If you have ever shopped for sex toys or any sexual enhancement products, you have certainly noticed that not all toys are alike. They are different shapes, sizes, prices and, most importantly, are made from different materials! Sex toys come in a variety of materials because the industry has grown exponentially since the days of the simple, hard plastic vibrator that looked like a big bullet. Improvements in how toys can be made and how materials can be made safer is constantly in flux and the result is a constant introduction of different materials. If you are like most sex toy owners, you will have a variety of different toys made from different materials. Here is a guide to sex toy materials.
A Guide: Cleaning & Maintaining Your Sex Toys
JELLIES: The quintessential “dildo” material, jellies are clear-ish, look like they contain tiny bubbles inside, are extremely bendy (think of any comedy where someone hits someone on the head with a dildo) and can be made in a variety of shapes and sizes. Jellies often have that “new sex toy smell” that is not always too pleasant. They are extremely inexpensive to purchase, which is why many people have them, but they do not last as long as other materials. Often available in cool colors and in vibration styles – the jelly is like the “my first sex toy” material of choice.
Care & Cleaning: Use a mild anti-bacterial soap and warm water. Make sure the toy is completely dry before putting it away. Use only water-based lubricants with jelly toys. Never store with other Jelly/TPR/Rubber toys, it will degrade the material.
TPR/TPE: Similar to Jellies, TPR (Thermoplastic rubber) is hypoallergenic, nontoxic and phthalate free. TPR is less porous than Cyberskin but more porous than Silicone. They often feel similar to Rubber or Jelly toys, sometimes even Silicone. TPR and TPE has no "jelly" smell.
Care & Cleaning: These are easy to clean but cannot be sterilized. Use antibacterial soap and water, mild soap and water, or toy cleaner. We recommend the use of a condom when sharing sex toys made of TPR. Use with water base lubricants. Do not store with other TPR/Jelly/Rubber toys.
RUBBER: Think rubber ducky and you will get an idea of what a rubber toy feels like. In fact, there are RUBBER DUCKIE sex toys! Rubber is heavy and thick and extremely porous (they have tiny holes in them which can breed bacteria if you are not careful to clean and sanitize. Rubber toys are often used for solid dildos and anal plugs and toys because they are thicker and more durable to certain types of play. Not as flexible as a jelly, yet still pliable.
Care & Cleaning: Use mild antibacterial soap and water after each use. Use only water based lubricants. Do not store with other Rubber/Jelly/TPR toys.
SILICONE: One of the absolute best materials for sex toys, silicone is hypoallergenic, non-porous, easy to clean, sturdy yet pliable, long-lasting, sensual feeling and overall a fantastic material for a sex toy. Silicone toys hold up extremely well over time if cared for properly – and this means not using a silicone based lubricant with play. They make great dildos and anal toys, as well as strap-ons and sex dolls. A fantastic investment for your pleasure, silicone is slightly more expensive, but is worth the price.
Care & Cleaning: Silicone can be sterilized. Use an antibacterial soap. If the toy is non-vibrating, it can be boiled. Never use silicone based lubricants--only water based, Silicone lubricants will damage the toy.
GLASS: These extremely beautiful and durable toys are more like art than a sex toy! Beautifully hand-blown glass with a variety of colors and styles, offer a toy which will last forever! Hypoallergenic, non-porous, easy to clean and sterilize, smooth and sensual to play with, freezable AND heat able for sensation play, available with external textures (the little bubbles and ridges) – glass is an experience everyone should have! Toys made of glass are extremely durable and will last forever as long as they aren’t, let’s say, thrown across the room or dropped out a window! It is rare for them to chip or crack, but inspect them thoroughly before each use anyway.
Care & Cleaning: These toys may be boiled to sterilize, or you can use anti-bacterial soap. If it is a non-vibrating glass toy, it can be placed in the dishwasher. Any lube is compatible.
CYBERSKIN (REAL SKIN): One of the absolute softest and most realistic feeling materials for sex toys, the “real skins” are amazing! They can be made into the most realistic looking and feeling dildos, vibrators, masturbators and realistic vaginas. The soft and supple material brings imagination and reality to life. They require quite a bit of care, often having special cyberskin cleaning and storage requirements as well as products which help to renew the soft feel of the material, cyberskin is definitely worth the investment and the experience because there is nothing quite like it for real feel.
Care & Cleaning: Use warm water and a mild antibacterial soap. After cleaning, pat dry and let the toy sit out to completely dry. After it is dry, apply cornstarch to the toy. This will keep your cyberskin toy in prime condition and prevent damage. Use only water based lubricants.
STEEL (METAL): Steel toys are absolutely amazing to try! Popular for anal plugs, anal hooks, ben wa balls and dildos – metal (usually steel or aluminum) toys are hypoallergenic, easy to clean and sterilize, heat able or cool able, firm for all types of play AND will last forever. They do not break and are almost completely indestructible with any normal use. They are not pliable – which makes them ideal for a different type of sensation during play and for anal or g-spot stimulation.
Care & Cleaning: Use antibacterial soap for a quick clean. You can also boil steel toys or wash them in the dishwasher. All lubes are compatible.
LATEX: When you think latex, you may more often think of latex body suits or gas mask type items. There are other toys (dildos and such) made from latex. Obviously, avoid latex if you have a latex allergy (duh). Latex is smooth and sort of sticky at times and has that stereotypical “squeak” when touched.
Care & Cleaning: Use antibacterial soap for latex toys. Use only water based lubricants to protect your latex toy.
WOOD: Finely crafted items, wood sex toys are extremely beautiful and can be intricate as well. These solid and smooth toys offer a sensual experience. Hypoallergenic, easy to clean and sterilize and long-lasting, investing in a wood sex toy can be an expensive one. Much time needs to be spent on the toy polishing and smoothing as well as sealing it for use. Rarely, persons have a reaction to the sealant, so experiment before you play.
Care & Cleaning: Never use harsh or abrasive cleaners. If it is a natural finish do not use a lot of soap. Use mild antibacterial soap with no scrubbing. Store in a protective, padded bag to prevent damaging the finish. Use only water based lubricants, others may damage the finish.
ABS PLASTIC: Many sex toys are made from this material. It's non-porous and is very firm. Oftentimes there is a velvety finish on plastic toys. They are extremely smooth and transmit vibrations well.
Care & Cleaning: Use antibacterial soap, toy cleaner, or rubbing alcohol. Plastic toys are compatible with any type of lubricant.