Guide to Sex Toy Materials

While sex toys are made from a wide variety of substances, most use the following materials:

Cyberskin

CyberSkin, also known as thermal plastic, is the brand-name of a soft elastomer material that mimics the experience of human skin; warm and soft to the touch, yet with a firm underlying texture. It is made by the manufacturer Topco Sales. This firm states that the technology behind CyberSkin is a “new Aerospace 601 computerized injection molding machine, originally designed by NASA engineers…” Similar materials are on the market under other trade names, such as Ultraskin, Eroskin, Softskin, SoftTouch, Cyber Jel-lee, New supersoft, Futurotic and UR3 (Ultra Realistic 3.0). All are soft and stretchy, with a velvety texture that is caused by the talcs and cornstarches used to prevent the material sticking to the molds. Sex toys made of these substances are more durable than latex, but also often carry higher pricetags. If your CyberSkin (or equivalent material) ever becomes unpleasantly sticky, just give it a light dusting of cornstarch to restore its original texture. While some sites recommend talcum powder to restore sex toy finishes, we do not, as talc has been linked to cervical cancer when used in the genital area. ALSO: be sure to ONLY use water-based lubricants on these materials; silicone or any petroleum or oil-based lubricant will destroy CyberSkin. Toys made of these materials are extremely porous, so sharing of toys without a condom is not safe.

Care and Feeding: You should thoroughly clean the sex toys made of these materials between uses, and coat them with a proprietary renewal powder to ensure it retains its lifelike texture. You can also use corn starch and a soft cloth to keep your sex toys in the best condition, though the manufacturer recommends against such “home remedies.” These materials are extremely sensitive and should be cleaned with warm water and a mild antibacterial soap. Do not use alcohol-based or other household cleansers as they will damage the material. After cleaning, pat dry with a lint-free towel and allow your CyberSkin product to air dry before applying renewal powder. This will prevent discoloration and protect your toy when not in use.

Silicone

Silicone is soft and lifelike, it is hypo-allergenic, and it warms up quickly to body temperature. It is non-porous and so is easy to clean with mild soap and water It may also be boiled for sterilization to allow for sex-toy sharing without the need for condoms. Unlike jelly rubber and other porous substances, silicone can be sterilized in temperatures up to 300 °C (572 °F). In addition, it can be bleached in a 10% bleach solution. Sex toys made of silicone are more expensive than those made of jelly and rubber, but they are particularly durable and will last for years with appropriate care.

Care and Feeding: As with all sex toys, a thorough washing after each use is called for. Use an antibacterial soap, or, as mentioned above, boil or otherwise heat the toy to sterilize it completely. When using lubricants with silicone sex toys it is important that silicone or silicone-based lubricants are NOT used, as these may cause damage to the toy.

Jelly

Jelly sex toys are from a mixture of PVC and rubber, resulting in a soft jelly-like texture and feel. Sex toys made from jelly feel reasonably realistic, and are relatively reasonably priced. Jelly often looks translucent and sometimes has a rubber odor due to its porous character, but most people are not troubled by this. One drawback to Jelly sex toys is that they are made with phthalates. Phthalates are “plasticisers” or softeners added to plastics to make jelly more flexible, more transparent and allow them to last longer. Studies have shown that phthalates can be potential health risks and are phased out of many products in the United States and European Union over health concerns, particularly in products which are consumed by mouth, such as food packaging and water bottles. Although no conclusive studies on the health risks for jelly sex toys have been conducted, we recommend that you always use a condom when using a sex toy made of jelly for added protection. This material is one of the least expensive substances from which to make a sex toy, and it may contain toxins. However, there are also jelly-like materials call Elastomers, which we understand to be safe and a much higher quality. Read about the differences below.

Care and Feeding: Cleaning a jelly toy is similar to CyberSkin, which is to say use a mild anti-bacterial soap and warm water, taking care to dry the toy and store it in a cool, dry place away from other objects – especially other jelly toys. Use only water-based lubricants with jelly toys.

Elastomers

Similar to jelly, elastomer is less dangerous and much higher quality. An elastomer is a compound that does not include phthalates. As you may have read, phthalates are “plasticizers” used to soften PVC vinyls. If vinyls do not contain any softeners, they are very hard PVC plastic. There are different grades of vinyls, from food grade for your plastic food storage containers or baggies (which don’t give off a smell) to economical grade that are used in some less expensive athletic shoes and other products.You can quickly determine the grade of the vinyls and quantity of plasticizers (phthalates) used by the smell. The more odor you smell, the lower the grade and the more phthalates used. You are probably aware of the terrible chemical smell that many of the “jelly” vibrators give off. This is basically the vinyl off-gassing large amounts of phthalates.Elastomers are a completely different material. They start out soft and have product added to make them harder. This product is then removed by high vacuum so there are no residual hardeners. No solvents are used in this process and there is no latex. This type of material is ideal for manufacturing a variety of textures.

Care and Feeding: Using a water-based lubricant will give the best results with sex toys made from elastomers, and as with other toys, they should be cleaned after each use with a mild anti-bacterial soap and water.

Rubber

Simple latex rubber is commonly used to make many dildos, which isn’t as jiggly as silicone or jelly; rubber dildos tend to be very firm and not very lifelike to the touch. They have one major drawback in that they can cause an allergic reaction if you’re sensitive to latex, but if you have no latex allergy, they will serve well through many uses when properly maintained. Finally, like jelly toys, rubber dildos are quite porous, so they require the same soft touch when cleaning them and can’t be shared without using condoms. If this seems like a lot of negatives, consider the price: rubber dildos can be quite inexpensive.

Care and Feeding: Cleaning with a soft cloth, mild antibacterial soap and water after each use is mandatory when using a rubber sex toy. Be sure to use a condom if sharing this type of sex toy, and water-based lubricants are best for the long-term health of latex rubber.

TPR

TPR (Thermoplastic rubber) is a polymer blend that has a thermoplastic character. TPR is hypoallergenic, nontoxic and phthalate free. TPR is less porous than Cyberskin but more porous than Silicone, therefore we recommend condom use with sex toys made of TPR to prevent the spread of bacteria and other infectious agents.

Care and Feeding: TPR sex toyse should be cleaned with mild soap and water or antibacterial sex toy cleaners. This material cannot be sterilized by boiling, therefore we recommend the use of a condom when sharing sex toys made of TPR.

Acrylic or Lucite

These materials are as hard as a rock, which doesn’t seem like the ideal texture for a sex toy. However, this firm texture makes acrylic and Lucite perfect for PC muscle-strengthening toys such as Kegel exercisers. This material is also good for prostate-stimulating toys, which many people consider to be dildos, too. Another great thing about these materials: you can boil them without harming them, which means you can share your toys without worrying about catching (or spreading) something nasty.

Care and Feeding: as mentioned, these toys may be boiled for sterilization, but if you are not sharing, a simple bath with anti-bacterial soap and water will do. Another upside of this type of toy is that it may be used with any type of lubricant; silicon-based, water-based or oil-based.

Borosilicate Glass

Glass sex toys are commonly made from clear medical grade borosilicate glass (”hard glass”) of which Pyrex is one well-known brand. This material (essentially “lead-free crystal”) is completely non-toxic and will withstand extreme temperatures as well as considerable physical shock without compromising its structural integrity. Glass toys made of borosilicate are completely safe. A properly annealed inch thick piece will withstand up to 3,000 lbs of pressure and extreme heat and cold. Glass dildos are also non-porous and can be sterilized to help prevent infection with reuse or sharing. These types of sex toys are not only durable, but also visually appealing, often considered by some to resemble works of art. Glass sex toys are a long-lasting alternative to less expensive toys. These toys can also be warmed or chilled before use. Some higher end glass dildos feature Swarovski crystals; other toys are covered in 24-carat gold.

Care and Feeding: These toys may be boiled or otherwise heated for sterilization, but if you are not sharing, washing with anti-bacterial soap and water will do. You can even toss them in the dishwasher! As with acrylic and lucite, this type of toy may be used with any type of lubricant; silicon-based, water-based or oil-based.

Steel

Sex toys made of chrome alloy and stainless steel are non-porous, easily warmed to body temperature, pleasurable, and beautiful. Steel sex toys will last almost indefinitely if cared for properly.

Care and Feeding: No special precautions are needed for stainless steel sex toys, all of which are resistant to almost everything including food and beverages. You can boil or soak stainless steel sex toys in bleach and water solution, or wash in the dishwasher. For lubrication, you can use any type, including water, oil, or silicone.