If you have ever shopped for a sex toy – and you most likely have – you notice many things about the description of the item. One very important bit of information is the type of material that toy is made of. There are many different types of materials used to manufacture sex toys and products and each of them has specific care instructions, restrictions and even lubrication compatibilities. It is important that you understand what material your toy is made from and how to care for that material so that your items do not break down. Well cared for toys are maintained in a proper manner, used with compatible lubricants, and will remain long-lasting. For some people, there may be allergy conflicts with certain materials – like those with latex allergies. So, take a minute and familiarize yourself with the different materials used in sex toys and you will be able to make more informed choices when you purchase your next toy!
One of the most common and cost-effective materials for a basic sex toy is jelly. Jelly toys feel soft, squishy and sometimes slightly sticky. They are very pliable and are popular for vibrators and dildos because you can feel the vibrations through the material. They are made from a mixture of PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) and rubber. They sometimes have a particular “smell” when you first open the package, but it usually fades quickly. Jelly is a very porous material – this means, there are tiny, microscopic holes and air pockets within the form. These tiny holes are what make jelly toys not as long lasting, as they tend to rip and tear after many uses. Also, these pores can gather build-up, so you will want to wash it thoroughly after each use. The best advice is to use condoms when playing with jelly toys. This will help the toys last longer.
LUBRICANT CHOICE: You want to only use water-based lubricants with jellies.
STORAGE: Storage of jelly toys is VERY important. You always want to wash and dry your toys after each use. Never store them in any place that is hot or damp. Always separate your toys so that they do not merge together. Also, these toys are rather tacky, so always check to make sure nothing is attached to it (hair, dust, lint, dirt) as that would be unpleasant to have inside you.
Latex rubber is a very common material used for “stiffer” toys such as dildos and some vibrators because it is firmer but still bendable. Rubber tends to be harder, but still pliable. Similar to jellies, rubber based toys are usually inexpensive, but, they can be quite porous as well. So, be aware of any tears in the material, and always wash and dry after use. Using a condom is preferred.
ALLERGY INFORMATION: Some people with latex allergies will react to a rubber toy (as most rubber toys may contain latex). So, pay attention to your body’s reaction to it. If you get itchy, red or any other allergic reactions occur, stop use IMMEDIATELY.
LUBRICANT CHOICE: Use a water-based lubricant with rubber toys.
STORAGE: Storage of rubber toys involves carefully cleaning your toy in warm, soapy water, drying it, and storing in a cool, dry place away from other toys.
Elastomers are known as “the safer jelly” because they do not have phthalates. Phthalates are used to soften the PVC used in a jelly toy. Elastomers are softer, so they do not require the softening process. Therefore, there is no smell as with a jelly toy. The feel is similar to a jelly toy, but functions more like a rubber. In fact, Elastomer and rubber are very similar. Elastomer toys are often very cost effective as well. They are less porous, but still require care when cleaning.
LUBRICANT CHOICE: You should use a water-based lubricant with an elastomer toy for the best results.
STORAGE: You would want to always wash your toy with warm, soapy water and dry it thoroughly before storing. Store in a cool, dry place separated from other toys. Elastomer is less likely to merge with other toys, but it is safer to keep them separated.
Silicone toys feel extremely soft to the touch and realistic-feeling, are hypoallergenic, non-porous and extremely long-lasting. Many toys are being made of silicone now because of the high quality of the material. The non-porous nature of the material makes it less likely to break down and rip, it won’t collect bacteria in the same way, and the material adjusts to body temperature as it absorbs heat.
LUBRICANT CHOICE: It is extremely important to NEVER use a silicone lubricant with a silicone toy. Silicone lubricants will react with the toy and cause a melting or breakdown which could be dangerous. Always use a water-based lubricant.
STORAGE: Silicone toys are very resilient. If you have a toy that does not have a vibrator or any battery or mechanical components you can actually boil it to sterilize. This is not usually necessary though, as a good washing with warm, soapy water and a thorough drying will do the trick. Store in a cool, dry place.
Important Sex Toy Features You Should Know
CYBERSKIN / ULTRASKIN / UR3 / FUTUROTIC / FANTA FLESH
These are all brand names for essentially the same product. Cyberskin is an ultra-realistic feeling material that mimics the feel of natural, human skin. It is soft and silky, pliable, flexible and really amazing. These toys are very porous which adds the realistic sensation, but, they are longer-lasting than a traditional material. Cyberskin toys need to be maintained with care, however, and many toys will come with detailed care instructions.
LUBRICANT CHOICE: ONLY use water-based lubricants with a Cyberskin (or any type of RealSkin) toy. Silicones or oily lubricants will damage and break down the toy.
STORAGE: The best way to maintain the skin-like feel of Cyberskin is to dust the toy with cornstarch or renewing powder after you have cleaned and dried your toy. You will want to clean your toy with warm, soapy water and then dry it completely. Before storage, dust your toy with cornstarch or renewing powder and put in a cool, dry place. Some sites will say to use talcum powder, but this is not recommended due to some evidence that talcum powders (or baby powders) can be linked to cervical cancer, and may break down the material.
TPR (Thermoplastic Rubber)
TPR is a polymer blend that is somewhere between a cyberskin and a silicone as to texture and flexibility. TPR is hypoallergenic and less porous than a jelly or cyberskin, but more porous than silicone. Overall, it is a soft and pliable material that feels smooth to the touch.
LUBRICANT CHOICE: Water-based lubricants are the lube of choice with a TPR toy.
STORAGE: You want to make sure to wash your TPR toy in warm, soapy water and dry thoroughly. Then, store in a cool, dry place.
ACRYLIC / PLASTICS
Acrylic toys are EXTREMELY hard. Many standard no-frills vibrators are made from Acrylic/Plastics, as are anal toys. Acrylic is a non-porous material which makes it easy to care for. The chance of an Acrylic or Plastic toy breaking or tearing with normal use is zero to none. They are not always very comfortable, as they are rigid, but some toys work better when they do not bend, like a bullet.
LUBRICANT CHOICE: You can use any type of lubricant with an acrylic or plastic toy. Silicone would be most suggested.
STORAGE: You can wash these toys in warm, soapy water, dry thoroughly, and store pretty much anywhere.
Glass has become a very popular material for sex toys over the last many years. Glass toys are extremely beautiful as they can be shaped and colored in amazing ways. Some glass dildos even have vibrators. Glass toys are hypoallergenic, non porous, extremely safe and solid. The material used to make a glass toy is NOT standard, easily breakable glass. The material most often used in glass toys is called Borosilicate or Pyrex which is a medical grade glass that can withstand heat, cold, and pressure. This means, your toy will not break from normal use or a topple off your bed. MOST glass toys can be boiled or placed in cold water/the refrigerator to change the temperature of the toy for a unique play experience, but they should never be microwaved or frozen. Always read your toys package to make sure that this is appropriate as some hand-blown glass toys may damage with boiling or dishwasher cleaning.
LUBRICANT CHOICE: You can use any type of lubricant with a glass toy.
STORAGE: These toys can be submerged in warm soapy water. Most can be boiled, but we recommend that you check for instructions. They can be stored anywhere, including the refrigerator for a cool experience later.
Most people know what stainless steel is and it is a great option for a sex toy. Steel toys are mostly used for dildos and anal toys or plugs. They are extremely hard, non-porous and hypoallergenic. They will last forever if properly maintained. If they do not contain a vibrating or mechanical component, they can be boiled or placed in cold water (or a refrigerator) to change the sensation of play. We do not recommend freezing any toy.
LUBRICANT CHOICE: You can use any type of lubricant with steel, silicone is recommended.
STORAGE: You can boil or put steel toys without mechanical components in the dishwasher or wash with warm, soapy water. You can store a steel toy anywhere.
Similar to steel, aluminum toys are very long-lasting and sturdy. Aluminum never rusts, is lighter than steel, is non-porous and hypoallergenic. Their hard and inflexible nature makes them ideal for anal plugs and the like. Any aluminum toy, without a vibration or mechanical component may be placed in hot or cold water for different sensations.
LUBRICANT CHOICE: You can use any type of lubricant with an aluminum toy.
STORAGE: Wash with warm, soapy water, dry, and store anywhere.
Wood is a beautiful material to use in making sex toys. Hard woods can be shaped into beautiful and functional toys. They are then sanded and finished with special, body-safe coatings. They are beautiful to look at and very pleasurable to use. Wood toys will last a lifetime with proper care. They are hard and inflexible which make them ideal for dildos and G-Spot toys.
LUBRICANT CHOICE: You can use any type of lubricant with a wood toy.
STORAGE: Clean with warm, soapy water, dry thoroughly, and store wherever you would like.
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