Are Your Sex Toys Toxic? A Guide to Safe Materials

March 8, 2018 3 min read

These days, sex toys are available in an infinite number of shapes, sizes, and designs. One would hope, especially due to their popularity, that sex toys are regulated and safe for internal use. Unfortunately, this is far from correct. There are currently zero regulations in the sex toy industry. 

This means that companies are not only free to make toys out of materials that are bacteria harbouring or carcinogen leaking, but they can also outright lie on packaging and advertisements with unverified statements like “body safe.”

But don’t worry, there are still countless toys to discover that are 100% safe! Here’s what you need to know:

Materials to Avoid:

- Jelly rubber (if it’s translucent and flexible, it’s probably made of this)
- Silicone blends or compounds
- “Skin-like” materials that aren’t 100% silicone
- Elastomer

Any toys made out of the above materials are not safe to insert anywhere in your body. They are all porous – which means that bacteria can thrive and reproduce in them, and they can never be fully sterilized. Some of these materials are also known to contain phthalates – a type of chemical frequently added to plastics to increase flexibility. 

Phthalates are not only carcinogenic, but they have also been linked to neurological and reproductive issues – basically, you don’t want them near your body, especially not inside your vagina or anus. Be aware that due to lack of regulations, toy packaging can falsely claim a toy to be phthalate-free. The only way to know for sure if a toy is truly body safe is to make sure it is made from a safe material.

Materials that are Safe:

- 100% silicone
- Glass
- ABS plastic
- Stainless steel
- Wood (that has been finished and coated properly)

All of these materials are completely non-porous, which means that they can be fully sanitized. This also means that with proper cleaning, they can be used by multiple people without risk of transferring bacteria or STIs. Both glass and stainless steel can be easily warmed or cooled, giving a fun variety of sensation options. 100% silicone is the only flexible material that is body safe, which makes it a popular choice for a variety of toys. Quality toys like this will almost always cost more than their unsafe counterparts, but when you’re dealing with the health and safety of your genitals, the investment is worth it.

Lucy Huxley
« Lucy Huxley is a polyamorous porn performer and creator based in Berlin. She is passionate about sex education, BDSM, and creating art in all forms. » All posts →