There are lots of different sex toy materials out there and, as you said, some are not so good for our bodies. Beyond materials like wood, glass and metal, which are typically very safe, sex toys are often made with a lot of other materials that aren't as clear-cut. So, here's a bit of a lowdown on some of the materials that tend to confuse people the most and what they mean.
Silicone is one of the most beloved sex toy materials, and sex educators tend to recommend it because it has no smell and no taste. Silicone is also inert, nonporous, doesn’t harbor bacteria, it’s easy to clean, and it will last a lifetime if you care for it.
Silicone has a smooth, silky feel to it and can either be hard or a bit "squishy." That said, it's also one of the more expensive materials, although it's totally worth it in terms of quality, safety and durability.
Every company that makes TPE products has its own compound and as long as it has the baseline ingredients, you can call it TPE. Unfortunately, that means that some TPE is safer than others and some is certified body safe and some is not.
At Blush, our TPE is certified body safe. We test both the raw materials before manufacturing and we have a third party independently lab test the products once they are complete. We do this to ensure we are caring for the health and wellness of consumers.
TPE can be hard to spot because it can appear in a couple of forms. It can be clear, sort of shiny, and feel very solid or dense in your hands. TPE can also be opaque (not translucent) and it can come in flesh shades and be super soft and squishy. Because TPE is so versatile, it’s hard to pick up a product and know, especially from brand to brand, what it’s made out of, unless they say it on the package.
It’s also important to understand that TPE is a porous product. Unlike silicone, it has little pores, so it can harbor bacteria. Therefore, it’s made for single-person use or, if you’re going to share it with a partner, you should use a latex barrier like a condom.
PVC is also a compound, so again we have Blush’s own body-safe compound of PVC.
Unlike TPE, PVC is non-porous. Think about the PVC pipes in your house. Today you can get soft PVC piping for your home or in an RV or that kind of thing and it’s made to run water, it’s made to not grow any kind of bacteria or molds or anything like that, and it’s made to be completely non-porous.
Our PVC is non-porous, it’s body safe and, again, it’s independently lab tested. PVC can come out looking a number of different ways, but larger toys tend to be made of it because it's more affordable.
Mystery Jelly Mixes
There are also still a lot of sex toys made out of something we like to call Mystery Jelly Mixes. Mystery Jelly Mixes are sometimes TPEs and sometimes PVCs and sometimes latex or rubber but generally, they're made by an importer who’s not actually manufacturing their own products and they don’t know what they're made out of.
These products are very unfair to the stores and consumers who buy them. It’s hard to assess what they are made of and the brands are not very forthcoming. We don't typically recommend jelly toys because they often contain phthalates and other chemicals that can be harmful to your health.
At any rate, here at Blush we like to be honest and transparent, so consumers can make an educated choice about the Blush pleasure products they purchase.
For more information, we also have materials guide on our blog at Blush. Check it out for more info!