If you have delicate skin, sensitivities to the atmosphere or are strongly allergic, avoid flavored lubricants, vibrators with heating effect, and possible chemicals in the sex toys you use.
In short, if you’ve developed a rash after using a sex toy, it’s entirely possible that you are having a bad reaction to your sex toy.
Here are just a few things that could be happening:
- You may be having an allergic skin reaction to the sex toy.
- Using the sex toy or lubricant may have contributed to or encouraged a yeast or bacterial infection.
- Your vibrator may have made an existing problem worse by irritating or inflaming the area.
- If it’s your first time using a sex toy, you may be noticing a problem that was there before but went unnoticed.
- There are lots of other possibilities (especially if you shared the toy). So, the only way to know for sure is to stop using the sex toy and seek medical advice.
Common Irritants and Allergies in Sex Toys
Here are some of the common problems people encounter when using a sex toy:
Some sex toys are made of latex, and many have at least a little latex in them. If you have a latex allergy, you should assume that a toy may have some latex in it unless it’s 100% silicone, hard plastic, metal, glass or wood. Opt for materials marked as ‘body-safe’. This is the only way to make sure no adverse reactions will follow.
It is highly recommended to use silicone sex toys if you intend to use them internally. When penetrated internally, the body is more susceptible to bacteria and various contaminants. Examples for commonly used internal sex toys are rabbit sex toys, anal vibrators, app-controlled toys for public play, and even tip-controlled vibes.
If you’re looking for a high-quality, realistic toy that will last a long time, silicone is the best and safest way to go.
Preservatives and Sugars
Some people will have a reaction to the preservatives in lubricants. One group of preservatives called parabens have been cited as a common concern. If you are prone to yeast infections, using a lubricant or other product with a lot of glycerin, which is very sweet, might contribute to a yeast infection. There are paraben-free lubricants as well as glycerin-free lubricants available as alternatives.
Scents and Colors
To hide the bad smell of a lot of cheap sex toy materials, manufacturers often use special scents in their sex toys. It is possible that you can have a reaction either to the scent or the coloring put in soft rubber sex toys.
These chemicals can actually seep out of the toy, and when they come into contact with your skin, they can give you a rash. Stick with sex toys that are 100% silicone, hard plastic, metal, glass or wood. Or, if you don’t have a latex allergy, you can just put a latex condom on your sex toy.
Phthalates in Sex Toys
More of a potential long term health concern is the use of phthalates in sex toys. Phthalates are used in a wide range of consumer and industrial products, as well as in less expensive soft rubber toys. Several health and safety organizations have sounded alarms about the cumulative effect of phthalate exposure.
As a result, many sex toy manufacturers now label their products that are phthalate-free.
The Bottom Line
If you can afford them, you are much better off spending the money on higher-quality sex toys made of 100% medical silicone rubber or natural materials, such as metal or glass. If you have sensitive skin, environmental sensitivities, or are highly allergic, avoid lubricants with flavors, warming effects, and chemical preservatives.
One final piece of advice: When you’re buying sex toys, talk to the clerk at the store, or email the website before you buy. Ask them what they know about sex toy safety and allergic reactions.
As more of us talk about these issues and ask questions, both sex toy retailers and manufacturers will get the message and respond with better quality sex toys, or at least better product information.