Backstory: I like to flame test my silicone sex toys, and pretty much do it to every item. When the JimmyJane Hello Touch failed my flame test, I first showed it to some other industry professionals and peers at CatalystCon who agreed with my thoughts that it didn’t appear to be pure silicone. I then contacted JimmyJane. Due to their response filled with PR fluff-n-stuff, I publicly mused that I wished I could get a real lab test done to see who was right. When a few of my followers responded that they would contribute, I asked a few peers to confirm/deny my sanity and was told to go for it. I very crudely rounded up enough funding to get a basic test done, “FTIR”, which would tell me if the polymers were just silicone, or silicone plus something else. This action spurred on something a lot bigger….To those who donated to fund this test, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Without that initial support I don’t think this would have gotten off the ground so smoothly.
The lab test results for the JimmyJane Hello Touch came in on Friday, April 26th. I really didn’t think that the test results would show that it is pure silicone, since there were 4 cases of the product being subjected to the flame test with 2 different results. As I mentioned before, I even showed the torched product to a few others at CatalystCon and they also agreed that in their dildo-torching experience, it didn’t appear to be *pure* silicone. However, the FTIR test told us that the product contained no other polymers than Polydimethylsiloxane (silicone) with “No evidence of additives or plasticizers”. In other words, the flame test failed us – what we had previously believed to be true, which was that a pure silicone item would not go up in flames, is clearly not always true. The flame test is not quite as accurate as we’ve thought – while I knew that the flame test was never 100% accurate and that it could not serve as the one true answer, the results I received on the Hello Touch really seemed to indicate to the contrary of the purported material listed. I still don’t believe that the flame test is completely worthless; I believe it can still weed out the items that some places like to call “silicone” but are clear and jelly-like in appearance. However, in some cases, you won’t be able to tell if your item is pure silicone and the only way to truly tell would be to obtain a lab test result. The FTIR told us about the polymers and that there were no additives, but a more expensive test (similar to what CATT ordered) using a GC-MS would tell us better perhaps *why* our flame tests gave varied results.
So in the absence of a truly accurate Home Dildo Test, what is a sex toy geek to do? Call the Dildologists, of course.
I’m not the first person in this industry who has wished for access to a lab to test for material purity, phthalates, etc. I’m just the first sex toy reviewer who actually said “I’m doing this, NOW”. My dear, darling Crista has been part of this industry longer than I have, and she even worked in a sex toy store years ago, from clerk to Buyer, so she’s seen it all. She knows first-hand, much more than me, the horrid crap that is out there. Around that time is when CATT came together and did their test, and Crista thought how much she, too, would love to do that. TEST ALL THE TOYS! But the time wasn’t right.
The time is now right.
The universe said “Do it now” and Crista’s partner, Val Orenda, heard it. He saw “PinkSexGeek” in her prime when they went to CatalystCon together this year, and wanted to help her realize her dreams, and be a part of this world of hers. So before I even knew what was happening, as I was asking Val more questions since he is far more intelligent than I could ever hope to be, it all started coming together. Quickly. A name. A site. Registering as a business. A freakin’ Wiki. A forum. etc and so on. Val made Crista’s dream come true, and their plan will hopefully change the sex toy industry in time.
I proudly introduce to you, Dildology.org.
From their Mission Statement:
The sex toy industry is on the rise, yet it remains largely unregulated. Dildology.org intends to provide material verification services and maintain a public database of the results, adding transparency and oversight to the industry while educating the public about the science behind pleasure products. We stand on our own, unaffiliated and uninfluenced, and we are dedicated to protecting the health and well-being of the dildo-loving population at large through education (and maybe a little entertainment).
- accept monetary donations.
- accept product donations from third-party retail stores.
- purchase products from third-party retail stores.
- choose products to test based on community feedback.
- send products to accredited labs for testing.
- compare the material composition of products to the manufacturers’ claims.
- share the results of lab tests with manufacturers.
- record the results of the lab tests in our wiki.
- make our wiki available to the public.
- provide other educational resources to the public.
We will not:
- accept product donations directly from manufacturers.
- test second-hand products – only those acquired randomly from retail stores.
- test any product manufactured more than one year ago.
- publish opinions about products or manufacturers – only facts.
- falsify data, for any reason.
- suppress or fail to publish the results of any test.
Read the whole thing here
Dildology.org is a non-profit organization run by broke-ass people who care, and they need the help of lots of other people who care. So they will run by donation. If you want to help make a difference in this industry, then please donate what you can. Since this will be a years-long endeavor, you can donate a little now and a little later. They don’t have any plans to stop. Ideally, they’d like to get 25 toys tested this year, and have a pretty good idea on what most of the 25 will be. You can see the list in the Product Directory section on the Wiki. As you can see, they’re not focusing on any one sector or company. They’re even going to have a Tantus item tested. They’re not always going to be testing things that are suspect. Rather, they are going to be testing a wide variety of materials and manufacturers to amass a directory that will give consumers a pretty good idea on which companies to trust. If you see that more often than not a manufacturer has lied about their material, then you can make an informed decision not to trust their products, if you want. They’re not in this to persecute any certain company. They’re in this to provide a much-needed service for consumers and the hope is that they will help a few misguided companies as well (in case the results are a surprise to them and they choose to take action at their plant to correct it).
What can you expect from Dildology.org? Everything they do at Dildology will be in the name of science, and science cannot have a bias. All personal affiliations, opinions, etc will be tossed out the window. We will simply acquire the data and present the data, nothing more. The data will be available for sex-positive boutique stores to eventually use to help their customers feel safe in choosing reputable toys, and help the retailers feel safe in recommending a great dildo. The data will also be there for bloggers and reviewers to refer to, as well as the average consumer.
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We can cry out for the industry to be regulated by our government, but really what will that get us? A higher priced dildo. A “luxury sex toy” that costs double what they do now, and their current costs are already prohibitive to many. Sex toys that take twice as long in development resulting in fewer, quality new sex toys being introduced to the market every year. When you bring the FDA to the party, you get mountains of paperwork, costly fees and annual 3-4 week-long audits to retain your FDA classifications. The better solution just might be to let the industry self-regulate, but with a little help from a neutral party.
I encourage you to share this post, write about Dildology.org on your own blog, link to it, follow them on Facebook and Twitter and just in general spread the word to as many people as you can. The bigger the media attention is from bloggers, the better chance they have of being written up in larger online mags, which betters the chances of raising the money needed to get started on testing toys for you.
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Want to make a difference? Dildology.org could really use your help:
~ Donate money* – without it, they won’t be able to test much
~ Spread the word – the more media attention they can get, the more donations they can get
~ Incentives for donations – these can be “limited quantity” but please, no sex toys
~ A lab – the current lab is small without the ability to cut a price break. Currently an FTIR costs $200, while a GC-MS costs at least $400