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A Buyer's Guide to Sex Toys and Lubricants

cyberskin

Cyberskin: The Mimic

A space-age combination of latex and silicone, CyberSkin is unquestionably the most realistic material on the market. Quickly warming to body temperature and mimicking the elasticity and softness of human flesh, CyberSkin has the amazing look and feel of real skin. This material in its many shapes and forms is a stunning replication of the human composition.

And, according to a Greenpeace study it is 100% phthalate free. Drawbacks? It's soft, sexy qualities also make it porous, making it difficult to clean. It does contain small amounts of latex, and while this only affects 2% of the entire population, it can be extremely irritating for sensitive individuals.

Also, thousands of lower-quality imitators have flooded the market and there is no guarantee that their products are phthalate free as well.) Just remember that only licensed Cyberskin products will feature the Cyberskin logo.

Lastly, Cyberskin Sex Toys are extremely porous, so always follow with an anti-bacterial sex toy cleaner- and no sharing!

Lubricant Recommendation: Water-based formulas only.

elastomer

Elastomer: No smell, no taste, no phthalates!

Elastomer is the hot new word in sex toy materials because it's a less-expensive option to silicone. Like silicone, elastomer is hypo-allergenic, phthalate-free, latex-free, and ideal for people with chemical sensitivities. And, unlike silicone, most elastomer sex toys can be used with any kind of lubricant: water-based and silicone formulas.

The drawbacks to elastomer? Elastomer is extremely elastic and tends to be less durable than silicone. And because it is porous, it can never be completely disinfected. That means you should always use an anti-bacterial sex toy cleaner on your elastomer sex toy after each and every use and cover it with a condom if you plan to share it.

glass

Glass and Pyrex Sex Toys: The Showstoppers

A 100% green sex toy material, glass is beautiful to behold and artistic in design. No additives, no allergens and absolutely no chemical residues. High quality glass can generally be taken to high or low temperatures for erotic hot/cold fun.

You can use it with virtually any lubricant: water-based or silicone. And, if you own a glass sex toy you might start thinking about who you'd like to “bequeath” it to, because with proper care it will outlive you!

The drawbacks: You'll find an incredible variety of glass dildos but glass vibrators are few and far between. And, customers may like (or dislike) glass sex toys for their heavy feel and hard, slick surface. And, despite the durability of glass sex toys they can shatter on hard surfaces, so no juggling!

Hard plastic Toys: Good Vibrations

With all the other options on the market, why bother with a hard plastic sex toy? Vibration! Because they are not coated with a soft "buffer", the vibrations of hard plastics can be much more intense than soft toys. Hard plastics do lack the elasticity or real feel of soft materials but the popularity of vibrators like the classic Pocket Rocket and the Lelo Lily prove this isn't a drawback for most women!

Lastly, hard plastic sex toys are non-porous and disinfected easily.

Lubricant Recommendation: All lubricants are suitable for hard plastic sex toys, including silicone formulas.

jelly

Jelly Sex Toys: The Phthalate Debate

What is jelly? Well, if you've purchased more than one sex toy in the last 10 years you probably own a jelly toy. Unlike the stuff you spread on toast, Jelly rubber is made of polyvinyl chloride or “PVC.” This comprises 98% of the sex toys market because it is soft, translucent and easy to produce. If your soft adult toy and does not specifically state otherwise, it is most likely made from rubber jelly.

Despite their widespread use, there is growing controversy surrounding the safety of jelly toys due to their phthalate content. Phthalates are chemical-softeners that give hard plastic materials softness and flexibility. You'll find phthalates in just about everything: flooring, wall coverings, food containers, shower curtains - even our food and water contains them. So what's the big deal?

Your health, for one. Though the CDC contends the health hazards of phthalates to humans have not been definitively established, for some years, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has regulated phthalates as water and air pollutants. And, there is a growing body of research that suggests phthalates may pose health risks to health and reproduction.

Before you race to your sex toy box in alarm, keep in mind that most exposure to phthalates is thought to come from ingestion, not dermal contact. Recently, the Danish Environmental Protection Agency released a report on the safety of phthalates in sex toys. According to the report, titled Survey and Health Assessment of Chemical Substances in Sex Toys, using sex toys with phthalates for one hour a day or less poses no health risks unless you are pregnant or nursing.

While it's logical to use adult toys without these substances, the cost of phthalate-free materials like ceramic, silicone and glass may be prohibitive to those on a tight budget. If you do own a jelly sex toy that you can't currently afford to replace, simply cover it with a fresh latex condom each time you use it. Due to jelly's high porosity level, you will want to disinfect your jelly sex toy after each and every use with an anti-bacterial sex toy cleaner.

When you are ready to make the financial jump to a new toy, you might consider choosing a hard plastic model. Hard plastic sex toys may lack the flexibility of jelly toys but they are inexpensive, translate vibration beautifully and do no contain phthalates.

Lubricant Recommendation: Water-based formulas only.

silicone

Silicone Sex Toys: The High Roller

Why do we love silicone? How do we count the ways: Silicone is an inert, latex-free, non-porous material that features the soft, elastic properties of jelly without the odor or chemical residues. It translates body heat and vibration beautifully, and, with a little TLC a silicone sex toy can last a lifetime. So why aren't all toys made of silicone?

Price! Silicone is far more expensive than jelly. And because it has become such a popular ingredient, many sex toy manufacturers have jumped on the silicone bandwagon. Unfortunately, our laws state that it is legal for a product to contain only 10% silicone and be labeled as a “silicone product.” Sex toys made from these silicone hybrids should be treated like any other jelly toy – covered with a condom and disinfected after use.

Don't know if a “silicone sex toy” is the real thing? For starters, if it comes at a price that's too good to be true it probably isn't 100% silicone. Stick with products from dependable sex toy manufacturers like Tantus, Fun Factory, Evolved, Vibratex and Nexus.

Many customers may find the price of these brands prohibitive, but we trust these companies to label their materials honestly. And, considering the short lifespan of cheaper toys the durability and quality of silicone products more than makes up for the cost.

Lastly, silicone can withstand extreme temperatures, which means you can easily disinfect your non-vibrating silicone sex toys in boiling water or even the top rack of your dishwasher.

Lubricant Recommendation: Because silicone lubricants can “bond” with silicone sex toys, we recommend using these toys with water-based lubricants.

tpr

TPR: Thermo-plastic-what?

(See elastomer.) “TPR” or thermoplastic rubber is less porous than Cyberskin, but far more porous than Silicone. Basically, it is a phthalate-free version of jelly.

Lubricant Recommendation: Water-based formulas.