Everything You Need to Know About Sex Toy Materials
At Good For Her, we take pride in knowing as much as we can about what our products are made of and where they come from. Our aim is to give you the information you need to find the best sex toys and accessories for you.
Silicone is the highest quality material used for soft toys. It's non-toxic, latex-free, hypo-allergenic, and non-porous. Silicone warms easily with body heat, transmits vibration, and can be sterilized. There is a higher cost associated with silicone toys, but this material is much more resilient and typically lasts longer than other soft materials. Many companies (like Vixen Creations) offer a lifetime warranty—check with the manufacturer if you experience tears or other problems with the material. Silicone vibrators with an embedded motor (like the Moxie ) will likely still be a useable sex toy even if the motor stops working. Only toys that are made of 100% medical-grade silicone are designated as “silicone” at Good For Her.
Care and Maintenance: Wash with soap and water. Dildos, vibrating dildos, and butt plugs without internal vibrators or with vibrators that can be removed can be sterilized.
Bring a pot of water to boil and immerse for 3-4 minutes. Store in a plastic or fabric bag to reduce contact with dust, which easily washes off. You do not need to use a condom with these toys when used on your own. When practicing safer sex with a partner, either use a condom or boil it in-between uses.
Which lubricants are OK? Water-based lubricants work well with these sex toys. Some people prefer to use silicone lubricants but there is some debate about their compatibility. At Good For Her, we have found that most silicone toys that are 100% silicone are compatible with high-quality silicone lubes, such as Pjur. Silicone lubes should be washed off with soap and water immediately after use with a silicone toy. We suggest following the manufacturer’s instructions when in doubt about the compatibility of silicone lubricants.
The popularity of silicone has encouraged some manufacturers to add silicone to their toy materials (often primarily made of jelly rubber). This may increase the quality slightly but can also be misleading as they do not have to say how much silicone is in the toy, nor do they have to mention what other materials make up the toy. Some manufacturers also used the label “silicon” to encourage consumers to think they are buying silicone. These toys are clearly made of non-medical grade materials and not comparable in quality to 100% medical-grade silicone sex toys. Silicone blend toys tend to be remarkably cheaper than 100% silicone, may have an odour, and may be porous or feel slightly gummy. When in doubt, use a condom as a barrier between you and the unknown material of your toy. Blends may contain latex.
Care and Maintenance: Wash with soap and water. Silicone blends cannot be boiled, they do not have the same resistance to high temperatures as 100% silicone toys. These toys cannot be sterilized; do not use alcohol, bleach, or any other harsh chemicals to clean them. You may wish to cover these toys with condoms when using them with a partner and even on your own.
Which lubricants are OK? Water-based lubricants are best. Do not use silicone-based lubricants with silicone blended toys. Do not use oil-based lubricants with these toys (this includes preventing contact with massage oils).
T.P.E. AND ELASTOMER
T.P.E stands for Thermoplastic Elastomer or elastomer for short. This material is phthalate-free, and some toys that are improperly labelled as “silicone” are actually made of TPE. Elastomer is slightly porous and cannot be disinfected but is considered to be safer than typical latex/jelly rubber materials. TPE can be softer and have more “give” than silicone, and is a good option for those who have latex allergies, wish to avoid rubber materials, or are looking for a more-budget conscious toy material.
Care and Maintenance: Wash with soap and water. T.P.E. cannot be sterilized or boiled. Due to being slightly porous, using a condom is a good idea for those practicing safer sex or for easy clean-up.
Which lubricants are OK? Any water-based lubricants or silicone lubricants are good with these toys. Do not use oil-based lubricants (including massage oils) as these may compromise and breakdown the material.
Most mass-manufactured soft sex toys are made of this group of materials. Jelly rubber is soft, pliable, flexible and inexpensive. The downside is that they are porous, possibly toxic, and usually contain latex and/or phthalates. It is possible to tell if your toy is made of latex/jelly rubber if it has a significant odour. They may also feel slightly sticky to the touch. The price is hard to beat so if you're watching your expenses be sure to add a condom to these toys. Many people start with something made of jelly rubber and later invest in a higher-quality sex toy, as these toys also tend to have a shorter lifespan. If you have a latex allergy and are not ready to invest in silicone, you can minimize or prevent contact with the material by using non-latex condoms. Be sure to price compare since sometimes adding in the cost of condoms makes investing in silicone options more worthwhile in the long run.
Good For Her has cut down on the number of products that we sell that are made from jelly rubber/latex due to health concerns. Ultimately, we believe our customers can make informed decisions about their use of these products and encourage our shoppers to be educated consumers.
Care and Maintenance: Wash with soap and water. Do not boil. These toys cannot be sterilized, do not use alcohol, bleach or any other harsh chemicals to clean them. Covering these toys with condoms is highly recommended when using with a partner and even on your own. Store your toy in a cool place away from other toys, in a plastic bag. Jelly rubber toys have a tendency to melt together if stored close to other jelly toys.
Which lubricants are OK? Any water-based lubricants or silicone lubricants are good with these toys. Do not use oil-based lubricants (including massage oils) with these toys, as they will break down the toy quickly.
Firm, very lightly porous or non-porous, inexpensive and easy to clean, plastic is a very common material in the world of sex toys. This material also provides a high vibration, more so than most soft toys. Plastic is considered to be non-toxic and is latex-free. It is not necessary to use a condom with these toys unless you are wanting to practice safer sex with a partner or you are sharing your toy.
Care and Maintenance: Wash with soap and water. Do not boil. These toys cannot be sterilized; do not use alcohol, bleach, or any other harsh chemicals to clean them. Covering these toys with condoms is not necessary if using on your own but highly recommended when using on with a partner. Store your toy in a cool place away from other toys, in a plastic bag.
Which lubricants are OK? Any water-based lubricants or silicone lubricants are good with these toys. Oil-based lubricants will not harm most plastic toys but we do not recommend oils for genital use.
Pthalates are a material used as plasticizers, substances added to plastics to increase their flexibility. Phthalates are mainly used to turn PVC (polyvinyl chloride) from hard plastic into a flexible plastic. Sex toys made of latex or jelly rubber are often made with phthalates and since there is no official body governing sex toys, the safety of this material is in question. Many toys are now being made phthalate-free and at Good For Her, we are always trying to replace our toys with this safer option. Phthlates are in many household items, such as nail polish, adhesives, paint pigments, shower curtains, perfume, modern pop-culture electronics, and medical applications such as catheters. Phthalates are controversial because high doses of many phthalates have shown hormonal activity in rodent studies. The Dutch office of Greenpeace UK sought to encourage the European Union to ban sex toys that contained phthalates. Using condoms on toys made of unknown materials creates a barrier that reduces your risk of possible harmful effects.
When referring to vibrators, these toys are water-friendly and can be used in the shower. Do not submerge. Water-resistant toys are also easier to clean since they can go under the tap.
These toys can be submerged. Be sure to read the packaging carefully and ensure the battery compartment/cap is firmly closed. There is usually a little rubber washer to “seal” the battery compartment, you must ensure the washer is intact and not coming loose. If you lose the rubber washer, either replace it or do not submerge. After you use it in water, dry off your toy and open it up to air it out just in case any water got inside.