My sex toy situation is out of control.
How to Store Your Sex Toys
I have vibrators lining my closet shelves—some in their original boxes, some in the drawstring bags with which they came and one of them (sadly, infuriatingly) missing a power cable. I have more vibrators, still in their original packaging, shoved in a drawer beneath my bed—tucked in amongst various clothes that no longer fit.
And then there are my favorite and most-used toys. They're clustered together in my nightstand drawer, pressed up against lip masks and bookmarks and tubes of hand cream. They are not in any protective boxes or bags. They are wild and free.
Unfortunately, wild and free does not equal safe.
Read: Sex Toy Safety: A Guide to Materials
I've been thinking a lot lately about how to better store my sex toys (and how to dispose of the ones I no longer use). So it seemed fortuitous when I learned that Bedbible—a wealth of sex toy-related info—had done a survey about where and how people are storing their toys.
Fired up by the need to get my sex toys under control, I dug into the data to see what other people are doing.
Where People Are Storing Their Sex Toys
Bedbible.com surveyed 1,009 people in the U.S. to learn where they store their "sexy stash." And turns out, some people are way more organized than I am, some are as haphazard as me, and some are really concerned about the possibility of prying eyes.
The most popular hiding place for sex toys? A secret box—47% of respondents reported one. People store their secret boxes any number of places—including in closets, in drawers, under the bed or in a separate lockbox. Nine percent of people even went so far as to secure their sex toys in a coded safe.
Furniture was another popular storage spot. Thirty-four percent of survey respondents kept their toys in places like their underwear drawer or nightstand (::waves::).
Others (17%) used bags—from makeup bags, to travel bags, to handbags—while others still (11%) went even more incognito by shoving their toys into pillowcases, plush toys (!) or tucked away in a shoe.
Another piece of information I found interesting was that 58% of men stored their toys in a box compared to 40% of women. Moreover, 12% of men used a combination safe compared to just 6% of women. Could this be because the use of sex toys by men is still more stigmatized?
Read: Think Sex Toys Are Just for Women? Think Again!
How You Can Store Your Sex Toys
Of course, when it comes to sex toy storage, discretion isn't the only—or even the most important—thing to consider. In addition to easy accessibility, your storage solutions should keep your toys clean when they're not in use, ensuring they don't come into contact with dirt, food, cat litter or any other household detritus.
(I guess that means having my toys commingle with the dust and lint in my nightstand isn't good.)
If you're among the majority of people who want to stash their sex toys in boxes, you can buy a lockbox made specifically for that purpose. The Joyboxx, for example, has a combination lock, fits multiple toys, can be easily wiped down or thrown into the dishwasher, has hidden ventilation holes and even has a USB port you can use to charge your toys.
But you can also use any old box—including those awesome under-the-bed storage bins—as long as each toy has its own baggie to keep it separate from the others.
If you prefer to use bags, that's cool, too. Some of higher-end toys come with their own drawstring bags; but there are also sex shops, toy brands and sexuality educators who sell bags specifically for your toys—like this plethora of zip-up storage pouches from sex educator Luna Matatas, this locking, microsuede toy bag from Liberator (which boasts a water-resistant inner liner) or this cheeky "go fun yourself" bag from Fun Factory.
And if you end up with a bunch of different boxes or bags with nowhere to store them, you can always buy a set of drawers, a trunk or one of those nifty storage benches (I love a piece of furniture that does double duty).
Keeping Your Sex Toys Clean
Before you put any of your toys away, you should clean and dry them (yes, after every use). You should also wash them with hot water before you use them again. That's because, if you put a toy away while it's still dirty or damp, bacteria can develop on its surface—which can, in turn, lead to skin irritation, product malfunction or an infection the next time you use it.
Read: The Care and Cleaning of Quality Sex Toys
How you clean your toys can vary depending on the type of toy and the materials with which it's made. According to Zoe Mendelson and Maria Conejo's "Pussypedia,", you should wash your toys with mild, fragrance-free soap and warm water after each use, making sure not to submerge anything with batteries or a motor. You can also soak nonporous toys in a bleach solution or in alcohol to disinfect them—though you should check your toy's packaging first to make sure it's OK given the toy's surface material.
And, of course, you can also purchase cleansers made specifically for sex toys. I recommend Doc Johnson's antibacterial sprays, this Wicked Sensual Care Foam N Fresh Anti-Bacterial Foaming Toy Cleaner or LELO's toy cleaning spray.
Note that nonporous materials—like medical-grade silicone, hypoallergenic metals and glass—are the most hygienic and easiest to keep clean. If you buy a cheaper toy made of, say, jelly rubber, just remember it can melt if you don't store it somewhere cool.
When it comes to sex toy storage, I know discretion can be an important factor. We worry about snooping roommates or cleaning ladies or houseguests stumbling upon our extracurricular aids and labeling us as godless perverts or nymphomaniacs or, even worse, someone who needs extra help in the bedroom. (God forbid.)
I get it, though. I understand. The handful of times my young daughter has asked me about my toys, I for sure stumbled over my response. And I'm still filled with horror when I remember the time my father-in-law probably glimpsed inside my naughty drawer. (Don't ask.)
But what does it really mean to be open and honest about the fact that you own sex toys? Or at least unashamed?
Owning up to your sex toys is simply an acknowledgment that you are a sexual being who enjoys pleasure—whether alone or with your partner(s). And there's nothing wrong with that.
Read: Healing from Purity Culture
I wish we could destigmatize sex toy ownership so owning them was as commonplace and expected and boring as, say, owning a toothbrush.
So, when you think about how to store your sex toys, don't worry so much about whether or not someone might stumble upon them. Consider, instead, how the way you store your toys ensures that they stay clean and functioning and safe to use.
Because safe sex toys make for the best kind of self-love.