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What are dangerous sex toy materials and what are body safe?

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What are dangerous sex toy materials and what are body safe?

Dangerous sex toy materials — in a nutshell: There are two main things that make a sex toy material unsafe: (1) porosity and (2) toxicity.

Porous Materials Can Be Dangerous On Adult Toys

A toy material that is porous has tiny micropores in the material itself. These pores usually can’t be seen by the naked eye, as it has to do with the density of the structure of the material.

Porous toys can never be fully clean. They cannot be sterilized. Germs, bacteria, and mold will bloom in those micro-pores, even if you wash them thoroughly.

Bottom line: Avoid sex toys made of porous material.

Exception: But! There is a tiny bit of wiggle room when it comes to porosity, but only with male masturbators.

The vast majority of male masturbators (ie, male sleeves) are porous so you literally cannot avoid it. Some sleeves are toxic on top of porous, which is why it’s best to stick to trustworthy companies.

Tenga and Fleshlight are particularly trusted as non-toxic male masturbators. They’re still porous (so don’t hang onto them long), but they’re about as least harmful for you as male masturbators go and they at least aren’t used internally like dildos or anal plugs.

Toxic Materials

A toxic sex toy is a toy whose material had unsafe chemicals added to it. Toxicity is never good. Ever.

It’s also hard to tell when a toy is toxic, as companies aren’t under any legal obligation to state if they are toxic.

Cheap sex toy materials (read: porous) carry a high risk of containing chemicals that you *really* don’t want in your body, such as phthalates.


Phthalates are chemical plasticizers used to soften toys. The FDA has banned them from children’s toys. Avoid them. See a soft toy made from jelly? See a translucent toy? Think Phthalates! and run. They’ve been linked to cancer. You do NOT want them in your body.

Phthalates tend to leech out. That’s the thing about porous sex toys… don’t expect that the chemicals within the material won’t leech out onto your skin. I’ve used jelly toys before (years ago) only to find that they give me a terrible burning sensation. Chemical burns from toxic sex toys aren’t unheard of.

Bottom line: Avoid toxic toys. NO exceptions.

Here are a couple of rules of thumb:

  • Not all porous toys are toxic. Some porous toys are non-toxic (depends on the brand, really)
  • All toxic toys are porous.
  • Truly non-porous toys aren’t toxic.

How can sex toy manufacturers get away with selling toxic sex toys?

The legal classification of almost all sex toys is that of a “novelty item.” And this is fine…it’s either that or a “medical device,” which would be super hard and expensive for companies to pursue.

However, unlike things like children’s toys, sex toy materials aren’t regulated. Unfortunately for consumers, that means that sex toy manufacturers aren’t legally responsible to disclose what their toys are made of or if there are any toxic chemicals in their toys.

They can literally even blatantly lie on their packaging and say that it’s a material that it isn’t. Legally, it’s all good. They don’t need to inform any higher regulatory authority of what they’re putting in the toys they sell to customers. They’re not responsible for any harm their products cause.

What are body safe materials for adult toys?

100% silicone

My #1 recommended sex toy material. Non-porous and non-toxic. Won’t leech out anything, won’t melt when touching other toys…it’s an inert, stable material.

It is hypoallergenic, odorless, non-porous, and free of phthalates. It’s sterilizable, meaning that you can safely use it for both anal and vaginal use if you sterilize it before jumping to the next orifice.

You can even share it between people, as long as you sterilize between each use. You can’t go wrong here (although cheaper silicone will feel like hard rock, though it won’t be unsafe).

BUT: Make sure it’s actually a 100% silicone toy (or “platinum cure”). Don’t go for “silicone blends” …those are not 100% silicone. (note: silicone toys should not be used with silicone-based lubricant)

Silicone is the only non-porous material that’ll be able to be made into realistic dildos (such as flesh-colored dildos). So if you’re buying a realistic dildo, it’d better be silicone.

Borosilicate (Pyrex) Glass

Glass is non-porous, phthalate-free, hypoallergenic, and difficult to destroy. It can be rinsed with soap and water or sterilized in the dishwasher/boiling/bleach.

It’s a great material for sensation (hot/cold) play. Lovehoney has a few great glass toys.

Stainless Steel

These are also non-porous, and phthalate-free. Easily cleaned and can be sterilized.

ABS Plastic

ABS toys are phthalate-free and hypoallergenic. They also have very low porosity. They’re a safe material for things like clitoral vibrators, which are always outside of the body. For example, my favorite clitoral vibrator, We-Vibe Tango, is made from ABS plastic.

Treated Wood

Some wooden toys are body-safe. Wood, by nature, is porous. However, if treated and glazed correctly with a non-toxic sealant, wood toys will become non-porous. The non-toxicity depends on the manufacturer though. NobEssence and Silvarus are great companies to buy from.


Stone may or may not be porous, depending on the type. If it’s polished to a glossy sheen, then it’s likely less porous. Laid’s stone toys are trusted.


Not ALL ceramic toys are non-porous. I’ve seen some pretty sketchy ceramic dildos on Etsy that I would absolutely not recommend.

But, if done correctly, ceramic dildos can be safe to use. To be non-porous, the creator must vitrify and glaze their product, so make sure that this has been done.

You’ll also want to make sure that there’s nothing toxic in the glaze itself, such as lead. Ceramic toys can’t withstand the same sudden heat changes as silicone toys, and definitely don’t use them if you notice any chips.

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