A Single Girl and a Dildo

Friday, October 14, 2016

Question

Dear Patrick: What is the best kind of dildo to buy? I think I need one for practice. But they are expensive. So what is the best one?

Answer

Dear Single Girl: There are so many different kinds of sex toys available today that I hesitate to crown any specific dildo “The Best.” But I can give you a little advice about shopping for a toy that you want to use for penetration. There are some safety concerns as well as some things you can do to make sure your new toy is worth it!

Whatever you put inside the vagina or rectum is making contact with mucous membranes that are full of tiny blood vessels. These tissues rapidly absorb whatever they touch. So you want to make sure that your sex toys are made out of safe substances. Keep informed about plastics and additives that may not be safe. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate sex toys. They are considered novelties. So you have no guaranties, when you buy an item, that it is made out of whatever the advertising states. The Chinese companies that manufacture cheap sex toys for American distribution are notorious for printing labels that say whatever the distributor requests. It’s been recommended to use a latex or plastic condom on sex toys to protect you from any potentially harmful chemicals. These items are regulated by the FDA, and could provide a shield between your mucous membranes and the toy. The problem is, we don’t really know if harmful substances like phthalates are capable of leeching through the condom. I would rather not have toxic chemicals in my sex toys, if at all possible.

Phthalates are a major concern right now because they are probably a carcinogen. But they are widely used to soften plastic. If a dildo is made out of PVC, vinyl, or jelly, it probably contains phthalates. This softener also makes the toy so porous that you can’t really sterilize it. These toys also have a strong, unpleasant smell and may release a “sweat” because of an instability in the chemical mix. There are consistent reports from consumers that toys of this type cause vaginal and rectal burning.

Safe toys include those made with medical-grade silicone, stainless steel, or borosilicate glass (Pyrex) or a heavy type of glass used by artisans. If you want to read more about these issues, here are some useful resources. An article by Ruby Ryder, Toxic Sex Toys—What to Know Before You Buy (February 8, 2013) can be accessed at:

 

https://www.reddit.com/r/sex/comments/184960/toxic_sex_toys_what_to_know_before_you_buy/

 

Caitlin Murphy has written Sex Toy Safety: A Guide to Materials, March 29, 2016, posted here:

 

https://www.kinkly.com/2/920/passion-play/sex-toys/sex-toy-safety-a-guide-to-materials

 

Always use a toy with the right kind of lubricant. This usually means a water-based lube that your vagina can safely absorb or eliminate. Oil-based lubricant like Crisco, massage oil, hand lotion, or coconut oil can linger in the vagina and cause a chemical imbalance that could set you up for a yeast infection or irritation. These types of lubricants are more appropriate for use with a toy during anal sex because the rectum can eliminate them naturally. Do NOT use oil-based lubricants with condoms if you are having sex with a partner; latex condoms can develop holes if exposed to grease or oil. Some women find that they are allergic to or sensitive to some chemicals that are often used in lubricants. Glycerin is one suspect you may want to eliminate if you notice redness or irritation after sex.

The dildo itself should not do any damage to your orifices. Think about its shape, size, and makeup. I prefer dildos that have a base, even if the big balls that come with some of them are downright ugly. You don’t want a toy to slip inside of you, beyond retrieval. This is much more likely during anal sex. A small toy that is “lost” in the vagina can usually be retrieved by squatting and bearing down. But a toy that is inside the rectum may need to be removed at the emergency room. Make sure that what you are playing with won’t embarrass you!

Glass toys are beautiful and can provide the ultimate in slippery, high-tech sexiness. But you should always check them beforehand to make sure they are not cracked. Retire a glass toy that has been dropped or chipped. Don’t use them with boiling water or ice. Be careful with a toy that is very hard, like these, because vigorous use can bruise your cervix. Always hold back a little so you are not battering your erogenous zones to bits!

There is always a temptation to grab a large, luscious toy—especially if it is the first one you are buying. Who knows, after all, what size is best on first glance? Just be aware that a small toy can be used any time you want the feeling of penetration. But a large toy may only be comfortable on special occasions when you feel very, very aroused. For your first dildo, consider buying one on the small side—six or seven inches long, perhaps an inch to an inch-and-a-half in diameter. There’s nothing wrong with buying something even smaller, of course. It will still feel luscious, especially if it comes with the ability to vibrate.

Some dildos are bent slightly so they can stimulate the roof of the vagina (toward the bladder). Many women enjoy pressure in this area, which has been nicknamed the G Spot. But some women find it uncomfortable. Until you know whether you like this or not, just buy a dildo that is straight; you can always experiment with the angle of insertion and with different amounts of pressure.

One of the nicest things that’s happened is the invention of sex toys for penetration that don’t resemble penises. So if you like the sensation of fullness, but you are not big on fantasies about cis-gendered men, you can buy a toy that won’t remind you of the patriarchy. It’s up to you to look at a variety of websites and see which one carries a toy that looks good and seems like it belongs under your pillow.

Always look for the manufacturer’s recommendations about cleaning your new toy. Most can be kept clean if you simply wash them with warm water and soap—especially if you have a policy of covering them with a condom before slipping them inside. But many vibrators cannot be immersed in water. So follow the manufacturer’s instructions to preserve the toy’s long life.

By the way—if you like anal as well as vaginal sex, remember that you can’t put a toy that has been in your bottom into your vagina, not without sterilizing it. It’s often a good idea to just keep separate toys for vagina and ass play. At the very least, change the condom on the toy before changing orifices. There are microorganisms in the rectum that can cause vaginal infections, so keep them away from your vulva.

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