When we think of sex toys, what probably comes to mind for many people right off the bat is a giant, wobbly dildo. The material we’re so used to seeing in media representation of sex toys or when browsing for cheap items in a novelty store is known as “jelly”. While nothing seems less harmful than a hilarious, jiggly dick, jelly is just that – pretty friggin bad for you.

So what’s the deal?

There’s more than on reason why jelly toys are so crappy, but let’s get into why they exist in the first place. Sex toys have been around as long as sex has – in other words, forever. A Daily Mail article from last year shares information on ancient sex toys made from things like leather, wood, stone, and even camel dung.

Nowadays, sex toys are made from much different material. Take jelly, for example. Toys made from this material are pretty common. They’re cheap to produce and to purchase and can provide both flexibility and rigidity. They’re versatile and come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. All in all, jelly toys sound pretty great, don’t they?

The Emojibator is affordable, fun, and made from body-safe material.

Well, not at all, really. Obviously, we now know how unhygienic most of those ancient materials were. (Organic materials like wood are still used in some sex toys today, but we know a lot more about keeping these toys clean and using them safely.) But even in the modern day, there are some materials that can really harm you. In particular, jelly contains a ton of harmful chemicals known to cause reactions and long-term conditions. Beyond that, jelly is a porous material (meaning it has tiny holes all over it). Porous materials are difficult to clean, creating a home for bacteria that can later cause an infection. So, unlike non-porous silicone, glass, stainless steel, and other amazing materials that feel great and are completely body-safe, jelly toys can’t be properly sanitized.

Not Safe For Play

Just as disgusting, if not even grosser, jelly toys are also made from unsafe materials. Jelly is just one of a few common materials (vinyl and PVC can be included) that usually contains phthalates. According to the CDC, “phthalates are a group of chemicals used to make plastics more flexible and harder to break.” They’re in a ton of products people use on a daily basis, but that doesn’t mean they’re safe. Though the CDC states that more research is needed before we can know what the affects of phthalates are on human health, they also share, “Some types of phthalates have affected the reproductive system of laboratory animals.” Congress has even banned the use of some phthalates in children’s toys and other products (CPSC.gov), while health officials have kept quiet about their use just about everywhere else. With so many fabulous, safe materials out there, I’d rather not take my chances.

Staying Safe

The obvious answer is this: don’t buy jelly toys. That’s the bottom line, but there are always those looking to cross it, and plenty of situations where there’s just a ton of gray area. For instance, many companies are now re-naming jelly toys to make them appear like they’re made of different materials. Here’s how to make sure you’re not using a jelly product… and how to stay safe if you’re really that intent on using one.

  • Check the packaging of your toys for materials listed. Look for materials that don’t contain plasticizers and are non-porous, like Pyrex glass, silicone, or stainless steel. Don’t buy anything listed as “Sil a Gel” or something else that’s not pure, 100% silicone.

Uprize Dildos are made from pure silicone.

  • Maybe you threw out your packaging a long time ago, or maybe materials aren’t listed on the container. An awesome Bustle article on sex toy materials suggests: “If the toy is bendy or squishy, it’s likely that plasticizers have been added to make it like that.”
  • Trust no one – unless you know the toy company is reputable. (Check out our reviews to get an idea of which companies are amazing!) Sex toys don’t have health regulations right now in the United States, so claims of phthalate-free aren’t necessarily true. Do your research!

We always trust toys by TENGA, like the Iroha Minamo.

  • Don’t be cheap. Just because jelly toys are inexpensive doesn’t mean you should buy them. There are tons of budget-friendly, body-safe options out there, anyway.
  • “For novelty use only” can be an indicator that your toy is unsafe. That could mean regulations were skipped around under the protective label of novelty.
  • If you already own a jelly toy, for your own sake, throw it away. If you’re absolutely determined to get your money’s worth with your jelly dildo, put a condom on it before use.

Overall

Whatever pros there are to jelly toys, there are better, safer toys out there with the same exact virtues. The bad far outweighs the good in the case of their particular material. Yes, even solo sex can be unsafe. So forget about those disgusting, unsafe dildos and stock up on something made from a safe, sexy material your hooha deserves!

Sources

“Factsheet.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 21 Apr. 2015. Web. 24 Feb. 2016.

Nolan Brown, Elizabeth. “Are Phthalates In Sex Toys Unsafe for Your Nether Regions? Here Are 6 Tips for Staying On The Safe Side.” Bustle. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Feb. 2016.

“Phthalates.” U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Feb. 2016.

“Sex Positive Toy Materials.” Sex Positive Toy Materials. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Feb. 2016.

Woollaston, Victoria. “The Sex Toys Dating Back 28,000 Years: Ancient Phalluses Made from Stone and Dried Camel Dung Started Trend for Sex Aids.” Mail Online. Associated Newspapers, 14 Jan. 2015. Web. 24 Feb. 2016.