Blog: What the heck is a 'body safe' sex toy?

Sex toy safety 101: How to choose the perfect sex toy and play safe

What do you look for when you’re choosing a sex toy? You might filter by price (because there’s a wide range of price points out there), or choose the toy that matches your aesthetic, with a cute colour or an appealing shape. 

But there’s actually another (very important) aspect you should consider, and that’s body safety. 

Here’s a public service announcement for ya: Not all sex toys are body safe! (Horrifying, we agree…). Unsafe toys can be manufactured from cheap, low-grade materials that harbour harmful bacteria and dodgy chemicals – a definite no-go for your nether regions. 

At Joy For Women we care so much about your health and safety, so here’s the 101 on sex toy materials, what to look for and what to avoid. 

A woman's hand holds a body-safe sex toy, sold at Joy For Women

Why aren’t all sex toys body safe? 

Because the sex toy industry is largely unregulated, and there’s no requirement for manufacturers to disclose what materials they’re using, or to create body-safe toys.

Non-body safe toys are generally cheaper to manufacture, and less reputable brands can ‘get away with’ making them. 

So, profit > people, basically. 

But the sexual safety revolution is upon us, and consumers are waking up. We’re becoming so much more aware of the products we use and consume (cosmetics, household chemicals, plastics), and that’s starting to extend to sex toys, too. 

What are the best body-safe sex toy materials?

The absolute gold standard sex toy material is medical-grade (or body-safe) silicone – that’s what all our toys are made of! 

Other great options are stainless steel, borosilicate glass and ABS hard plastic. 

Why are silicone, stainless steel, glass and ABS plastic such great sex toy materials? Because they’re non-porous, so they don’t harbour nasty (and harmful!) bacteria and they’re easy to clean with soap and water. 

We think body-safe silicone is the best of the lot, because it’s the perfect mix of form and function. It’s non-porous, but (unlike stainless steel, glass and ABS plastic) it’s firm yet flexible. It gently contours to the body, it’s super easy to clean and maintain, it’s long-lasting and hypoallergenic – we could sing the praises of silicone ALL. DAY! 

What sex toy materials should I avoid? 

Porous materials: read the product description carefully – it should explicitly state that the toy is non-porous and hypo-allergenic. Porous materials break down pretty quickly, and any yukky bacterial stuff that’s been trapped in the pores will find its way to the surface. 

Latex: Sex toys constructed from latex are a no-go for many. Latex isn’t an unsafe material, but latex allergies are quite common and can cause rashes, burns, breakouts and other veeeeery unpleasant effects. 

Phthalates: These are endocrine-disrupting chemicals often used with cheaper materials to soften the plastic – they’re actually in lots of products we use every single day, but in sex toys they tend to be used in very high quantities. Phthalates are linked to birth defects, chronic and autoimmune diseases and certain types of cancers, and you really don’t want them on you or in you… 

Jelly: Jelly is commonly used in sex toys because it’s cheap, soft and flexible and it can feel pretty great. However, it’s porous and usually contains Phthalates, so stay well away!

Other nasties: Many cheaper toys are made with materials like TPR/TPE, elastomers, PVC, rubber, vinyl, silicone blends (not the same as body-safe silicone) and cyberskin. If you see any of these materials, run a mile! They’re all breeding grounds for bacteria, mold, mildew and fungus. Even if you completely clean these toys immediately after use, some bacteria may still be hiding inside the pores (gross….). Microscopic or not, mildew is not something you want to introduce to your beautiful body!

Non-body safe sex toys might be cheaper, but they won’t give you long-term fulfilment. If you do have a sex toy thats not body-safe, make sure you protect yourself buy putting a condom between the toy and your body. 

What about sex toy construction? 

This one’s a bit harder to tell from the packaging, but higher-quality toys have high-level functionality and are less likely to overheat. Go with trusted and international renowned brands (like all the brands we stock!). And avoid anything marked a ‘novelty use only’, as this means they’re cheaply constructed. 

Ok, I’m ready to choose a sex toy now. But how the heck should I pick? 

Alrightly, here’s a little recap for ya: 

A body-safe sex toy is: non-porous + constructed with body-safe materials + free of harmful chemicals

But as we mentioned earlier, sex toy brands are not obligated to tell you what chemicals and materials are used. So support brands that make your safety a priority (like BMS Factory, Dame, WeVibe, Doxy, Satisfyer and all the other brands you’ll find on the Joy For Women website). 

The safe sex toy checklist: 

Next time you’re buying a toy, take a good look at the product description and make sure it’s: 

  • Manufactured by a well-known, trusted brand 
  • Specifically described as non-porous and hypo-allergenic 
  • Made from body-safe silicone, glass, stainless steel or ABS plastic 
  • Free of nasty chemicals
  • Free of any smells - yep, give it a sniff test! Safe toys should smell like… nothing really. While toys containing nasty chemicals will have a chemical smell. 

Do I still need to clean my body-safe sex toy?

Always! Even if your toy is made from 100% non-porous, body-safe silicone, you still need to clean that baby before and after every use. (Repeat after us: “I promise to clean my toys before and after use. Every. Single. Time”...). 

Give your toy a wipe with mild soap and water, then spray it with an alcohol-free, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial cleaning spray like Pjur Med CLEAN for total peace of mind. 

The Joy For Women safe sex toy promise

We’ve built our entire business on the promise that women come first. That means we want every toy we stock to be designed to fit your body and to make your knees tremble and your body shake (in the absolute best way!). 

But it also means we put your safety first, always, because your body is worth it. 

You’ll notice we only stock a small selection of brands here at Joy For Women. We keep our range deliberately small so we can really get to know our brands and toys – we take our job super seriously. 

This means if a product is on our website, it’s 100% body-safe, constructed from 100% non-porous silicone, and female friendly. And it’s been lovingly handpicked, tried and tested by women, for women. 

So, shop our range of completely body-safe sex toys with total confidence – we’ve done the hard part for you. 

Love, Dina G xx

Got questions or feedback about a sex toy? 

We love hearing from you and answering your questions. If you need help choosing a body-safe toy, or if you have any questions for us, get in touch!