Last Updated on by Chris Thompson
Many sex toys are made from plastic. It is particularly suitable for smooth surfaced toys and round surfaces. You’ll find a lot of basic vibrators, bullets and eggs made from different types of plastic.
Due to the rigid nature of the slim plastic shell the vibrations from sex toys made of plastic are in direct contact with the skin, which can make the sensation so much more intense than with toys made from other materials.
Hard plastic doesn’t tend to absorb body fluids or react with skin and it can be used with all lubricants. Plastic is smooth and also easy to clean but it does have a short shelf life in comparison to other materials.
However, the economical advantage is what makes them the perfect toys for the first time user. Plastic is easy to clean using a wet cloth and mild soap or preferably a specially designed sex toy cleaner that also helps kill any bacteria.
Advances in production have led to a new form of rubber – essentially clear and therefore can be colored to every possible shade. The result is ‘jelly rubber’ and it has taken the sex toy market by storm.
Toys made from this material are perfect for a first time user or a more advanced veteran looking for a new toy to experience.
Water or Silicone lubricants should always be used with Jelly toys as other lubricants can break down the delicate material, which can cause it to dissolve.
Extra Care must be taken when cleaning jelly toys due to the porous and delicate nature of the sex toy material.
The exterior is very porous which can allow bacteria to penetrate the surface and an antibacterial product specifically designed for the job is highly recommended. Harsh cleaning agents, boiling water, abrasive cleaners or alcohol should never be used as they will dissolve the jelly.
PVC – Vinyl
Still plastic, but a softer, flexible version. This creates a more natural feel for vibrators and dildos. Probably the bulk of basic vibes are made of this material.
You will also find vibrators that require movement – e.g. foreskin vibes and inflatable butt plugs made from this material.
A recent advance has been the ability to create material with a ‘pearlised’ finish, available in a rainbow of colors. This is extremely attractive and very friendly for female sex toys.
Real-Skin and Cyberskin
At the leading edge of rubber manufacture is the development of products designed to mimic the human body. These products are variously described as ‘real-skin’ ‘ero-skin’ ‘cyber-skin’ and suchlike.
Sex toys made from real-skin do feel remarkably lifelike and are preferred by many users. You will find vibrators, dildos, masturbators, eggs & love balls all either manufactured from, or covered in, this material. The feel and sensation comes very close to real life skin.
The mix of silicone and plastic gives it a real feel exterior and feels just like real life skin. It responds to warmth and friction while maintaining the hardness needed to give it the feel and appearance of real skin. The realistic appearance and feel of a Cyberskin toy can make it perfect for a first time toy, or for anyone who wants something more realistic in the bedroom.
Silicone based lubricants must not be used with a Cyberskin sex toy, as it can cause the material to melt. A water- based lubricant is the only lubricant suitable.
Additionally, oils such as baby oil and massage oils can cause discoloration and tearing.
One of the disadvantages of Cyberskin is the nature of the porous exterior, it needs very thorough and delicate cleaning to minimize any contamination from bacteria.
A special toy cleaner should always be used or an antibacterial cleanser designed for the toy. Never use any household cleaning agent as it can severely damage the toy.
Once cleaned it is advisable to dry the toy completely. A fine talcum powder should then always be applied in order to retain the toys soft real feel texture. This is the same when cleaning your fleshlight.
Latex – Rubber
Rubber is a natural material and lends itself to soft, flexible cheap sex toys. Traditional rubber is almost always either flesh or black colored. It can be molded into quite intricate patterns. Rubber is frequently used for strap on dildos.
The main disadvantage of adult toys made from latex rubber is the sensitivity that has arisen in recent years to these materials. It is advisable that if you or your partner have any sensitivities or allergies to condoms then you should choose a product made of alternative materials.
Latex is soft and pliable but not as malleable as jelly, and is an inexpensive way to start discovering sex toys. It should be taken into consideration that latex and rubber has a shorter longevity than other products on the market though.
It also has a distinctive smell which many people regard as a positive feature, adding yet another sensation to their experience.
Water based and silicone lube should always be used when using latex and rubber. Other lubricants should be avoided as it can harm the material. Rubber and latex are very porous which can lead to bacteria contaminating the toy. When cleaning a latex or rubber toy, warm water, gentle soap or a sex toy cleaner should be used. Standard soaps or abrasive cleaners will harm the surface of the toy.
This material has a great feel – not too soft but not too hard. Silicone toys are hand-poured and it is more of a craftsmen production environment. The material lends itself to fabulous colors, mixed colors, swirls of movement and great creativity from the designers.
The main advantage of Silicone is that it is hypoallergenic, which allows people who have had previous allergic reactions to materials to use them without risk. The non-porous surface also stops bacteria penetrating its surface meaning less chance of infection should the toy not be cleaned properly.
One of the best features of silicone is the way it responds to warmth, it slowly warms up to body temperature and retains it.
The Smooth texture of the material lessens friction and allows for smooth penetration when used in conjunction with a suited lubricant. Although you must not use silicone based lubricant with a Silicone toy as the silicone lubricant can melt the body of the toy.
Oil and petroleum based lubricants should be used with caution. A water based lubricant is always a safe bet. Silicone is more expensive than plastic but offers longevity, hypoallergenic qualities and the ability to be sterilized.
The soft and warm exterior is also a wonderful bonus giving new users a softer more gentle first experience. Silicone can be easily cleaned and sterilized with hot water or a sex toy cleaner, it can also be boiled to sterilise or cleaned in a dishwasher, although any plastic components should be taken into consideration.
Glass sex toys are exploding in popularity, despite their high cost. Glass is a great material for sex toys provided that it is correctly manufactured. Good glass toys are made from medical grade borosilicate glass, sometimes referred to as ‘Pyrex’.
Think about the many kitchen saucepans and other glass receptacles that you can actually place directly on the hob or in the oven. And glass is also used in the space shuttle windows. Its pretty tough stuff.
A word of caution.
Some suppliers are importing glass toys from the far east which are of dubious quality and have little or no manufacturing quality control. We recommend sticking with well known and respected brands like Phallix.
Glass is a superb material to make some of the most attractive and interesting dildos. It can be heated in water or cooled in a fridge or freezer for new experiences. It doesn’t smell, is easy to clean and properly looked after will last a lifetime.
Good glass doesn’t come cheap. Each piece is hand-made by a craftsman and it can take up to a day to make one item. Anything with the slightest flaw is rejected. So if you want to play with glass, you must be prepared to pay the price.
Acrylic is a special type of hard, transparent plastic sometimes called Perspex. Now it is being used to mould different kinds of dildos and anal toys. We love the ability to create interesting and unusual shapes, plus make some wonderfully subtle colors – sometimes enhanced by metallic glitter inside the acrylic material.