Sex toys: what to buy, what to avoid

13 February 2013 - 10:04 By AFP Relaxnews
Image: © IVL/

While sex toys are designed for fun and pleasure, some are better than others when it comes to staying safe and healthy. Here's what you need to know.

What to skip

First rule of thumb: avoid jelly rubber. While countries vary in their laws regulating sex toys, no matter where you live, avoid any sex toys containing high amounts of phthalates, a family of chemicals used to soften plastic. The downside is that jelly rubber, which is soft, flexible and cheap, is a standard sex toy material, writes Blisstree.

In addition, the material is porous, allowing bacteria to lurk inside the toy no matter how well you scrub it.

In the US sex toys are mostly unregulated, but US expert Stefanie Iris Weis, author of "Eco-Sex: Go Green Between the Sheets and Make Your Love Life Sustainable," told iVillage that one tip is to give your sex toys the "sniff test," she says. "If it has new-car smell, put it down."

What to buy

Instead look for toys made from medical-grade silicone, Weis adds, and opt for vibrators with rechargeable batteries for a more eco-friendly choice.

Other options include hard plastic, which is generally non-porous and phthalate-free, says Blisstree.

Glass sex toys, commonly made from clear medical-grade borosilicate or hard glass, are also marketed as a safe and nontoxic option.

Keep it clean

Nearly all sex toys can be cleaned with soap and warm water, while hard plastic can be disinfected with isopropyl rubbing alcohol. For more tips on cleaning, visit