"Put a condom on my sex toy? Why would I do that?!"

Yes, I said to wrap it up, put a sock on it, or whatever you want to call it. Put a condom on your

dildo. Put one on your vibrator. Put an FC2 in your masturbation sleeve.

You've probably heard how important barriers are for safer sex, but there are a lot of reasons you should wrap up your sex toys too.

Oh, and before you dig into the rest of this, read this informative article on the right way to use a condom. The No.1 reason condoms break is because of improper use!

When It's Time to Rubber Up

Back to my original line of thought: You should be putting condoms on your sex toys. There are three occasions when you should always put a condom on it

  • If you’re unsure about the material the toy is made of, or if it’s a porous, sticky material like jelly rubber, if it has a strong chemical smell, if it's a very inexpensive sex toy or if you just don't know that it's made of a safe material like silicone, wood, metal or glass.
  • If you want to use it in multiple orifices and can’t/don’t want to take the time to sterilize the toy.
  • If you want to use it with a partner and can’t/don’t want to take the time to sterilize the toy.
  • You want a low-maintenance way to keep your toys clean.
So let's take a look at each one of these scenarios, starting with sex toy materials.



As Protection Against Porous/Unsafe Sex Toy Materials

Sad but true: Sex toys are frequently made up of harmful and toxic chemicals. Minimal research has been done about the effects of certain chemicals in sex toys, but we know that phthalates, a very common sex toy additive, are banned in children’s toys. Because the adult industry is completely unregulated, these chemicals may still be found in sex toys (and therefore in your vagina, anus and mouth). Phthalates are chemically unstable. What this means is that molecules are looking to stabilize themselves, causing the material to offgass, leak noxious chemicals and degrade. If a product smells or tastes like anything, or is not made of pure silicone, glass, metal, or specially treated wood, be wary. Other materials may include toxic chemicals, which can cause chemical burns to the sensitive tissues they’re coming in contact with. Eek! Put a condom on it!

The other problem is that lower quality materials tend to be porous, which means they’ll pick up dirt and bacteria that you’ll never be able to completely remove. They can spread or reinfect you or your partners with bacterial infections, STIs, and yeast infections. Like I said, put a condom on it! (You can also read more about dangerous materials in Sex Toy Safety: A Guide to Materials.)

For Clean Fun When the Play Gets Dirty

The bacteria in the anus is only healthy in the anus; get it anywhere else and you're in trouble. That's why it's recommended that you always sterilize your toys before using them in a different orifice. If you can’t sterilize your toy (as in the case with porous toys, which can never be completely cleaned), or want that dildo in your vagina right now even though it was just in your bum, you should use a condom.

The vaginal ecosystem, while resilient, can be pretty fragile too. Bacteria are an integral part of our functioning. They help us digest, they keep our bodies functioning properly, but they live in vastly different environments all over our bodies. There's one culture on the pads of our hands, another in a certain nook of our intestines, and another in the vagina. Introducing bacteria from the rectum to the vagina or vice versa can cause an imbalance. Fecal matter in particular can be an issue, because it might contain "bad bacteria" that can overrun the bacteria in your vagina, or make you very, very sick if it gets into your mouth. If you're using a sex toy for different types of play, put a condom on it. It'll make things much safer - and more fun! (You can learn more about the amazing vagina in 10 Things You Didn't Know About Vaginas.)

As Protection Against Infection - and Re-Infection

You probably know that a condom can prevent the spread of STIs. While you can't technically catch an STI from a sex toy, you could acquire one from a partner who's used that sex toy - or even re-infect yourself by using a sex toy you used when you were infected. The same goes for bacterial infections, yeast infections and other nasties that can travel from partner to partner via toy. But let's be honest here: Are you really going to go and clean that vibrator you were just using on your clit so you can use it while you give your partner oral? Using a condom - and switching it between partners - makes for faster transitions. It's also a fun way to have a short intermission that won't kill the heat.

Sharing sex toys with a partner or partners can be really hot. Bacterial infections and STIs? Definitely not. Put a condom on it!

It Keeps Your Toys Clean

A fourth and less important reason to put a condom on (or in) your sex toys is for cleanliness. It

makes cleanup a snap. It’s especially nice when using a masturbation sleeve. Cleaning these out is notoriously difficult, depending on the model and material it’s made out of. Female condoms are especially useful here. Just insert one into the sleeve, and remove it when you're done. Easy. You just put a condom on it. (You can learn more about female condoms in 8 Things You Don't Know About Female Condoms.)

Condoms aren't just for sex, they're also for sex toys. So the next time you pull one out, consider putting a condom on it.

Do you use condoms on your sex toys? How and why does it work for you? Let us know in the comments below.