Sex Toy Materials
Health Issues with Inexpensive Sex Toys
A Little More Interesting only carries insertable vibes, dills, and anal toys made from silicone, elastomer, or food grade vinyl, although 90% of our products are made from 100% silicone. We only carry products that meet our strict guidelines including sex toy material, excellent quality, and superior electronics. All of our vibes, dills, and anal toys are made in Canada, Germany, Japan, or the United States. You won’t find anything harmful to your body here.
The sex toy industry is largely unregulated. They sell sex toys as novelty items so they do not need to adhere to certain regulations. Unfortunately, most North Americans who purchase sex toys are not aware of the health risks associated with certain toys. Further, North American and European health regulatory bodies have not put much effort into studying the safety of sex toys.
Besides the obvious adverse affects of poorly made sex toys such as sharp seams, allergies, decomposition, and bacteria infections due to porous toys, the most concerning issue is with off-gasing phthalates. Phthalates are a family of very common chemicals used in a variety of products, from polyvinyl chloride (PVC), children’s toys, and sex toys made from jelly. They are also used in the production of paint, adhesives, insect repellents, and rocket fuel.
Phthalates are added to plastic (usually PVC) to increase their flexibility. Unfortunately, over time, the phthalates added slowly ‘leak’ out in a process called off-gasing. They generally release lead and cadmium, which can be absorbed into the body. Because of this, the US Centre of Disease Control (CDC) and other health agencies around the world have started to research the harmful effects phthalates cause to the body. Health Canada and the European Union have removed all the plastic toys designed for children under three that contain phthalates.
In 2001, the popular German magazine, Stern, hired toxicologists to determine the safety of certain sex toy materials. They were alarmed at the high concentrations of phthalates, which were 100 times the acceptable European standard. The toxicologists warned that sex toys containing phthalates (i.e. anything initially made from PVC) would be absorbed into the mucous membrane of the vaginal canal and rectum. They expressed concern that the phthalates would eventually be absorbed by the liver or kidneys.
In 2006, Greenpeace Netherlands commissioned a study, which found seven out of eight vibrators and dildos tested contained phthalates in concentrations varying from 24 to 51 percent. Besides the effects mentioned above, the experts from this study indicate that vaginal or rectal exposure to these chemicals can harm hormone production and damage reproduction. They also indicated that sex toys made from these materials might lead to cancer.
The United State’s CDC has been studying the affects of phthalates on a number of animals and humans. They conclude that although phthalates cause a number of health-related issues for rodents, including hormonal or endocrine problems, liver or kidney damage and tumors, and infertility, no human studies have been found that report these health issues. The CDC states that phthalates can be absorbed into the system through skin contact and that people should be conscious about the adverse affects of these chemicals.
Even though human studies on the adverse affects of phthalates are inconclusive, we at A Little More Interesting will not sell any sex toy products that may contain phthalates. We believe our bodies are our temple. You shouldn’t ingest harmful chemical ingredients; therefore, you shouldn’t be inserting sex toys that may be harmful to your health. A good motto to follow when it comes to sex toys is, “if it smells bad, don’t buy it!”
The Benefits of Silicone
Silicone sex toys are preferable because they are:
Not absorbent (so it doesn’t retain smell or bacteria)
Easy to clean (the only common sex toy material that can be disinfected by boiling)
Non-toxic (they are 100% phthalate-free)
Durable (won’t leave fragments of material in the body like other toys)
Unique (they come in a number of shapes, sizes, and vivid colours)
Smooth (no sharp seams)
Life-like to touch
Great conductors of heat (they quickly warm to the body and retain the heat)
Fantastic for carrying vibrations
Sex Toy Cleaning & Maintenance
Following is a quick list of sex toy materials and how to properly clean and maintain them. Included in this section are the types of lubes you can use with each material. Again, A Little More Interesting only recommends vibes, dills, and anal toys made from 100% silicone, 100% elastomer, or food grade vinyl. We have included all the sex toy materials in case you currently have a toy made from these materials.
With vibrators, always remove the batteries when cleaning and after each use. NEVER leave the batteries in your toy when it is not in use. Removing the batteries during cleaning will help prevent corrosion if water happens to get into the electrical component. Waterproof toys should be fine, but it is better to be safe than sorry. If corrosion does occur on the battery component you can clean it by applying a small amount of baking soda and lightly scrubbing it with a cotton swab.
Silicone is the ideal sex toy material. It is non-porous and the only sex toy material that can be totally disinfected. Because of this it is used in many medical applications and is considered very body safe. It can be shared between partners or used vaginally or anally after it has been boiled in water (approx. 4 minutes). Please remember that you CANNOT boil a silicone vibe or dildo that has a vibrator unit inside of it. Silicone is also hypoallergenic so individuals with latex allergies can use them. Further, silicone toys are non-toxic, pliable, durable, have no sharp seams, warms to the body quickly, retains heat, and carries vibration like a dream. They also don’t degrade so they last a long time. A Little More Interesting only sells silicone toys that are 100% food or medical grade silicone. Please be aware that many products claim to be silicone when, by law, they only need to contain 10% silicone to claim they are ‘silicone.’ There are many cheap ‘silicone’ products on the market, which can be just as harmful as sex toys made from jelly.
Elastomer is quickly becoming a very popular material used with high-end sex toys, and like Silicone is used extensively in medical implants. It has properties very similar to silicone. It is hypoallergenic, so it is kinder to your skin. These toys are extremely soft, yet very durable so it will last for years. Elastomer vibes are also extremely quiet and much easier to clean than latex. They are also 100% latex-free, so individuals with latex allergies and sensitivities can use them with no worries.
Food grade vinyl sex toys from excellent manufacturers are less porous and last longer than jelly toys. They are extremely soft and pliable, yet hard enough to feel great. Soft vinyl is a great vibe material because it carries vibrations wonderfully. A Little More Interesting only carries high-end food grade vinyl sex toys made in Japan. Some stores and sites carry cheap vinyl toys that are quite porous. These toys are more likely to house bacteria and yeast causing nasty vaginal and/or rectal infections. Because of this you should always use a condom on your inexpensive vinyl sex toys. Because vinyl toys are more porous they do not last as long as silicone toys. Further, vinyl cannot be disinfected. Clean your vinyl toys with anti-bacterial soap and water.
Latex vibrators and dildos are not as common as they used to be. Latex toys are generally more cost-effective than silicone or elastomer toys; however, they have their disadvantages. Latex is soft, but not pliable so these products do not bend well. Latex is also very porous, which makes the toy break down over time and difficult to clean properly. Since you cannot sterilize latex toys you MUST use condoms on your toys if you share them with a partner or use them for vaginal and anal penetration. As well, many individuals have latex allergies or sensitivities. These individuals should use hypoallergenic sex toys made from silicone or elastomer.
Plastic toys are generally very hard and not pliable. They are usually smooth, but the cheaper toys have sharp seams that can cut the vaginal canal or rectum. Hard plastic does conduct vibrations well and can usually be used safely for the exterior stimulation of the erogenous zones. They are also easy to clean with either sex toy cleaner or rubbing alcohol. However, most plastic sex toys are poorly made and one should steer clear from them if at all possible.
Jelly sex toys are extremely common because it is an inexpensive material that can easily be formed into almost any shape. They come in a huge array of shapes, sizes, and colours. Jelly toys are very soft and pliable, yet can be quite rigid during play time. Jelly toys are porous and difficult to properly clean. They CANNOT be sterilized like silicone. They also appear to contain chemical agents called phthalates, which have been known to cause health problems in laboratory studies. It is important to note that inserting jelly toys into the vagina or anus can be harmful to your health. Please use a condom every time you use a jelly toy to help with safety, maintenance, and cleaning. Also, please read the Health Issues with Inexpensive Sex Toys section for more information.
CyberskinTM or other Realistic Materials
These toys are known for their realistic-looking and feeling flesh-like texture. They are soft, smooth and flexible, much like human skin. However, these toys are extremely difficult to keep clean after use. You can keep your toy from looking like a lint magnet by adding corn starch or CyberskinTM talc after each use. They are also very porous and difficult to clean and cannot be sterilized. Like jelly toys, they may contain harmful phthalates. If you must use these toys, please use a condom each and every time.
Glass sex toys should be made from PyrexTM, which is generally laboratory quality. It should not shatter when dropped, but they can. If you see a crack in your glass toy discontinue use immediately. You do not want a glass toy breaking while using it internally. Glass is non-porous, retains temperature very well, and is extremely smooth. It does not contain phthalates and is easy to clean with antibacterial soap and water. PyrexTM glass toys can even be boiled.
High quality metal sex toys are fine if they do not have any sharp seams and if they are unpainted. Painted metal toys are prone to flaking. Cheap metal vibes are not recommended. Metal toys are very hard, non-porous, 100% phthalate-free, and usually quite smooth. They are easily cleaned with anti-bacterial soap and warm water.