Phthalates. If you purchase sex toys very frequently it is almost guaranteed that you’ve encountered the term. Items that are phthalate-free are praised for their safety and some companies even go so far as to claim their products are phthalate-free when they aren’t. It’s ridiculous that phthalates are being used anymore at all, but it's just another hallmark of an industry that boils down to corporate greed. Let’s dig into what phthalates are first.
Phthalates: What Are They and Why Do They Matter?
What Are Phthalates?Phthalates are a class of chemicals used as plasticizers. Plasticizers are added to products to increase the flexibility or softness of different materials. In the sex toy industry, this is important because "realistic" is in demand. People want dildos that feel similar to real flesh, they want vibrators with a squishy exterior. People want toys that feel comfortable.
Enter PhthalatesPhthalates are one of the most common plasticizers used in ANY industry, but in the sex toy world they are used to make those super vibrant jelly toys that sell for less than $20, or the PVC (polyvinylchloride) hard toys. Chances are if you have a sex toy that is made of plastic it has at least some level of phthalates in it. Some types of plastic toys are safe, but others are not.
Why are phthalates used? Because it’s cheaper to buy a boatload of cheap material and pump it full of phthalates to make it soft than it is to use a phthalate-free material. That’s the ONLY reason it happens.
Now, you are wondering:
Why Do Phthalates Matter?Because you are alive and have hormones in your body, because you have genitals, because you might be breastfeeding or pregnant.
And There's Another Point to Consider ...Products made with phthalates are manufactured to fail. The companies that use these chemicals want you buying a new product several times a year. There are even options for replacing phthalates. But those alternatives aren’t as profitable though, and these companies don’t care if your genitals get burned, if your son is developmentally stunted when born, or if their products potentially increase the risk of breast cancer.
They just want your money.
Of course, they’ll deny all of this until the end of time. But you’re educated. You are learning their little tricks and you are making better decisions. Safer decisions. Sexier decisions.
If I started praising all the sex bloggers talking about this, I’d be here for hours. You folks know who you are!
If you’ve had a bad experience with jelly toys or phthalate-laden toys, please share in the comments.
Mr. Will is a Texan who fell into writing about sexuality as a way to try new things and explore his body. He is always looking for ways to improve his sex life and the sex lives of others.