Tuesday, 08 November 2011 | Tonya Kay | Blog Entry
You can find sex toys everywhere sensual pleasure exists or has existed—unless you live in Alabama, of course, where the last remaining US state law banning the sale of these items is still on books. Yes, outside of Alabama and India, we legally play with sex toys because we like pleasure and we don't like disease. All us good little girls (and boys) are at home having safe sex with our toys—or so we thought. We carefully picked out the color, size and ergonomics of our personal sanity device, but did we consider the materials it was made from?
A Little History
Sex toys have been around since the beginning of time. Not mine, specifically. But other peoples'. Like the dildo William Shakespeare mentioned in Act V, Scene 3 of The Winter's Tale (15th century). Or the Upper Paleolithic people's 20-centimeter stone phallus discovered in a cave in what is now Germany nearly 30,000 years ago. Or how about the doctors' vibrating electric tools of the late 1800s—predating the invention of the motor-driven vacuum cleaner by 10 years—said to relieve "hysteria" by massaging women's genitals until "hysterical paroxysm" was achieved. Eleven such sanity aids are on display at the Minneapolis Bakken Library and Museum of Electricity in Life.
Is it just me longing for the "good old days" of healthcare right about now? Preventative maintenance covering vibrators instead of that toxic little blue pill!
Phthalates in Phalluses
In Canada, authorities have advised retailers to end the sale of baby teething rings and dog chew toys due to the presence of phthalates used in their manufacture. The European Union has enacted a ban on phthalates used in children's toys. And Greenpeace Netherlands and UK called upon the European Union to place a ban on all vibrators and other personal pleasure devices containing phthalates on August 8th, 2006, after the TNO (the Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research) discovered that seven out of eight sex toys contained phthalates in concentrations of 24-51%.
Phthalates are petroleum-derived plasticizers found in many common household items including carpeting, synthetic bedding, hair products, cosmetics, food containers and anything containing PVC, like vinyl. Phthalates are responsible for that ubersoft and squishy plastic feel we've come to enjoy in our flooring and sexy toys. Because phthalates have no atomic bond with the plastic they are mixed with, they are highly volatile and easily released into the air, groundwater and environment. If you smell perfumy odor from your new sex toy, you can bet phthalates are off-gassing. If you feel a slippery coating on your sex toy after it has sat for some time, it's the unstable phthalates breaking down.
The Health Effects
Phthalates, even in small quantities, appear to wreak havoc on human health. High concentrations have been linked to testes damage in rats, lowered sperm count in men, improper genital development in baby boys, premature breast development in young women and asthma in young children. In addition, there is research that points to phthalates being associated with childhood Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), cellular resistance to insulin (a type 2 diabetes precursor), endocrine disruption and metabolic interference. Yes, this does mean there is a link between obesity and phthalates exposure. Your dildo could be making you fat.
Safe Sex Toys
But this is by no means anti-masturbation propaganda. I'm all for dildos—say it again! Nobody loves me like I do! I just wanna make sure even my solo sex is safe sex.
So I did some research and development—and discovered we have more options than we might think. I found a pocket rocket that advertises "phthalate-free" plastic on its box. And I couldn't help but notice the array of lifelike, warmth-holding silicone dongs in all colors, shapes and sizes. Handblown glass dildos are works of art that also hold a nice iced temperature, if you are into the cold. And certainly you can always wear a condom with your old Phthalate-infused trustworthys without having to replace them at all.
Of course, I wouldn't be a raw vegan renegade without including my favorite recipe: banana and coconut oil… Happy hysteria!