Vibrate. Penetrate. Stimulate. Choosing a sex toy by function is pretty standard. But when was the last time you chose a toy purely by feel? And we don’t just mean ribbed. The materials used in our sex toys can be just as important as the shape, size and format itself. And the impact of these materials on our bodies can drastically affect just how much we enjoy them. 

As a business we’ve seen our share of toys, but we’ve always selected products based on their quality. Like most niche categories, sex toy materials can greatly affect shelf life and, more noticeably, the price tag. Given that they come in contact with some of the most sensitive areas of the body, it’s important we know what we’re getting into and what we’re putting inside ourselves (and our bedroom buddies). 

What are sex toys made of?

Heaps of stuff. But, what should they be made of? Stuff that’s bodysafe. Think durable, relatively inert, non-porous materials that are easy to clean and sanitise. 

Recently, ISO released standards to help manufacturers create products that are less likely to cause skin irritations, cancer, or get stuck in places where they do not belong (all really important things). When looking for a sex toy you want to be certain that it isn’t going to melt, peel, zap or flake on you, right when you’re getting to the good bit. 

What you want in a sex toy

The golden rule to buying any new toy, is making sure you understand how to use it, and what to use it with. For this reason, you’ll find us frequently chatting away in-store explaining what each toy does, what it’s made of, which lubes or accessories it works with, and how to get the most out of it (using it, cleaning it, storing it, etc.). Here are some of the materials we love to see in a sex toy, firstly because they’re bodysafe, and secondly because they feel absolutely sensational.

Regular Silicone

It’s not just regular silicone. It's silky smooth silicone rubber, baby. Which means it feels soft and suede-like to the touch. When choosing toys made of this material, always opt for a non-porous or medical-grade silicone. Ambiguous types can often be blended with plasticisers (additives that make materials soft or stretchy) or colourants that compromise how reactive this material can be. Toy tip: Pair with a water-based lube like our Sutil Rich Body Glide.

Medical Grade Silicone 

Medical-grade means this material has been made to a standard level of inertness (i.e. it’s relatively unreactive), and that germs don’t stand a chance settling on the surface. Its satin-like finish makes medical-grade silicone perfect for stroking and submerging free from the fear of material leaching. Toy tip: Dame toys are all made with medical-grade non-porous silicones. 

Medical Grade Stainless Steel

The clue is in the name. Stainless is another measure of how inert (unreactive) this material is. Tough, long lasting and oh-so cool to the touch, stainless steel toys are easy to clean with soap and water (NJoy recommends sterilising their wands in a steamer) and can be warmed up or cooled for added sensation. Need we say more? Pair with silicone lube and avoid abrasives at all costs.

Borosilicate Glass

This material is as safe as it is beautiful. Clear, cool, and hard, borosilicate glass toys are non-porous and inert; qualities we really treasure in a toy. Always make sure the toy is sturdy and structurally sound (no flimsy joins or narrow sections of glass that might break under pressure). And finally, don’t be afraid to chill your toy before playtime. The sensation is breathtaking in the very best way. Toy tip: Crave makes glorious glass wands that juuust hit the spot – the G-spot that is, or the P-spot or A-spot if you’re so inclined. Pair with silicone lube and store responsibly (in a sleek zip case perhaps?).

ABS Plastic

Cool, shiny plastic. Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) is a hard plastic that’s shaped with heat during production. It’s durable, relatively unreactive and rigid for folks that love a stiff stimulator (i.e. me). This material is easy to clean and great in vibrators as it doesn’t insulate (soften) the sensation. Toy tip: Try the Tango with a silicone lube and call us in the morning.

Materials to avoid when it comes to sex toys

When it comes to pleasure, what feels good isn’t always good for you. Here are some materials we suggest you avoid and why.

  • Porous materials, think jelly textures, vinyl, Cyberskin and low-quality silicone. These naughty materials are notoriously hard to clean and tend to harbour bacteria if not cleaned properly. 
  • Phthalates. Chemicals that are toxic to the body and spellcheck. They’re used as an inexpensive way to make plastic more flexible and can enter the body through inhalation, exposure to the genitals, or ingestion. The effects of phthalates can be toxic to the internal organs and have even been linked to cancer. Unsexy. Unsafe.
  • Allergens. If you (or your partner) have allergies to materials such as latex or nickel, avoid playing with these materials. Remember, stainless steel is a composition of metal alloys, including nickel. Steer clear if nickel is not your friend. 

Remember, when it comes to materials:

  • Always check what your toys are made of.
  • Make sure your silicone and glass is medical grade or risk playing doctor for real.
  • Learn how to use a toy before getting started (this means internally, externally, etc).
  • Check if a material is waterproof before getting wet.
  • The more reactive a toy is, the riskier it is in the bacteria-department.
  • Look up which lubes work best with your toys before slicking up.

Now you’ve had a closer look at what we put on (and in) our bodies, ask yourself what temperatures, textures and shapes you’d like, then dive right into Choosing & Using A Toy.


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