Safety, Common Myths and the Benefits of Sex Toys
In the book Becoming Orgasmic: A Sexual and Personal Growth Program for Women, females with the inability to orgasm are encouraged to "feel comfortable enough to explore vibrators as another means of learning about [themselves]." Often, sex therapists, couples counselors, and gynecologists recommend sex toys like a vibrator as a viable treatment to help women with anorgasmia, female arousal disorder, or any other sexual problems. However, not all sex toys are created equal.
Sex toys, vibrators for instance, vary greatly in terms of power and features, and this degree of variation is important to take into consideration. For instance, if you are a woman of a certain age or postmenopausal, you will need a vibrator with more power and endurance than say, a twenty-something would. The core value of vibrators is vibration, yet many brands in the marketplace seem to focus on price, packaging, color, and shape. A device that uses a realible linear resonating motor, simple, power efficient, and controlled by a micro controller, provides exceptional performance. The best vibrator provides a broad range of speeds and different options to customize your experience.
Aside from performance, safety is something that some people value when purchasing a sex toy. Will it shock me? Is it made of harmful materials?
Since the first hand-cranked vibrator was introduced in the 1800s, to the battery-powered vibrators of the 1970s, safety regulations never played a role in the adult novelty or sex toy market and that continues today. Currently, there are no government regulations to control or rate for their safety. It is up to individual consumers to educate themselves on what they find most important when purchasing products involved in their sexuality.
With sex toys sold in thousands of online retailers and national chains such as Wal-Mart, 7-Eleven, and CVS around America, sex toy injuries are on the rise. An estimated 6,800 people showed up in U.S. hospitals between 1995 and 2006 with a "sex toy emergency," according to a 2009 study published in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy. Most often, these visits were people in their thirties who needed help retrieving their vibrator or dildo. Since sex toys are often marketed as "novelty devices" instead of legitimate sexual wellness tools to enhance your overall health, they aren’t subject to government regulation.
Safety concerns have emerged over phthalates-—chemicals found in sex toys and other products to soften plastic and increase flexibility. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, research suggests a lifetime exposure to these chemicals may potentially cause cancer and harm the reproductive system, testes, and liver. Also, chrome or fake metal finishes found on many vibrators sold today are used to dress up cheaper metals or plastic. Shoddily made products such as these are prone to chipping and peeling-—the last thing you want to happen when using a pleasure toy.
Also, another sex toy material to stay clear of is "off-gassing." If a product has a pungent chemical odor, it's probably releasing potential toxins that could cause a reaction. Finally, PVC (polyvinal chloride) is an inexpensive material that contains phthalates. PVC is typically porous, causing it to deteriorate rapidly, and is highly unhygienic.
So what should you look for to ensure you are purchasing a safe sex toy for you and your partner?
These features and benefits are essential when selecting a product to put on the most sensitive parts of your body:
- Body-Safe Materials: No phthalates, nickel, lead, or other harmful chemicals.
- Information Manual: Top-of-the-line sex toys will provide thorough user manuals that outline proper use, care, and cleaning of your pleasure toy. Not only will you have a safer, carefree experience, you will extend the vibrator’s life span.
- Quality Control: Sex toy companies that genuinely care about their customers will be transparent about their standards. Look on the packaging before you purchase your product for trusted third-party testing that ensures the company has adhered to safety and reliability guidelines, such as the CE, RoHs, TUVRhenland, FCC, and ETL.
- Waterproof: 100 percent waterproof sex toys, made with nonporous materials are the easiest to clean thoroughly in order to ensure a hygienic and clean vibrator at all times.
- Credible Reviews: Before you make reservations at a restaurant or find a new dentist, most likely you are checking online reviews to see what other credible sources or your peers had to say. Keep this same practice in mind when shopping for a sex toy. Make sure the products you are considering have been well reviewed by legitimate sources like Women’s Health and received accolades and awards for quality and innovation like the annual "O" Awards.
Currently, it is up to consumers to research and discern the best and most trusted sex toy among thousands of different options currently available. When evaluating the safety of a product, it is essential to look at materials, expert and consumer reviews and efficacy. The more informed consumers are when purchasing a sex toy, the more satisfied they will be overall.
Common Myths about Sex Toys
According to a recent nationally representative survey by University of Indiana researchers, 53 percent of American women have used a sex toy. However, due to a lack of education in the marketplace, some women are fearful for one reason or another to use a sex toy, and many partners wonder what it means when their significant other starts using a sex toy. Here are some common myths associated with sex toys and the truth provided by many reputable sources:
Myth: Battery-powered sex toys will provide the best bang for my buck.
While marketers talk about things like "powerful motors" and "whisper quiet operation," the truth is that whether it's a $10 throwaway or a $200 premium vibrator, most battery-powered devices use the same rotary vibration motor, which makes all of these devices feel the same when the lights are turned off. Almost all personal massagers on the market use the same class of vibrating motors that usually perform very poorly. The best vibrators have a resonating, linear motor that provides a broad range of vibration with more power. This is the most reliable and efficient type of vibrator currently on the market.
Myth: Sex toys are unnatural.
Think of other erotic enhancements that are commonplace today—lingerie, perfume, music, candlelight, or lubricant. Sex toys are as natural as any of these intimate tools, which we don’t think twice about purchasing and using today.
Myth: If women need sex toys to enjoy sex and have orgasms, there's something wrong with their partner.
Every woman is different. Some require the intense stimulation a sex toy provides. Couples should discuss the kinds of erotic play they enjoy, and coach each other about what turns them on. Men should understand that only 25 percent of women are consistently orgasmic solely from vaginal intercourse because it doesn’t provide much direct stimulation of the clitoris, which sits outside the vagina and above it, nestled beneath the top junction of the vaginal lips. To enjoy orgasm, three-quarters of women need direct clitoral stimulation from fingers, a tongue, or a vibrator.
Myth: If women need sex toys to orgasm, there’s something wrong with them.
Some women just need more intense stimulation. Researchers at the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University concluded that 93 percent of women who used sex toys agreed that they are part of a healthy sex life. This is further illustrated by highly renowned sex therapists recommending a sex toy as part of the learning process of how to become orgasmic.
Myth: Sex toys make women unable to orgasm naturally without them.
The body responds to erotic stimulation no matter where it comes from: fingers, penis, tongue, or a sex toy. Sex toys can help many women, especially over the age of fifty, achieve natural lubrication and orgasms faster, but they will never take away the intimacy you can achieve with a live partner. In fact, the Journal of Sexual Medicine survey concluded that men and women that used a sex toy scored higher on sexual pleasure scales that measured arousal, orgasm, lubrication, pain, and erectile dysfunction than those that had never used one.