Sex Toys | Usage Risks and Safety Concerns

Published: Aug 27, 2022
Edited by: Team TB

Sex Toys | Usage Risks and Safety Concerns

In this post, we take a more detailed look at various safety concerns in relation to using sex toys.


Sharing a sex toy can transfer pathogens (a pathogen is a bacterium, virus, or other microorganism that can cause disease) and spread Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) or can cause other types of infections. As such, it’s important to clean sex toys thoroughly before sharing them with someone else.

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At any rate, it’s always advised to clean sex toys before and after use, even if you only use them for yourself. Doing so considerably reduces the chance of infections caused by pathogens.

Another point of caution: when you use a sex toy in the anus or rectum and immediately afterwards you want to use it in the vagina, it’s advised to first clean the toy thoroughly to prevent the transfer of feces, as this can cause yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis, for instance.

Cleaning a sex toy is usually carried out by rinsing it with warm water, and using a bit of vinegar, PH balanced soap, Sodium bicarbonate, or a bit of lavender essential oil to gently rub the toy. You can also find special sex toy cleansing products in adult toy stores and sex shops.

After cleaning sex toys, they are usually left to dry naturally. Nevertheless, always check the cleaning instructions that came with the sex toy to make sure you don’t use cleaning products or procedures that damage or compromise the toy.


When you use a sex toy in your or someone else’s anus, it’s advised to use a lot of lube (sexual lubricant) in order to make sure you won’t damage the anus, anal canal, or rectum, which not only causes pains, but also leads to increased susceptibility for infections.

Lubrication may also be essential for sex toys that are inserted in the vaginal canal, which is especially important if the vagina doesn’t excrete much natural lubricants by itself.

Another thing is that you may be allergic for certain types of lubricants, so take this into account, and first test a bit of the lubricant somewhere on your body to see how you react on it. If possible (and if you’re not allergic to them), it’s sometimes better to use natural lubricants, such as coconut oil or castor oil.

Learn more about lubes in our chapter Lubricants and Essentials.

Body Safe Materials

Sex toys should be body-safe, that is, not being prone to harming the body, for instance, due to sharp angles or protrusions, or damaging chemical substances they’re possibly made from.

They should also preferably be made from so-called non-porous materials. Toys that are made from porous materials (such as wood or certain types of crystals and stones) can absorb bacteria, are much harder or even impossible to clean thoroughly, and pose a risk for infections.

Medical Precautions

If you have had a surgery around, in, or of the rectum, prostate, penis, testes, anus, or vaginal canal, or have any other doubt at all, make sure to check with your physician or other professional healthcare provider if there are specific precautions or contraindications needed to be observed before using a specific sex toy.

Sharing Sex Toys

Although non-porous sex toys can be cleaned well, sharing a toy with another person is not advised. One can never be sure to have sterilized the toy completely, and as such there’s always a risk of transferring pathogens to someone else or to yourself, which may cause infections and disease.

Sex Toy Storage

Sex toy makers or sex toy stores often provide storage containers or bags in their accessory sections to keep toys dry and clean, and safe from being damaged. They come in various shapes and sizes, plus some of them can fit more than one toy inside.

Instructions of Use

Using a sex toy for a sexual act in/on a body area it’s not intended for can be a cause of body damage. It’s therefore very important to always meticulously follow the instructions of use the manufacturer of the sex toy has included.

In the instructions of use you will also find the cleaning instructions for the toy. Additionally, before using a sex toy always first check if it’s not damaged since the last time of use.

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