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Sex Toy Materials: The Complete Guide

Sex toys come in an astounding array of materials and we at Betty's want you to know exactly what you are putting in, around, and on your body. That is why we have created this comprehensive guide to sex toy materials to guide you along the way and help you make good choices for your body. 

Some important things to know about sex toy materials:

  • There are NO regulations around sex toy materials and what is safe
  • The sex toy industry is self-regulated, which is why it's important to buy from reputable brands and websites (like Betty's)
  • Some materials require more caution and care than others 

Some definitions you should know:

Porous: Some toy materials are porous, meaning there are tiny holes through which liquid can pass and germs can gather. We recommend using a condom on these types of toys to maintain optimal cleanliness

Phthalates: These are harmful chemicals that can be used to make plastics soft and squishy, more transparent, or durable

Phthalate-Free: A sex toy with this designation uses methods other than phthalates to soften their plastics. 

THE MOST POPULAR SEX TOY MATERIALS

Silicone:

This is the Cadillac of sex toy materials.

  • Non-porous, phthalate free, and easy to clean
  • You can boil silicone dildos or put them in the dishwasher for cleaning
  • You can disinfect them with a bleach/water solution (1 part bleach to 10 parts water and soak for 10-15 minutes)
  • Works well with most popular Toy Cleaners.
  • You can get any type of toy in silicone now – from rabbits to butt plugs - and
  • The best, safest, softer option for anal play 

USE WATER BASED OR WATER/SILICONE HYBRIC LUBES WITH SILICONE TOYS SUCH AS Wicked Aqua Water Based Lubricant

ABS Plastic:

More commonly found in bullets and some firm vibrators

  • ABS plastic is phthalate free and non-porous.
  • Clean it with soap and warm water 
  • Plastic conducts vibrations extremely well
  • Affordable and long lasting

Plastic toys can take any kind of lube you throw at them, so why not try a lovely silicone lube like Wet Platinum Premium Silicone Based Lube.

TPR/TPE:

These materials are popular in more budget friendly toys such as dildos, penis masturbators, and cock rings, for their elasticity and realistic feel. They are porous materials. 

  • TPR: Thermoplastic Rubber, a synthetic rubber
  • TPE: Thermoplastic Elastomer, a synthetic elastomer
  • We recommend using a condom on these toys
  • Do not use them for anal play without a condom or switch between vaginal and anal play
  • Use an antibacterial cleaning spray or antibacterial soap and water before and after every use.
  • You can’t boil or bleach this material.
  • Dry thoroughly and store not touching other toys to maintain the material's integrity
  • There can be a strong rubber or chemical smell to these materials that often does not fade with time

Do not use oil based lubes with these toys. Stick with water based or a hybrid of water and silicone such as Sliquid Silk Hybrid Lubricant

Cyberskin, Fanta Flesh, Real Skin, UR3, and other Realistic Materials:

These are names that manufacturers give to their soft, squishy TPR based materials, primarily found in realistic dildos. 

  • These materials are porous and can harbor bacteria
  • Betty's only carries phthalate-free versions of these materials from reputable manufacturers
  • We highly recommend not using or sharing these toys without putting a condom on them
  • Make sure you clean them thoroughly after every use with the method recommended by the manufacturer
  • Do not use this material for anal play without a condom
  • Do not switch between vaginal and anal use on these toys without a condom
  • To maintain the silky texture, dust them with corn starch
  • Must be stored separately from other toys. The material will break down (crack or change shape)  if it touches other materials
  • There can be a strong rubber or chemical smell to these materials that often does not fade with time

It is important to use ONLY WATER BASED LUBRICANTS with these products. We recommend Sliquid H2o Original Water based lubricant with these products.

 

Glass

Glass sex toys are most commonly made of borosilicate glass which is specifically made to withstand extreme pressure, temperatures, and shock, therefore making it extremely safe for sex toys.

  • Borosilicate glass is completely firm 
  • Glass is completely non-porous, body safe, and easy to clean
  • Can be used with any lubricant
  • Heat in warm water or cool in ice for fantastic temperature play
  • You can pop them in the dishwasher, bleach them, or just use soap and water to clean

For glass, we recommend you experiment with silicone lubes on this toy for long lasting playing power such as Pjur Women Body Glide Silicone Lube.

PVC:

This is a polyvinyl chloride which is made pliable with the use of plasticizers. It can range from soft to extremely firm depending on the formulation

  • Betty's carries only phthalate free PVC
  • Many PVC toys are porous, although some non-porous PVC is now available. Read the product descriptions to find out more.
  • Porous PVC should be used with a condom, not shared between partners, and not shared between vaginal and anal use.
  • Clean thoroughly after every use but do not boil
  • Store porous PVC away from other toys to keep it from getting tacky. 

We recommend you use water based lubes to maintain the materials of these toys but you can also get creative and try a silicone/water hybrid which is safe on this material and thicker than pure water based lubes.

 

Jelly

Jelly is usually another term for rubber. If you browse around our site, you will notice that we don’t carry jelly toys. There are several reasons for this.

  • Jelly is porous and often low quality and can contain phthalates
  • Jelly material breaks down quickly and can crack or melt. 
  • Many top manufacturers no longer use jelly materials

"For more info check out this sex toy cleaning inforaphic by PleasureBetter.

How to Clean Sex Toys Infographic