Sex Toy Materials: A Breakdown
So which material's best? That's actually pretty personal, as they all deliver a different feel, and have different benefits and drawbacks. Let's take a look at the key materials used in sex toys, and some of the best manufacturers using them.
Silicone Sex Toys
Silicone is the soft, silky side of non-porous materials, although it does range from very soft to very firm depending on how it’s formulated. Silicone holds body temperature well, transfers vibrations without being buzzy, and can be boiled to be sterilized (as long as the toy doesn't contain a motor). A good silicone product will last a lifetime with proper use and care. Keep in mind that many companies will claim to use silicone when their toys are really made out of a mix of elastomer and thermoplastic rubber (TPR ). This means they may still be somewhat porous, although far less so than your typical jelly toy. These silicone-like toys are safer than some materials, but still can't be completely sterilized. The best way to ensure your toy is silicone, is to choose toys from a high-quality manufacturer you trust. Blush Novelties recently made a commitment to having each and every product in their line tested for material safety. Here's to hoping more manufacturers follow suit!
These toys by Blush are all made of 100% body-safe silicone. You can get them at Peep Show Toys.
Sex Toys Made of Hard (ABS) Plastic
ABS is a non-porous hard plastic used by a lot of middle-of-the-road and high-end sex toy manufacturers. It’s easy to clean and generally smooth (although some lower quality sex toys will have seams), but it can be a little buzzy when transferring vibrations. Even so, some people like the intense way vibrations translate through these toys and they are body safe and typically inexpensive.
This lipstick vibe by Blush Novelties is made of ABS plastic and boasts deep, rumbly vibrations. You can get it at Peep Show Toys.
Glass Sex Toys
Glass is hard, smooth, heavy and often very beautiful. It makes for fantastic products that can be easily cleaned and hold temperature well; you can even dip them in warm or cool water for easy temperature play. (Never extreme hot or cold; this can damage glass and also potentially harm your delicate tissues. Eek!)
Glass toys are usually made of borosilicate (Pyrex) or soda lime. Both are safe to use.
This glass anal plug by Crystal Delights is beautiful - and body safe. You can get it at Peep Show Toys.
Metal Sex Toys
Metal toys are hard, smooth and tend to have a nice weight to them. Like glass, they can also be cleaned easily and used for temperature play. Most of these toys are made of stainless steel or aluminum, but there are a few luxury toys made of gold and silver as well.
The nJoy Pure Wand is made of medical grade stainless steel and it's a legend! You can get it at Peep Show Toys.
Wood and Stone Sex Toys
Less commonly, you can find sex toys in other non-porous materials, including specially treated wood and even stone. These toys are beautiful and unique in addition to being body safe.
This is the NobEssence Seduction sculpted wood dildo. Beautiful and body-safe - we're in! You can get it at Peep Show Toys.
Is this sex toy toxic?
As we mentioned before, it's hard to know. But there are a few tells.
Greasy Residue or Smell
Toxic toys tend to offgass, which means they may have a greasy residue or a shower curtain smell. Although real silicone may have a bit of a manufacturing odor when you unwrap it, it should be virtually odorless once it's aired out. If a toy stinks, it probably isn't safe.
Low Price Point
There is an increasing number of manufacturers selling high quality toys at a reasonable price point, but if a price seems too good to be true, it probably is. Check out our list of Top Low-Cost, Luxury Vibrators for some tips on which brands have reasonable prices - and body-safe toys.
Companies that care about their products - and consumer safety - stand by what they make. Find a sex toy manufacturer that has a presence online and in stores, is independently reviewed, and that is up front about how consumers can reach them. Anyone can say their toys are silicone. The companies that stand behind those claims are the ones to buy from.
Just as good manufacturers stand behind their products, so do good retailers. They stock top-quality products and are available to help when things go wrong. The best retailers are also committed to stocking products from manufacturers they trust both for safety and quality. This is also why we typically recommend against buying on Amazon. You don't know where those toys are really coming from, or whether they are safe to use.
The Bottom Line on Avoiding Toxic Toys
Sex toy safety has improved tremendously over the past few years, but it's still up to consumers to do their research and ensure that what they're buying is safe. The upshot is that safe, high quality toys tend to work better and last longer. Not only can you avoid the risk of potential health effects, you can also have more orgasms. Win-win!