Apr 202012

Yesterday I purposely opened up a box of phthalates. Inspired by a video from Jennifer Pritchett, owner of The Smitten Kitten, I opened up a box that had been languishing in my 2nd-floor storage room for over a year with camera in hand to show you all what I might find.

Back story: A year or so ago when I first thought up my idea of sex toy education workshops I realized I had no manky jelly sex toys to trot out like the sideshow horror they are so I went to ToySwap to see if anybody had any they’d send me. True Pleasures had a big box full of things waiting to go to a sex toy recycle center, which included dead rabbit vibrators, dismantled sex toys and some nasty jelly/pvc toys. I didn’t open up the box right away because we were due to move in less than a month. Then I didn’t get around to it because of life and no workshops planned.The box sat upstairs in our storage room, which had no A/C for the first 2 months we lived here. The box of items had also been sitting in her house for a few months before it was sent to me.

As I went through the big box of dead sex toys I encountered various results…none of them good. The star of the show was a horrid-looking tentacle dildo from a company called Zeta Paws and who knows what the material is, but there’s definitely phthalates. It behaved just like the dildos that Jennifer describes in her interview – sweating, greasy and gross. I opened the zip-lock bag and the odor was even stronger.

Then I touched it.


Well, yeah. Pretty much. I touched it on purpose. I wanted to show the shiny grease on my fingertips. And yes, I wanted to see if my skin would have a reaction. Others had reported many various reactions to me such as peeling skin on their hands (from a sex toy store worker), bad chemical burns of the vulva and vagina, or milder reactions such as itchy skin. I only touched the dildo for a minute and only with my fingertips. I purposely didn’t wash my hands for awhile. DAREDEVIL, I know.

Fingers on the left show a mild chemical burn from Phthalates

My contact was minimal so the skin reaction isn’t some big, obvious deformity. Keep in mind that this happened because I directly “fondled” a dildo that was sweating out toxic chemicals for only about 2 minutes followed up by not washing my hand for an hour. This photo was taken after the 1-hour mark and then I promptly washed my hands for like 5 minutes. But the damage was done. You’ll note in the larger photo that my skin shows some mottled, pink irritation but also note that my skin on the left is both shiny (from the greasy chemicals) and dry – the dryness another sign of chemical irritation. The skin on my fingertips was also stinging from the chemical irritant.

The side-effects from my brief phthalates exposure were not limited to just the skin on my fingers. I developed a headache a few hours later and chalked it up to needing more caffeine. Hours pass by after two cups of coffee and I still have a headache. Fast-forward to 18 hours later and I wake up feeling….hungover. I still have a headache and I’m in the trenches of a fibromyalgia flare-up – triggered by the phthalates. There’s no other reason for a fibro flare-up – the weather isn’t doing anything funky, I’d been sleeping well this week and generally taking it easy because of the back injury. I am tired and achey and my brain is fogged.

Please, think twice before you use that jelly, vinyl, pvc or cyberskin sex toy. I know that many manufacturers like CalEx and PipeDreams and Topco and the like are all reprinting their packaging to proclaim their toys are phthalates-free but are you really going to trust them?? I don’t. Throw out your greasy, stinky sex toys and stop buying these questionable materials from questionable manufacturers.

A preview of my upcoming video and post: A melted "TPR" (read: jelly) portion of a dismantled rabbit vibrator after storage.

Ask Lilly: “My sex toy stinks – what should I do?”

 Ask Lilly, Guides  Comments Off on Ask Lilly: “My sex toy stinks – what should I do?”
Oct 012011

A few weeks ago I got this question in my Formspring inbox and only now got around to answering it. All I know is what the person asked me, which was:

My vibrator has a lingering rubbery smell to it, how can I get rid of that? What should I wash it with?

Here’s my plain and simple answer:


The smell is coming from any number of things, and any one of those things has the potential to act like a toxic substance to the delicate mucus membranes of your genitalia. It could be that the toy is jelly and even if the packaging says “no phthalates” that doesn’t mean there aren’t a number of other irritating chemicals that are leaching out. True Pleasures once wrote about her worrisome time as a CalExotics Sexpert and the dodgy toys (and responses) she’d receive from them1. She received items that were claimed to be TPR (CalExotics actually claims on their Product Information sheet on their site that their TPR & TPE is non-porous. I call bullshit and do not believe them one bit. Most TPR’s are porous; after all they’re the cheaper version of the material and CalExotics isn’t famed for their expensive toys) but smelled so badly they gave her a headache. Response? Oops, we think you managed to get a rare manufacturing error and it’s actually PVC. Oh we’re so distressed about this, we’re as upset as you, we paid for TPR! (I’m paraphrasing here). Again she received other TPR material toys that had funny, lingering odors. The ole “oh let it air out a day” response didn’t fly, as the smell was still there. She got one email that said the smell might be from an accelerant that helps release the toy from it’s production mold; then he say no, it was the glue, it didn’t cure long enough2. But all the while she is assured that these culprits are all non-toxic, phthalates-free, etc.

Every time True Pleasures would get a dodgy toy, her respondents (even Al Bloom) claimed to have gone out to the warehouse, opened up other toys like the one she had (even cutting them open, as she did) to see if others of the same toy had the same problem as hers. Of course, they were all ok. She just happened to get the one oddball. Also, they went out and ruined a case of toys? I’m sure their profit margin is high enough that it’s a drop in the bucket butt again I call bullshit.

Back to the issue at hand. We don’t even know what brand the toy is that the person is asking about.

A well-made toy shouldn’t have any lingering odors. A slight odor when you first open up the packaging – ok, I’ll consent to that. But it should not linger on the toy for very long if it is truly just part of the cleaning process or something to do with the packaging. Your supposed TPR toy could actually be PVC, or jelly/rubber. Who the hell knows. It’s not like there’s any real regulations out there. They can say what they want. Or it could be TPR, but what you’re smelling is indeed another chemical or glue or whatever. They say it’s non-toxic. Really? Show me the MSDS sheet then on all the materials and I’ll decide for myself.


Or you could attempt to contact the manufacturer and tell them your problem, be told it’s a one-off and maybe they’ll send you a new one that doesn’t stink. Maybe. Small chance the reseller will let you return it, depends on who you bought it from. But the bottom line is that you don’t actually know what’s causing the smell (unless of course it IS a jelly toy and I wasn’t told that the rubber-like smell is actually coming from a fucking rubber toy) and you don’t know what it might do to your body. You could use it once with no immediate repercussions and sometime down the line after a few more uses have this strange thing goin on down there and not know what’s up.

Buy from reputable manufacturers.
Buy hard plastic, pure silicone, glass, ceramic, metal, wood, and TPR only from trust-worthy manufacturers3.
If your sex toy stinks, there’s a decent chance that the stink is a warning: HEED THAT WARNING. THROW IT OUT.

If you actually do insist on using the damn thing, please use a toy cover or a condom on it. (use larger condoms for girthier toys, and if you have latex allergies shell out for the newer non-latex condoms).

Here’s another “test”: Would you put it in your mouth with that smell? Would you gag from the smell and taste? If yes, then why the hell put it in your vagina or ass?? There’s a million other sex toys out there that are not unsafe. Go buy one of those.

  1. Yes I’ve linked to it before, but I’m going to link to it again, because in my eyes it really shows that you just can’t trust CalExotics and the more of their shitty stuff I see, the more I want to steer people away from the company as a whole
  2. Dodgy overseas manufacturing that they just blindly trust to be doing things the right way
  3. Trust-worthy manufacturers are not synonymous with well-known manufacturers. I would consider many small companies trust worthy and would consider many big name untrustworthy like CalExotics, definitely Doc Johnson and Pipedreams, Topco is iffy, Hustler ehh

What Makes Me Happy: Sharing Sex Ed Info

 Blogging, Navel-Gazing  Comments Off on What Makes Me Happy: Sharing Sex Ed Info
Sep 252011

Long ago and far away when I actually did HNT and then WW on a regular basis AND tried hard to get nice photos, it was quite a compliment when the occasional pic would get reblogged via someone’s Tumblr1.

But this is better. WAY BETTER.

I was getting hits from Tumblr again and so I clicked through to find out what had been reblogged and was DELIGHTED to find out that someone was sharing my Sex Toy Care and Cleaning Guide page. (Which now makes me want to go update it and see if I can make it even better) Considering how passionate I am about people learning about the safe materials and the bad things to stay away from, this makes me hugely happy. I think it was this chick who originally posted about it, adding in this:

I guess the reason why I’m posting there seems to be little info on this kinda stuff despite the fact that plenty of folks who follow me and who I follow use sex toys. It’s worth while sharing info and most of all it’s important to be safe when doing what ever gets you to reach the big O

Another gal reblogged and this which I thought was cute:

Important info, but I can’t help but giggle at this line — Turn it on and make sure the batteries are strong or the charge is recent – there’s nothing worse than getting halfway through a jerk-off session to have your favorite vibrator die out.

Hey, it’s true!! I’m not sure what’s worse, finding out before you even start that your toys are dead or having them die halfway through. Either way ends with no orgasm for me.

Someone else who reblogged also added in a note saying that the post on how Jelly Sex Toys are Dangerous is almost more important to read also made me happy. Have thousands of people reblogged these? No. But if 65 reblogged, and even just 10 people on each of those Tumblrs read this info and learn something new…..I’m happy.

I still don’t quite know how I’m going to do it, but I will somehow teach workshops about sex  toy education to prevent others from buying jelly or CalExotics crap.

  1. Ok well then it got a little bit annoying because I’d have people come to me and say “hey isn’t that your photo on that Tumblr, uncredited?”. Yeah. Flattering but I’m not fond of people taking my work and using it as their own (which I’ve seen done, they pull it from a Tumblr that didn’t bother to keep in the linkback)