Sex Toys, Safe Toys: Lovin' it Up!

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So much has been written about risk reduction and safer sex techniques, but sex toys have largely been ignored. What makes for a safe toy? How do I clean my beloved toys? Is there any risk of disease transmission from sharing toys? Is that thing safe to go there (wherever there may be)? While using sex toys generally carries fewer risks than coming into contact with another person and their fluids, it is important to remember that safer sex techniques can also apply for use with toys.

I have a t-shirt from Planned Parenthood that boldly reads across the front, “MASTURBATION IS NOT A CRIME.” The back reads, in smaller print, “Planned Parenthood. We’ve got your back. Self love is safe love. Practice freely.” Truer words never spoken, my friends. Whether you’re in a relationship or not, masturbation is just plain fun! I was having a conversation with a coworker this morning and we were discussing masturbation (as I asked him if his Ace-wrapped elbow was an injury from excessive masturbation) and he said, “you know, I’ve had sex so many times this week, I don’t need to masturbate. Au Contraire, my dearie—because masturbation is not the same as having sex with a partner. I don’t care what anyone says; I think that there are some nights when there is nothing more satisfying then giving yourself a little love and then rolling over and falling asleep.

And for me, at least, sex toys are an integral part of masturbatory fun. Really, though, sex toys aren’t just for solo-love; they can spice up playtime for anybody, whether you’re going at it alone or with a partner or partners. So much has been written about risk reduction and safer sex techniques, but sex toys have largely been ignored. What makes for a safe toy? How do I clean my beloved toys? Is there any risk of disease transmission from sharing toys? Is that thing safe to go there (wherever there may be)?

While using sex toys generally carries fewer risks than coming into contact with another person and their fluids, it is important to remember that safer sex techniques can also apply for use with toys.

Remember that STDs are spread through infected fluids (blood, semen, vaginal secretions, breast milk) coming into contact with one’s mucous membranes (lining of the vagina, rectum, mouth, urethra). When considering toy safety, it’s also worth noting that toys used for anal sex should never turn around and be used for vaginal penetration before cleaning as bacteria that are harmless to the rectum can cause wicked urinary tract infections if they enter the urethra.

Not all bacteria and viruses can live outside the body for extended periods of time, but a general safety rule is that if a fluid is still wet it’s wise to use caution of you are worried about disease transmission. What does this have to do with sex toys? Well, if you are using a sex toy with a partner, or sharing with a friend, fluids can be passed back and forth and toys are shared.

Over the next several weeks I’ll be looking at different kinds of sex toys—different materials, different shapes, different uses—and how you love safely using those different toys. There will be ideas for making cleanup safer and easier, information on why not all sex toys are not created equal and why “novelty toys” aren’t always as novel as we might want to believe.

As with any purchase, consumer education is a vital part of keeping yourself—as well as your playmate(s)—healthy and safe. By arming ourselves with knowledge about sex toy safety and hygiene, may we all go forth into the world of sex ready to protect ourselves and have a rockin’ good time.

Next issue: Jelly toys!

© CJ

 

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