Sex toys can be a fun and healthy part of sexual expression. Whether you’re using them solo or with a partner, it’s important to keep your health in mind so the experience stays positive and you know you’re doing the most you can to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infections.
Saskatoon Sexual Health is a centre for all things related to reproductive and sexual health. Along with providing information, the centre also sells a variety of sex toys at good price points. They offer a vibrator for as low as $5, and many of the toys they carry sit within the $5 to $40 price range. Products available at Saskatoon Sexual Health include dildos, harnesses, male masturbators, cockrings and rabbits. They will also order in sex toys from sexyliving.ca.
Natalya Mason, who handles education and outreach for SSH, explains what toys can bring to your sex life.
“They’re great for exploring, figuring out what you like and what you don’t like,” Mason said. “They can also be fun to use with partners to figure out what your partner likes and doesn’t like. There’s so, so, so many different options, and I think they’re a really good opportunity to explore and figure out what’s pleasurable.”
Mason also has advice for those looking to purchase a sex toy. For beginners, she recommends starting with something affordable and says that it’s good to have cleaning in mind when selecting any product.
“What we would be looking for in a good-quality toy is something that can be sanitized adequately,” Mason said. “A high-grade silicone toy can be easily boiled — same would go for glass or metal toys. Those can all be boiled, [or] you can also use a toy cleaner on them.”
Mason also explains that, while toy cleaner is good for in between uses, a deep clean like a boil or a wash in the dishwasher is recommended when switching partners. With materials outside of the ones described above, there are other factors to keep in mind.
“Stuff like wood, for example, or sometimes cheaper toys are made of a jelly material — those things are both porous. If a material is porous, that means that bacteria can make its way into the toy and set up shop. That’s not something you want, in terms of just exposing yourself to bacteria over and over again, but also if you have partners, you wouldn’t want to be sharing toys like that,” Mason said.
A tip Mason shared for those wanting to use toys made out of porous materials is to first put a condom over them — which allows for them to be used without accumulating bacteria. This method can also be used when one plans on using the same toy in both the rectum and the vagina as the condom allows for this kind of play without the deep clean that would normally be required when switching.
As for lubrication, Mason explains the three families of lubes: water-based, silicone and oil-based. Water-based lube is useful due to its compatibility with latex condoms and the majority of toys, and while water-based lube does dry faster than others, this can be remedied by introducing a small amount of water.
Mason describes silicone lube as being good to use in the shower, due to its water resistance, and for anal play. However, it is important to keep in mind that silicone lube will destroy a silicone toy and that the same can happen if silicone toys are stored together. Oilbased lube is not recommended by Mason because it can’t be used with latex condoms.
Mason’s final piece of advice is that, in order for a sex toy to be good to use in the rectum, it needs a wide enough base to prevent it from being sucked in — a tip that could save you a trip to the emergency room.
Jack Thompson / Sports & Health Editor
Photo: Morderska / Supplied