By: Arielle Aquino
Unfortunately, since sex toys aren’t regulated or monitored by any governing bodies, it’s difficult to know what’s in them.
There are a few basic ways you can protect yourself from harmful products and they rely on using good judgement and your senses. Check out our guide below.
Smell: anything that has an overly chemical smell should be avoided. Silicone is considered non-porous but can still absorb the smells of things around it (but it CAN be sterilized - therefore making it a body-safe material). Some silicones have a chemical-y smell straight out of the package which may just be from the packaging it came in. A chemical smell can also be from a lubricant or cleaning agent that was used in the manufacturing process. Wash your product with soap and warm water and leave it out to air dry for a day or two. If it still smells, it likely isn’t pure silicone and may contain harmful chemicals which could leach out during use.
Taste: yes, lick your toy. It should not taste like anything. Also pay attention to any burning, numbness or tingling on your lips or inside your mouth. Burning or numbness is a good indication that you shouldn’t use the toy on your genitals (or anywhere on your body for that matter!)
Touch: if a toy feels overly skin-like or; like gel, jelly, rubber or vinyl it likely contains phthalates and is going to be porous (read: bacteria). Also pay attention to any greasy, oily or sticky feeling. This means the product is not stable and likely contains mineral or synthetic oils which can leach out into your body upon use.
Sight: Anything completely clear, especially anything that has a jelly-like appearance, should be avoided for the above reasons. It’s worth noting that silicone is generally opaque so if your toy is completely clear and transparent and is labeled as silicone, it probably isn’t what it says it is. There’s one caveat here - cloudy silicone does exist but it won’t be completely clear like TPR.
Avoid anything that looks greasy or has beads of “sweat” collecting on it as this is some sort of mystery oil that shouldn’t be placed inside your body - especially without knowing the chemical makeup of it.
Photo by Inna Shnayder