Toys can be broken down into two categories; porous and non-porous. Porous toys, like those made of latex, rubber, vinyl or gel fall into the porous category and should generally be avoided if possible. The reason for this is that generally chemicals have been added to make the material softer, squishy and more pliable. Unfortunately, these chemicals are known carcinogens.
Another reason to avoid these types of toys is that because they are porous they’re hard to clean and sterilize. Minute bits of tissue or debris offer a wonderful breeding ground for bacteria. Running them through the dishwasher or exposing them to high heat can damage the toy and cause chemicals to surface.
If you’re on a tight budget or your options are limited, you might be stuck with one of these kinds of toys. If you do, be sure to read the labels carefully to read what they’re made of. Avoid anything made with Phthalates (“thal-ates”) which are designated as possible human carcinogens. If you’re not sure if they’re safe, put a condom on them. If you can afford it, I highly recommend toys made of medical grade silicone. They are more expensive for sure but they offer several advantages:
- They can handle very high dishwasher temperatures which makes cleanup and sanitation a snap
- They’ll last a lot longer than other toys-years longer
- They feel better
- They can handle a wide variety of lubes including oils and grease without degradation (except with silicone based lubes-don’t use them)
- They’re not porous
I did a little research and found a few websites that provide greater detail about what to look for when buying a toy and about what toy materials to avoid:
- Toxic Toys – The Definite Guide to Toxic Sex Toy Awareness
- A Guide to Sex Toy Safety
- 4 Questions You Need To Ask Before Buying A Sex Toy
- Your Guide to Sex Toy Materials