Columns / Discourse / October 9, 2019

Pillowtalk: Using toys safely

Hi Pillowtalk,

I just got a new vibrator. It’s silicone, I think, and has an electronic base. How do I wash it? Can I use lube on it or will it short circuit or something? Can I use it in the shower?


Hi! This is a very smart question, and I think it’ll be best answered by going over toy safety in general.

Let’s start with silicone. Nowadays, most silicone is compatible with silicone, water, and oil based lubricants. That isn’t always the case, though.

Silicone can bond with silicone and compromise the integrity of your toy; if you use a condom over your toy, oil will cause it to break. Water-based is your safest and best bet.

Most vibrators are at least partially waterproof, but it isn’t the best idea to bring it in the shower or bath with you. It won’t pull a “toaster” and electrocute you on the spot, but it may get waterlogged and stop working.

Getting off in the shower isn’t worth the $40 loss. You could, however, stick it in a gallon sized ziploc and call it good.

Like I said, most vibrators and toys are waterproof, so you can just rinse it with soap and water and towel dry it. To sanitize most silicone toys, boil them for about 5 minutes.

If it has an electronic component, just wash it and apply some rubbing alcohol. Let the alcohol evaporate, rinse it off one more time and stick it wherever you want.

Actually Ñ not wherever you want. Anuses tend to suck things up, so only ever use toys with a flared base in the back door.

Try not to cross-contaminate holes or fluids, mostly for risk of a yeast infection. Ask consent before using a toy on someone else, even if you want it to be a surprise.

One more thing! Silicone is a great option for sex toys, and so is glass. Please, please don’t use porous materials like wood or stone. Always, always use a condom, even on safe materials, because sex toys are not examined or controlled by any administration, and do not have to be body safe to be sold in stores.

The same thing goes for lubricant. Don’t use lubes that contain glycerin, or any type of sugar or fructose.

Remember to clean your toys between uses and get familiar with the materials they’re made from. Be safe, be smart and use lube!


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Elleri Scriver

Tags:  masterbation safe sex sex education sex toys sexual health

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