Without getting into the choices different people make about their sexual proclivity, some things simply just are what they are. And the facts are that many sex toys and sexual health products simply aren't that healthy. (As an actual material.)Made Safe, a Canadian based product accreditor recently published a comprehensive guide to vaginal sex product chemicals safety and we've summarised some of the high points here. (That's about as racy as it gets around here.)Whatever you do, always read the label so that you are informed. Don't waft off into some memory of something you shouldn't have been watching and buy on impulse.
THE MOST IMPORTANT THING TO KNOW ABOUT VAGINAS IS THAT THEY CAN RAPIDLY ABSORB CHEMICALS WITHOUT METABOLISING THEM, WHICH MEANS CHEMICALS THAT MIGHT NOT NORMALLY ENTER YOUR BLOOD STREAM CAN AND DO WITHOUT FIRST BEING BROKEN DOWN. Healthy vaginas are “self-cleaning,” capable of keeping bacteria balanced without any assistance. In healthy vaginas, “discharge” is typically natural cervical fluid. Because cervical fluid ebbs and flows throughout the menstrual cycle, this can be mistaken for a health issue, but in healthy people, it’s normally just the body responding to changes in hormones. This means that feminine washes, sprays, soaps, and douching are generally unnecessary.
PROPYLENE GLYCOL OR SYNTHETIC GLYCERIN | These are petrochemicals that may be ok external use, but not internal as they can damage sensitive tissues. PARABENS | Linked to breast cancer, reproductive and developmental issues. FRAGRANCES, FLAVOUR, SILOXANES, SILANES, PEGS (POLYETHYL GLYCOL).
WHEN IT COMES TO LUBRICANT, GO NATURAL. NATURAL PLANT INGREDIENTS ARE TYPICALLY BETTER FOR INTERNAL USE. LOOK FOR A MADE SAFE® CERTIFIED OR AN ORGANIC LUBRICANT. SHOP FOR NONTOXIC LUBRICANTS THAT ARE PH MATCHED TO THE VAGINA TO PROTECT THE VAGINA’S NATURAL MICROBIOME.
NITROSAMINES | Common substances in latex condoms that are linked to cancer. FLAVOUR | Umbrella terms like “artificial flavor” can contain mixtures of undisclosed ingredients. Without disclosure, it’s impossible to know what you may be exposed to. Steer clear of SILOXANES & SILANES, PETROLEUM-DERIVED GLYCERINE.
POLYVINYL CHLORIDE (PVC) | PVC is a common material used to make sex toys, including those labelled simply as “jelly rubber.” PVC is known to leach endocrine-disrupting compounds, including phthalates. TRIMETHYLTIN CHLORIDE | This substance is used in manufacture of plastics, particularly PVC. Trimethyltin chloride is considered a reproductive hazard, and is linked to irreversible neurotoxicity outcomes in development, learning impairments, and more. In a study assessing health risks from various chemicals in sex toys, researchers determined that exposure to trimethyltin chloride through sex toys was a health risk for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers. They also determined there was a minor risk of neurological effects on adults.PHTHALATES | PHTHALATES are a class of plasticizing chemicals that make plastics more flexible. Phthalates are linked to numerous endocrine disruption outcomes. TOLUENE | Toluene is a petrochemical solvent linked to reproductive and developmental toxicity.SHOP FOR SEX TOYS MADE OF 100 PERCENT MEDICAL-GRADE SILICONE, BOROSILICATE GLASS, MEDICAL-GRADE STAINLESS STEEL, OR POLISHED NATURAL STONE (EX: QUARTZ). ENSURE ALL OF THESE ARE CLEARLY LABELLED AS SUCH TO AVOID A MIXTURE OF MYSTERY MATERIALS. Purchase sex toys with 100 percent of the materials disclosed (i.e. no vague terms like “jelly” or “rubber”). Look for labels that read 100 percent of a single substance. Do not purchase products that say things like "phthalate-free" without disclosing what it actually in them.
ISOTHIAZOLINONE PRESERVATIVES | A group of preservatives that are known irritants, sensitizers, and associated with contact allergies. Methylisothiazolinone is a potential endocrine disruptor. They are most commonly found on labels as methylisothiazolinone and methylchloroisothiazolinone.TRICLOSAN | Triclosan is an antibacterial sometimes used in conventional sex toy cleaners to kill germs. Triclosan is associated with numerous effects resulting from endocrine disruption. Other concerns in sex toy cleaners: PARABENS, FRAGRANCEClean sex toys using nontoxic methods. Follow all of the manufacturer’s guidelines to choose the right cleaning method. Keep in mind that many toys can safely be boiled for 5-10 minutes, run through the top rack of the dishwasher with nontoxic detergent, or cleaned using safer soap and water. Harsh cleansers or disinfectants like triclosan are typically not necessary.
FRAGRANCE | “Fragrance” is an umbrella term for what can be anywhere from a few ingredients to more than 100, combined to make up a scent. Their identity is secret because fragrances are often not disclosed on labels as their formula can be considered a “trade secret.” Without information about the ingredients that make up a fragrance, it’s impossible to know the true extent to which our health may be compromised by them.RESTRICTED DYES: Although there are some dyes that are not authorized for use on mucous membranes, they are still found in some feminine washes. These include D&C Red No. 33 and Ext. Violet #2.