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Is it safe to make a sex toy?

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

Sexual Health

Sex toys can be a wonderful way to bring some fun and spice into your bedroom, but as with any other part of your sexual life, it’s stilll very important to be careful with your toys. In some cases, sex toys can trasmit sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), or they can cause injuries during their use. Making your own sex toys can sound tempting, but there are some things you should know beforehand.

So if you’ve ever wondered whether it is safe to make a sex toy, just keep reading!

Is is safe to make a sex toy?

Ideally, you shouldn’t place any used or unclean items in your genitals, especially if they’ve already been used on a different part of your body — such as a toothbrush or some socks. High-quality commercial sex toys are made of safe materials that won’t represent a risk to your safety, and while they can be somewhat expensive, they can also help you maintain your reproductive health.

And as Planned Parenthood reminds us: anything that goes into your genitals or anus should be thoroughly washed before it goes near another person’s genitals.

You should avoid using food items in your genitals. Food contains chemicals and nutrients that can alter your genital pH and cause irritation, and it can also transport pathogens that could lead to infections. So if you’re thinking of using that leftover chocolate dip during foreplay, make sure to keep it away from your and your partner’s genitals. 

Creating sex toys at home can be dangerous, especially if they contain irritants or are made of materials that can break easily. Unsafe homemade sex toys can lead to different issues, including:

  • Burns
  • Rashes
  • Abrasions
  • Blisters
  • Cuts
  • Allergies

Household items that you can use during sex

While you shouldn’t exactly make a new sex toy from scratch, that doesn’t mean that you can’t use certain items that you probably already have lying around your home. 

  • Ties: neckties are a classic object that can be used as blindfolds or restraints (with previous and enthusiastic consent from both partners, of course) for a new sexual experience.
  • Scarves: just like ties, scarves can be used to restraint or blindfold your partner. Just make sure to discuss your boundaries and establish a safe word so both of you feel comfortable during sex.
  • Pillows: many women use pillows to masturbate. Rubbing against a pillow or stack of pillows can provide friction and clitoral stimulation in a safe manner.
  • Towels: similarly to pillows, some folded (clean!) towels can be used to create clitoral stimulation.
  • Shower head: your shower head can also be used for pleasure. Just point the water stream directly towards your clitoris to provide stimulation.
  • Face roller: you can use a clean face roller to provide a body massage for your partner or yourself. Just make sure to wipe or wash your massager before and after this activity.
  • Ice: this is probably the simplest trick of them all: you can suck on an ice cube before kissing your partner or giving oral sex to create a new sensation. You can also slide the ice cube on their skin; just make sure not to leave it in one place for too long to avoid ice burns.

Sex toy safety tips

Even when using commercial sex toys, it’s very important to follow certain rules to ensure your safety. According to Made Safe, you should still read the ingredients and substances in your sex toys carefully, since some toys can contain substances that could be potentially harmful. Some of these substances include:

  • Flavorings: while many flavoring substances may be completely harmless, it can be nearly impossible to know exactly what this term entails. In some cases, flavored condoms, lubricants, or sex toys can contain substances that can cause irritation or allergies, so it’s important to stick to brands you know and trust.
  • Polyvinyl chloride (PVC): many toys that are labeled as “jelly rubber” contain PVC, which is known to release substances that can disrupt your endocrine system.
  • Trimethyltin chloride: this can be present in toys that also contain PVC. This substance has been labeled as a reproductive hazard that can increase the risk of learning difficulties, neurotoxicity, and other neurological effects.
  • Toluene: this petrochemical solvent has been linked to reproductive and developmental toxicity.

However, there are other materials that can be safely used for sex toys. The best materials for sex toys include:

  • Silicone
  • Glass (as long as it’s an object meant to be used as a sex toy, rather than a household item)
  • Crystal
  • Metal
  • Wood
  • Ceramic
  • Hard plastic (ABS)

And as Brown University confirms, it’s also important to follow the cleaning instructions for each sex toy properly, since some STDs could live on your toy for weeks or even months. Sex toys made of different materials will have to be cleaned differently, and you can also use a condom to keep them covered during sex.

Keeping your sex toys clean is very important to prevent STD transmission. If you’re sexually active, you’ll also need to make sure to get tested for STDs regularly. You can learn more about STD testing at STDWatch.com.


How do I treat and prevent UTIs? - plannedparenthood.org

Sexual Health Products - madesafe.org

What’s the best way to clean sex toys? - brown.edu





Dr. Andrea Pinto Lopez

Dr. Andrea Pinto Lopez

Mar 25, 2022

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