Sex toys may be one of the most exciting inventions in existence. If you are new to them, this guide is for you. This will go over everything we know about sex toy materials - from A to Z.
This will come in handy when you are shopping for sex toys. Whether it’s your first time or if you are adding to a collection, it’s good to know what materials are used.
Before moving any further, we recommend bookmarking this guide. You can go back to this if you want to know about certain terms and materials.
Furthermore, you will know what sex toy materials are safe (and unsafe) to use.
What will be covered in this sex toy material guide?
This guide will discuss every material that is used to create sex toys. We’ll discuss why these materials are important. As we discuss each one, we’ll cover how to use them properly.
These include tips on what can work well with these materials. We’ll cover materials that are body safe (and which ones are not). We hold personal safety to a high priority.
Our goal is to make sure that you enjoy your sex toys as much as possible. The last thing we want to do is for you to accidentally ruin them due to an inadvertent mishap.
Let’s continue now with everything you need to know about sex toy materials.
The guide of sex toys materials
Body safe sex toy materials
What is body safe? To begin, these materials are easy to clean (non-porous). They also contain no harmful chemicals that can lead to health issues in the short or long term.
As mentioned, we want your experience to be the safest possible. We would be remiss if we didn’t mention the hygienic aspect of using these materials. After use of your sex toys, cleaning them will be required.
The reason for this is that you don’t want your sex toys to be a breeding ground for bacteria. That can lead to plenty of nastiness. Clean your sex toys before and after every use.
Now, here are a list of body safe materials to be aware of:
Of all the materials that exist, silicone is one of the most common present in sex toys. It’s also one of the most cost-effective materials. Let’s not forget - it’s hypoallergenic, meaning it will be great for those who are sensitive to various materials.
While silicone is indeed body-safe, there’s a major caveat we need to address. This is something to keep in mind when shopping for sex toys.
Companies who create and sell sex toys will claim that their toys contain silicone. The truth is, this won’t be the case. It may contain non-body safe materials.
They may claim to have a silicone blend included. It’s important to be safe than sorry when finding the right sex toys. To know for sure if the toy in question contains silicone, we recommend to do a quick research.
Start by checking customer reviews (if the site in question does not have a lot, doing a simple Google search will give you some answers), check out if some of the known sex bloggers have reviewed this toy and see what they say:
While there are many great bloggers out there, here are some blogs to get you started: Hey Epiphora, Super Smash Cache, Miss Ruby Reviews, Coffee & Kink, Mx.ed reviews, Dildoodler, Obsession Rouge, Queer Earthling, Betty Butch, ...
And finally, you can go check sex toy subreddit page which is super active and has tons of great information. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, post your question and somebody will answer it for you.
If you ever decide to dig deep, there is a process - silicone flame test - to test the quality of silicone. Dangerous Lilly wrote in deep about it and how to do it, however, have in mind that it might be dangerous lighting toys on fire and also, you would be destroying your toy.
Another thing to look out for is that silicone toys will look cloudy. They will never look clear. It would be wise to steer clear from any sex toys that are clear in look, but claim to be made in silicone.
One major disadvantage of silicone toys is that it can be a magnet for dust and lint. For that reason, you will need to clean the toy before use. Yes, cleaning it before and after use is still essential.
When using lube, water-based lubricant will be the best here. In fact, it will be the only option. The reason for this is that oil-based and yes, even silicone-based lubes can hurt the material.
Specifically, sex toys made from this material will either be made from aluminum or stainless steel. By the way, the need to be more of the medical grade type. If you have a bit of extra money to throw around, metal sex toys might be the best choice.
Despite being a bit more expensive than silicone, the options will be limited compared to other materials. Sex toys made from these materials will be worth every penny. One of the reasons is that they are very durable.
Which means they will last you a long time. Still, regular maintenance and cleaning is still necessary. If you use a metal sex toy, you’ll notice that they are a bit weighty.
Given that characteristic, it proves its worth as a sex toy for those who want G-spot stimulation (like the ultra-great nJoy Pure Wand who has been known to change people’s lives).
It can also be great for anal plugs as well. Aluminum will weigh less than stainless steel.
Stainless steel will have a lot of excellent advantages. First, they are easy to clean. They are also great to use if you are looking for something more sanitary.
When it comes to lube, you can use any type. If you have a favorite lube that is silicone-based, have at it. Oil-based lubes are a go as well.
These stainless steel toys can be safe to store along with other toys regardless of their materials. They are very difficult to damage as well (further proof that they hold up well in terms of durability).
If you are looking for a material that flies under the radar, it’s glass. During the manufacturing process, glass can be easy to shape. The good news is that this kind of glass is medical grade, which is the safest it can get.
This means it’s easy to clean and sterilize. Like metal, you can use any kind of lube with glass sex toys. You can expect a smooth insertion when using something like a glass dildo.
Glass can also retain heat and get cool easily. If you want to crank up the temperature a bit or bring it back a little bit, it’s the one material you can rely on. If temperature play is your thing, glass is your best friend here.
It would be foolish of us not to address any safety precautions involving glass. Glass won’t always break or chip because of the quality. However, there may come a time that it can.
That’s why it is highly recommended to check your glass sex toys for any cracks or chips before use. The reason: you don’t want to get hurt by accident when using them. While we’re on the subject, it’s always a good idea to handle your toys with care - glass or not.
Wooden sex toys? Yes, they exist. They contain a medical grade finish, which ensures they are safe to use.
Toys made from these materials will be pricey due to the kind of wood it’s made from. They also come in different weights, depending on the kind of wood it's made from. These toys are non-porous and waterproof.
Manufacturers of these types of sex toys will have information on their site that will inform them of what coating it contains, the type of wood it’s made from, and more. Like any other sex toy, you will need to inspect your sex toy before use.
Specifically, you’re looking for white spots or cracks. It would also never hurt to check for any splinters as well. We cannot imagine any splinters being stuck inside of you.
If it’s just as painful on your finger, we can imagine (and cringe at the same time) that it will be painful in the most intimate regions of your body.
While it’s not a common material for sex toys, there are some made from it. The good news: it’s a body-safe material. It can be used with any kind of lube.
As for the care and cleaning of it, avoid anything with alcohol or acrylic in it. This can cause negative effects such as changing of colors or textures. One more thing: handle them with care.
If they are dropped on a hard surface, they can chip, crack, or shatter.
Ceramic, Crystal, and Stone
These three materials are safe to use. Yet, they are hardly ever found in sex toys. Stone and crystals can be polished and are quite useful for those who love temperature play.
Ceramic toys are kiln-fired and glazed. They will also be on the pricey side as well. As for finding these kinds of sex toys, that will be a challenge.
You may start with toy manufacturers that are not your average brand names.
Imagine using a sex toy using the same material that makes Legos. While we don’t recommend that you build one FROM Legos (for obvious reasons), you can purchase one that contains ABS plastic.
Unlike LEGOs, toys made from ABS plastic don’t contain any crevices or openings. They are easy to clean with soap and water.
Cleaning your toys
One thing to keep in mind is that some toys may need to be cared for in a specific manner beyond the usual soap and water cleaning.
Think of it like clothing. A tag will tell you how it needs to be washed and dried. With sex toys, you will need to consult the instructions on how to clean them.
If you have a sex toy that has a textured design, use a fresh toothbrush. Keep that stored well away from the one you use for brushing your teeth, by the way. Be sure to scrub every nook and cranny possible.
Air dry your toys before storing them. For best results, consider storing your sex toys in a Ziploc bag (especially your silicone toys).
Sterilizing toys should be something you need to do as well. Whether you are using toys for anal play (or switching it up for vaginal use), they need to be sterilized properly.
There are specific instructions you need to follow for certain materials. Here’s what you need to do with the following:
If it’s silicone, ABS plastic, ceramic, wood, or metal: You’ll want to use 10 percent bleach solution. Dip your toys in the solution and thoroughly rinse them.
If it’s glass, metal, or silicone: Another cleaning method for silicone can be the same for metal and glass toys. To do this, you want to boil them in water for no more than 5 minutes. Alternatively, you can run them through the sanitization cycle in the dishwasher. Do not add any detergent. You can use rubbing alcohol to sanitize toys made from wood, glass, silicone, metal, or ABS plastic.
Non-body safe materials
Now that you know what materials are body safe, we’ll take at the materials that are not. Even if you are new to sex toys (or have used them), you want to avoid the following materials and why.
Let’s take a look below:
Rubber, PVC, and Jelly
You can find these materials in dildos. Sex toys made from jelly will mostly come in fluorescent colors. Realistic looking toys will either be made from rubber or PVC.
These are known to contain materials and even chemicals that are not safe for the body. If you use sex toys that contain these materials, throw them out. Yes, it may be a tough choice.
But it’s better to be safe than sorry when having fun.
These are known as soft plastic. They are cheap in price and in quality. The best things that it has going for them are they are free of latex and phthalate.
What makes them not as safe for the body is how porous they are. This means they will be difficult to clean and sterilize. We said difficult - not impossible.
However, it is important that you keep the instructions handy so you will be able to clean TPE/TPR toys properly. Yet, enjoy these toys while they last.
Because at some point, they will need to be disposed of. They will have served their purpose. If you are budget conscious, steer clear of these toys.
Instead, invest in sex toys that are long lasting and easy to clean. You’ll get more bang (no pun intended) for your buck.
Penis owners might notice 90% of penis toys (strokers or masturbators) are made from TPE/TPR materials. But how is that okay? It is not and it is, at the same time. The toy never goes inside your body which means the effect bacteria might have is less dangerous.
This material should be approached with caution.
The material will begin to break down over a few months time period (6-8 months)
When it happens, as said before, it would be best you replace the toy.
Sex toys made from these materials should be examined before every use for tears, spots, and odor and properly cleaned before use, and properly cleaned and dried after each use.
This pertains to toys labeled as ‘real feel’ or something similar. It is not known what kind of materials are being used. If anything, the words ‘real feel’ are nothing more than a marketing gimmick.
So it may be wise to stay away from toys containing these materials altogether.
What about….(other materials)
We’ve gone over the materials that are safe and unsafe for the body. What about the other materials? Are they worth using?
If so, how can we clean them? Let’s take a look at the following materials:
For those who do BDSM, leather is perhaps the main fixture. Whether it’s clothes or bondage gear, it has its uses. It’s a challenge to clean leather sex toys (including those with stitches and seams).
However, you can use a leather cleaner such as saddle soap. There are different types of leather that are safe to use for sex toys.
If leather is something you want to avoid in BDSM, nylon is the perfect alternative. While porous, it can be machine washable. You should never (and we mean never ever) put nylon in the dryer.
It will melt. So instead, air dry them.
Floggers and whips made from suede can be a favorite amongst BDSM people.The reason: its grainy texture. When used with force, it can inflict pain (which might be good for you or your partner).
It’s important to hang dry toys with these materials if they get wet. To preserve the grainy texture, a suede brush will be useful here. Even better, it can also remove any dirt or debris.
You shouldn’t use suede shoe spray since it contains chemicals that can harm the skin.
We’ve mentioned latex-free in parts of this guide. Yes, there are toys made from latex. If you are lucky enough not to deal with an allergy from this material, you can use them.
Yet, it can still pose problems. Specifically, it will be a bit difficult to clean and care for certain latex sex toys. Use a mild, natural soap with warm water.
To dry it, use a cloth that is soft but has a low amount of line. A microfiber cloth may be better. Make sure all latex toys are stored in a flat position and in a cool, dry environment.
We hope this guide on sex toy materials has been helpful. One more reminder: please bookmark this as a reference guide. It will come in handy when purchasing sex toys from any place outside of The Sex Shed.
We stress safety and cleanliness when it comes to using sex toys. We don’t want you to have any trouble cleaning them. Or unknowingly introducing your body to harmful chemicals.
We believe the experience of using sex toys should be worry-free. It starts with choosing the sex toys that have the right materials.