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Sex Toy Care - The Basics

Sex is fabulous and fun if you do it right, but it can be downright scarring if you do it wrong.  Sex toys are the same.  Respect yourself, your genitals, and your partner by being educated on our product best practices.  How to clean them, how to be safe with them, and how to love them.  I’m going to go over a few tips and tricks for toys and lubricants.

First is the plethora of sex toy materials, and how to deal with them.  There are a lot of materials, and usually you can read the box to know what they are.  Be warned, many manufacturers market their sex toys as novelties, not for internal usage.  This means they aren’t legally obligated to list their materials on the box.  Most of them will list the material somewhere, but it can be hard to find.

Bacteria can be transferred on toys.  If you have an STI and you take a toy out of you and put it into a partner, then you can transfer the STI.  The anus has bacteria that is very harmful to the vagina, possibly causing urinary tract infections.  Taking a toy out of the butt and putting it into the vagina can cause infection.

If you have a toy made of a porous material, that bacteria will never be washed off.  It will be absorbed into the toy and live and reproduce under the surface.  If you store a butt toy and a vagina toy touching each other, the bacteria will carry over.  If you store one partner’s toy touching another partner’s toy, the bacteria will carry over.  If you really want to share your toy, just use condoms!

If you have a toy made of a non-porous material, then you’re on easy street.  Just clean the toy between holes or partners, and everyone’s genitals will be fine.  As a best practice, I advise against butt-to-vagina under any circumstances because gross, but I’m not your mom, do what you want.

There are a few options for cleaning.  Unless I say otherwise, you can assume any of these options are safe for your toy material.  My favourite is Toy Cleaner.  This is specially formulated for sex toys, and you can keep it next to the bed and just spray and go, rather than putting on a robe, walking to the bathroom, risking running into kids or roommates.  I’m frankly exhausted just thinking of it.  We have cleansing wipes called Pleasure Wipes which are great for your genitals and for cleaning toys.  In a pinch, baby wipes will do the same thing, if you don't mind your toys smelling like baby.  Gentle soap and water is a simple, effective option.  You can use rubbing alcohol, but rinse it well or your delicate mucous membranes will get a painful surprise.  When in doubt, just follow the instructions on the box.

Phthalates are an important issue to keep in mind when shopping for sex toys.  Phthalates are used by some manufacturers to soften the plastic in sex toys.  They’ve been linked to cancer, reproductive diseases and other health problems.  Phthalates have been banned in children’s toys in the United States, but not in sex toys.  So, it’s great the children are protected, but keep an eye out for your genitals as well.  We don’t stock toys with phthalates at Positive Passions so relax, but if you’re buying elsewhere make sure to check, and remember what I said about sex toys that are marketed as novelties.  Phthalates are a serious health risk, so make sure to research anything you’re not sure of.


Silicone has a silky smooth feeling and is rigid without feeling too hard.  It’s a premium material, so it’s usually well advertised.  If the toy doesn’t have any mechanical parts, you can boil it for a few minutes to sanitize it.

Never store silicone toys touching each other.  Silicone binds to silicone, so your toys will merge together like the world’s worst transformer.  Similarly, don’t use silicone lubricant with a silicone toy, the toy will get sticky and weird and eventually it’ll peel like a banana.  The best lubricant to use is water-based.  There are mixed reports on oil-based lubricants, I’ve found the lube goes chunky and odd.  Not dangerous, but I’d suggest avoiding it.

Glass toys might sound like a crazy concept, but it’s actually really cool.  Think of how great a hard cock feels, and then imagine that times ten.  Glass toys are particularly great for g-spots.  And no, they will not break off inside of you.  Unless you have a cement floor in your vagina, you’ll be fine.  (Seriously, steer clear of cement floors.  I learned this the hard way.)

They’re super-easy to clean.  You can pop them in the dishwasher if you want to make sure your children will never unload a dishwasher ever again.  They can be boiled, but watch out; they retain heat longer than you might expect.  You can use any kind of lubricant, and for storage, just keep it somewhere where it won’t fall on a cement floor and it’ll be fine.

ABS Plastic is hard and smooth.  There’s not a lot of ways to go wrong with this old work-horse.  Any kind of lube is fine.



PVC Jelly is a very common sex toy material.  It’s the jelly that gives certain toys their satisfying squishy feeling.  The biggest thing to remember is to avoid using oil-based lubricant; the oil will break down the porous material.

TRP Rubber is also very common, rigid with a bit of give.  Some TPR is mixed with silicone, so don’t use a silicone lubricant or store it touching a silicone toy.  Like the PVC, oil will break down the porous material.

Realistic Skin is that really smooth squishy material that looks like real skin.  Male masturbators are often made of this material, and “realistic” penises.  It has a great realistic feel, but it's very porous and delicate.  Clean with gentle soap and water or toy cleaner.  After cleaning this material, sprinkle it with cornstarch to keep it silky smooth.  Only use water-based lubricant, the others will damage it.  Dry it thoroughly before storing, as it may mildew.



It’s nice to store your toys in an attractive way, so you feel good about your toys and yourself when you look at them.  The best way to store toys is to put each in its own baggie, so there will be no transfer of bacteria and no chance of silicone toys reacting to each other.  A cloth bag is a nice option.  Organza will let you see inside the bag.  You can certainly use plastic bags as well, but some materials will stick to the bag and be difficult to get in and out.

Don’t store battery-operated toys with the batteries inside.  Batteries can lose their change if left in a toy for a while.  Batteries can also leak, so you could be left with a non-operational toy full of battery acid.  And vibrators that don’t vibrate are very sad.  Also, if you leave in the batteries, the toy can be knocked on in storage.  As someone who routinely travels with a suitcase full of sex toys, I can tell you that digging through a pile of dongs until you find the one that’s vibrating is a huge pain.



How to wet down the ol’ slip-and-slide.

First thing to remember is that everyone’s skin has a unique PH balance.  Think of how your friend wears a perfume that smells super-cute on her, but that time you borrowed it you smelled like cat pee.  Lube is similar.  If you’ve ever had someone tell you that a certain brand is bad because it gets sticky and gross, that’s actually just their skin’s reaction to that brand!  It could work great on you!

To test lube, put a small amount on the back of your hand and rub it vigorously.  You want to see if it gets frothy and sticky, or if it immediately goes dry.  Whatever it does on your hand, it will do on your genitals!

There are a few different kinds of lubricant.  I’ll go over the three types we carry.

Water-based lube is the most common.  It will eventually absorb into the skin, so you don’t need to wash it off.  If it absorbs before you’re done, you can reactivate it by sprinkling some water over it (spitting works as well, if that’s what you’re into).  Water-based lubes come in a variety of yummy flavours and types.  A really delicious lube is ideal for blow jobs.  Water-based lube will dissolve in the tub or shower.

There are a few things to watch out for.  Glycerin is used to sweeten many brands of lube.  If you’re prone to yeast infections, avoid glycerin because it will feed the yeast.  Parabens are a common preservative that is found in lots of cosmetic products.  But it’s been linked to breast cancer, so the European Union has banned it.  Some of our lubes have glycerin and parabens, so check the ingredients or just ask one of us!

Silicone lube has a lovely, silky smooth feeling.  It doesn’t absorb into the skin, so it has to be washed off with soap and water, but it lasts longer than water-based lube.  It also won’t dissolve in water, so you can use it in the tub or the shower.  Some people find that they get a bit of a stomach-ache if they ingest a lot.  It won’t have any long-term effects, but maybe don’t use it as your blow-job lube.

I already told you why you can’t use silicone lube on a silicone toy.  So just don’t.  I hate to see good lube go to waste.

Oil-based lube is popular for male masturbation and anal sex.  It’s thick and long-lasting, but the texture isn’t popular for vaginal sex.  Remember that oil breaks down latex.  If you’re relying on latex condoms to prevent pregnancy or STI transmission, do not use oil-based lube.  I will find you and I will hit you.

Another option that we don’t carry but it’s so awesome I’ll tell you anyway, coconut oil.  It’s anti-fungal so it helps to prevent yeast infections, it feels awesome for both vaginal and anal sex, and it makes the dick taste like coconut which is just the greatest thing.  You can also use it as a massage oil, a moisturizer, to whiten your teeth, put it in your hair overnight for shiny hair, put it on your popcorn as a healthy alternative to butter, use it just like any kind of cooking oil.  It does pretty much everything but tie your shoes.  It comes in a solid form, so it seems super-weird, but as soon as you touch it it starts to melt. But, again, it will break down condoms.

Bite Sized says

"learn more at bitesizedseries.com!"
posted on: March 10, 2013 5:14 PM

Dustin says

"Exceptionally well-written! I love your writing style - it's engaging, entertaining, informative, and to the point."
posted on: October 30, 2013 12:14 PM

Oliver says

"Coconut oil melts at 24 celsius degrees (76 farenheit). So, if you live in a warm climate, it will be liquid."
posted on: July 30, 2014 5:57 AM

paul says

"Hi, I accidentally used oil based lubricant with a pvc toy, is there any chance, I have put myself at risk?"
posted on: November 7, 2014 2:48 AM

Haley says

"Though not actually proven, coconut oil is not a mineral based oil like baby oil and other oil based lubes, therefore it reacts differently with latex. I've used it with a condom and had no breakage or issues."
posted on: January 26, 2015 6:11 PM

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