Bedroom Insider

A blog about relationships, intimacy and sex toys.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Silicone Lube vs. Silicone Toys

sex shop
The wide world of personal lubricants is confusing at best. Thankfully, most of the questions and confusions can be solved with a simple Google search. Still, not all are.

For example, the question of if one can use silicone lubes with silicone sex toys takes more than a leisurely stroll, mainly because the answers are many, incomplete, and very conflicting. From the research I’ve done – you’re welcome – the answer is far simpler than it appears.

In short, you can absolutely use silicone lubes with silicone sex toys, but you have to be cautious about the ingredients. If you are unsure, it is always best to stick with a water-based lubricant.

The problem with silicone on silicone love 

Those familiar with the experience of opening a drawer to find two toys hopelessly and spontaneously melted together know just how frustrating chemical reactions can be. Luckily, in the case of silicone vs. silicone, the problem isn’t so much that the silicone itself is the falling apart. Instead, the problem is actually the extra ingredients some manufacturers add to their toys for price savings. Well, that or the way they turn the liquid silicone into the firm elastic stuff you’re familiar with, otherwise known as curing.

Silicone – officially known as silicone rubber despite it being rubber-free – is a sticky liquid mixture of silicon, carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. In its pure state, it’s highly stable and is one of the safest materials we can use with our bodies. It’s also very expensive and capitalism makes some manufactures add a little more to that simple mixture to make it stretch a little further – a dildo puttanesca, if you will.

While every poor community since the dawn of currency can appreciate a little cost savings, sometimes the additives can make the mixture less stable chemically and/or simply more reactive to chemicals and solvents… like oils, other sex toys and, sadly, silicone lubes. The lubes themselves can have a similar problem. Usually, though, it simply changes the firmness or elasticity.
If you’re using a pure toy with a diluted lube or vice versa, everything should be fine. If they’re both diluted, then you can have a problem. That problem being a molecular breakdown, which could cause your lube to fuse to the toy or un-cure the silicone of the toy mixture back to its natural state. Either of those is something you’re best served by avoiding. Here’s how…

Platinum plaques play a powerful part

Like many, I’d no clue the words “Platinum Silicone” on sex toy packages literally meant that platinum is used in the production of the silicone. Turns out, it’s the catalyst in the safest and most by-product free method of curing/solidifying silicone.

Platinum is very expensive in itself, and the method requires purity of the silicone material, which adds to the cost and complexity of production. Common industrial contaminants like temperature,  tin, sulfur, and chemicals that end with “amine” - including amino acids and creatine - can cause the curing process to be uneven or inhibited completely.

In fact, that’s just kind of a problem with this method in general, but it’s the best way to do it for applications that need to be body safe. This cost problem and margin for error leads to the high price of platinum silicone toys and the relative rarity of that quality of product.

In some cases, the manufacturer may not state what kind of silicone or curing process they use. Since most companies will use alternate methods to save money while not testing for reliability as well as they should. If you already love a silicone lube that’s diluted, you’ll require the company of sex toys from the upper echelon. If your lube purchases aren’t set in stone, but your non-platinum silicone toys are already at home, you might want to consider using a water-based lubricant.

 Threesomes work best for silicone lube

Despite the long list of hard to pronounce materials in most silicone lubes, it turns out it only takes three:  dimethicone, dimethiconol and cyclomethicone or cyclopentasiloxane. Sadly, there doesn’t seem to be a universal signifier like “platinum” when it comes to lube.

Between manufacturers I have seen words like: silver, diamond, platinum, pure, basic, and radio silence to communicate they’ve got functioning three-way happening inside. To be fair, in a perfect world, there’d be no reason to say it because everyone would have the purest version of silicone. Still, it can be frustrating, especially when all additives aren’t problematic; some are actually quite beneficial and might improve your experience overall.

Of course, you might not recognize something great if the ingredients are all written in that hyper-syllabic science language businesses love so much. For example, I’ve found many silicone lubes that add tocopheryl acetate and barbadensis. That’s just vitamin E and aloe, but sound quite intimidating and pretty complicated to research at first glance.

There’s lots more of these chemical names for common items to be found on lube labels. If you love your lube already and it has more than the three main and the two beneficial additives, maybe try googling to get some alternative names at least. You might be surprised to find something amazing or terrifying in that little bottle. Either way, you’re more informed and you’ll be able to keep that silicone sex toy of your so much longer.

By: Jerome Stuart Nichols
Follow on Twitter @NotJeromeStuart