Most people are not aware (yet!) that body-safe sex toys are an option. So we decided to investigate what five random people think about body-safe sex toys versus toxic and/or porous sex toys. Which toy appeals to them most? What are their first thoughts and questions?
Our set up
We aligned 3 body-safe and 3 toxic and/or porous ones on our office table in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The body-safe toys we used for this test were from (left to right): Neotori (Blue and gold), Black Fang Labs (pink marble/grey), Funphoria (light blue). These brands use body-safe silicone to create their handmade products. This silicone is neither toxic nor is it porous.
For comparison, we ordered a couple of non-body-safe sex toys online from a well-known retailer. The first toy is a traditional rabbit vibrator made from ABS hard plastic and TPR. The latter is a cheaper version of silicone which makes the toy not body-safe according to the Konfettie body-safe standard. TPR is porous. This makes it impossible to clean as the material has tiny pores where bacteria can get stuck and grow.
Furthermore, we ordered a pink wand attachment made from TPE, a porous material. The last toy marketed as a beginner's anal dildo is made from PVC and has body-safe on the packaging. Wait, what?
We decided not to tell the interviewees upfront which ones were body-safe or not. Instead, they all came to their own conclusions by looking, feeling, smelling, and squeezing the toys.
And how did we find people from all over the world?Our office is located in a tech hub in the center of Rotterdam. So it was not hard to find people to cooperate with. This is a co-working space with all different kinds of tech companies and people. Besides that, sex toys can be discussed openly in the Netherlands. At first, we were a bit worried that we, as Dutchies, would be too open-minded for our International colleagues. Still, we found out that discussing sex toys was not an issue! Lots of laughs and honest opinions. Just sex toys, no biggie.
Margaret | 28 y/o | Bulgaria | artist & content creator
Margaret Immediately grabbed the blue/golden fantasy sex toy by Neotori. She said, "I have never seen anything like this before. Kudos to the person who can take this". So we are off to a great start!
"The big blue one scares me because of the design and the size."
She continues, "My first choice is definitely the small light blue toy from Funphoria (light blue)." I like that it still resembles a realistic or human penis while the color makes it very attractive. Too real is not a turn-on for me. "The color makes it more playful."
The grey rabbit vibrator is the only toy on the table that can vibrate. "This vibrator is attractive only because it can vibrate." However, the product feels flimsy, like it could be easily damaged. It also does not feel very sexy."
When a toy is motorized, it's usually harder to clean it. One advantage of un-motorized body-safe sex toys is that you can thoroughly clean them and disinfect them. A toy with electronics can never be submerged under boiling water as it will damage the toy. Can you separate the electronics from the rest of the toy and then clean it? Then chances are that the toy is body-safe.
"Black Fang Labs did a great job on the pink and grey body-safe dildo; the material feels super soft and most real."
Which one makes me think of aliens? The pink non-body-safe wand attachment piece. It simply looks horrible. What also strikes me is a piece the plastic on the bottom. Why? Such a waste of plastic.Key conclusions by Margaret:
- Body-safe silicone feels much more natural than the non-body-safe toys
- Realistic shape over a fantasy shape
- Size does matter! The smaller one wins here
Kristian | 26 years y/o | Czech republic | Founder & Managing director
Kristian notices that the body-safe sex toys feel more natural than the non-body-safe items. And they look way cooler! So Kristian quickly organized the toys into two categories, body-safe and non-body safe. We helped him change two, though, as we could not help ourselves. Oh well.
"I see the non-body-safe toys as standard sex toys." The kind people expect when thinking about sex toys". "The body-safe toys, on the other hand, are more avant-garde, the material is actually excellent."
He continues exploring the toys on the table by squeezing the non-body-safe toys. "These feel flimsy." Do they break easily? Or no, they will probably rip, right?". "I am also thinking about how long these toys will last; the non-body-safe ones will not last that long."
A solid point that Kristian brought up: the lifetime of a toy. If you buy cheaply, you often pay dearly. However, when well maintained, a high-quality body-safe toy could last you a lifetime.
What toy would he buy for a partner? "The pink/grey toy from Black Fang Labs because it looks comfortable." "As for the blue/golden toy from Neotori, it does look like it belongs to a fantasy creature, very creative but not my style." "It's like the sex toy industry is moving away from just sex toys to really creative and artsy, genuinely fun toys."
Key conclusions by Kristian:
- Body-safe material feels most natural
- Body-safe toys will probably last longer
- Non-body-safe items are flimsy
Ellie | 23 y/o | Cyprus | Office manager and Master student
Right off the bat, Ellie has a sharp remark. This is one we actually hear a lot: "The first thing I do is actually assume that all these sex toys are body-safe." If you can get the non-body-safe sex toys from a trusted retailer or website, who would ever research if they are really body-safe."
We feel this comment is significant because the assumption is the mother of all fuck ups. We cannot stress this enough: A sex toy marketed as a body-safe one can still be toxic, porous, or both.
She then quickly sorts out the toys as body-safe on non-body safe. We could not help ourselves and explain which ones are body-safe and which ones are not. So much for our research strategy!
Ellie continues: "When feeling the different toys, her attention is immediately drawn to the body-safe ones. Especially the light blue one from Funphoria, which, she says, " probably feels fantastic with lube."
She mentions that she did not have experience with every toy on the table. "To be honest, I have never tried a toy like the one from Funphoria, Black Fang Labs, or Neotori. Just a toy for penetration, no vibrating options".
The blue non-body-safe-toy feels like it could break. The material does not feel safe to me. Is it even safe to use? I have a feeling it could fall apart.
The pink/grey body-safe dildo from black fang labs feels and looks like a safe shape. Like it is safe to use.
For the blue body-safe toy from Neotori: "Wow, it looks big. Too big for me, I'm a small girl."
When looking at the non-body-safe items, the pink wand attachment stood out for Ellie. "What to do with this? I have no clue." After pinching it hard, her first reaction was, "This toy feels sticky like you would be unable to clean it." Precisely!
In addition, the non-body-safe items seem to have color changes. For example, Ellie says that part of the pink non-body-safe toy is still shiny while other parts look dull or matt. Is it possible that the color changes because the material is absorbing filth?
Key conclusions by Ellie:
- If it looks smooth and resembles a human dick, I'm good
- Don't assume any sex toy is body-safe
- The body-safe material would feel very slick with lube
Manali | 29 | India | Master student
Not having a lot of experience with sex toys herself, Manali said she was more than happy to partake in this experiment. This also allows her to learn more about sex toys.
The most minimalist catches the most attention (light blue by Funphoria). "This one looks so cute," the pastel color gives me a feeling of safety. This color is more solid and constant than the color of the pink porous attachment."
Looking at the ridges of all the toys, the one of Black Fang Labs (pink/marble) and the toy by Funphoria seem more appropriate for Manali's wishes. "The blue/golden toy by Neotori has many ridges and therefore looks a bit more like an intermediate toy.""Why does the color of the pink attachment one change anyway? I see that the top is not shiny and see-through anymore; has it been used already?."
The non-body safe blue one is a strict no for Manali. She mentions that the size is weird and is unsure if it would satisfy her. "This weird blue toy feels sticky as well." Not a reliable toy if you ask her.If you store multiple non-body-safe sex toys together, the stickiness can become very extreme. Some people have found their toxic sex toys melted in storage. The material can be so porous and low quality that it can deteriorate out of the blue. Does that sound like an excellent item to put into your body?
One question that Manali keeps asking is: "how do you hold this"? So, finally, she concludes that a suction cup can very much make a difference in the functionality of a toy. Luckily the pink marble and grey toy by Black Fang Labs comes with a suction on the base.We find out quickly that this is working very well, considering we have to use some serious force to disconnect the sex toy from the office table.
Manali continues by saying that the toxic and/or porous toys are the ones that are more familiar to her. This is because these types of toys are the ones you see on tv shows or in movies. "This is what people know about sex toys." Especially the rabbit one, with the clitoral stimulation.
Even though this extra option is tempting, the material used in the rabbit vibrator does make it less attractive for Manali to consider.
Key conclusions Manali:
- Pastel colors feel safe
- The toxic and/or porous toys look cheap
- The functionality of toys, in general, could improve
Laurens | 43 y/o |The Netherlands| Tech freelancer
By seeing the sex toys resembling human shapes, the first sentence that Laurens says is: I do not have a lot of experience with other penises. Although we think this is a fair point, what if cis or hetero need some time to adjust to the fact that a sex toy resembles another person's genitals?
During our round table talks we will deep dive into topics like these!
He first picks the pink dildo created by Black Fang Labs and continues: This feels great! Weird shape. I think this one is body-safe!
What Laurens does next is a first in this experiment. He smells the toy and notices it does not have a scent.
Laurens says this looks less safe when holding the pink, non-body-safe wand attachment. It feels cheaper. Where to put it is a question he can not answer with certainty.
Moving on to the blue body-safe dildo by Funphoria. I think this one is perceived as cute. It feels body-safe and is quite soft indeed. But, don't women want something that is rock hard? And does it have a suction cup? Easy to sit on, very handy!
Laurens asks in a moment of concern: has this been used yet? We tell him that these toys have only been used to conduct these interviews. The toy is, in his words, less showy.
We continue with the rabbit vibrator, perceived as a salient thing. It looks like all the other toys out there, which makes me believe this is not body-safe. On a roll, Mister!Lastly, he picks the blue and gold body-safe toy by Neotori. Sweet Jesus, this is a big one. His first reaction is followed by saying he thinks that this is truly a handmade product. Again, on point! The colors on this sex toy could be the color palette of a bowling ball!
After smelling it, Laurens concludes that it must be body-safe. Why? Because it doesn't smell like cheap plastic!Key conclusions by Laurens:
- Use your sense of smell
- If it feels cheap, it's not body-safe
- You can get a dildo in bowling ball colors
Our experienceA couple of things stood out for us.
- Only one person smelled the toys, which is an excellent indicator of whether an item is body-safe.
- Not one person really took the time to investigate the packaging.
When we explained to the interviewees what exactly was on the packaging, they were startled. For example, one toy has body-safe written on the packaging while made from toxic material.This is why understanding what is body-safe and what is not so important. Companies will try to fool you into thinking their products are body-safe.
- Sex toys are not taboo anymore, so let's not call it that again.
It was surprisingly easy to find people to participate in this experiment. While at first, we thought people would not like to be seen sitting in with multiple sex toys in front of them. And for everyone in the office to see them sitting there!
Everyone was candid and open, not only by sharing their first thoughts but also by asking many questions. We guess sex toys just have that effect on people.
- When comparing the toys, all interviewees were more attracted to the body-safe ones.
We will continue doing research like this as this has provided us with valuable information about people's thought processes. We hope you picked up on a few tips along the way.Disclaimer
*the non-body-safe toys in the header image (with the rabbit vibrator, wand attachment and anal dildo) are made from materials Konfettie considers not body-safe. It does not mean that all toys that look like that are toxic or porous. Always check the label to be sure.
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