A few weeks ago I received a lovely note that reminds me why I do what I do, why I’ll never back down and shut up and why I keep on researching and thinking, testing and theorizing, why I geek out about sex toy materials.
This may sound silly, but I wanted to thank you for all the information you share on your blog and on /r/sextoys. My husband asked for a BBD (big black dildo) for Christmas. I knew from previously buying plugs that we needed a good quality silicone, but was nervous about getting something online that I couldn’t really gauge the size of. So, I went to the local toy shop and asked for help picking out a silicone dildo. The lady there confidently directed me to Doc Johnson, ensuring me that Sil-a-gel was even better than pure silicone and that of course it would be fine with the coconut oil we use for lube. :/
A few days later, I found /r/sextoys and your blog. I’m so glad I did before I gave my husband that gift and we used the Doc Johnson! I tossed that stinky pvc thing and went shopping. Because money is tight, I settled on the Tantus Vamp grab bag, knowing I couldn’t pick the color. Well, it showed up today (just in time for the holiday!) and it’s perfect! The size is great. There’s no smell. Best of all, it’s black with just a hint of purple sparkle in the right light!
So, thank you. You’ve made one woman very safe and very happy this Christmas! …and I’m sure I’ll have a very happy husband when I give him his gift tonight!
And with this note, I’m both happy and pissed. Why pissed? Because for every one of us, in this army fighting against unsafe sex toy materials, there are 5, 10, 15 other retail sex shop employees spouting off bullshit like “sil-a-gel is better than silicone and it’s fine with coconut oil for lube”. A: it’s porous AND whatever sil-a-gel is has been known to cause skin reactions in some people and 2: using coconut oil on a PVC toy would destroy it super quick, because like attracts like and oil will cause the toy to melt like these. So this shop employee bluffed and lied their asses off at the expense of the buyer’s health and wallet (I say wallet because sure it’s cheaper to buy that POS Doc dildo but they would have had to replace it after one time using coconut oil on it).
It’s a fact that you’re not going to get the safe sex toy education in your average store, yet it still pisses me off; just like it pisses me off when people leave their shopping cart in the parking space rather than walking 9 feet to the cart corral. I can’t help it.
There’s only one answer here: We can’t stop. We need to keep educating other people, all the time. We need to educate to the point where our readers are then going to their local shops and educating the employees. We need to find a way to educate without judging and without scaring them away from all sex toys or thinking we’re trying to “upsell”. I’m not trying to force everyone to buy expensive silicone toys; if they know the dangers and choose to use a PVC stinker, that’s them. Yes the porous stuff is gross and the toxic ones have bad chemicals but not everybody believes it’s a problem for their body. They’ve had no reactions and no problems thus far and they’re not going to change. Okay, fine. But so far for every one of them I’ve encountered, I’ve educated at least 5 more who happily want to use only body-safe, non-porous sex toys. And I feel like I have to stress one thing here: even though many sex toy companies are going the phthalates-free route (even if we don’t believe them, some really did achieve this) not all companies are doing this; not all are non-toxic as advertised. And we can’t overlook the potential harm and pitfalls of porous sex toy materials. It’s a real problem.
Affordable, even cheap, silicone sex toys are coming on the market all the time. Reviewers need to look at these and try them out; flame test and look under the hood. Because the day when we have the ability to recommend more than a few under-$40 sex toys made from safe, non-porous materials is the day we can start winning the war. They choose the porous crap often because it’s cheaper. When companies see how well the silicone is selling and when (dare I dream?) the silicone outsells the cyberskin, the PVC, the rubber, the jelly – then they’ll change their tack and their product line-up.