Featured, Safer Sex, Sex Toys 101

What are Your Sex Toys Really Made Of?

What are some of the key things you consider when choosing a new sex toy? Color? Shape? Size? Price? Vibration settings? Kink factor? Potential for partner-play?

What about the materials? Do you ever check the labels or listed materials to see what your vibrator is actually made of? Here’s some food for thought…

Would you shove a bunch of toxins up your cooter? Nope.

Would you pleasure yourself with something spongy you thought could be harboring bacteria? Um, hells no.

Well, ladies, it’s time to get schooled, because not all sex toys are created equal – and some of them are made from materials that could be downright dangerous.

A Few Words on Phthalates

Before we get down to brass tacks, let’s take a moment to examine phthalates – the component causing most of the controversy around the safeness of sex toys.

Phthalates are “plasticizers” or softeners added to plastics to make sex toys materials more flexible, transparent and durable. Studies have shown that phthalates may pose potential health risks, and consequently, phthalates have been phased out of many products in the USA and UK, particularly in products such as food packaging and water bottles.

What is Your Sex Toy Really Made Of?


Glass toys are made from medical-grade tempered glass, are non-porous, hygienic, and can safely be used with any kind of lubricant. If the idea of having glass anywhere near your growler doesn’t appeal, relax. Borosilicate glass is essentially lead-free crystal, and is the kind of hard glass used in Pyrex products. In fact, an inch-thick piece of borosilicate glass will withstand around 30000lbs of pressure and extreme temperatures.


Steel sex toys are commonly made from chrome alloy and stainless steel, and will last forever when cared for properly. Steel is non-porous and hygienic, and can be used with any kind of lubricant.


Sex toys made from 100% silicone are made from medical-grade and hypoallergenic materials that are non-porous, hygienic and long lasting. Silicone is soft and lifelike, but unlike other porous substances such as jelly, it can be sterilized in boiling water, or with a 10% bleach solution.

Remember, if you’re using lube with a silicone sex toy, do not use silicone-based lubricants, which can deteriorate the material.


CyberSkin offers a realistic texture, and is phthalate and latex free. However, they are porous, meaning they need to be cleaned frequently, they cannot be sterilized, and they can be prone to small tears due to their soft texture. Also known as thermal plastic, it is more durable than latex, but can only be used with water-based lubes, since silicone, petroleum or oil-based lubes will break down the material.


Elastomer is a newer material, and is phthalate-free and safe for people with latex allergies. It is slightly porous, meaning it cannot be sterilized and needs to be cleaned properly between play times.

Silicon Blend

Silicon blend toys are more affordable than 100% silicone toys, but may also contain latex and phthalates. These toys can be porous, meaning they must be washed thoroughly after every use. They cannot be sterilized, so be sure to use a condom with them if sharing with a partner. Use water-based lubes only.


Jelly is made of a mixture of PVC and rubber, and is one of the most popular and materials currently on the market thanks to its realistic and soft texture and affordability. The key issue with jelly is that is contains phthalates and is porous, meaning it cannot be sterilized and must be washed thoroughly between uses.

Many sexperts recommend using condoms with jelly toys to reduce the health risks associated with phthalates.

Always check the label and look for materials when purchasing a new sex toy to make an informed decision that’s right for your body. If in doubt about your current toys, use condoms, or throw them away and invest in some shiny new pleasure pieces.


Photo credit: © mariesacha – Fotolia.com

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