Sex toys are a fun and safe way to provide pleasure. But sex toys can also cause injuries, infections and other problems if they aren’t cared for properly.

Generally, sex toys are safe if they’re made from glass, stainless steel, medical-grade silicone or smooth hardwood, and have been cleaned appropriately.

Choose Your Toys Wisely

Sex toys, as long as they’re used appropriately and cleanly, can be a safe way to increase pleasure during sexual activity. However, some sex toys can be dangerous or even cause injury if they’re not properly cared for. Sex toys that aren’t designed to be inserted into the vagina or anal canal, such as plastic shampoo bottles or hairbrush handles, can be difficult to remove or can get stuck up the cervix, which could lead to infection.

When choosing sex toys, choose reputable brands that produce quality products that meet safety standards. Avoid cheap knock-offs and counterfeit sex toys, especially from online retailers such as Amazon, eBay, and Alibaba, which may sell unsafe sex toys without disclosing what they are made of or even having any quality control.

Opt for sex toys that are made from body-safe, non-porous materials, such as solid silicone (not silicone blends), glass, stainless steel, and break-resistant acrylic. Porous materials like latex and jelly rubber can absorb germs and bacteria, which could lead to infection or irritation. Additionally, it’s best to only use water-based lube with silicone sex toys so that they don’t react with the material.

Clean Your Toys Regularly

When it comes to sex toys, cleanliness is key. Not only does it extend the lifespan of your toys but it also prevents harmful pathogens from developing. Sexual toys come into contact with intimate areas of the body, so they can easily harbor bacteria and germs that can cause infections if left unchecked.

Reputable sex toy brands like Dame Products, Lelo, and We-Vibe use only body-safe materials, but cheaper “novelty” sex toys often contain jelly rubber or polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which are porous and difficult to clean. These materials contain softening agents called phthalates, which the Environmental Protection Agency has labeled as possible human carcinogens.

While PVC and jelly rubber materials can’t be cleaned, toys made of silicone, Lucite, glass, or stainless steel can be sanitised by boiling them for a few minutes or using alcohol-free disinfecting wipes designed specifically for sex toys. They can also be placed in a bucket of water mixed with bleach or exposed to UV rays.

It’s also a good idea to store sex toys separately from each other, especially if they are made of different materials. This will prevent them from reacting with each other and causing damage to the materials or transferring any bacteria between them. Additionally, storing sex toys in an airtight container can promote a fresher scent and reduce the chances of mildew or mold forming.

Store Your Toys Properly

When you’re not using a toy, it’s best to keep it clean and dry. This not only preserves the toy’s lifespan, but it prevents bacteria from growing on it that could potentially cause irritation.

It’s a good idea to store each toy separately so that their materials don’t connect during storage, too. You can use a clean cotton sock turned inside-out to do this. Make sure that the toy is unplugged and not in direct contact with the sock, however. Alternatively, you can purchase sex toy storage pouches from many sex toy companies.

Porous sex toys, like silicone blends with low durometers and jelly rubber (or PVC), can absorb germs that may lead to infections even if they’re always washed. This is why a lot of sex toy experts recommend that you store your sex toys in a clean, sterile place.

Reputable sex toy brands (like Dame Products, Lelo, We-Vibe, and Unbound) typically follow strict standards of production. This is why their toys tend to be safer than cheaper, novelty sex toys. The latter can be made from dangerously low quality plastics and often contain phthalates, which the EPA has identified as possible human carcinogens.

Don’t Share Your Toys

If you share your toys with other people, it is possible that they may carry sex toy germs from the previous user. This can lead to irritation, infection, and other unpleasant side effects. It is also not safe for you to play with other people’s sex toys, as bacteria from the outside of the toy can easily transfer to your anus, vagina, or rectum.

This is especially true for lubricant and other sex products. If you buy from a reputable sex toy retailer, the lube used in their products is likely hypoallergenic and body-safe. However, many retailers and sex toy manufacturers are not as diligent, with some selling cheap knock-off or counterfeit products that are more likely to cause harm than good. If you are unsure, look for toys made from medical-grade silicone or Pyrex glass, as these are more likely to be nonporous and sanitary than plastic, PVC, latex, and jelly rubber materials.

Fortunately, sex toy accidents are very rare. By keeping these safety tips in mind, you can maximize your pleasure and minimize your risk of injury or infection. Choose toys with flared bases for anal play, select nonporous materials, use lubrication, and clean your toys regularly to stay safe. If an emergency does occur, remain calm and seek medical assistance. By following these safety measures, you can continue enjoying sex toys safely for years to come.