Sex Toy Etiquette 101: Sharing, Buying, and Cleaning Your Pleasure Products

Do you have a favorite sex toy? Maybe you have multiple faves! You know, your go-to pleasure products that get you off without fail, every single time? 

Sure, I have a container full of toys beside my bed, but I definitely favor a couple of them more than the others. Still, mixing it up from time to time is fun too! For example, using my Honey Wand to stimulate certain parts of my body, or using my g-spot vibrator to experience different sensations. 

But when it comes to sheer ecstasy, I know that my trusted clitoral stimulation toys are my prized possessions. I love to use them during solo play mostly, but when a partner is down for some toy fun, I love incorporating these delicious products into our play time. 

But does that mean I should throw them out when I take a new lover or partner? The answer isn’t exactly black and white.

There are a number of reasons why someone may believe that re-using sex toys with multiple partners is a bad idea. 

Sex Toy Ettiquette: Sharing Sex Toys

Different Partners, Different Sex Toys

The face of pleasure is different for everyone. Just as I admitted to loving my clit stimulator, my partner may be more interested in using a rabbit vibrator on me, or using a couple’s toy that gives both of us pleasure simultaneously. Or, they may be interested in trying an anal toy or masturbator sleeve.

In this way, I can’t assume that what my previous partner loved, my current one will. Every relationship is unique, and there’s a certain dynamic between two people.

Also, it’s pretty fun and thrilling to go sex toy shopping with your partner, whether it’s online or visiting a physical sex shop. I love the fact that I can talk to my partner about my desires, and hear more about what they’re craving. Together, we can buy a new toy (or toys!) based on our mutual interests.

And this is why I prefer to either buy new toys with a new partner, or have them introduce me to their favorite solo toys. Why solo? Well, when it comes to sex toys, sharing isn’t exactly caring... 

The Health Risks of Sharing Sex Toys

Sex toys need to be cleaned, that’s a given. But did you know that, even after cleaning a sex toy, the chances of spreading certain infections is possible?

In a small study, it was found that silicone and thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) toys that were inserted vaginally by those with HPV, and that had just been cleaned, still had traces of HPV on them (56 percent of TPE toys, and 44 percent of silicone toys)?

These toys were re-tested 24 hours later, and some (the TPE toys), still contained traces of HPV, (40 percent). What does this tell us? To be safe, perhaps avoiding TPE sex toys is a good idea if you’re sharing with a pal.

It also tells us that, if cleaned properly, the silicone toys are a much safer option when it comes to sharing, and that it’s highly unlikely that, if you wait 24 hours after cleaning, HPV will be spread.

Side note: toys made out of porous material have a higher chance of holding bacteria and viruses inside of them, even after cleaning. 

Carte Blanche

Ditching the sciencey stuff, if someone doesn’t want to share sex toys with you, they don’t have to. Everyone is different, and for some, it could be kind of weird or icky to use a toy that’s been used by somebody else… someone that you know or don’t know. 

We’re all entitled to our own opinions on the matter, and we all have a voice when it comes to sharing sex toys. Just like consent, there’s no room for negotiation. Being respectful of your partner trumps any sex toy on the market.

Here’s what a few folks over at Reddit have to say on the matter:

“I wouldn't want it used on me if it was inside someone else. Whips/paddles, stuff like that isn't that big of an issue as long as it’s cleaned well.” - user: jennyjennybaby

“Personally, it wouldn't bother me in the slightest but I can see how some people wouldn't be too keen on it.” - user: unabatedshagie

“I'd only be okay with it if the toys were made of a sterilizable, nonporous material and had been completely cleaned.” - user: celestialism

Sex Toy Ettiquette: Buying Sex Toys

We’re lucky enough to live in the digital age, which means that buying sex toys is a lot easier than what it was before. And with discreet packaging and fast shipping, you could have your next best orgasm-inducing product within a matter of days. A great time to be alive, am I right?

So whether you’re purchasing a sex toy online, or choosing to go old-school by visiting a sex shop, here are some tips that I’ve learned about buying a sex toy…

Choose a Reputable Sex Toy Shop

Just like you’d Google a restaurant or a brand of shampoo beforehand, do your research on various sex shops. I like to look at reviews of the store before I purchase something, and I also take the time to see if I can identify with the store/brand. I look at things like their website, their language, tone, aesthetic, and social media.

And when it comes to visiting a store, you’ll be able to spot the employees that are passionate and educated on what they’re selling a mile away. Experimenting with new toys is exhilarating, but a helping hand is always useful when it comes to spending your money. Learning more about sex toys and what you may find intruiging is super helpful when it comes from someone reliable and with a sense of expertise in the field.

For example, a great employee or company will be able to tell you about the different types of toys, the material they’re made from, how to clean them, and other important details. 

Ask Questions

As a consumer, it’s important to know everything about what you’re about to purchase. There are no questions that’ll shock someone who sells sex toys…trust me, being in the sex toy industry, I’ve heard them all. 

One thing to note however when you’re shopping in-store, is to try and be respectful whilst asking your questions. Instead of giggling and asking things like, “What the hell! You stick that up where?!” go for a more understated tone like, “How do you use this toy?”.

Also, if you ask a sexpert a question like, “What is the best toy?” you’re probably going to be disappointed with the answer. This is because, well, different strokes for different folks. The way in which a sex toy feels, works, and induces pleasure is completely subjective. 

I find that by being intimate with my own body in all of its sensuality allows me to learn more about the spots that bring me the most pleasure. In this way, I do my research on toys that target my hotspots, and purchase accordingly. 

Tip? You don’t have to pay an arm and a leg for an excellent sex toy! I’ve used luxury toys that didn’t quite get me hot and heavy, and I’ve used cheaper sex toys that did. It’s all about experimentation.

Don’t Be Nosey!

If you’re chatting with someone who is guiding you in the realm of sex toys, it’s perfectly natural to ask questions about the products. Asking a personal question such as, “Which toy is your favorite?” however, is simply put, none of your business.

Just because someone works in the sex toy industry, doesn’t mean that they have to disclose any of their personal preferences with a customer. If they do feel like spilling the tea with you, then they will.

Also, visiting a sex shop just to giggle and then leave can be considered rude too. Yes, we’re human, we can’t help but laugh at things that may be new or strange or exciting to us. But popping into the local sex shop with the sole intent on having a laugh is a no-go.

Sex Toy Ettiquette: Cleaning Sex Toys

Cleaning your sex toys is super important to ward off infections, but keep in mind that every type of material has a different cleaning regime. Be sure to find out what material your sex toy is made of before cleaning it.

  • Motorized Silicone, Glass, Stainless Steel, or Wood: antibacterial soap and a damp cloth to wipe clean.
  • Non-Motorized Silicone, Pyrex, Stainless Steel, or Stone: place in boiling water for about 10 minutes, or you can put it in the dishwasher without soap.
  • Hard Plastic, Elastomer, Thermoplastic Elastomer (TPR), or Jelly Rubber: because these toys are porous, bacteria can still be present after washing, so using a condom when sharing sex toys is advised. To wash, use soap and water.

So, whether you’re sharing your toys with your pals, or you’re having a party for one, making sure they’re clean is just good etiquette. How you choose to use your toys, is totally up to you and your partner. As long as it’s safe fun for everyone, we’re all for it!