I received this question during one of our surveys:
Where can one find a good christian resource for toys that encourage safe toys since most or a great many sex toys have toxic substances in them. Most resources that I have been able to find have porn ads embedded in the sites.
And I thought, “Hey, I could be a good Christian resource that encourages safe toys!”
So, we’re going to talk a bit about some safety issues when it comes to toys and along the way, I’ll be linking to some products over at MarriedDance.com for two reasons:
- No porn and no nude models, they’re a Christian sex toy store
- I get paid for affiliate links to them, which helps pay for hosting, mailing list management, domains, email, basically all the things I need to keep writing for you.
- Everything they sell is non-toxic.
Alright, let’s get started.
Toxicity in sex toys
The sex toy industry is an unregulated field. Because they are categories as “for novelty use”, which means they have no real use, they are not watched by any regulating body.
But, we all know they do get real use…often internal use, and that means your body is coming into contact with them, often in some of the most porous areas of one’s body, and so you need to be aware of what’s in your sex toys.
The biggest issue is around the topic of phthalates (pronounced tha-lates). Phthalates are a group of chemicals used to soften PVC plastics. 6 different types of phthalates have been banned in children’s toys, but because the sex toy industry is unregulated, those laws don’t apply. Also, they don’t have any legal requirement to list their materials on the packaging, so often you can’t even check. One of the problems with phthalates is that they don’t chemically bond to the plastics they are mixed with, and so they tend to release into the air, or whatever is touching the item. This means if this toy is inside of you, you’re getting phthalates absorbed into your body.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot known about what phthalates do to a person, until recently, no one wanted to pay for the long term studies needed. At the moment, there are studies out testing for connections with asthma, changing the timing of puberty, and the risk of childhood obesity. But, there are also animal studies that suggest a connection to birth outcomes (gestational age and birth weight specifically), fertility and “anatomical abnormalities in male genitalia”.
Basically, these are chemicals that we really don’t know are safe, but many are inadvertently putting into their bodies.
So, what can you do?
When shopping, look for items that are specifically phthalate free. Married Dance won’t sell a product they know has phthalates in it, so that makes it easier. Unfortunately, due to a lack of regulations, you can’t always be 100% sure on some products. So, here are some tips:
- Know your brands. Some brands I like and know don’t use phthalates are LELO and We Vibe.
- Know your materials. Glass toys, toys that explicitly state they are 100% Silicone and Stainless Steel toys are phthalate free, and generally hard plastic toys are phthalate free, as the phthalates would make them soft.
- If you already have toys that you aren’t sure about, you can put a condom on them to block any phthalate absorption by the body (thanks to golfwidow for asking this).
Anything that is soft, jelly like, translucent (except glass), I’d be very wary of. Oh, and if you open the package and there’s a very strong smell…chances are those are the phthalates leaking out.
Of course, do your research. There are some companies devoted to only producing phthalate free toys, and I don’t know them all.
Do you have some toys you need to toss? Or do you know some brands that are committed to not using toxic materials?
22 thoughts on “Are my sex toys toxic”
Is it possible to negate the possible risk of phthalates by placing a barrier between the toy and the genitalia.
Basically covering vibrators or dildos with a condom before use?
Actually yes, that does block the phthalates, thanks for bringing that up!
By strong smell, what does that mean exactly? Like it smells like rubber or plastic or something? I have a toy in question that I have to figure out what to do with now.
It’s hard to describe the smell. Many toys that are phthhalate free will still have an odor. Most of the time the packaging will say Phthalate Free, but that’s not always the case.
Yeah, it’s a really rubbery plastic-like smell…sort of like “new car” smell…but less pleasant. When you take it out of the package the first time, it’s very strong.
thanks for you guys replies. I am going to have to do some investigating. I have no idea what it smelled like when I first took it out of the packaging a few months ago. :/ Bleh. I really had no idea there were unsafe toys.
I have to replace a couple of ours too because of the research for this post.
Ok I have gone to Marriage Dance and unfortunately the majority of what they carry is Pipedream and Californina Exotics which don’t have the best reputation for being honest. Some one that I have run across in search for sex toys that have decent reputations: Picobong and Intimina( We have 2 of these toys and are our go to toys) both are owned by Lelo and are their lower cost options. Tantus- We have 2 of their toys and Love them. NJoy-stainless steel. Sensuelle, Jimmy Jane, OVO ( We have 2- one that I like and another that broke after 2 uses- not the best in our opinion), BSwish,,Marc Dorcel, Je Joue, Jopen, fun factory just to name a few.
Stay far far away any Jelly toys ( would not trust these toys even covered in a condom),
borosilicate glass is the safest glass. Other kinds may chip or crack.
TPE is some what porous which means it can not be disinfected and can carry bacteria.
Nobessence makes wooden toys are specially finished so that can be used safely, Njoy makes stainless steel toys.
Unfortunately there is no testing sex toy community that is christian. Most of those who test sex toys independently are in the porn industry so it truly is a buyer beware. Look for platinum silicone, borosilicate glass, aluminum , surgical steel, tpr to be safe. Research all of your toy purchases by going online and reading reviews then make your purchase. Another thing that Marriage Dance need to do is make the manufacturer a little front and center since it is kinda buried now.
The reason the majority of our products are made by Pipedream and Cal Exotics is because those are the two largest companies who makes the majority of the sex toys sold today. I’d like to know where you’re getting your reputation information from because I’ve seen these two sex toy companies, and most of the others, respond to consumers concerns like removing phthalates and cleaning up their packaging in recent years. If they say they are phthalate free on their packaging I have to believe them. All of the products we carry either say they are phthalate free or they are made of materials we know probably do not contain phthalates.
I agree that TPE is porous, that’s why we sell sex toy cleaning solutions that will keep them cleaner longer. Toys that are made out of TPE are so cheap that it’s not a big deal when you have to replace them because they can’t be cleaned anymore.
By the way, we are working on a “Christian friendly” sex toy review site. Look for that later this year…
In 2012 ,in honor of my 30th wedding anniversary, I decided to research what I knew about having sex. The other thing I did was suggest to my husband that I would like to introduce sex toys to our sexless marriage ( hubby has ED due to medications and other health issues). Since I am a librarian by training and vocation- I started researching toys since hubby agreed to the toys. It was like opening pandora’s box. I started at CVS and Walgreens-browsing to see what they offered. I branched out in learning which manufacturers made what and why should I spend our hard earned dollars on a toy. I started googling toy reviews and stumbled on the sites Holistic Wisdom and Eden Fantasy. I then stumbled on sex toy reviewer HEY EPIPHORA who is very upfront on why she does and does not like the toys she tests. In learning about toy toxicity I found the following:
Most the afore mentioned sites have ties to the porn industry so be careful of clicking there. NO where when I looked could I find a christian source that offered first hand product reviews or independent chemical testing of sex toys.
As an info geek I judge info that I find by 3 things:
1: author ( who are they and why are they qualified to do this) and their bias
2. the age of the info- in terms of science- anything that is 5 years or older is historical in nature
3. whether or not that the information was corroborated by other info sources ( I judge each piece of info by the first 2 criteria)
Armed with the best info I have that is what I relay to hubby and then we make the decision to buy a product or not. There really is no testing or standard and big toy companies can write what ever they want on their boxes. Unless there is a collective place that tests and reports independently about the toys – we can only trust what info is out there. No company is held to an honest standard . Another thing that I did that year is that I checked out and browsed ( read about 20 of them)about 80 books on human sexuality, marriage, men’s health, sexual health, and women’s health . 2 books that I highly recommend ( they saved my marriage) are:
The Passionate Marriage by David Schnarch
Kevin Leman’s Sheet Music ( current title is Under the sheets)
Some of these books talked about sex toys and toxicity. I personally have toys by Lelo, We-Vibe, Tantus, and Intimina ( which is made by Lelo), and Ovo.
In closing I, would as a consumer, trust companies who report independent non-biased testing results ( think consumer reports for sex toys) on their packaging and their website but since there is very little of this type of testing then we are left with the independent sex toy reviewers who have ties to the porn industry and sex trade. I look forward to your review site.
As far as TPE toys, save your money and get a nice toy. Our Intimina toys are our favorites and not much more than most california exotics.
Oh, really? What a terrible problem to have worrying about phalates on your toys. My word to y’all is THANK GOD if this is what you worry about in your marriage bed. In my house the only toys have Fisher Price or Lego (not Lelo) stamped on them. And clearly, all this about toys is only due to porn influencing your marriage bed, not the Word of God (her words not mine).
Jay, I so appreciate your attacking these issues from a Biblical perspective. You have insights and wisdom that I think sets you apart from the average sex blogger. It is soooo needed in the Christian community. But I think I’m gonna have to add your website to my internet blacklist filter. Its just too painful to realize I have been born into a caste from which I can never move up from.
So you all you guys here, love your wives, and to the ladies, you keep on! Me…I think I have some legos to pickup off the living room floor. And maybe, just maybe if I’m real lucky, it’s missionary under the covers tonight–with her on top (and I’m not talkin cowgirl either because even that is off the table). Have fun peoples! Consider yourselves blessed indeed.
Different marriages have different issues at different times. 5 years ago I could have commented back saying “You’re complaining about missionary position under the covers! You have no idea how lucky you are to have that problem. At least you’re having sex.” But it wouldn’t be right. Comparing yourself to other marriages doesn’t help anyone.
Work on your own, where you are. If your spouse won’t, then work on yourself.
Good for you that you’ve seen such dramatic turnaround in 5 years. I’m going on 5 years myself with no change in sight. Right now I’m turning all my thoughts and efforts to those things of the Spirit and casting off everything of the flesh including sex. Pretty much giving up on that. We’ll see where that goes…
I went at least 7 with no change in sight. Don’t give up hope.
” Comparing yourself to other marriages doesn’t help anyone.”
I agree. And this is an interesting comment from a blog author whos website encourages and condones such comparison. Isnt that exactly what happens on this site where we can read all the details of activities you all share and encourage in your marriage beds? Not only the posts, but the comments where any and everyone can say “I did this…” or “try that”, etc. Doesn’t your blog foster this comparing? I say this not as a critic, because I personally value this discussion. But I’m curious how you deal with this argument. It is in fact the biggest reason my wife detests what you are doing here. She bristles at the comparisons being made publicly available.
I don’t recall encouraging or condoning comparison to other marriages, but I do understand how you could mistakenly get that opinion. It’s hard not to compare when you’re hurting. I remember doing it myself.
The purpose of the blog is to give ideas, another perspective, tips and help. Not so that you can compare yourself to my marriage, or anyone else’s, but rather so that our experience can help you shortcut your own growth in your marriage. Ideally parents should be teaching their children these things (Deuteronomy and Leviticus have examples of this) and older married women should be teaching younger (Titus 2:4, and I think this can apply to men as well), but that doesn’t happen, so I’ve tried to step in to assist where this is lacking in our community.
Lastly, I think that the real reason your wife detests what I am doing here is because without me, and others like me, you’d probably accept her rejection of Biblical marriage, and she’d be perfectly comfortable living in sin. But, we are here, preaching about biblical sexuality in marriage, and so we represent a threat to her comfort. We also represent a hope in a better marriage, but the threat of the pain of change is too much for her to see that hope. So, I think that’s why she bristles: because she’s unwilling to listen to God and is hardening her heart.
God’s message is always the same. For those that are willing to change and follow, it’s a shield to take refuge in (Proverbs 30:5), for those who refuse to change, it makes them so terrified they’d rather die (Revelation 6:16).
I’m sorry you’re struggling and I hope you’re just venting about wanting to give up things of the flesh “including sex”. That idea that sex is “of the flesh” is not biblical and I’m betting you know that. Fight the lie and don’t stop trying to lead your wife to the truth of God’s design for sex in marriage. Giving up is allowing the enemy free rein on your wife, your marriage and your family. Keep on running with perseverance the race marked out for you. Speak out. Be persistent. Involve your pastor or a counselor. You need to do this for her even if you are willing to sacrifice your own desires. Love means you do what’s better for your wife even though she may fight you on it.
God bless, brother. 🙂
I want to believe sex is not “of the flesh”. But when I hinted such that it was to my wife last night, she gave no objections and otherwise consented her agreement. She could point to many many verses in the Bible that appear to support this view. In fact the caste to which I find myself belonging and unable to change (a traditional, conservative, evangelical, reformed, Bible-believing, Christ-exalting faith) including history, traditions, friends, church, pastor, and wife all suggest that sex, while it may be condoned Scripturally, it is still of the flesh and should be: subdued, controlled, limited, restrained, covered, hidden, conservative, etc (my interpretation of their unspoken ideas, because, well you really ought not talk openly about sex) . While I know they would never outright call it sin, they would at the very least call it a necessary albeit culturally corrupted physical act that ought be subjugated to the spiritual. Spirit trumps body. If I dare to suggest we have a sexual problem, it is met with “no, you have a spiritual problem”. Where the things of the Spirit take front row seating to any and everything in life, something to which I don’t necessarily disagree with. That the Bible is complete and authoritative for all of life and faith and solutions for all our problems are contained within its pages and any such influence beyond (like this blog and others) is “of the world”. Its become quite clear now that I cannot change this caste to which I’ve been born and the liberal, rich, diverse, and generous sex life that Jay (and others here) share and encourage, is something God has not granted me and I cannot (and as far as I can see never will) participate in, to my great disappointment. Though I’ve tried, its only ended in much fighting and grief leaving only divorce or death the only options for change, neither of which is something I will act upon. And so, with Paul, I must learn to be content that I never will experience such in this life what you all have. Understanding with my Faith that this life doesn’t matter anyways, that the only thing that matters is eternity, that this world is of the flesh and is passing away for a new world that will be far better.
So if I’m reading you correctly you expected your wife to disagree with you that sex is “worldly” “fleshly” and best avoided to become more spiritual? If this is what you believe then I guess maybe you should thank her for watching out for your spiritual well being. (Yes, that was facetious) Those Gnostic like beliefs are not biblical.
It seems you’re taking the path of least resistance. Is the cost of short term peace worth the loss of a loving, healthy and unitive sexual relationship with your wife?
No, I actually expected her to agree that sex IS of the flesh and worldly and (at the very least) less Godly, less spiritual than, say reading the Bible or praying or other worship activities. And, according to my wife, the way to get peace and unity in our sexual relationship is to agree with her way of thinking. If I would give up my drive to change our sexual relationship (shes actually called it sexual idolatry) then we would have “peace”, like the good ol’ days of our ignorance and naivety .
I would suggest you approach an Elder you feel comfortable with and humbly explain (not complain about) your situation. If this is causing you spiritual anguish (and it is), you need to get them involved. Tell your Elder you want to give up your sex drive because your current situation is too difficult to bear with your spouse’s selfish desire to impose her misguided views on you unilaterally. Explain you would rather remove all temptation and become as one unmarried to keep your integrity to God than deal with the bad influence your spouse’s selfishness is causing you.
If you are truly serious, that is.
Great article. And this is something I think not many women are aware of.
Thanks for sharing!