07 March, 2011

How To Be "Body Smart" With Your Toys

I'm pretty excited that I received my first email question the other day!

"What's the best way to clean a sex toy after using it? Is hot water and soap enough or should I invest in some toy cleaner?"

This question inspired me to post about sex-toy maintenance and care, because being "body smart" with your toys means so much more than simply cleaning them properly.

First off, know what you're putting inside yourself. If a toy is being inserted anywhere, take note of the material. Unless it is made of silicon, elastomer, high-end/soft/food-grade vinyl, acrylic or glass, it's best to slip a condom over it. Low-end rubbers or jellies are quite porous and are very difficult to clean properly. Additionally, any toy that smells "plastic-y" probably contains phthalates which have been banned in use of children's toys. (The adult toy industry is sadly not as regulated.) Other materials such as metals or plastics may have seams that can cut your sensitive skin, so again, better to wrap them up. 

When sharing your toys - and that means either with another person or switching between your own orifices (between the front door and back door in any order) - always, always, always use a condom. And change it every time it is inserted into a new hole! In general, it's best not to share/switch holes, but if you must, do it in a safer manner. It is very important to keep the vagina protected from foreign bacteria. 

Pick the right lube for your toy/orifice. There are a few simple rules for selecting the right lube:

    - NEVER use silicon-based lube with silicon toys. Silicon degrades silicon on contact. Silicon-based lubes are also not recommended for anal sex, because of their low viscosity.
      - NEVER use oil-based lube or petroleum jelly if there is a vagina involved. It will increase the liklihood of infections. And no one wants those. These kinds of lube also degrade latex and rubber. That includes latex condoms. So basically, oil-based lubes are good for male masturbation and anal penetration sans vaginal sex.
        - Water-based lubes can be used for ANY material in ANY hole. Hint: For anal insertion, lubes that are more viscous (or "thicker" if you do not have the same pet-peeve as I do) are best.

          Being body smart doesn't end after your orgasm does! Make sure to clean your toys properly and thoroughly, even if you used a condom. You can never go wrong with following the directions on a toy cleaner that may be purchased at an adult store for less than $20. However, this is only critical if you are using jelly/rubber toys, as they are more porous and soap and water may not cut it. Warm water and anti-bacterial soap is your best bet, rinsing properly and leaving to air-dry. If the toy has an uneven surface, make sure to get into all the nooks and crannies. Be careful with any battery-operated toy around water. Run the water over the toy as it is pointed down to avoid the battery pack. Silicon toys may be placed in boiling water for 2-3 minutes. (This is a good option for those who are sensitive to soaps and cleaners.) It's important to clean your toys before and after you play with them. Rule of thumb: If it isn't clean enough to put in your mouth, it's not good enough to be inside any other hole.

          Ladies, don't forget to pee after you're done! You already know to go after sex to avoid bladder infections, but it's equally important to go after you play with toys. With all the commotion down there, bacteria may have had the chance to crawl up the wee she-urethra. Peeing flushes it all out. 

          Finally, storing your toys properly is as important as playing with them properly! 
          - Keep your toys in a cool, dry, dark place, safe from dust, pet hair, snoopy roommates or kids.
          If storing for over a couple of days, remove any batteries.
            - Remember, silicon-on-silicon causes both pieces to degrade, so silicon toys MUST be kept in their own pouch. However, it's best practice to keep ALL toys separated. Socks or silk scarves work well.

            So now that we are all body smart, sex-toy care experts, I expect a lot more masturbating, ladies! (But that is a post for another day.)


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