When I first began collecting sex toys, I thought I was being smart by only purchasing the cheapest items on amazon. In less than a year I bought over 100 sex toys/accessories, and I hadn’t spent more than 20 dollars on each toy. This was great for my wallet (at the time,) but it did some terrible things to my health. As it turns out, over ninety percent of the toys I bought were made of jelly or another toxic material. I was uneducated, and I wasn’t aware of the dangers of toxic sex toys, porous materials, phthalates, or parabens.
That year, through early 2013, I developed extreme headaches, nausea, lower back pain, and severe discomfort when urinating. This was unbearable when experienced on top of my pre-existing PGAD and chronic pelvic pain. I spent most of my time (and money) at urgent care, where they dismissed me as just imagining the symptoms, and told me to check with my PCP if the pain persisted. My regular doctor was unavailable at the time, and the pain just kept getting worse. Eventually, it got to the point that I couldn’t walk or hold down food because of the pain.
I had to go to the hospital.
As it turns out, I had a urinary tract infection that had spread to my kidneys. I was also suffering from what seemed to be an extreme allergic reaction in my vaginal walls that the doctors mistakenly suspected to be from using latex condoms. I like to think of myself as an extremely hygienic person, I am not prone to UTIs either, and I am certainly not allergic to latex or any spermicides. It wasn’t until I started using jelly toys that I started getting infections on a regular basis. After doing some research, I also learned that my “allergic reaction” was actually chemical burn.
Nearly all of my sex toys were porous meaning they had microscopic holes all over that could trap bacteria, viruses, fungus, etc. Even though the outside of my jelly toys may have been clean, bacteria from using the toys beforehand (both vaginally and anally) was still active inside of the toy’s material. There is no way to properly sanitize a porous toy. You can’t boil them, they aren’t dishwasher safe, and bleach would actually absorb into something like jelly causing it to become more toxic. Even washing them really good with soap and water only removes the bacteria from the surface. The residual bacteria inside the pores are what caused my UTI(s) and cost me several trips to the doctors.
Another thing I learned during my studies is that there is little to no government regulation on what sex toys can be composed of. Many contain harmful chemicals called phthalates which are used to make jelly and PVC toys squishy. Unfortunately for me, phthalates are not body safe and can cause chemical burns. This was extremely distressing news to me, as I had spent hundreds of dollars on a collection of sex toys that were harmful to my body. At first, I was not sure what to do. I started using condoms with my jelly toys, and I guess that was a little safer. However, I eventually realized the noxious odor of the toxic toys in my house was causing me to have migraines.
Just the smell made me sick.
I eventually gave up on my collection. I trashed half of my sex toys and sold the other half to a strange man in his mid thirties via Craigslist. It was a weird drug deal kind of scene, except the drugs were dildos and butt plugs. He didn’t seem to understand/care about the dangers of the jelly toys. All he knew was that I was STD free and that was good enough for him. At the time, I was not really concerned for his safety. He was willing to buy used sex toys from a stranger after all. I would not understand the problems with victim blaming until years later.
My mind was occupied with the loss of all 100+ sex toys I had come to know, love, and at the same time resent. It was one of the worst break-ups I have ever had. With only the We-vibe 2 and a couple of cheap plastic vibes to keep me company, my heart sank and I quickly became very depressed. I resorted to less-conventional methods of masturbation. If you haven’t guessed by now, sex is a huge part of my life. Honestly, I wasn’t sure how I was going to make it.
Then I joined twitter. The rest is, as they say, history. My life changed when I started following other sex bloggers. They each taught me something new and helped me along the way to creating my own blog and website. I now own several silicone sex toys as well as some very satisfying body-safe vibrators. Although my collection is nowhere near as large or inclusive as it used to be, it is definitely better than ever before. If nothing else comes out of this blog, my hope is that someone somewhere avoids making the same mistake. When it comes to sex toys quality really is better than quantity.