What might be lurking in your sex toys


Do you ever wonder how to say that word, or do you have it ‘down’? What is it anyways – “Pee-thal-ates”? “Faal-ates”? “Fail-lates”? “Thay-lates”? At this point, we all know to avoid phthalates in sex toys, right? They’re
toxic, they’re in jelly toys – down with jelly…yada yada.

Phthalates, pronounced “thay-lates”, are everywhere in our world. Blame plastic, the 1950′s, lax health regulations – whatever you want. But it is true. Phthalates are in our lives because they soften vinyl and allow a
plethora of soft PVC products to be made, plain and simple. Think about it: linoleum, shower curtains, children’s toys, vinyl clothing, vinyl car seats…etc. This is just an evolution ‘thang’ – soft natural rubbers dry and crack, so when looking for alternatives we came up with plastics and a way to make them hard as a rock or soft and squishy, and we’ve never really looked back.
In addition to making PVC soft, phthalates are also widely used in scented products as fragrance ‘fixers’ (they kind of help the fragrances molecules stick around longer) and in beauty products like nail polish where they help create a slick and chip free coat. Of particular interest to the sex toy consumer, however, is the fact that phthalates can be found in toys made with PVC or PVC composites such as the nebulous jellee seen in cheap porn store dildos.

But why are they bad? Well, it’s hard to explain in a precise way that sounds very threatening, but phthalate exposure has been loosely correlated with certain population trends having to do with hormonally controlled
female sexual characteristics, and have been shown to cause tumors and a few other fun things in rats and mice. Do note, however, that there is no obvious smoking gun linking these issues directly to health problems people face. There is, however, a mounting pile of evidence. I think it’s important to understand this distinction, because there is actually a huge phthalate debate raging – plastics is BIG business and having phthalates labeled as toxic represents a lot of business money lost.

Of course, there’s a lot of stuff in this world that is troubling if let loose in our bodies. Cigarette smoke, alcohol, car exhaust, trans fats, heck – even sunshine. I am a strong believer in taking everything into perspective, but toxins of course should be avoided when possible. Toxins enter our bodies via a number of routes, but thin mucous membranes allow them to adsorb into the body better than regular skin. So if you handle a bunch of phthalate ridden dildos with your hands, not really that big a deal. Yes, it is exposure, but really – an hour in the sun is likely worse for you. When you start sticking those phthalate ridden dildos into bodily orifices, however, amount of phthalates you are potentially adsorbing increases to a level most would agree is unsafe. It is something I strive to avoid, and you probably should too. This is doubly true for women who one day wish to have children, considering the fact that the toxicity of phthalates seems to affect the ‘future children’ of those exposed.

So the quick and dirty cheat sheet on phthalates? They’re in PVC (aka vinyl) and can be assumed to be in any soft plasticy material that does not specifically say that it is phthalate free. Yes avoid them, for they are up
to no good, but keep a perspective on things. There are just certain things – like a cute and kinky, cleavage-enhancing vinyl jacket or an awesome pleather bag – that one needs. And there are things that can’t be avoided – like linoleum. Sex toys that contain phthalates are where a line should be drawn.


** cross-posted from Eden Cafe **




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