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How to use sex toys to prevent STD transmission

The information provided herein does not constitute an expert or medical advice, nor intended to replace such advice.

Sexual Health

Sex toys can be very fun when used with a partner, and they can help you spice up your bedroom and increase your sexual desire. But as with other sexual activities, it’s very important to learn how to use sex toys safely, since they also carry the risk of STD transmission.

Keep reading to learn how to use sex toys to prevent STD transmission.

How to use sex toys to prevent STD transmission

If you like to use sex toys, you may have asked yourself whether your sex toys are safe and if you can get an STI from them. The reality is that any sexual activity will be as safe or risky as you make it so. Just like you need to practice safe sex during other sexual activities, such as penetrative sex, you also need to make sure to follow certain safety tips while using sex toys alone or with a partner.

By following these tips, you can minimize the risk of getting an STD or another infectious condition from a sex toy. It’s important to keep in mind that sex toys can, in fact, lead to STI transmission.

According to the NHS, sex toys can transmit certain STIs, including:

And according to NAM Aidsmap, it’s also important to remember that it’s possible for sex toys to transmit HIV if they’re not used safely. In addition to carrying the virus after an infected person has used them, sex toys can cause tissue damage or inflammation that make STD transmission more likely.

Use a condom

Covering your sex toys with a condom is one of the best ways to minimize the risk of STI transmission. When used properly, condoms are the most effective way to prevent STIs, other than total sexual abstinence.

But you do need to keep in mind that it’s imperative to make sure that you change the condom for a new one when the sex toy switches to a new partner. If both partners use the sex toy with the same condom, it’s as if you weren’t using a condom at all, since the condom can still carry the STI from one partner to another.

Condoms will also make it easier for you to clean your sex toy after each use, since they will keep bodily fluids away from the surface of the toy. However, you should still clean your toys properly after using them.

Clean your sex toys

Hygiene is a very important part of sex, and sex toys are no exception. You should clean your sex toys after each use, regardless of whether you also used a condom or not. The best way to clean each sex toy will vary depending on the material that they’re made of, which can be either porous or non porous.

According to Brown University, porous materials used to make sex toys include:

  • Silicone
  • Hard plastic
  • Glass
  • Stainless steel

Meanwhile, porous materials can include items made of:

  • Rubber
  • Cyberskin
  • Vinyl
  • Leather
  • Nylon

In most cases, your sex toys can be washed using a mild antibacterial soap and warm water, and it’s important to let them dry before storing them in a clean bag or pouch. Depending on their material, some sex toys can be subjected to higher temperatures, and you may be able to boil them or place them in the top rack of your dishwasher for sanitization. Make sure to take batteries out before cleaning your sex toys, and also to avoid submerging toys that contain electrical parts unless otherwise instructed. You should always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when handling your sex toys.

You should also check your sex toys for breaks or scratches after using them, since they could provide places for bacteria to grow more easily. According to Planned Parenthood, you should avoid using silicone-based lube with silicone toys, since they can react together and damage the toy.

Get tested

Last but certainly not least, it’s very important for you and your sexual partner(s) to get tested for STDs regularly. You should get tested if you’re planning on engaging in any type of intimate contact with a new partner, even if you’re not having penetrative sex. There are many STDs that can still be transmitted without penetration or ejaculation.

Getting tested for STDs used to be a much more cumbersome process, which required an on-site clinic appointment and sample collection. But thanks to at-home STD testing, you can order a testing kit online and collect your samples from the comfort and privacy of your own home. After taking your samples, you’ll simply have to mail them back to the testing company and wait for your results.

If your tests come back positive for any STD, the testing provider will offer treatment or refer you to a local physician for an appointment, depending on your needs. Getting tested and using condoms are the best ways to keep yourself and your partner(s) safe when you use sex toys together. You can learn more about at-home STD testing at STDWatch.com.


Are sex toys safe? - nhs.uk

Sex toys and the risk of HIV transmission - aidsmap.com

Sex Toys - plannedparenthood.org





Dr. Andrea Pinto Lopez

Dr. Andrea Pinto Lopez

Mar 25, 2022

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