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Why should you care about the materials in your sex toy?

December 18, 2019
By, laura

When choosing a sex toy, there are so many factors to consider. What size or shape do you want? Ridges or ticklers? Battery operated or mains power? 7 vibration patterns or 10? Remote control or smartphone operated? With so many different options available, you’d be forgiven for ignoring the material your sex toy is made out of.

For those with sensitive skin, your choice of sex toy might be causing your problems without even realising it. And sometimes, the materials advertised on the outer packaging of your sex toy don’t reflect what’s lurking inside. The rise of cheap sex toys sold on sites like Amazon and eBay has led to some people suffering chemical burns in places you really don’t want chemical burns.

If you want to stay safe while enjoying your favourite vibes, read on to discover our guide to sex toy materials.

Porous Vs Non Porous materials

When it comes to sex toys, your number one concern should always be the porosity of the material. Porous materials have tiny homes in them which can trap bacteria and dirt. The softer the toy, the more likely that it is porous. Jelly toys are often porous and are therefore best used with condoms to keep them safe and hygienic. Failing to keep your jelly toys clean can lead to yeast infections, bladder infections and even STI flare ups.


Silicone is a silky smooth and non porous material used in many high end and premium sex toys. It can be incredible soft or firm, depending on how it is made. It’s the ideal choice for sex toys as it holds temperature, it can spread vibrations well and it can be easily cleaned by boiling (provided it is waterproof).

However, there is still some risk involved. Some retailers will state their toys are made of silicone despite this not being the case. These toys are most often a mixture of elastomer and thermoplastic rubber. This is quite common with sex toys which are purchased from sites like Amazon. If the price seems too good to be true, chances are you’ve found a fake.

Hard Plastic

Hard plastic is non porous and easy to keep clean. While hard plastic (ABS) sex toys typically feel more “buzzy” as they vibrate, some people like the deep thundery vibrations which are generated by ABS sex toys. You can use soap and water and your favourite sex toy cleaner to safely and effecietly clean a hard plastic toy. Hard plastic toys are also typically less expensive than silicone, so it can be a great way to bulk up your sex toy collection without spending a lot of money.

Glass and Stainless Steel

Perhaps the most luxurious of all sex toys, glass and steel are both weighty and completely body safe. As non porous materials, you can easily clean a glass or stainless steel sex toy by placing it in boiling water. Both of these materials are perfect for temperature play as they will heat up and cool down to create incredible sensations. Obviously, temperature play should be explored with great caution as anything too hot or too cold could damage a glass toy, not to mention causing problems for your most delicate tissues.

How to spot a fake

Even the most responsible person who cares about the material composition of their sex toys can be caught out by fakes. The issue isn’t just that some materials are harmful, the issue is that some retailers will lie about the materials they use in order to justify a higher price.

The first step is to always buy from a reputable retailer. If you spot a luxury brand like LELO on Amazon for a fraction of the price you’ve seen anywhere else, you can safely assume you aren’t buying a genuine LELO product. Buying from sites like Pleasure Delights helps to ensure that you are only buying genuine products.

To find out more about how to keep your sex toys clean and hygienic, check out our guide on how to clean a vibrator. You can also explore our guide to luxury sex toys. This will give you more insight into why a high end sex toy can last you a lifetime.

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