If you’re like most avid pleasure lovers, there are probably many things that come to mind when you think about sex toys. You likely think about powerful orgasms on demand, mutually satisfying sex play with your partner, and novelty on tap whenever you’re in the mood for something new.
You might not think immediately think about safety when you think of sex toys, but it’s really important that you start. A working knowledge of how to use sex toys safely, responsibly, and correctly is a must if you’re serious about getting the most out of yours. Here’s a look at a few crucial tips to keep in mind.
1. Be careful where (and from who) you buy your toys.
Sex toys are huge these days, and everyone wants their own piece of the pie. But unfortunately, not everyone is as meticulous about making sure their toys meet standards as they should be. So always vet both the toy manufacturers and the vendors you buy from before putting your money down.
Stick to reliable, well-respected brands with an excellent reputation for making safe, reliable toys. When buying from a standalone toy merchant, always check to ensure they have a reputation for doing good business and caring for their customers. And exercise extra caution when buying from a large global marketplace like Amazon, as it can be difficult to tell what you’re really getting for your money.
2. Know your toy materials.
It’s not just who makes and sells your toys that you need to consider when investing in something new. It’s also what your toys are made of. Some toy materials contain additives and chemicals that can have hazardous effects on your health, up to and including hormone disruption – like phthalates, to name just one example.
Toys that are soft or jelly-like are more likely to contain phthalates, so understand this when evaluating your options. You may also wish to stick to 100 percent body-safe materials you know you can trust. Glass, metal, and medical-grade silicone are just a few popular examples.
3. Establish a cleaning routine.
Although people technically know they should be washing their sex toys regularly, most aren’t doing it often enough. They’re also risking their health every time they forgo a cleaning, so it’s essential to establish and stick to a strict cleaning routine for all of your toys.
All sex toys should be thoroughly washed and dried after every use, as well as each time the toy is passed to a new partner during play. You also need to clean a toy before switching from anal stimulation to genital stimulation. Don’t skip a necessary cleaning because it’s not convenient. Keep an easy spray-on, wipe-off toy cleaner on hand for those times.
4. Always use toys as intended.
Although it might seem like it’s okay to take an “if it feels good, do it” approach to sex toys, it’s important to resist the urge. Yes, different toys are made to serve different body parts or deliver different types of stimulation for efficiency’s sake. But safety is a huge factor, as well.
For example, sex toys that aren’t made specifically for anal use may lack essential safety features to prevent the toy from getting accidentally lost inside the body. So always read the directions that come with your toy and use it as directed. The last thing anyone wants is to spend the night in the emergency room explaining an embarrassing situation to a doctor.
5. Be careful when sharing toys with others.
Naturally, half the fun of owning sex toys in the first place are those special times you get to share your toys with a partner. But it’s important to understand that even if you religiously clean your toys, it’s still possible to spread bacteria and pathogens around when toys pass from one person to another.
A good rule of thumb to follow is to protect your toys in any instance when you would protect yourself. (Unless you’re in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship, you should be practicing safe sex anyway.) So, use condoms on insertable toys to keep them sanitary, especially if they’re made of porous or semi-porous materials. Switch out the condom as needed.
6. Make sure your lube is toy-safe.
A particular lube being made for personal or sexual use is no guarantee that it’s okay to use with your favorite toys, so always make sure the two are compatible before you play. Silicone lubes and some hybrids can be disastrous when used with silicone toys, for example.
When in doubt, stick to water-based lubes when playing with your toys, as they’re almost always compatible. And never substitute grooming products, lotions, or anything else from around your house, just to be safe.
Ultimately, sex toy safety isn’t rocket science. But it’s essential to stay on point with it and establish ongoing good habits. Get started today!