Bedroom Insider

A blog about relationships, intimacy and sex toys.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

When to Replace Sex Toys

Sex toys
You can now buy sex toys are your corner pharmacy, which means that more people than ever own a vibrator, dildo or butt plug (and some of us own quite a few of each!). Of course, few things last forever. Glass breaks, motors die, and softened plastics lose their integrity. What are the signs that a toy has provided its last pleasure and that you need a new one? Find out!

Not All Materials Are Equal

Jelly toys are porous, to begin with, which means you can never quite clean them all the way. Aside from not sharing your jelly you, you'll want to replace it (potentially with a body-safe sex toy) more frequently than nonporous toys. The porousness means that infections could potential infest your toy, so you'll want to replace those toys as soon as you realize you have a bacterial, yeast or sexually-transmitted infection just to be on the safe side. Needless to say, you want to ditch any toys that cause a reaction or infection because those toys are not compatible with your body!

Similarly, you shouldn't use porous toys vaginally after anal insertion. Not everyone knows this, however, so you may have used a toy that couldn't be sterilized in both orifices. As soon as you realize this fact, however, you'll want to get new toys for vaginal use (although, you could keep the toy for anal use).

Eventually, however, porous toys will often become stained or pick up smells that you can no longer remove no matter how diligently you clean those toys. This is, again, related to the toy's porosity.

Toys made from jelly and similar materials will eventually start leaching the chemicals that are used to produce a soft texture. They'll become oily and quite unappetizing if we're being honest. When jelly toys are stored together, they can become misshapen, fused together, and discolored during this process. At first sign of this leaching, you should toss your toy and not risk your health by using it any longer.

Although sometimes billed as safer than jelly/latex/PVC, TPE is another material that is softened with a chemical – mineral oil – and toys made from TPE will experience a similar effect over time. TPR is a similar substance that will suffer the same fate.

Chemical leaching over time and porosity isn't an issue with all soft sex toys, however. Silicone is a stable material that has no pores, allowing you to fully sterilize your toys (without motors or seams). In fact, you can even light silicone on fire safely (you'll need to wipe away some soot, but it won't damage your toy!).

The softest of silicones may leach a bit of silicone over time, but this is comparable to silicone-based lube and doesn't make the toy less safe to use. Harder silicones won't suffer this fate (nor do you need to worry about a reaction when storing your silicone sex toys close together), and you could feasibly keep a silicone sex toy for your entire life!

There is one exception, however. If you use silicone-based lube with your toys of the same material, a reaction will occur. The surface of the toy will become gummy. If you notice this, assume your toy is no longer nonporous and consider replacing it (and being more careful with lube in the future!).

Toys from inert materials including metal, glass, plastic, ceramic and treated wood could potentially provide a lifelong relationship. You could even will your favorite stainless steel dildo to someone upon your passing! Short of breaking your toy, you can keep them forever. This is why so many sex toy reviewers and bloggers recommend upgrading from your unsafe jelly toys, which have a limited lifespan, to body-safe materials.

When A Good Toy Dies

Vibrators and other toys with motors may eventually stop working. If you leave batteries in a toy and they corrode, your toy may no longer be any good, either.

New Relationship = New Toy?

Some people consider whether to replace their sex toys after a relationship ends. If it's a porous toy, we think this is smart. While you can sterilize nonporous toys and safely use them with new partners, this isn't the case with any sex toy made from TPR/TPE, jelly, PVC, latex or CyberSkin. Another reason why you might want to replace your sex toys is that of the emotional connotation the toy has. It may make you or a new partner uncomfortable to continue to use those sex toys.

Finally, it may be time to let go of a perfectly good toy just because you don't use it anymore or have moved on to bigger and better things.

What to Do With Your Old Sex Toys

If you're buying a new sex toy, then you need to do something with the old one. For anything that you can sterilize, a new owner might be an option.

However, it's trickier when it comes to other toys. Recycling sex toys isn't as easy as it should be. Glass is the easiest. An old stainless steel toy can be turned in to any place that collects metal.

But any toy with a mechanical component is another story altogether. In the UK, the WEEE directive requires makers to help you recycle toys, but whether companies do so is a different question. The United States is among other countries that have no so rules, so your best bet is toy recycling and buyback programs. A few pop up, but their longevity is inconsistent, and it's not always possible to verify whether recycling actually happens.

One option is Lovehoney's Rabbit Amnesty project. The cost of shipping is on you, however, and might be exorbitant if you're outside the UK. Toronto retailer Come As You Are and  Scarlet Girl in Portland also encourage consumers to turn in their old (cleaned) sex toys for recycling.

If neither of those are options for you, your next best bet might be to break down your sex toys into their components in an effort to recycle them part by part.

Unfortunately, many toys simply wind up in the dumpster for lack of a better option, which is one reason why buying sex toys for the long run makes the most sense.

Now might be the time to go through that toy box and get rid of the broken, unsafe and unloved toys .

By: Adriana Ravenlust
Follow on Twitter @adriana_r