotion. Even then, Herbenick recommends using a condom on all toys as an added measure of safety.
No use of household items
Although it might seem tempting to consider fruit or other household objects as a sex aid, it is unsafe to use any item that is not specifically designed as an adult toy. Fruits, in particular, can easily transmit bacteria, since they are so porous.
Choose the right vendor
It may be confusing to select the right seller from all of the vendors available on the Internet. Glickman suggests that buyers should carefully look over not only the product information, but also the research done by the seller, and only opt for sellers which have a clear and thorough knowledge of what they are offering.
All in all, sex toys can make a wonderful addition to your life, whether you are going solo or with a partner. But before you get started, remember to read the user manual; keeping health and safety at the forefront of your mind. Now that’s what you call clean and healthy sexual fun! It’s playtime!