Guide To Sex Toy Materials


Picking the right sex toy requires a basic understanding of how they are made. Here's a list of the most common sex toy materials and how to care for them.

Hard Plastic/ABS: The Smooth Operator.

Because ABS is lightweight, inexpensive, and simple to manufacture, it is found in a wide range of sex toys.

ABS doesn’t possess the soft flexibility of more expensive materials like Silicone or TPR, but it translates vibrations beautifully and is poreless, smooth, Phthalate-free and easy to clean.

Care: ABS plastic is compatible with all lubricants: Water-based, oil-based and silicone-based.

Cleaning: Soap and water. You can also wipe them down with rubbing alcohol or use a 10% bleach solution. Don’t ever boil a hard plastic toy.

Elastomer: The Sensitive Kind. 

A hypoallergenic alternative to traditional Jelly Rubber, this medical-grade material is Latex-Free, Phthalate-Free and Toxin-Free. Like Silicone, it’s also extremely soft and durable.

Elastomer is porous so if you share your toys, make sure to cover them with a condom to prevent the spread of bacteria.

Care: True Elastomer is compatible with all lubricants, but it's always safer to stick with water-based formulas when it comes to soft sex toys.

Cleaning: Soap and Water.

Glass: Works of Art.

To some, it might sound terrifying to put anything made of glass inside your body. In reality, glass dildos are extremely safe (on top of being visually stunning.)

Because glass is inert, poreless, and chemical-free it's about as hypoallergenic as you can get. Glass also has the added benefit of being 100% recyclable.

Care: Glass is compatible with any and every type of lubricant: Oil-Based, Silicone-Based, Water-Based and More.

Cleaning: True borosillicate glass is great at withstanding the high heat of a dishwasher or boiling water. If you're not sure of the type of glass your toy is made of, better to steer clear of extreme heat and simply wash with soap and water or a soak in a 10% bleach solution.

Jelly Rubber: The Cheap & Risky Date.

Made from Poly Vinyl Chloride, this flexible and inexpensive material is a popular choice for sex toys because of its softness and ability to quickly warm to body heat. Soft? Cheap? What could possibly go wrong?

EVERYTHING! The chemical softeners or “Phthalates” used to make this material flexible have been linked to health issues and listed as a “probable human carcinogen," by the FDA.

Jelly Rubber also possesses a strong odor and its high degree of porosity makes it difficult to clean and disinfect. DOUBLE YUCK!

In short, if you have your eye on a jelly toy SWIPE LEFT. If you currently own a jelly sex toy, consider trading up.

Care: Jelly Rubber is compatible with water-based lubricants.

Cleaning: Soap and Water.

Metal: Heavy Duty.

Stainless steel and Aluminum sex toys are elegant, body-safe and offer a weighty feel for a completely different sensation. The sleek texture of metal creates less "drag" than other sex toys so less lubricant is needed.

Care: Like Glass, Metal is compatible with any and every type of lubricant: Oil-Based, Silicone-Based, Water-Based and More.

Cleaning: Soap and Hot Water. You can also disinfect metal sex toys with boiling water but do so with caution: Metal retains heat for long periods of time and can easily burn you or anything else it comes into contact with.

Silicone: The Best of the Best.

Silicone is the best choice for people with chemical sensitivities, or who have had allergic reactions to other materials.

Because of its heat-resistant, flexible, and silky-smooth nature, you’ll tend to find silicone in better adult toys and products.  (Tantus is famous for their medical-grade platinum silicone products.)

Silicone feels soft and realistic but does not contain potentially toxic chemicals (like Phthalates.) And, unlike jelly rubber, silicone is poreless so it won't trap bacteria.

Care: Silicone lubricants will bond with this material, so only use silicone toys with water-based lubricants.

Cleaning: Pure silicone toys can be sterilized. Sterilization methods include boiling for non-vibrating toys or soaking toys in a 10% bleach solution for about 15 minutes before rinsing. You can even clean non-vibrating silicone toys on the top rack of your dishwasher!

TPR: A little of this and a little of that.

Thermoplastic rubber is a hybrid blend of plastic and rubber from the Elastomer family that is Phthalate-free and non-toxic, but far less expensive than silicone. However, unlike silicone, TPR is somewhat porous.

If you share your toys, make sure to cover your TPR products with a condom to prevent the spread of bacteria.

Care: TPR is compatible with water-based lubricants.

Cleaning: Soap and Water.

“Sex toys have long since graduated from the floppy rubber things you hide in your bedside table to beautiful works of interactive art”

- from Gwyneth Paltrow's "Goop"

Jun 5th 2024 C. Ressi

Recent Posts