Are sex toys companies trying to kill us?
A sex toy box analysis to keep you healthy and thriving.
Fact is... I have one giant box filled with various dildos, vibrators and other sex toys of all shape, sizes and material types, in my storage space. I've used them on webcam shows, videos... and, I sometimes wonder, how many of these are toxic for me, if any?
Turns out, adult product companies are free to choose of labeling their products under one of the two following categories: novelties & medicinal purpose items, which is where it gets a little tricky for us consumers.
In a Vice article dated from 2013, it is stated that there is an estimate of 2,100 sex toy-related emergency room visits a year, based on the data collected by the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC). Injuries goes from "there's something stuck in my bum", "bruised inside" to "it's itching, burning or just plain irritated down there".
I can clearly recall personal experiences of "it's itchy and irritated down there" even after washing and caring for my precious "fake boyfriends" in a way deemed "proper" by the maker of the toys.
Never did I asked myself... maybe something is wrong?
The issue was brought to my attention by a few online sex toy reviewers on twitter, after my first sex toy review and, their insistence on the subject definitely peeked my curiosity. As much as I love my industry and will forever defend it on many aspects, what I've been learning across the web is leaving me perplexed and slightly annoyed.
Here's the "simpler" version what I gathered from my online readings...
When companies decide to label their products under the category: novelties, it allows them to skip a bunch FDA health regulations concerning the various materials / fillers used and the percentage of each ones in the fabrication of their products. ...crazy right?
As our societies move towards healthier life choices like; sustainable agriculture, environmentally friendly farming or simply starting to consume more organic products, I'm sure you'll agree that objects designed to be inserted in various cavities and rubbed against our skin definitely deserve a closer and more attentive screening process.
I ask myself... How come it's even legal to deem a sex toy as a novelty? Is it because CEOs of these companies never read the definition of what's a novelty or they just don't care about their customers? How come society has agreed to look the other way on such important matter?
...those are the real questions we have to ask ourselves.
Some will debate it's because sex is still a taboo subject and religious doctrines are still too implanted in our current societies, making it harder and almost unimportant to invest in researches and regulations. Others will say our governments have bigger fishes to fry and as long as profits are being made and there's not big deal done with the issue, it's pointless to talk about it. Maybe it's a little bit of both.
Thing is, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) only pays attention to the products that have been labelled for "medicinal purpose" and most companies will avoid this labeling for the main reasons you already know... time, money and the ability to cut corners.
From a purely business stand point, they're playing with the rules and that's ok... I guess. Since long, intensive testing procedures are costly and let's face it, most toys on the market wouldn't get certified, it's almost understandable why these choices are made but...
...is this the kind of world you want to live in?
As consumers, we often feel small in front of the big corporations but, in the end, we are the one with the power. When we unite, we are stronger and are changing our world in accordance of our shared wishes as long as we make the ethical choices when we buy stuff. I know, "adulting" sucks.
Which leaves us here: how are we supposed to know which toys to buy and which one to throw far away from us?
1- Look for the signs
Melting & Off-Gassing toys > Have you ever had a jelly or cyberskin dildo or vibrator that melted on you? Sure, they feel great in your hands and inside you but the material used to create them is known to be a health hazard so stay away.
Basically If the dong looks like it's sweating like a hot dude after a work out, while still being in his packaging, leave it on the shelf. If you purchased a dildo and it either melted while rubbed against another dildo or just because you left it on the side of a window, open the window and throw it out.
Weird Smell > A chemical smell, even after a good wash is often a sign that it shouldn't be used. Think about it, if it smells that much, there must be some sort of chemical radiating and escaping from it so, once again, throw that thing out of the window.
2- Choose reputable companies that labelled their products properly.
Lucky for us, the world isn't so much of a horrible place afterward and there's a lot of great, ethical companies you can trust when it comes to those pleasuring objects. What's sucks about our world is that often you need to do your own researches in order to find the proper information about these ethical brands.
Here's a quick list of the ones I found, feel free to add any other ones you know in the comment section.
LELO, JimmyJane, FunFactory, NobEssence, Vixen Creations, WeVibe, Wet For Her, Babes n Horny, Bad Dragon, Big Teaze Toys, BS is Nice, Chavez Dezignz, Happy Valley Silicone, High Island Health, Njoy, Tantus, PyreXions, Vamp Silicone, Fucking Sculptures, Crowned Jewels,
3- Make sure it's made from a non porous material.
This goes without saying, the inside of our bodies can transfer a lot of different bacterias on these objects, it is very important to choose non porous materials that can be clean with soap and sanitized. I wish I could state otherwise but, not all packaging are telling you the truth and you have to be careful when choosing an object by only reading it's packaging in the store.
Good materials to choose are:
Premium Silicon (also called: medical grade, food grade, 100% silicon),
Wood (only if the finish is medical grade),
Glass (by far my favourite one) ,
Ceramic (as long it is glazed and kiln-fired to make it non porous),
ABS plastic (also called: hard plastic - your cheapest option)
4- Usually... expensive sex toy = the best quality it is.
Sex toys are like matcha tea, the more you spend, the more quality you get. Sadly we live in a capitalist world and ethical products and doing things the right way is costly. Don't be mad at your favourite adult toy brand, it's doing it's best to cover it's production cost on this ethical product you're seeking. Let's encourage the good guys, for once.
...and try to remember that less is more anyways, like a lot of things in life, it's better to have a few perfect things that works for you instead of a lot of mediocre ones.
5- Last quick information to remember...
Don't believe all packaging and buy ethically. It's our only act of rebellion possible in order to obligate companies and governments to create and follow a code of conduct and give us the toys we seek and deserve. So don't cheap out, do you researches and only buy/expect the best for your body.
...drop mic, have fun shopping.