Sex Toy Materials

Sex Toy Materials

The variety of sex toys is more than rich and this applies not only to the shapes and functions of the toy, but also to the material it is made of. Each material differs in some ways from the others and has its own characteristics that should be carefully considered before choosing a sex toy.

While some sex toys are absolutely safe for the body, there are others that can cause serious infections.

Silicone sex toys

While silicone has likely been used in small amounts in sex toy manufacturing over the years (unlike now), the earliest sex toys made from 100% silicone were dildos. Today silicone toys include dildos, vibrators, anal toys, ball gags, and more.

Silicone sex toys

While it’s always a bit more expensive, silicone is recommended for many reasons.

Silicone has many benefits, including::

  • Warms up to body temperature and holds that temperature longer than hard plastic.
  • Transmits vibrations well, so even a weaker motor feels stronger if it is in a silicone toy.
  • Non-porous, hypoallergenic, easy to clean, and more durable.

For the above reasons, silicone is recommended for people concerned about having allergic reactions to sex toys materials.

Available in a wide variety of densities, and an unbelievable range of shapes and colors. A good example of 100% silicone toy is the wearable Lush 2 by Lovense, one of the popular female sex toys on the market.

What Silicone Toys are Made Of?

Be aware that manufacturers may call their products silicone even if they contain only a small percentage of silicone. Those toys are more accurately described as being silicone/rubber mixes. On this page, silicone toys refer to those that are made of 100% or almost 100% silicone.

Toys that are 100% silicone are soft, chemically inert, and hypoallergenic. This material does not contain phthalates.

Taking Care of Silicone Toys

You can use soap, rubbing alcohol, or bleach to clean silicone sex toys (if you are using alcohol or bleach, be careful to rinse thoroughly). If there are no moving parts (vibrators), you can boil silicone toys in water, or put them on the top shelf of your dishwasher to clean. Different manufacturers suggest different lengths of time, usually between 3-5 minutes for boiling.

You can use a water-based or oil-based personal lubricants but do not use silicone-based lubricants as they will destroy silicone toys.

Silicone is very durable but can tear easily. Keep sharp edges away from your silicone toys.

Safer Sex Tips

  • It is possible (although difficult) to transmit infections on sex toys that have not been sterilized even if they have been washed.
  • Silicone sex toys may be boiled in water for between 3-5 minutes. To prevent transmission of bodily fluids or bacteria it is recommended that you boil your toy following the instructions provided by the manufacturer
  • If you are going to share a sex toy with a partner use a condom on the toy to prevent transmission of bodily fluids, or boil your toy before a new person uses it.
  • While it is not recommended if you are going to use a toy both vaginally and anally use a condom to prevent transmission of bacteria, or boil your toy between uses.

Popular Silicone Toy Manufacturers

Most companies that specialize in silicone sex toys stick with using 100% silicone. Some of the larger manufacturers will offer a line of silicone toys but it’s hard to know what’s really in them. Here, in alphabetical order, are some of the most popular and reputable manufacturers who offer 100% silicone products:

  • Fun Factory
  • LELO
  • Lovehoney
  • Lovense
  • Tracey Cox
  • We-Vibe

Cyberskin, NatureSkin, MagicFlesh

This type of material is also called “realistic” and mimics human skin in both appearance and touch. It warms on contact with the skin and is extremely soft, but has special maintenance requirements. The range of realistic dildos and male sex toys deliver some of most intense, true-to-life pleasures around.

Cyberskin sex toy

Realistic materials are porous and cannot be disinfected as plastic toys allow. For cleaning, you must use a special cleaning agent.

Realistic toys usually include doses of talc, which you must apply after cleaning the toy. Thus it retains its soft properties and does not become sticky over time; Cyberskin, NatureSkin, and MagicFlesh cannot be used with silicone lubricant as it breaks down the material!

Hard plastic

Plastic is popular in the production of sex toys because it is a durable material and easy to maintain. Many toys, such as classic vibrators and vibrating eggs, are made of specially smoothed or satin plastic, which is an extremely good conductor of vibration.

Plastic is a non-porous material and is easy to clean – with water (pay attention to whether the toy is waterproof so as not to damage it!); It does not contain harmful ingredients, such as phthalates;
Hard plastic sex toys are suitable for people who are allergic to chemical ingredients in other materials;

An excellent advantage of hard plastic toys is that they be used with any lubricant. Such devices may break if dropped!

Glass sex toys

Glass toys are made of a special type of glass, which is extremely dense and impact resistant. It is easy to clean and looks aesthetically beautiful but is usually more expensive.

Glass sex toys

The glass changes its temperature easily – so you can cool and warm the glass dildo to try new things during masturbation!
Sex toys made of glass do not create friction against the skin tissue and penetrate easily. With a little lubricant you will experience a feeling that cannot be achieved with other types of toys;
Glass toys are extremely easy to maintain as they are durable and non-porous;

Glass sex toys are suitable for people with various allergies and can be used with all types of lubricants!
Note: Although glass toys are extremely durable, cracking may occur following improper usage. Do not risk using the toy if it is cracked, as it may break completely during masturbation and injure you!

Metal Sex toys

Just like glass toys, metal dildos, vibrators, and butt plugs are very rigid, which multiplies even the smallest motion.

Metal sex toys work well with any kind of lubricant, especially silicone formulas. They can be washed with soap and water or in the dishwasher and can be disinfected in boiling water for up to5 minutes (if there is no motor). You can also warm or cool them in the fridge or in hot water before your intimate session for achieving different sensations.

Metal toys have a nice weight and are usually made of stainless steel or aluminum, but there are also a few luxury toys made of gold and silver as well.

Jelly rubber sex toys

Jelly rubber is made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) that has softeners (called phthalates ) added to it.
Phthalates have been linked to serious health problems in various aspects, so it is recommended that these toys should be used with condoms.

Rubber jelly sex toys

Jelly rubber sex toys are inexpensive, soft, and usually come in translucent colors. They feel a bit more resilient than the rubber mixes used to make sex toys.

How to take care of jelly rubber sex toys:

Jelly rubber is porous, so there are places for bacterial to hide, making cleaning your jelly rubber sex toys very important.

Use a very mild hand soap to clean. Using alcohol or bleach, or even dish soap will lead to the breaking down of the rubber.

Only use a water-based personal lubricant with your jelly rubber toy.

Health concerns related to jelly rubber sex toys:

The Danish Environmental Protection Agency released a study that found that using sex toys with phthalates did not pose a significant risk, unless you are pregnant or breastfeeding. But there is evidence that shows the potential for health risks with exposure to phthalates, and if you are able to afford better quality materials, it is preferable to do so. Putting a condom on a jelly rubber sex toy will reduce the risk of exposure to phthalates (but may not eliminate the risk entirely).

Safer sex and jelly rubber sex toys

It is possible to transmit infections on sex toys that have not been sterilized, even if they have been washed.
Because jelly rubber sex toys cannot be boiled (like silicone sex toys ) use a condom to keep them clean and free of bacteria.

If you are going to share your sex toy with a partner use a condom on the toy to prevent transmission of bodily fluids.
While it is not recommended if you are going to use a toy both vaginally and anally use a condom to prevent transmission of bacteria.

Elastomers in sex toys

In response to concerns about phthalates some manufacturers have started using elastomers to make soft rubber-like sex toys.

Elastomers are very different from the inexpensive PVC used for most sex toys. They contain no phthalates, are hypoallergenic and quite durable. No solvents are used in the process of manufacturing.

Elastomers are usually suitable for people concerned with allergic reactions or chemical sensitivities.

Care and Cleaning of Elastomer Sex Toys

Elastomers are porous so special care should be taken to clean them properly.
They can be cleaned with mild soap and water.
Only use a water-based personal lubricant with silicone and rubber mixed-sex toys.
Because they are porous it’s recommended to use condoms on sex toys that are made primarily of elastomers.

Safer Sex and Elastomer Sex Toys

It is possible to transmit infections through sex toys that have not been sterilized.
Because elastomer sex toys cannot be boiled (like silicone sex toys ) use a condom to keep them clean and free of bacteria.

If you are going to share a sex toy with a partner use a condom on the toy to prevent transmission of bodily fluids.
While it is not recommended if you are going to use a toy both vaginally and anally use a condom to prevent transmission of bacteria.

On TheToy you’ll find useful information about the materials your next toy is made of. Whether you’ve chosen a wand vibrator, a good bullet vibrator, or an anal vibe, it is always important to know you’re 100% safe while having fun!

Amie Dawson, Ph.D.

Amie Dawson, Ph.D.

Amie is your go-to gal for all things related to sex and sexual well-being.

A certified sex educator and award-winning sex toy reviewer, Amie has spent her career empowering individuals and couples to embrace their sexuality.

With a Ph.D. in Human Sexuality and an ever-growing collection of over 200 vibrators, she's got the knowledge and experience to guide you on your pleasure-seeking journey.

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