Safety is great, and never let anybody tell you otherwise. Learn how to properly care for your toys and your applicable areas.

Sharing is not caring

It shouldn’t even have to be said, but still: swapping is a VIP invitation to infections and such, so be the selfish boy in the playground and never share your adult toys with anyone. The one obvious exception to this is a willing partner. Nothing wrong with playing together! But if you do share, do so with great care.

Before a toy changes hands, make sure you clean it thoroughly, even if it wasn’t used internally (think cock rings). The cleaning break might be a buzzkill for you, but get suggestive with your movements and incorporate it into playtime instead.

Even if you fail at that, a little awkward pause is way less of a turn-off than waking up with a burning infection just because you lacked the nuts to be a grownup. This holds especially true for anal toys since the anus is the Bacteria Kingdom. Poor toy maintenance is literally a pain in the ass.

Know the materials

Substances called “phthalates” increase a toy’s softness and flexibility, but have horrible side effects, which may result in grave damage to the testes, prostate, overall reproductive system, or even liver, and there are known cases of men developing cancer of these areas.

Some packaging still neglects to point out any phthalates content, and it is sometimes renamed, or made a component in more harmless-sounding materials such as rubber, vinyl, jelly, or PVC. So how do you avoid the blighted thing?

Steer away from toys that are noticeably jelly-like or extremely bendable, and pay attention to a toy’s porosity (porous surfaces host bacterial colonies). The “squishiness” is not always a reliable indicator, though, so it would be best for you to stick to materials that have been proven to be safe. These include medical-grade or marked “skin-safe” glass, metal, silicone, or hard plastic.

Some people still opt for jelly over silicone because those toys are cheaper, and they just slap a condom over them. This is only a short-term solution, as phthalates do eventually leak through into your system. Once you know your materials, you can move on to aesthetics, portability, and preferred play. If you are wondering where to start, a relevant review website can always help.

Always review your basics

All of these fancy tips will do you little good in the long run if you keep forgetting the first things about toys and end up hurting yourself. So revise:

Keep any water away from your electrical toys. This might be Captain Obvious territory, but we all know that thinking straight gets pretty hard when you get hard. So drill it into your head now: keep toys away from water.

Read all the warnings and caution labels even if it feels tedious. Imagine getting electrocuted and your little old neighbor finding you unconscious or dead without your underpants. Yikes.

Use a generous amount of high-quality lubricant. Hand lotion, oil, or Vaseline are off the table, gents, especially if your toy is made of latex. Grease-based and silicone-based lubes are murder for silicone toys because they literally melt away the toy material. Stick to water-based lubricant most times. For more detailed advice on choosing the right lubricant, check out this article.

Keep all the batteries fully charged. Never, ever, neglect the charging. You do not want your toy dying in the middle of a stroke with your downstairs roommate stuck and squeezed in it. If you really cannot wait, pick another toy for the meantime or just go traditional, but leave the charger alone till it finishes (pun completely intended).

Keep it squeaky clean

Coming back full circle, let’s take a moment to talk hygiene. Yes, it is important enough to warrant a whole subheader of its own, especially if you opted to share your stuff.

Unsanitary toys are a bullet train for many nasty STDs, not least of which are hepatitis B, hepatitis C, HPV, and HIV. Always clean them thoroughly with at least warm water and soap – and fast, before anything has a chance to dry into a stubborn stain full of pathogens. If the toy is not waterproof, rubbing alcohol usually does the disinfection trick. Invest in some renewal powder or proper toy cleaner, too, as soon as you can.

Before storing your toys, let them air dry completely, on all sides. Otherwise, they will breed mold and bacteria in abundance. Choose a storage solution that is cool and dry, like a carrying case or toy storage bag. You can buy this from the same manufacturers or even get them free along with the toy when you purchase it.

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