A sex toy is an object or device that is primarily used to facilitate human sexual pleasure, such as a dildo or vibrator. Many popular sex toys are designed to resemble human genitals and may be vibrating or non-vibrating. The term sex toy can also include BDSM apparatus and sex furniture such as slings; however, it is not applied to items such as birth control, pornography, or condoms. Alternative expressions include adult toy and the dated euphemism marital aid, although "marital aid" has a broader sense and is applied to drugs and herbs marketed to supposedly enhance or prolong sex. Sex toys are most commonly sold at a sex shop, but they may also be sold in a pornographic DVD store or head shop. Today's sex toys are available in almost all countries for male and females.
- 1 Types of sex toys
- 2 Materials used in sex toys
- 3 Health and safety concerns
- 4 Legal issues
- 5 Industry
- 6 In popular culture
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 Further reading
- 10 External links
Types of sex toys
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Another form of sex toy for both men and women are those for erotic electrostimulation.
Erotic electrostimulation refers to the act of using electricity for sexual stimulation. Electrostimulation dates back as early as the mid 1700s. By the mid 1970s, medical transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) machines were widely available. The machines work by stimulating nerve endings with electricity, sending signals of stimulation to the brain. Electrostimulation works off this same principal, when the brain received a signal of stimulation form the genitals, pleasure hormones are released.
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Erotic furniture is furniture specially shaped for comfort, penetration levels, and stimulation.
General penetrative toys
- Ben Wa balls are hollow metal balls inserted vaginally which can be worn inside the vagina for extended periods of time. The internal rolling is claimed to enhance orgasms.
- A dildo is a non-vibrating device which is used for sexual stimulation of the vagina and/or anus. Dildos are generally made of silicone rubber, but can be made of other materials such as metals or glass. They are often made to resemble a penis.
- A double penetration dildo is a long, usually flexible dildo with both ends designed for penetration. It allows for mutual penetration between two persons (or for double penetration of a single female, both anally and vaginally).
- A strap-on dildo is a dildo worn in a harness, used to penetrate another person.
- A horseshoe is a non-vibrating sex toy which is shaped similar to a horseshoe, which is put into the vagina and anus at the same time. It is made with softer plastics.
- Kegel exerciser, also known as vaginal barbells or jugglers are designed to improve muscle tone in the pelvic floor, and can be used for sexual pleasure as well as enhancing vaginal response.
- A sex-machine is a motor-driven device that combines penetration with rotational and/or reciprocal movement.
- Anal beads
- Butt plugs are often shorter dildos intended for anal insertion. They tend to have a flared base to prevent the device from becoming sucked into the rectum.
- Prostate massagers are devices designed to stimulate a man's prostate for health and pleasure.
Glass sex toys
Glass sex toys are commonly made from clear medical grade borosilicate glass ("hard glass"). This particular type of safety toughened glass is non-toxic and will withstand extreme temperatures, as well as physical shock without compromising its structural integrity.
The choice of this high-grade material provides safety in use and the option to heat or chill the toys. Borosilicate glass is also non-porous and can be sterilized to help prevent infection with reuse. The highest quality glass toys can even be put in the dishwasher making them easier to keep clean. As well as their practical qualities, a main selling point of glass sex toys is their visual appeal.
Some glass sex toys vibrate. There are two main ways this can be achieved. Either the toy may have a hole into which a small bullet vibrator can be inserted, or the core of the glass design can be modified to form a standard vibrator. The latter option usually has a plastic cap covering the battery compartment, which will also house any control buttons or switches.
Vibrators are vibrating devices intended to stimulate the body. Vibrators come in a range of shapes and sizes, for internal or external use. Some vibrators intended for internal use are phallic in shape. Small vibrators may have a stretchy loop attachment for use as a finger toy or cock ring. Penetrative vibrators usually measure twelve to eighteen cm (five to seven inches) in length and two to five cm (one to two inches) wide often to mimic the size of the average human penis.
- Anal vibrators are designed to be inserted into the rectum, which may stimulate the prostate in men. The safest ones have a flared base which remains outside the body, that prevents the toy from becoming irretrievable.
- Bullet vibrators are small, bullet-shaped vibrators that can be used for direct stimulation or inserted into other sex toys to increase stimulation. Some are sold with stretchy loops for attachment as a finger toy or cock ring.
- Luxury vibrators have an increased focus on design and the use of expensive materials that appeal to a more upscale fashion market.
- G-spot vibrators are curved at one end to facilitate stimulation of the female G-spot.
- The rabbit vibrator, of which there are several variations, is a popular female sex toy popularized by the television series Sex and the City. It comprises an insertable shaft which often has additional functionality, such as rotation and internal beads or a thrusting action. Attached to the shaft is a vibrating clitoral stimulator. For most rabbit vibrators this comes in the form of "bunny ears" which sit each side of the clitoris.
- Vibrator wands, such as the Hitachi Magic Wand, are large vibrators that generally plug into an electrical outlet (versus operating on battery power) and are often marketed as back massagers. They are able to produce far more powerful vibration than most battery-powered vibrators. Various attachments made of silicone or a rubber material allow the toy to be used penetratively, or give the toy more interesting texture.
- A nipple clamp is a clamp used to stimulate the nipples by applying varying degrees of pressure.
- Suction devices are generally either rubber or glass,
- "Artificial vaginas", also known as "pocket pussies" or "masturbators", are modeled to accept a penis for simulated intercourse. They can be shaped like vaginas, anuses, or anything with a hole for penetration. Some are equipped with sex-machine options that work similar to milking machines.
- A ball lock is an ordinary padlock fastened around the male scrotum, separating the testicles away from the penis and not removable except by key or combination.
- A cock harness is a more elaborate harness designed to be worn around the penis and scrotum. Its function is similar to that of a cock ring. These devices are often associated with BDSM activities such as cock and ball torture. An Arab strap is one such form of harness, purported to be a device used for maintaining an erection.
- Cock rings prolong male erection by holding blood inside the penis. A man may wear a cock-ring to combat erectile difficulties, or for the sensation of tightness and engorgement that wearing one provides. Some models include a protruding clitoral stimulator, designed to stimulate the clitoris during sex. Others vibrate, either vibrating the ring itself, or in a popular 'Dolphin' variant by using two removable bullet vibrators to provide stimulation to both the testicles and clitoris. Some cock rings also have vibrators attached which can be worn to stimulate a partner during sexual intercourse, especially in the scrotum or perineum.
- A triple crown is a special cock-ring that has additional rings for restraining the testicles. In orgasm, the testicles usually retract toward the body before ejaculation. A triple crown changes and intensifies the sensation of orgasm by forcing the testicles to stay away from the body.
- A docking sleeve is a cylindrical device similar to a penis sleeve, but is open at both ends, so that two men can dock, a form of mutual masturbation.
- A fifi (also fifi towel or fifi bag) is a slang term for an improvised vagina, often made of cloth or fabric.
- A penis extension is a partially hollow device like a very short dildo, with the hollow end placed on the end of the penis, intended to increase the effective length of the penis, again for the benefit of the person being penetrated. These are generally worn with condoms to prevent them from falling off during use.
- A penis sleeve is a cylindrical device that is placed on the shaft of the penis, with the aim of increasing stimulation for the person being penetrated. They often have soft bumps intended to provide further stimulation.
Materials used in sex toys
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- CyberSkin is a thermal plastic elastomer and is a close emulation of real skin. CyberSkin is made from ingredients on FDA approved lists and it does not contain phthalates, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), heavy metals or latex. It is easy to clean and maintain by washing it with soap and water, patting dry. Water based lubricants are best and they should be stored in a dry place.
- Latex rubber, also called jelly rubber, is commonly used for sex toys; it is a flexible and inexpensive material allowing the user more options in size and look. While latex is commonly used and less expensive than materials such as silicone, glass and CyberSkin, it can be allergenic to some people with latex allergy. Latex is porous and should be cleaned thoroughly with an antibacterial soap and water and not shared with other people. Some rubber toys contain phthalates which are used to soften rubber, but carry serious risks. Studies have been done that showed adverse reproductive effects in animal and human subjects. Further research is ongoing but phthalates have a known detrimental effect on multiple facets of human health and their use in sex toys is strongly discouraged. It is recommended by many experts that one use a condom with each use for protection against bacterial infection or sexually transmitted diseases if one is sharing sex toys. Water and silicone-based lubricants can be used with latex toys, but oil-based lubricants and petroleum jelly should not be used with latex as these may adversely affect the toy.
- Silicone is soft and lifelike, it is hypoallergenic, warms up quickly to body temperature, non-porous and so is easy to clean (with mild soap and water, or boiled for sterilization). Unlike jelly rubber and other porous materials, silicone can be sterilized in temperatures up to 300 °C (572 °F). In addition, it can be bleached in a 10% bleach solution. When using lubricants with silicone sex toys, it is important that silicone or silicone-based lubricants are not used to avoid damage to the toy. There are different grades of silicone; it is preferable that medical-grade silicone be used for sex toys. Cheaper silicone products may use industrial-grade silicone.
Health and safety concerns
No safety regulations exist in the sex toy industry. The sex toys are sold as novelty items so they do not need to adhere to certain regulations such as reporting the chemicals and materials used in a product. Due to this status, manufacturers are not responsible if their toys are used for any other purpose than being a novelty. Regulations such as REACH do exist, and some sex toys may be compliant to this though, despite that there is no obligation for manufacturers on attaining compliance. A recent (2006) study conducted by the Greenpeace Netherlands office found high level of phthalates in seven out of eight plastic sex toys tested.
A sign that a toy contains Phthalates may include sweating. If you wash a toy and dry it and it appears to be sweating and has an odor that may cause headache, there is a high chance that contains Phthalates. The reason why sex toys are classified as novelties is because sex toy manufacturers find the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) to have extensive testing and financial requirements for sex toys to be classified as medical devices. Therefore, sex toy manufacturers more often choose the less complex production by labelling them a novelty, where their listed ingredients do not have to be accurate in chemical composition or percentage of ingredients. Due to the novelty classification, sex toys are permitted to contain known toxins in them such as phthalates, which have been banned in children’s toys by the CPSC. Phthalates are chemical plasticizers that are added as softeners, to created the malleable and soft effect that many look for in sex toys.
Studies on rodents have revealed that when exposed to very large doses, phthalates can cause damage to the liver, lungs, kidneys, testes and can cause hormonal disruption. The latest research indicates that exposure to these substances can upset the body's ability to regulate hormone production, damage reproduction, can cause liver and kidney defects, and can cause cancer. The most common and external side-effects are rashes, itchiness and irritation to the locations of use.
When choosing a sex toy, one should check the ingredients. If it says it contains PVC, vinyl and/or jelly rubber, it is not safe for usage. Other ways to know that one is not safe is if it is also flexible, soft and squishy, has oily sweat-like beads that discharge (this is chemical degradation) and/or if it has a rubber or chemical like odor.
Before using a sex toy, owners should take precautions. One should check for tears, rough seams or cracks that could harm the inside of the vagina or anus. Condoms should also be used on porous sex toys and sex toys that are being shared between two or more partners. They should also use appropriate lubricants; silicone lube will break down silicone toys, and oil-based lubes will break down condoms.
Cleaning sex toys is also very important for sexual health and sex toy safety. Cleaning them will avoid the potential of bacterial infection, transmission of STIs (if shared), or pregnancy (if sperm is present on the toy). Porous sex toys (ridged, flexible, soft and squishy) are difficult to clean and can hide bacterial that multiply and harm the human body. Non-porous toys are easier to clean, being less harmful. When cleaning sex toys, always use warm water and unscented anti-bacterial soap.
- Glass toys: some can be put in the dishwasher, but it is recommended not to expose them to extreme temperatures and to wash them soap and water.
- Stainless Steel toys: boil or soak stainless steel toys in 1-10 bleach-water solution for ten minutes, put it on the top shelf of the dishwasher, or use soap and water (if there are electrical components to the toy).
- Hard plastic toys: do not boil the toy, and wash with soap and water.
- Silicone toys: put it on the top shelf of the dishwasher, boil for 5–10 minutes or wash with water and soap.
- Rubber toys: they cannot be properly cleaned because bacteria is absorbed into the material, so it is recommended to always use a condom.
- Cyberskin and Vinyl toys: clean with warm water, air dry, and sprinkle it with a small amount of cornstarch (to keep them dry and not sticky).
- Nylon toys: put it in the top rack of the dish-washer or wash with soap and water.
Anal toys (butt plugs, small dildos, etc.)
- When using sex toys in the anus, sex toys "...can easily get lost" as "rectal muscles contract and can suck an object up and up, potentially obstructing the colon"; to prevent this serious problem, it is recommended that individuals use sex "...toys with a flared base or a string".
Sex toys are illegal in India. Selling sex toys is a punishable offense under section 292 of Indian penal code, as sex toys are considered an "obscene" product. Besides sex toys, any book, pamphlet, paper, writing, drawing, painting, representation, figure or any other object, is by the way also considered obscene by section 292 if it is lascivious or appeals to the prurient interest. The punishment for the offense is up to two years in prison.
Section 18A of the Sexual Offences Act, 1957, inserted by the Immorality Amendment Act, 1969, prohibited the manufacture or sale of any item "intended to be used to perform an unnatural sexual act". The term "unnatural sexual act" referred to any sex other than vaginal heterosexual sex, and this prohibition was ostensibly aimed at preventing the use of dildos by lesbians. No longer enforced, the section was repealed by the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act, 2007.
Sex toys and lubricants have become increasingly available in major commercial outlets in the United States. On-shelf displays tend to be more discreet than the offerings on web sites. These items tend to be displayed in the "sexual health" sections of stores.
Until recently, many Southern and some Great Plains states banned the sale of sex toys completely, either directly or through laws regulating "obscene devices." In 1999, William H. Pryor, Jr., an assistant attorney general in Alabama commenting on a case involving sex toys and discussing to what end the devices are used, was quoted as saying there is no "fundamental right for a person to buy a device to produce orgasm". A federal appeals court upheld Alabama's law prohibiting the sale of sex toys on Valentine's Day, 2007.
In February 2008, a federal appeals court overturned a Texas statute banning the sales of sex toys, deeming such a statute as violating the Constitution's 14th Amendment on the right to privacy. The appeals court cited Lawrence v. Texas, where the U.S. Supreme Court in 2003 struck down bans on consensual sex between gay couples, as unconstitutionally aiming at "enforcing a public moral code by restricting private intimate conduct." Similar statutes have been struck down in Kansas and Colorado.
Dr. Marty Klein, author of America's War on Sex and an advocate for the moral value of sex toys, has written of sex toy bans that this "extraordinary erosion of personal liberty, coupled with the massive disrespect of and fear of sexuality is no joke" and that the "Supreme Court [of the United States] has declared our orgasms a battlefield, and sex toys another casualty."
As of 2008, it was valued at US$15 billion worldwide, with a growth rate of 30%. 70% of sex toys are manufactured in China. Sex toys are sold in various types of local and online sex shops, at conventions associated with the adult industry, and at parties. However, some items, such as "hand held massagers", are sold in mainstream retail outlets such as drugstores.
In popular culture
- On Millionaire Matchmaker, "Sex Toy Dave" Levine - who earned a fortune selling adult toys and wanted Patti to find him a mate, preferably bisexual, who would accept him as he is - was featured as one of Patti Stanger's clients.
- On Real Housewives of Atlanta, Kandi Burruss frequently discusses, displays, and gives other cast members gifts from her sex toy line, "Bedroom Kandi", which she also promotes via her online show, Kandi Koated Nights.
- Sex and the City, as mentioned above, popularized the rabbit vibrator.
- On Sons of Anarchy, Season 4, SAMCRO member Tig Trager overcomes his fear of dolls sufficiently to become aroused by female versions of Georgie Caruso's life sized sex doll replicas of porn stars. Additionally, during the Season 4 finale, Assistant U.S. Attorney Lincoln "Linc" Potter Lincoln crashes a Charming City Council meeting in time to interrupt a vote to determine whether or not to allow Mayor Jacob Hale's "Charming Heights" real estate development to move forward. Potter melodramatically displays a toddler-sized, male blow-up doll and empties a duffel bag filled with assorted sex toys, which he uses to reveal the true colors of the mysterious Asian investment sponsoring Hale's project, prompting a recess on the vote.
- Christmas Tree Decorated With Sex Toys In Milan
- Leung, Isaac (2009). "The Cultural Production of Sex Machines and the Contemporary Technosexual Practices". In Grenzfurthner, J. et al., eds. Do androids sleep with electric sheep? Critical perspectives on sexuality and pornography in science and social fiction. RE/SEARCH, ISBN 978-1-889307-23-7
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The Hitachi Magic Wand , with a reputation for releasing even the most stubborn orgasm, brings a powerful buzz to all the right places (instead of uncomfortably rattling the handle). Separately sold removable silicone tops add extra texture or penetration options
- Browne, Ray Broadus (1982). Objects of special devotion: fetishism in popular culture, p. 49 Popular Press, ISBN 978-0-87972-191-6
- Barrett, Grant (2006). The official dictionary of unofficial English: a crunk omnibus for thrillionaires and bampots for the Ecozoic Age. McGraw-Hill Professional, ISBN 978-0-07-145804-7
- McInnes, Gavin (2003). Vice Guide to Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll (Sept.), p. 190
- Silicone Sex Toys 101
- "The Safety Dance: Sex Toy Safety for a New Generation". www.kinseyconfidential.org. 12 February 2014. Retrieved 25 June 2015.
- Bad vibrations? We expose an EU sex scandal Posted by bex (8 September 2006)Greenpeace UK
- EZ Adult Toys - Avoid Phthalates
- No safety regulation in sex industry
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- "Good Vibrations: U.S. Consumer Web Site Aims to Enhance Sex Toy Safety". www.scientificamerican.com. 24 May 2011. Retrieved 25 June 2015.
- Singh, Jyotsna (20 June 2007). India rattled by vibrating condom. BBC News
-  Section 292 of Indian Penal Code]
- Staff report (February 2, 2011). Sex toys recovered from shop in Rajkot. Times of India
- Chin, Christina (28 July 2013). "Shop online but don’t break the law". The Star (Malaysia). Retrieved 17 October 2014.
- Botha, Kevan; Cameron, Edwin (1997). "South Africa". In West, Donald J.; Green, Richard. Sociolegal Control of Homosexuality: A Multi-Nation Comparison. New York: Plenum Press. pp. 22–23. ISBN 0-306-45532-3.
- Red-Light Specials Newsweek February 13, 2008
- "Lingere Store Accused of Violating State Obscenity Laws". KBCD.com. Retrieved 2007-09-28.
- Rawls, Phillip. Court leaves Ala. sex toy ban intact, USA Today, Oct 1, 2007
- "Appeals court overturns Texas ban on sex toys". msnbc.msn.com. Retrieved 2008-02-14.
- Holthouse, David. Alabama vs. Dildos Attorney General Troy King stands hard against stimulators, Dame Magazine
- Sethi, Atul (2008-11-26). "Palika a haven for adult toys". Times of India. Times Group. Retrieved 2008-10-06.
- "China Manufacturing". The China Perspective. Retrieved April 6, 2014.
- Gordon, Claire (March 14, 2012). "How To Make $39,000 By Testing Sex Toys At Home". AOL.com Jobs.
- Amanda Hess (January 16, 2013). "Vibrator of the Future". Slate.
- Amanda Hess (January 16, 2013). "Vibrator of the Future". Slate.
- "Sex Toys Of The Future, According To The Adult Entertainment Expo (NSFW)". Huffington Post. January 20, 2014.
- "Dave Levine & Shauna Raisch: Book releases and hot-headed clients!". BravoTV.com. March 19, 2009.
- Naughty But Nice Rob (January 5, 2012). "Kandi Burruss Launches Sex Toy Line 'Bedroom Kandi'". Huffington Post.
- Archibald, Timothy (2005). Sex Machines: Photographs and Interviews. Process. ISBN 0-9760822-3-3.
- Lotney, Karlyn (2000). The Ultimate Guide to Strap-On Sex: A Complete Resource for Women and Men. Cleis Press. ISBN 1-57344-085-X.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Sex toys.|
- "Historic sex toys sold for £3,600 at Essex auction". BBC. March 26, 2010.