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How do I use sex toys safely?

Sharing sex toys with other people can spread STDs — if someone who has an STD uses a sex toy, the body fluids on that toy can spread the infection to the next person who uses that toy. So if you’re using a sex toy with a partner, it’s important to take steps to help prevent STDs. 

Wash your sex toys with mild soap and water after you use them, and before they touch another person’s genitals. Putting condoms on sex toys can help keep them clean and prevent the spread of STDs. Just make sure you change condoms before the toy touches another person’s genitals. 

If you’re using a sex toy in your anus, make sure you use lots of lube. The anus doesn’t lubricate itself (get wet) the way a vagina does, so putting something in your butt without adding lube can be painful, uncomfortable, and even unsafe. And never put a sex toy that’s been in an anus into a vagina without washing it or changing the condom first. If germs from your anus get into your vagina, it can lead to vaginitis.

It’s also important to make sure that any sex toy you use in your anus has a wide base or some other way to keep it from going all the way in. If a sex toy goes so far into your anus that you can’t reach it, you may need to see a nurse or doctor to get it out. (You can’t lose a sex toy in your vagina because your cervix blocks the end of it.)

Don’t use silicone lube with silicone sex toys (unless you put condoms on them) — silicone lube can react with the solid silicone in your toy and damage it. Water-based lube is a safe bet to use with any sex toy (and any condom). 

If you’re putting a sex toy inside your body (mouth, vagina, or anus), it’s best to use one made of a body-safe, non-porous material — like 100% silicone (not silicone blends), hard plastic, stainless steel, aluminum, and break-resistant glass. Toys made from non-porous materials don’t absorb germs and are easier to keep clean. 

Sex toys made from materials that may be porous — like silicone blends, jelly rubber, PVC, vinyl, TPR, TPE, elastomer, or other rubbery plastics —  can absorb germs that can lead to infections, even if you always wash your toy. But you can always use a condom on your toy to help it stay clean and keep any possible germs on it out of your body. 

For the best way to clean and care for your sex toy, read the directions that came with it or ask the staff at your local sex toy store.

It’s always best to use sex toys that are specifically made to be sex toys, especially if you’re putting them inside your body. DIY sex toys might not be safe, especially if they can break, have rough, sharp, or loose parts, or are made of materials that are unsanitary or can cause a reaction.

How do I use sex toys safely

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