Toy Safety: The Basics
Updated: Sep 29, 2020
Pleasure toys can be a wonderful things. Whether you purchase them to explore new sensations, enhance your partners interactions, or just to get off a little easier, I think we can all benefit. That being said, not all pleasure toys are created equal and there are a few basic principles you should keep in mind when buying toys to keep you and your bits (or others' bits) safe.
If you get nothing else from this guide, remember that it is crucial to listen to your body and your partner(s) body if applicable. When trying something new, whether that's your first toy ever or something like anal depth play, be slow, gentle, and take any pain as a sign to stop and revaluate. This does not mean that anything is wrong or that a certain thing isn't for you, but rather that you may need to do something like use lube or take a break. I am not an expert, and honestly, I could create a whole website devoted to safety in terms of sexploration. If you have a question, the internet is your friend. Look for reputable resources (often written by sexperts or doctors).
And as always, remember that consent and communication are vital if you are trying new things with another person(s). It's best to discuss things before hand such as "what will we do if x occurs", "what will we say if we need a break", "what are our cues to slow down", etc. When in doubt, don't do something unless you have explicit, informed, and enthusiastic consent (for which partners need to be of legal age, sober, and not in any sort of conflicting power dynamic).
Not all pleasure toys are created equal. There is no regulation of sex toys so companies can produce products in whatever way and and with whatever materials they desire, and perhaps worse, they don't even have to list what those materials and methods are. Toys made of the follow materials are considered not to be "body safe": this means that they can leach toxic chemicals into the body, melt and discolor with time, and are NOT fully sanitizable. Germs and bacteria can grow easily on these materials, rendering them unsafe for use.
Materials that are safe for the body are fully sanitzable, non-porous, and will not leach chemicals into the body. The following fall into this category and if you have any doubt of what a toy is made of, I advise you to stay away. Better safe than sorry.
platinum grade silicone
treated wood & ceramic
certain types of stone that are properly treated and non-porous
When in Doubt, Lube It Up
Lube in essential both in terms of alleviating discomfort and enhancing pleasure. I am of the opinion that there is never a bad time to use lube. Especially when doing anything involving a butt, lube is important; this is because butts don't produce any sort of natural lubrication so you'll want to add some. If you are looking for a lube that can work in any situation, I recommend a water based lubricant as they're compatible with everything from toys to condoms. Silicone, oil-based, and hybrid lubricants often last longer are can be great as long as you're using them properly. Silicone lubricant is not compatible with silicone toys and oil based lubricant is not compatible with latex condoms.
The Butt is a Black Hole (of Pleasure)
The butt is a wonderful place full of nerve endings (regardless of your gender). Unfortunately, somewhat like a black hole, it can suck things in, but this should not deter anyone from butt play. Just remember that if a toy is going in your butt, it needs a flared base. Flared bases come in many shapes and sizes but are essentially just a continuation of a toy that remains outside the body and is bigger than the widest point of toy to keep it from dissapearing in the butt. Toys meant for butt play will be labeled as "anal safe", meaning that they have that nice flared base.
Personally, I find it rather cumbersome to read through the details of every toy I see which is why I shop primarily at sex toys retailers that only stock body safe toys, such as Peepshow Toys and Nox Shop. If you have any questions about toy safety left unanswered, feel free to shoot me an email on the contact me page or, do a little research of your own.