Are Your Sex Toys Making You Sick?


boiling waterIf you've ever heard a woman refer to her vibrator as her best friend, you know what it could do to her life if her doctor told her the toys were off limits for a little while.

But at a recent sex toy party (go ahead and get your giggles out), I heard some horror stories. Including, but not limited to, what happens when your sex toy makes you sick.

Because no woman should have to go through a day without a vibrator, The Stir tracked down Dr. Shari Brasner, New York-based OB/GYN and assistant clinical professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive science at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, for advice on keeping the toys terror-free.

Can a sex toy make you sick? How?

Not necessarily, however non-silicone sex toys are made with polyvinyl chlorides (PVC) and softened with phthalates, a controversial family of chemicals which can cause harm to your body. Instead, use silicone toys which are non-porous and can be easily cleaned and disinfected.

How often should we be cleaning our sex toys?

In order to keep sex toys sanitary, clean toys between each use.

How should we clean them?

Proper cleaning of sex toys is essential to avoid bacterial infections or transmission of STIs. For electric toy care, remove batteries and use a damp, soapy washcloth to keep them clean. Sex toys that are made from silicone can be boiled for 5 to 10 minutes in hot water or put in your dishwasher (on top rack). Keep toys stored in a container or pouch (to keep them away from any dust or residue in the air) and in a cool, dry place.

Is using anti-bacterial soap a no-no? Why?

Although antibacterial soaps may smell nice, residue can get caught in the crevices of the vagina and cause an infection, so hypoallergenic soap is really best for these types of products. If you’re experiencing itchiness “down there,” try using AZO ITCH RELIEF Maximum Strength wipes. They contain Praxomine Hydrochloride, a topical anesthetic which has fast onset of action (2 to 5 minutes), are alcohol-, steroid-, and paraben-free, and can be flushed for easy disposal. The body has good and bad bacteria as well as certain natural scents and odors that are not meant to be altered.

Are there any sex toys that actually ARE bad for you?

Avoid using aids that have exposed wires (where the protective coating has peeled) or any rust in the mechanical components or significant signs of wear & tear. Better to replace than risk an injury.


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sstepph sstepph

Good to know.

mistr... mistressScorpio

Who's getting down with a rusty vibe? Yikes!

Shanin22 Shanin22

The dishwasher? LMAO! Just make sure to get that baby out of there before one of the kids goes looking for a clean cup... 

Sarah Sloane

As a sex educator and advisory board member of Love U Parties, I wanted to let folks know that there are other materials that sex toys can be made from that are quite safe and healthy for the body - TPE and TPR, ABS plastic, tempered glass, stainless steel, anodized aluminum, and others. If you're going to purchase a sex toy, ask about the material safety, as well as how to keep them clean - and do a little research on your own! Sex toys are an unregulated industry, so it's important to be a smart consumer.

StefI... StefInfection

I don't like the fact that they said use soapy water. All soap can leave a residue that causes things to stick and bacteria to grow. Alcohol will break down the toy and cause bacteria to grow. it's best to either buy "toy Cleaner" from a legit toy company or just wash with hot water BEFORE and after.

RanaA... RanaAurora

Stef, I agree. There are specific soaps meant  for silicone toys -- usually sold wherever you bought yours in the first place. :)

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