March 26, 2012

Safety First: Enjoying Sex Toys Well {featured contributor}

By Carly Morson

Safety First: enjoying sex toys in a way that feels good to you, and that you can feel good about.

Once you have taken the positively wellness-enhancing decision to own an adult toy, it is important to remember that the proper use of sex toys is essential for your health and safety. Please do consider these insights to help you confidently enjoy a pleasure-filled experience.

Material matters, and the safest materials are those that are completely non-porous, such as glass, silicon and metal, largely because they are the easiest to sterilize. Put these toys into the dishwasher, boil them on the stove for several minutes, or wipe down with a bleach solution (10% at minimum). Always remember to clean your toys after each use!

Toys made of porous materials (e.g., plastic or rubber) are cheaper, easy to find, and can offer a naughtier novelty look (think pink leopard print vibrator). If these are your toys of choice, there are still ways for you to play it safe. These toys should be cleaned after each use with warm soapy water and left to dry fully before being put away. They cannot be sterilized like non-porous toys, so never (ever) share without covering the toy with a condom. If you are unsure about the material, then play it safe and cover it.

Sex toys are designed to be used on, in, or near the most sensitive areas of the body, so regularly inspect your toys to be sure that you are working with intact surfaces. Vibrators and other battery-powered toys should be free from battery leakage and all toys should be free from cracks and other damage. Even with vigilant care of your toys, infections can occur. If you do contract one, refrain from using any toys until you are all cleared up.

Jelly, rubber and latex toys are among the most common type of materials for sex toys, and while they are more pliable and can feel amazing, these types of toys should be approached with caution. They can leak potentially irritating chemicals, which are absorbed through mucous membranes in the genital and anal areas. They also retain odours and can taste and smell like chemicals. Nonetheless, these toys are popular because they are inexpensive and readily available. Simply approach them with caution, and make sure you are buying something made by a reputable manufacturer.

Unfortunately, it is a widespread myth that sex (and hence, sex toys) can negatively affect pregnancy, but most women who have normal pregnancies can continue to have sex right up until their water breaks or they go into labor. You won't hurt the baby by having sex. The amniotic sac and the strong muscles of the uterus protect your baby, and the thick mucus plug that seals the cervix helps guard against infection. Orgasm may cause mild contractions (as can nipple stimulation and the prostaglandins in semen), but they are generally temporary and harmless. If you are uncertain, ask your health care provider. For instance, women with certain risks, such as high chance for preterm labor, should not use sex toys to the full vaginal depth. There may be other circumstances too in which you might need to modify your activity, or abstain from sex altogether for part or all of your pregnancy. Your health care provider should let you know whether you have – or develop – any complications that make sex a no-go.

If you are at risk (or at the moment just aren't partial to) penetrative sex, sex toys can be a wonderful sexual pleasure releaser. External stimulation can be quite pleasurable for both you and your partner, so consider the pleasures a vibrator can offer.

Regardless of where you are in your life, sex toys can be incorporated so that you can enjoy yourself without fear. Just remember to be sensible about your own circumstances and the sex toy of your choice when you do decide to enjoy yourself with one.

-- Carly Morson is a thirty something mom who loves exploring new ways of living life to the fullest!

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