How to Use Sex Toys Safely
Sex toys have gone mainstream thanks to pop culture (Fifty Shades of Grey, anyone?), but do you know how to keep fit while having fun in your bedroom?
Sex expert Emily Morse and Good Vibrations staff sexologist Dr. Carol Queen share their top tips on how to use sex toys safely when buying, cleaning and using them.
What health factors are important when buying sex toys?
CQ: Consider first whether the item is designed as a sex toy, or whether it is a "perversion" (an item used for sexual stimulation but not designed for that purpose).
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A well-made sex toy should be smooth, unbreakable, and fully washable. Some hard plastic toys—usually safety products—have a seam or hole in the middle where the battery or power cord protrudes. Avoid toys with hard-to-clean parts.
Also make sure your sex toys are designed for the purpose for which you plan to use them. For example, a very safe small vibrator without a base can become dangerous when used as an anal insertion device.
Do perverts have other health considerations?
CQ: If an item is not designed to be a sex toy, ask yourself if it is safe to use it as a sex toy. Many people have no problem using plastic shampoo bottles or hairbrush handles, but some items used as insertion toys can be dangerous. Even items you might only use to rub the outside of your genitals can be too rough or difficult to clean, such as stuffed animals.manual penis pump
If you use a reversible insert (anal or vaginal), make sure it can be taken out as it slides in. One of the most common sex toy-related injuries is a lost object in the rectum. This is a common problem that needs to be addressed by a medical professional (usually in the emergency room). There's very little mainstream sex education about anal penetration; a lot of people think they can grab something, but between slippery and orgasmic contractions, it's easy to get pulled in.
What is the correct way to clean sex toys?
Use a safe cleaner made for sex toys, such as Classic Erotica Toy Cleaner, or mild soap and warm water (not hot water). Never immerse battery-powered sex toys or electric non-waterproof vibrators in water. You can boil silicone and Pyrex toys, or put them in the dishwasher, as long as they don't have electronics. Many products can clean toys, but leftover residue can become irritating later. If your vibrator cannot be rinsed, use a clean damp cloth to remove any residue of the cleaner. In most cases, hand sanitizer or dish soap is strong enough, and hydrogen peroxide is a fairly mild preservative. Silicone is more resistant to harsher chemicals like bleach than other plush toys, but the harsher the chemicals, the more important it is to make sure the residue is rinsed off thoroughly. Avoid antibacterials like triclosan - I don't recommend this ingredient. It can be dry and irritating, and some experts worry that it may cause cancer. If I'm worried about washing my hands with it, I don't use it to irritate the genital mucous membranes!
Is it safe to share sex toys? Can doing this cause STDs?
If two healthy people already share fluids through oral sex and intercourse, there may be no additional risk of sharing sex toys if they are monogamous. However, some diseases can be spread through sex toys, so sharing sex toys with friends or roommates is not a good idea.
Toys are safe if they are adequately cleaned. Silicone, plexiglass, glass, and metal are the easiest materials to clean. Failure or inadequate cleaning can spread the STI to partners, especially when one person uses the item in succession. But if one friend uses the toy on Halloween and another on New Year's Eve, some pathogens may not survive this time.