How to Choose the Right Sex Toy for Vaginal Health
Sex toys can intensify sex and intimacy. With a partner. Without a partner. More than one partner. You can find a sex toy for just about any purpose and situation.
Unfortunately, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not monitor sex toys for safety, because they fall under the umbrella of novelty items rather than medical devices. That means many of the materials used to manufacture your toy could give you a vaginal infection or contain cancer-causing substances. However, this guide will help you choose the right sex toy for your vaginal health.
Read sex toy labels thoroughly
Many sex toys are made out of various jellies and polyvinyl chloride (PVC). These materials make the toys more flexible and comfortable for your body, but the softeners cause them to shed chemicals that your vaginal tissues ultimately absorb. Phthalates, for example, are chemicals frequently used in sex toys. Why is that noteworthy? Because phthalates have been linked to breast cancer. When choosing a sex toy, read the labels thoroughly to spot materials such as phthalates and other toxic chemicals.
Another concern is the intended use. Some toys are labeled for external use as clitoral stimulators. Inserting these toys may not cause immediate physical harm, but prolonged use can cause materials to shed from the device's surface to be absorbed through the permeable skin of your vaginal wall and directly into your bloodstream.
Materials that can shed from a sex toy include trimethyltin chloride, phenol, carbon disulfide, toluene and admium. Other items to worry about are porous materials, which are more difficult to identify and have their own health concerns.
Many sex toys are made with porous materials
Anyone who has taken a basic cooking class knows that plastic is porous, meaning it can absorb liquids and microorganisms.
In short, if you're using a plastic sex toy, you're basically holding a vibrating bacteria wand. While not all bacteria is bad, introducing new bacteria into your vagina can completely disrupt the delicate pH balance in your system, which can lead to Candida overgrowth or yeast infections.
Using a dildo for anal play is common, but when you use cheap plastics, all those germs are impossible to wash off and they build up within the top layer of your sex toy. This means the potential exists for a sexually transmitted infection (STI), a yeast infection, a urinary tract infection (UTI) or other illnesses to be embedded in the surface of your sex toy. Chances are, if you use sex toys and frequently have vaginal infections, your sex toy is likely to blame.
Safe sex toy tips
All of these concerns are worrisome, but we have a few simple tips to protect yourself now that you know your sex toy could be unsafe. The first step is to replace your device, if necessary, as soon as possible.
As you search for a replacement, remember that many companies put false claims on their packaging, such as "BPA-free." The best way to tell if a dildo, vibrator or other product is safe is to look for medical-grade silicone and other nonporous materials such as stainless steel, borosilicate glass and lucite. All these materials are nonporous, easy to clean and won't shed chemicals. As a word of caution: the higher quality the materials, the more expensive the toy.
If you need to save some cash before you purchase a better quality sex toy, you can make your current toys safe, temporarily. One way is to cover your dildo or vibrator with a condom, which will allow you to get pleasure from your device without exposing your body to harmful materials, bacteria or cross-contamination from your partner.
Once you're prepared to buy a new product, try to visit a boutique and check out the merchandise to ensure the toys are made with safe materials. Never buy a sex toy that doesn't list its materials. If you are unsure, contact the manufacturer for more information.
You should always feel a product before you buy it. If it's oily, sticky or has a strong chemical odor, chances are you're handling a chemical time bomb.
One last tip is to read the instructions on your sex toy. Some toys are intended for external stimulation only, and most companies will include this warning within the instructions, so read the product descriptions thoroughly.
Don't play with your health
Cheap sex toys are everywhere, and until the government makes sex-toy regulation a priority, you need to use caution. Now that you know how to choose a safe sex toy, you can add a little fun to your sex life without jeopardizing your vaginal health.