The sex toy industry is booming, with current estimates pegging it as a nearly $30 billion juggernaut that could potentially skyrocket to over $50 billion by 2026. From solo users to couples, millennials to baby boomers, everyone seems to be jumping into the fray. Physicians are even recommending sex toys for their health benefits. However, amidst all the excitement and exploration, sex toy safety often takes a back seat, even though experts argue that it should be front and center. With an industry that lacks regulation from watchdog groups like the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or Consumer Product Safety Commission, ensuring the safety of these intimate products is of paramount importance.
So, how can you navigate the tantalizing world of sex toys while safeguarding your well-being? Here are five essential safety tips that every savvy sex toy consumer should keep in mind:
Understand the Composition of Your Toys
Although scientific literature on the safety of various sex toy materials is limited, there are materials that you may want to avoid. Some toys contain phthalates, chemicals present in certain plastics that have been banned in children’s toys due to their potential hormone-disrupting effects. While the impact of phthalates on human health remains unclear, it’s essential to be aware of their presence, especially if you’ve chosen to avoid them in other aspects of your life. Many products claim to be phthalate-free, but the lack of industry regulation means those claims aren’t always substantiated. Keep an eye out for softer, jelly-like toys, as phthalates are used as softeners. These toys, typically made from porous materials, are more likely to transmit infections.
Prioritize Regular Cleaning
When it comes to cleaning your sex toys, regularity is key. Experts recommend cleaning toys after every use and before sharing them with a partner. Bacteria associated with urinary tract infections (UTIs) often reside around the anus, and sexual activity can facilitate their migration into the urethra, increasing the risk of a UTI. Planned Parenthood emphasizes the importance of thorough washing for anything that contacts the anus before touching other genital areas. Additionally, sex toys can harbor bacteria and viruses, potentially leading to infections. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions and thoroughly dry your toys to prevent mold growth.
Consider Using Condoms
Using condoms on phallic-shaped toys that are shared with a partner is a smart move. Even with diligent cleaning, there’s still a risk of transmitting infections. A study found traces of the human papillomavirus on vibrators a day after cleaning. If you switch between different types of body contact with the toy, such as from oral to vaginal use, be sure to change the condom.
Follow Instructions and Avoid Household Items
Read the instructions that come with your sex toy carefully. If you’re new to using sex toys, take it slow and discontinue use if anything feels uncomfortable. Avoid using household items as makeshift sex toys, as they might not be designed for such purposes. Battery-powered devices like cell phones or electric toothbrushes can lead to unexpected adverse reactions due to improper casing of batteries. Furthermore, porous food products can carry bacteria and risk infection.
Choose Reputable Companies
With the sex toy market expanding rapidly, it’s vital to research manufacturers and choose credible companies that provide transparent information about their products. Look for details about materials, usage, and cleaning instructions. While online retailers like Amazon offer convenience, exercise caution and rely on verified reviews to gauge the product’s quality and safety. Always trust your body’s signals – if something feels uncomfortable, it’s time to reassess.
In the dynamic realm of sex toys, embracing pleasure also means prioritizing safety. By adhering to these crucial tips, you can indulge in the thrilling universe of adult toys while safeguarding your well-being. Remember, your comfort, confidence, and pleasure should coexist harmoniously, ensuring that your pursuit of passion remains an exhilarating and safe journey.