Hi, my name is Catherine and I am a lover of sex toys. How's that for an opening line? Why are sex toys so wondrous? For starters they can enhance solo or partnered lovemaking, and they can also help people become more orgasmic.
Hopefully, this article will allow individuals to become comfortable bringing up the topic of sex toys, marital aids, adult toys, or whatever name you wish to call them. Why do we need to talk about sex toys? One reason is that not all sex toys are "good" sex toys, and an informed and educated shopper makes for a very happy owner!
The first thing one should know when talking about sex toys is that, in the United States, there is no organization, or "big-brother" regulating the safety and manufacturing of said toys. Kind of like how there is zero regulation for supplements and vitamins. This is super important to know because it means that manufacturers can design, manufacture, and sell sex toys using whatever medium or material they want. This is particularly scary because some toys are made out of toxic and cancer-causing materials. Yes friends, you read that correct. Some manufacturers use materials that you wouldn't even give to your dog as a toy.
The vast majority of cheaper sex toys are made of materials called phthalates, Jelly Latex or PVC. How do you know the sex toy you are interested falls into this category? It is simple, just smell it. If your sex toy has a noticeable plastic scent or smells anything like your shower curtain liner then chances are that is made from a material that is known to be toxic. Think about it this way: Do you really want your nether regions smelling like the bathroom isle of Bed, Bath, and Beyond?
Why does it matter that a sex toy is made out of known cancer-causing material? It matters because one is often using the toys in an aggressive manner which makes the material heat up. When materials like PVC heat up, they leak out toxic material that can become absorbed into your body fat where they just hang out. Build up of these toxins can lead to *minor* medical issues like kidney and liver cancer as well as damage to your reproductive organs. *Note the sarcasm in my tone.
In fact, sex toys that feel the most like the real thing are made out of a material called "cyber skin". You would recognize it because if the product is packaged, it would have a cut out and a "feel here" sticker or arrow. Manufacturers and people love cyber skin because it feels so realistic and it is cheap to produce. However, it is also a material that is impossible to sanitize because it is porous, which basically means that fluids can both seep out and become sucked into the toy. Not very sexy! Cyber skin toys have a very short "shelf life" for an owner because they so easily become slimy, gummy feeling, or what sex educators call "funky". They are also harder to store since it is recommended that you dust your toy with corn starch after you have thoroughly cleaned and dried your toxic friend.
So what kind of sex toy should you buy? Look for toys made of medical grade silicone, glass (pyrex), or stainless steel. These sex toys rock because they are non-porous, easy to clean and sanitize, and they last a long time.
There are precious few places in Silicon Valley where one can purchase a good quality sex toy. Hot Stuff and Pleasures from the Heart are two south bay retailers. However, your best bet is to drive up to San Francisco and check out the fabulous selection at Good Vibrations.
Catherine Toyooka is the founder of Catherine Coaches and is a blogger, sexuality speaker, educator, and a dating & sex coach helping busy professionals living in Silicon Valley, San Francisco, and beyond. She is also the organizer of a monthly meetup.com group called "Flirting, Dating, and Sex Oh My!".
Please contact her to arrange your free 20 minute phone consultation.