You’re the proud owner of a sex toy chest full of treasures. You surely enjoy using them yourself but maybe you want to try them with a partner, or multiple partners. This doesn’t evoke quite the same squeamish finding a used adult toy on the shelves of a thrift store would, but it certainly raises a few questions for your consideration. A good sex toy doesn’t come cheap but the best ones - including those meant to be used with a partner - are often the highest quality and longest lasting.
You don’t have to trade out sex toys with new partners; even if you have multiple partners at once you can use the same toys if you’re properly caring for them and everyone is aware and consenting. If you and your friends are comfortable with it, you can even lend out toys for test drives before they make large purchases. Keeping your adult toys clean is always important, but it’s especially so if you are going to be using them with or sharing them between multiple people. While it is possible to share toys, you need to take the right precautions with your partners, yourself, and the toys themselves.
Here’s how you can you share your toys, just like Mama raised you:
- Consider which toys you are most likely to use. For example, if you have something along the lines of the LELO Ida Couples Massager, naturally you’ll use it with a partner and you may not be exclusive with one person, or that relationship may end. No need to throw out the toy. When purchasing, make notes about the cleaning restrictions on the toys. Which are heat resistant? Which can’t be completely submerged in water?
The good thing is that you do not need to buy a different cleaner for every single toy; there are toy cleaners that are designed to work with specific materials. Know what sorts of cleaners you should look into buying, and whether or not you should just boil the toy. Steel toys, such as the NJOY Eleven, can simply be boiled in water and then put back into storage after. Many suggest cleaning your toys after and before use, especially if your storage isn’t perfect. For a quick guide on the different materials toys have and what cleaners they need, you can check the Sex Toy Safety: A Guide to Materials. Understanding the different materials will give you insight on the correct cleaning methods.
- What is your storage situation like? Your toys may be clean when you put them away but if you are not storing them correctly then they can come into contact with bacteria that should not be put into your body or anyone else’s. It also means that if you’ve used a toy with a partner who happened to have an STI that was discovered after use, the toy they used could spread the infection to others. Correct storage should be dry, free of humidity, and cool. Something that is well closed to avoid entry of dirt or dander is best. Of course, remember to keep your hands clean after using the toy and before putting it away again. Toys should also be dry before being put back into to storage.
- Get the right cleaner. There are a lot of products on the market that all upsell as the best. This doesn’t have to be as complicated as it seems. Most toys are made of silicone and they’re waterproof, so wiping the toy off with water and a bit of a silicone safe cleaner such as the Swiss Navy Toy & Body Toy Cleaner is sufficient. Most steel, glass, and even some silicone toys can be boiled.
If you really want to, you can run the toys through the dishwasher - but make sure to clean up after. Toys can be cleaned up with just warm water and dish soap, though you should avoid any that leave behind residue, like most antibacterial hand soaps. Sanitizing leather toys can be a bit more difficult as they require better care and conditioning. Items such as whips or blindfolds are easy to clean up with a bit of rubbing alcohol.
- If you are sharing toys with others and have found out that one of you has an STI, the toys can usually be cleaned up afterwards. To help avoid the spread of STIs via toy use (before the STI is discovered) you should use condoms on the toys, and rise off afterwards. The use of shared toys should stop after the STI has been discovered and those who are sharing toys should be tested. For most STIs you can continue using toys. For more information, read our article on STDs and Sex Toys.
Keeping your adult toys clean and well stored is essential to keep your body and toy collection safe, but if you are also sharing your toys or using them with various partners it’s even more critical - for their safety and yours. Always consider everyone’s health when you start sharing toys, and agree on specific cleaning methods.Article by Sara at JOUJOU