When you want to buy a sex toy, you come across all kinds of jargon. For example, more and more toys state that they are made of ‘medical grade silicone’. But what does that really mean? And is it better than other types of silicone?
The benefits of silicone
Everyone is lyrical about silicone as a material for sex toys. Silicone is a type of rubber that is used to make all kinds of sex toys, such as dildos and vibrators, as well as whips, floggers, cuffs, buttplugs, and penis rings.
Silicone is non-toxic and body safe. That is, no toxins are passed from the material to your body. Furthermore, silicone is not porous. Other materials, which are porous, contain tiny little holes where bacteria and fungi can grow. If your silicone toy is 100% waterproof and does not have a motor, you can even boil them to sterilize them. In addition, silicone quickly takes on your body temperature. As a result, it feels pleasantly warm. In addition, silicone feels very soft – almost like real skin – and is flexible. These properties make silicone a safe and pleasant material for sex toys that go inside your body, such as vibrators, dildos and buttplugs.
What is ‘medical grade silicone’?
When describing sex toys, special designations are often given to silicone, such as “medical grade silicone” or “platinum silicone. This quality of silicone is also found in menstrual cups, bottle nipples for babies and mouthpieces for divers, among others.
Officially, the term “medical grade silicone” is only allowed if a toy meets the strict requirements of the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. The FDA inspects food, drugs, cosmetics and medical products before they can be sold in the U.S. market.
The FDA uses the term “medical grade silicone” for products that may come into direct contact with the body, or in the body. This includes silicone breast implants, catheter tubing, etc. Another quality designation for silicone that the FDA does use is ‘Food Grade Silicone’. This is the type of silicone that is allowed to come into contact with food and is used as a baking mold, or spatulas.
Standards exist for the quality of the material. If the silicone is medical grade, the manufacturing meets international standards, showing the manufacturer that the product is tested for biocompatibility, for example.
Is silicone safe?
If the product is made of 100% silicone, it is the safest kind. But as a consumer, how do you know that a product is made of 100% silicone? This is very difficult to determine without breaking your toy. For example, 100% silicone does not stink when you heat it and it does not discolor when you bend it.
Also, 100% silicone is non-toxic and non-porous. Therefore, try to avoid any product made from a mixture of silicone with other materials. Especially when it comes to toys that you use internally (for example, vibrators, dildos, buttplugs).
Manufacturers who have taken the trouble to get certified are, of course, happy to let you know. They are only too happy to put that claim on the packaging. These products are also often a bit more expensive, because it is more expensive to make.
Unfortunately, sex toys are barely regulated. They are not considered medical devices by the FDA and other agencies, even though they often come into contact with your most intimate body parts.
Should my sex toy be made of medical grade silicone?
If your toy is made of medical silicone, it indicates that the manufacturer makes the material under special conditions and that they have tested it for body safety. But that doesn’t mean that toys made of other silicones are bad. Many sex toys are made of high quality silicone and that is still one of the safest materials available.
The packaging of sex toys often simply states that it is made of silicone, without specifying that further. If you want to be sure, you can sometimes find more information on the manufacturer’s website.
Unlike food grade silicone, medical grade silicone must have been tested for biocompatibility. This lets you know that it is body safe.
Sometimes silicone is mixed with other materials. As a result, it loses some of its advantages. For example, a mixture of silicone and other materials may be porous. Often these kinds of mixtures are given a fantasy name, such as Cyber Skin, Fanta Flesh, or SuperSkin. This is usually a form of thermoplastic rubber, such as TPR/TPE. You see this term a lot with masturbators and artificial vaginas. The advantage of these materials is that they feel great, but because they are porous you need to take extra care when cleaning them.
Which brands use medical grade silicone sex toys?
If you want to be on the safe side and only want the best quality silicone toys, you should also be willing to pay (a little) more for them. Some brands, such as Fun Factory, Dame, Lora DiCarlo and We-Vibe only use medical grade siliconen.
Silicone toys are very easy to clean. The material can withstand high temperatures, so if your toy has no motor and is 100% waterproof, you can even boil it or put it in the dishwasher!
But you can also just use a mild soap and rinse well with water. If your toy is not waterproof or water resistant, use a washcloth or cloth.
Store silicone toys properly. Preferably put them in their own bag or box, so they don’t come into contact with other toys. This also prevents them from attracting dust or dirt.
Also, be careful with silicone-based lubricant. This can cause a reaction, causing the material to sort of “melt” over time. This is not always the case, but better safe than sorry. Better to use water-based lubricant with your silicone toys.
If your silicone toy is broken (if there are cracks in the material, for example), throw it away immediately. It is time for a new one.
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