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Sex Toy Materials

Sex toys are available in a wide variety of materials. Each material has unique characteristics that add functionality and give a certain look and feel to the item. For example, plastic is usually hard and inflexible while jelly is generally soft and flexible. One material has certain advantages over the other and choosing the right one will help you enjoy your toy for years to come. It is helpful to know the advantages and disadvantages of each.

  1. Plastic: Plastic is the most traditional material. Available in a variety of colors, plastic vibrators offer the advantage of powerful vibrations because the hard plastic material transfers vibrations very effectively from the motor to the user. Traditional, slimline and egg vibrators are most commonly made out of plastic, which is a durable and relatively inexpensive material. The traditional or classic style plastic toys also usually have very smooth surfaces.
    • Plastics are non-porous materials so they are easier to keep clean.
    • To clean hard plastic sex toys you can use anti-bacterial soap, rubbing alcohol, or bleach (if you are using alcohol or bleach, be careful to rinse thoroughly).
    • These materials do not contain phthalates.
    • These toys are usually suitable for people concerned with allergic reactions or chemical sensitivities.
    • Care should be taken to avoid dropping hard plastic sex toys, as they may crack. Even if the motor is still functioning, a cracked vibrator should not be used as the edges could be sharp.
    • You can use any water-based or silicone-based personal lubricants with hard plastic toys.
  2. Jelly: Jelly toys are most often soft, flexible and colorful. Jelly has an advantage over other materials in that it is very easy to mold, color and shape into whatever a designer can imagine. As a result there are a wide variety of colorful, beautifully crafted jelly vibrators to choose from. Jelly is also a very pliable material which contributes to a soft, smooth and supple feel, yet it retains some rigidity. Depending on the model, the “softness” of jelly toys can range anywhere from the consistency of a hard-boiled egg to the consistency of a cold stick of butter.
    • Jelly rubber is a soft, translucent, and pretty looking material that is usually inexpensive.
    • Jelly rubber is porous, so there are places for bacterial to hide, making washing your jelly rubber sex toys very important. Using a non-lubricated condom helps.
    • Use a very mild anti-bacterial soap to clean. Using alcohol or bleach, or even dish soap can lead to the breaking down of the rubber.
    • Jelly rubber is PVC that has softeners (called phthalates ) added to it.
Phthalates – A chemical compound that is used to soften hard plastics into soft rubber and jelly. Derived from Phthalic acid, and often called a plasticizer for its plastic softening properties, phthalates have been produced since the 1920′s and have been used in everything from perfumes to pesticides and, of course, sex.
    • Because the softening agent has in other situations been linked to heath problems, it is often recommended that these toys should be used with condoms.
    • Only use a water-based personal lubricant with jelly rubber toys.
  1. Cyberskin or UR3: Cyberskin toys typically fall in the “realistic” materials category. The material imitates the look and feel of human skin. Cyberskin is soft like skin, warms up to body temperature quickly, and provides an experience that is quite different from materials like metal and plastic. Cyberskin toys do have special cleaning requirements – basically no harsh soaps or detergents.
    • Cyberskin toys are made of porous material that cannot be disinfected. Care should be taken to clean them thorougly. Using a non-lubricated condom helps.
    • Use a very mild anti-bacterial soap or special toy-cleaner compatible with this material to clean.
    • Powder with corn starch after cleaning to keep the toy from getting sticky. Don’t use talc powder (which has been associated with cervical cancer and should never be put in the vagina).
    • They may contain rubber softeners such as phthalates, which have been associated with negative health effects.
    • Because the softening agent has in other situations been linked to health problems, it is often recommended that these toys should be used with condoms.
    • Do not use silicone lube with cyberskin toys as it can melt the toy. Be sure to use a condom over the toy if you want to use silicone lube.
  2. Elastomers: Elastomers are being used in sex toys as soft materials that are phthalate-free. They are porous, unlike silicone, and cannot be disinfected. People who are concerned about avoiding contact with rubber softeners might choose elastomer toys as good soft alternatives.
    • Elastomers are very different from the inexpensive PVC (Jelly) used for most sex toys.
    • Elastomers are slightly porous so care should be taken to clean them properly. Using a non-lubricated condom helps.
    • Use a mild anti-bacterial soap to clean.
    • They contain no phthalates, are hypoallergenic, soft and durable. No solvents are used in the process of manufacturing.
    • Elastomers are usually suitable for people concerned with allergic reactions or chemical sensitivities.
    • Only use a water-based personal lubricant with elastomer based sex toys.
  3. Silicone: Since silicone is a higher quality material than most, toys made from 100% silicone tend to also be higher quality than toys made from most other materials. Silicone retains its softness over time better than other materials and it can even be boiled, run through the dishwasher and cleaned with disinfectant soap without showing signs of wear. Silicone toys tend to be soft, although this is not necessarily the case. Silicone can be either very hard, very soft or anywhere in-between. The texture depends on the design and intended function of the toy. The comments here do not include toys made from a rubber-silicone mix. Toys made from such a mixture should be treated like Jelly toys.
    • Be careful of toys that are silicone/rubber mixes. These are not the same as toys that are made of 100% (or near 100%) silicone.
    • Toys that are 100% silicone are soft, chemically inert and hypoallergenic. Silicone is an ideal material for sex toys for penetration. It warms up to body temperature, transmits vibrations well, is non-porous, easy to clean, and very durable. It is available in a wide variety of densities, and an unbelievable range of shapes and colors.
    • Because they are non-porous, silicone toys are easier to keep clean.
    • 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). Providing there are no moving parts (vibrators), you can boil (3-5 minutes) silicone sex toys in water, or put them on the top shelf of your dishwasher to clean.
    • This material does not contain phthalates.
    • Silicone is recommended for people concerned about having allergic reactions to sex toy materials.
    • Silicone is very durable, but can tear. Keep items with sharp edges away from your silicone toys.
    • You can use a water-based or oil-based personal lubricant but do not use silicone-based lubricants with silicone sex toys.
  4. Glass: Glass toys are usually made of Pyrex, which is a tough, damage-resistant type of glass. Glass vibrators typically consist of an outer glass shell that houses a standard vibrator inside. Glass toys are easy to clean, last a very long time, are often quite beautiful and are usually more expensive.
    • Glass retains temperature extremely well and requires only a little lube for a super-slippery effect.
    • Glass toys are non-porous so they are easier to keep clean.
    • To clean glass sex toys you can use soap, rubbing alcohol, or bleach (if you are using alcohol or bleach, be careful to rinse thoroughly) and can even boil them.
    • Glass toys do not contain phthalates.
    • These toys are suitable for people concerned with allergic reactions or chemical sensitivities.
    • Care should be taken to avoid dropping glass sex toys, as they may crack or break. Examine your toy before each use. If you notice a crack in a glass toy, stop using it. You wouldn’t want to risk having it break during use.
    • You can use any water-based or silicone-based personal lubricants with glass toys.
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