The Island of Misfit [Sex] Toys

So, truth be told, the idea for this post was originally to do a cheeky, silly look at some of the sex toys available out there. But something happened along the way as I started to poke around the Interwebz for funny ideas. Some of them weren’t funny. At all.

I read this article about glass sex toys*, and immediately felt awful for recommending the product — not because I know it to be unsafe, but because I don’t 100% know it is safe.

I got so shook by the information about sex toys I was uncovering that I deleted an earlier review post about one of my favorite glass toys because, although the company advertises the glass to be “non-porous,” I could not find assurance that the glass was borosilicate. I read this article about glass sex toys*, and immediately felt awful for recommending the product — not because I know it to be unsafe, but because I don’t 100% know it is safe. I’ve used it for years without incident, but won’t continue to recommend based on just that.

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Mea culpa. photo | Carolina Heza

This post is probably at least a month overdue, since a lot of people have been merrily putting together ‘naughty stockings’ for their partners, and a lot of potentially sketchy novelty sex toys are sold and purchased in anticipation of the holiday season. But Imma post it anyway on a better-late-than-never basis. Check your ‘stocking stuffers,’ folks.

Here’s the thing — not all sex toys are safe and it’s 100% up to the consumer to determine that because the industry is so poorly regulated.

Because, here’s the thing — not all sex toys are safe and it’s 100% up to the consumer to determine that because the industry is so poorly regulated. So as much of a bah-humbug as this post is gonna be, I feel compelled to write it because chances are good that some newbies to the Lifestyle are maybe also enthusiastic newbies to sex toys. And this is good information to have.

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Must be ‘Naughty Stocking’ night! photo | Element 5

I’ve read a lot of articles about sex toy safety (or not) in the last few hours. A few that may interest you:

Dangerous Lilly’s Toxic Toy Reference Guide

Really, Dangerous Lilly’s entire website!

Vibrant Safe Sex Toy Article (BONUS: Vibrant is a Planned Parenthood company).

Medical Daily Article on Bootleg Sex Toys

Elite Daily Article on Potential Dangerous Materials Used in Sex Toys

Sex & Psychology Article: Is it Safe to  Share Sex Toys?

I’d recommend reading a variety of resources, not just one or two. You’ll notice that some of them say a material is safe (glass, for example) but others give you more of the story.

Ultimately, you will have to be the judge of how okay you feel about putting something into your wazoo.

Ultimately, you will have to be the judge of how okay you feel about putting something into your wazoo (where wazoo can mean any bodily orifice), but I’m going to humbly suggest erring on the side of caution. “Wild abandon” may sound sexy, but probably shouldn’t dictate our health choices.

There are, of course, lots and lots of resources out there. The advice most have in common includes:

  • The FDA is not protecting you when it comes to sex toys. That’s on you.
  • Learn what your sex toys are made of.**
  • If it’s porous, it’s not for us.
  • Flexible and transparent toys should be scrutinized, especially.
  • Phthalates are bad. Other chemicals may be, too.
  • Sharing sex toys? Use a condom.
  • Don’t mix anal & vaginal use without cleaning toy thoroughly between.
  • Know which lube and cleaner to use on each toy, and clean well.
  • Buy from reputable manufacturers and retailers.
  • If it’s cheap, it’s suspect. High quality, safe materials cost more.
  • ‘Novelty’ toys are super suspect.
  • Being expensive doesn’t guarantee safe materials. Do your homework.
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The stockings were hung by the chimney with care. photo | Dan Lefebvre

Now, lest you leave here feeling totally bummed by all of this unsexy safety stuff, I did run across one delightfully funny website during my research:

Folks, meet Searah’s Museum of Screwy Sex Toys — updated monthly with some of the oddest items. Searah’s commentary is hysterical. In fact, the site already covers my original intent — an Island of FUNNY Misfit Sex Toys. Go visit for a laugh.

(But remember that your sexual safety and health aren’t a laughing matter).


* Dangerouslilly.com is an excellent resource. She promises: “If you are worried about the glass sex toys you own after reading this, please contact me. Send me a link, send me photos, etc. I’ll help you determine if you need to toss it or just baby it.” I emailed her about the Pipedream’s Icicles #24 I own, and she responded right away: “You’ve been using it fine without incident, so I can’t predict anything bad. Just always check it well for cracks or chips before use. Be careful with it and if you ever drop it, even onto carpeting from only a few feet, go over it with a magnifying glass.”

** The Elite Daily article referenced above makes sure to note that, “the packages that sex toys are sold in often report materials inaccurately with no legal consequence for manufacturers.” This means that the consumer (that’s us) needs to buy only from reputable manufacturers and retailers, as much as possible. To help, Dangerous Lilly offers some opinions about that here, and then there’s Epiphora’s Shit List too.


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