If you spend any time browsing in sex toy shops or scrolling through them online, you will be bombarded with items of different shapes, sizes, colours and functions. It can be a bit overwhelming at first, if you’re browsing for the first time or looking to experiment with something new. How on earth do you decide what to pick? Or more importantly… how do you know what NOT to pick?
This isn’t a list of top toys for you to purchase. This is a list about what to avoid.
Materials are probably the number one thing you will read about if you stumble upon sex toy review sites. This is because the material of the toy is absolutely CRUCIAL to health. Unfortunately, the sex toy industry is not regulated. This means that anyone can get away with anything. Not only can companies use unsafe materials, but they can actually lie about it too. You need to look for reputable companies that are using non-porous and phthalate-free materials. Using low quality and unsafe materials can cause infections, irritations and chemical burns.
A very basic material guide:
-Safe: silicone, metals (like stainless steel), glass, properly finished wood and ABS Plastics or other hard plastics. These materials are non-porous, latex-free, phthalate-free and hypoallergenic.
-Proceed with caution: TPE/TPR. These materials are porous but often latex-free, phthalate-free and hypoallergenic. It is recommended to throw these toys out after 6-12 months because the pores cannot be properly cleaned or sterilized. Don’t share them with anyone, either!
-Avoid: Jelly/PVC. These materials are porous and often contain latex and phthalates. They release chemicals and they smell pretty terribly, although the smell will be your least concern.
-Avoid: Weird names or mixes. If you’ve never heard of it before, then make sure to look it up. Companies are allowed to lie about materials, so if it looks sketchy then it probably is.
2. Safety During Use
The good news is that sex toys cannot ‘get lost’ in a vagina. There is one way out, and it isn’t that far away. The bad news is that sex toys can absolutely get stuck or ‘lost’ in an anus. Your intestinal tract goes all the way from your mouth to your rectum, which means that there are a lot of intestines between the two ends. Not to gross you out (but a little bit to gross you out so you’re warned), but it is very possible that a sex toy, without the proper safe base, can be ‘sucked in’ to your anus. Your sphincters clench down and… well… there will be a visit to the emergency room.
Don’t worry though, there is one sure way to make sure that this doesn’t happen: a proper flared based. Anal sex toys MUST come with an adequately flared base to prevent them from being completely inserted. If a toy doesn’t have a base or has a small flimsy base, it is best to use it only for oral or vaginal purposes.
3. The Cheapest Toy Possible
We’ve all done it – bought something because it is cheap or on sale. Whether we’re talking about clothing or makeup or sex toys, it always ends up with the same result. Occasionally, we get great surprises and feel like we totally struck gold. Most of the time, we discover a hole, or it chunks in the wrong way or it is super buzzy.
This isn’t to say that all cheap toys are terrible – this really isn’t the case. However, good quality material requires a higher cost. Treating customers correctly and approving warranties requires a higher cost. Developing delightful motors requires a higher cost. There are companies that manage to sell good quality materials and wonderful vibrations for less, but they typically don’t cost under $10.
You don’t have to invest your week’s savings into a sex toy, but you should spend some time researching good cheaper alternatives. If not, you might end up with a broken seem, a toxic material or those terrible, terrible buzzy watch batteries.
4. Reputable Companies
This one is a bit harder to pick out if you’re browsing in a store. However, if you have a chance to do some online research before your purchase, you should check out the company. Some of the biggest companies sell the worst toys, including unsafe materials and unsafe bases. It is a profitable industry, and some companies take advantage of that. Some also have absolutely terrible customer service, including denying warranties, not answering truthfully or flat-out sex shaming people.
So what do you look for? The first one is to research the company name on sex blogger sites. If they’ve done something disastrous, it will be easy to find. Secondly, check out their social media and see how involved they are in the community. You can find out from a social media pretty quickly if the company prides themselves on what they do, as well as respects their customers. You might be surprised as to what you find, but like anything else, you’ll feel better about making your final purchase.
Buying sex toys can seem incredibly complicated when you’re overloaded with the choice. If you’re searching for a new toy, keeping these 4 tips in mind should make the selection easier and you’ll end up with a safe toy that you feel good about using.
In case you’re wondering where to start… Godemiche is silicone, has anal safe bases and highly involved owners… but you kind of saw that plug coming, didn’t you?
The Blog was written by Rebecca Dane from A Couple of Kinks .