A sex toy is an object or device that is primarily used to facilitate human sexual pleasure, such as a dildo or vibrator. Many popular sex toys are designed to resemble human genitals and may be vibrating or non-vibrating. The term can also include BDSM apparatus and sex furniture such as slings, however it is not applied to items such as birth control, pornography, or condoms. Alternative expressions include adult toy and marital aid, although "marital aid" has a broader sense and is applied to drugs and herbs marketed to supposedly enhance or prolong sex. Sex toys are most commonly sold at a sex shop.
- 1 Types of sex toys
- 2 Flesh-like materials used in sex toys
- 3 Health and safety concerns
- 4 Legal issues
- 5 Industry
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 Further reading
- 9 External links
Types of sex toys
Vibrators are vibrating devices intended to stimulate the body. Vibrators come in a range of shapes and sizes, for internal or external use. Some vibrators intended for internal use are phallic in shape. Small vibrators may have a stretchy loop attachment for use as a finger toy or cock ring.
- Penetrative vibrators usually measure twelve to eighteen cm (five to seven inches) in length and two to five cm (one to two inches) wide often to mimic the size of the average human penis.
- Anal vibrators are designed to be inserted into the rectum, which may stimulate the prostate in men. The safest ones have a flared base which remains outside the body, that prevents the toy from becoming irretrievable.
- G-spot vibrators are curved at one end to facilitate stimulation of the female G-spot.
- Bullet vibrators are small, bullet-shaped vibrators that can be used for direct stimulation or inserted into other sex toys to increase stimulation. Some are sold with stretchy loops for attachment as a finger toy or cock ring.
- Vibrator wands, such as the Hitachi Magic Wand, are large vibrators that generally plug into an electrical outlet (versus operating on battery power) and are often marketed as back massagers. They are able to produce far more powerful vibration than most battery-powered vibrators. Various attachments made of silicone or a rubber material allow the toy to be used penetratively, or give the toy more interesting texture.
- Alarm clock vibrators designed to wake users in erotic or pleasurable ways.
- The rabbit vibrator, of which there are several variations, is a popular female sex toy popularized by the television series Sex and the City. It comprises an insertable shaft which often has additional functionality, such as rotation and internal beads or a thrusting action. Attached to the shaft is a vibrating clitoral stimulator. For most rabbit vibrators this comes in the form of "bunny ears" which sit each side of the clitoris.
- Luxury vibrators have an increased focus on design and the use of expensive materials that appeal to a more upscale fashion market.
- "Artificial vaginas", also known as "pocket pussies" or "masturbators", are modelled to accept a penis for simulated intercourse. They can be shaped like vaginas, anuses, or anything with a hole for penetration. Some are equipped with sex-machine options that work similar to milking machines.
- A fifi (also fifi towel or fifi bag) is a slang term for an improvised vagina, often made of cloth or fabric.
- Cock rings prolong male erection by holding blood inside the penis. A man may wear a cock-ring to combat erectile difficulties, or for the sensation of tightness and engorgement that wearing one provides. Some models include a protruding clitoral stimulator, designed to stimulate the clitoris during sex. Others vibrate, either vibrating the ring itself, or in a popular 'Dolphin' variant by using two removable bullet vibrators to provide stimulation to both the testicles and clitoris. Some cock rings also have vibrators attached which can be worn to stimulate a partner during sexual intercourse, especially in the scrotum or perineum.
- A triple crown is a special cock-ring that has additional rings for restraining the testicles. In orgasm, the testicles usually retract toward the body before ejaculation. A triple crown changes and intensifies the sensation of orgasm by forcing the testicles to stay away from the body.
- A cock harness is a more elaborate harness designed to be worn around the penis and scrotum. Its function is similar to that of a cock ring. These devices are often associated with BDSM activities such as cock and ball torture. An Arab strap is one such form of harness, purported to be a device used for maintaining an erection.
- A ball lock is an ordinary padlock fastened around the male scrotum, separating the testicles away from the penis and not removable except by key or combination.
- A penis sleeve is a cylindrical device that is placed on the shaft of the penis, with the aim of increasing stimulation for the person being penetrated. They often have soft bumps intended to provide further stimulation.
- A penis extension is a partially hollow device like a very short dildo, with the hollow end placed on the end of the penis, intended to increase the effective length of the penis, again for the benefit of the person being penetrated. These are generally worn with condoms to prevent them from falling off during use.
- A docking sleeve is a cylindrical device similar to a penis sleeve, but is open at both ends, so that two men can dock, a form of mutual masturbation.
Glass sex toys
Glass sex toys are commonly made from clear medical grade borosilicate glass ("hard glass"). This particular type of safety toughened glass is non-toxic and will withstand extreme temperatures, as well as physical shock without compromising its structural integrity.
The choice of this high-grade material provides safety in use and the option to heat or chill the toys. Borosilicate glass is also non-porous and can be sterilized to help prevent infection with reuse. The highest quality glass toys can even be put in the dishwasher making them easier to keep clean. As well as their practical qualities, a main selling point of glass sex toys is their visual appeal.
Some glass sex toys vibrate. There are two main ways this can be achieved:
1. The toy may have a hole into which a small bullet vibrator can be inserted. 2. The core of the glass design can be modified to form a standard vibrator.
Option 2 usually has a plastic cap covering the battery compartment, which will also house any control buttons or switches.
- A nipple clamp is a clamp used to stimulate the nipples by applying varying degrees of pressure.
- Suction devices are generally either rubber or glass, fit around the nipple, and cause nipples to become more sensitive due to engorgement. Glass suction devices may use either heat or a pump to create suction.
- Butt plugs are often shorter dildos intended for anal insertion. They tend to have a flared base to prevent the device from becoming lodged in the rectum.
Butt plugs should not be shared with other people, due to the risk of blood-borne diseases, including HIV that can arise from the transfer of body fluids from one person to another. They should be used only for anal play and not inserted into any other orifice, to avoid the transfer of harmful bacteria to other parts of the body. These bacteria may persist through cleaning.
- Prostate massagers are devices designed to stimulate a man's prostate for health and pleasure.
- Anal beads
General penetrative toys
- A dildo is a non-vibrating device which is used for sexual stimulation of the vagina and/or anus. Dildos are generally made of silicone rubber, but can be made of other materials such as metals or glass. They are often made to resemble a penis.
- A double penetration dildo is a long, usually flexible dildo with both ends designed for penetration. It allows for mutual penetration between two persons (or for double penetration of a single female, both anally and vaginally).
- A strap-on dildo is a dildo worn in a harness, used to penetrate another person.
- Ben Wa balls are hollow metal balls inserted vaginally which can be worn inside the vagina for extended periods of time. The internal rolling is claimed to enhance orgasms.
- Kegel exerciser, also known as vaginal barbells or jugglers are designed to improve muscle tone in the pelvic floor, and can be used for sexual pleasure as well as enhancing vaginal response.
- A horseshoe is a non-vibrating sex toy which is shaped similar to a horseshoe, which is put into the vagina and anus at the same time. It is made with softer plastics.
- A sex-machine is a motor-driven device that combines penetration with rotational and/or reciprocal movement.
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Erotic furniture is furniture specially shaped for comfort, penetration levels, and stimulation.
Improvised sex toys
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A significant interest has grown up in improvised sex toys and object penetration. Items used include fruit, vegetables, bottles, vases, and baseball bats. Also women may use vibrating household items such as a cell phone to stimulate their clitoris.
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Another form of sex toy for both men and women are those for erotic electrostimulation.
Flesh-like materials used in sex toys
- Silicone is soft and lifelike, it is hypoallergenic, warms up quickly to body temperature, non-porous and so is easy to clean (with mild soap and water, or boiled for sterilization). Unlike jelly rubber and other porous materials, silicone can be sterilized in temperatures up to 300 °C (572 °F). In addition, it can be bleached in a 10% bleach solution. When using lubricants with silicone sex toys it is important that silicone or silicone-based lubricants are not used to avoid damage to the toy. There are different grades of silicone; it is preferable that medical-grade silicone be used for sex toys. Cheaper silicone products may use industrial-grade silicone.
- CyberSkin is a thermal plastic elastomer and is a close emulation of real skin. CyberSkin is made from ingredients on FDA approved lists and it does not contain phthalates, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), heavy metals or latex. It is easy to clean and maintain by washing it with soap and water, patting dry. Water based lubricants are best and they should be stored in a dry place.
- Latex rubber, also called jelly rubber, is commonly used for sex toys; it is a flexible and inexpensive material allowing the user more options in size and look. While latex is commonly used and less expensive than materials such as silicone, glass and CyberSkin, it can be allergenic to some people with latex allergy. Latex is porous and should be cleaned thoroughly with an antibacterial soap and water and not shared with other people. Some rubber toys contain phthalates which are used to soften rubber, but carry serious risks. Studies have been done that showed adverse reproductive effects in animal and human subjects. Further research is ongoing but phthalates have a known detrimental effect on multiple facets of human health and their use in sex toys is strongly discouraged. It is recommended by many experts that one use a condom with each use for protection against bacterial infection or sexually transmitted diseases if one is sharing sex toys. Water and silicone-based lubricants can be used with latex toys, but oil-based lubricants and petroleum jelly should not be used with latex as these may adversely affect the toy.
Health and safety concerns
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Danish retailers report that they often lack information about the composition of sex toys that they sell. A recent (2006) study conducted by the Greenpeace Netherlands office found high level of phthalates in seven out of eight plastic sex toys tested.
Studies on rodents have revealed that when exposed to very large doses, phthalates can cause damage to the liver, lungs, kidneys, testes and can cause hormonal disruption. The latest research indicates that exposure to these substances can upset the body's ability to regulate hormone production, damage reproduction, and can cause liver and kidney defects. They can also possibly cause cancer.
Sex toys are currently classified as novelties, despite their sexual nature. This is because sex toy manufacturers find the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) to have extensive testing and financial requirements for sex toys to be classified as medical devices. Therefore, sex toy manufacturers more often choose the less complex production by labelling them a novelty. Due to the novelty classification, sex toys are permitted to contain known toxins in them such as phthalates (some of which have been banned in children's toys by the CPSC) and in some cases lead paint.
In 2000, the development toward safe and nontoxic sex toys in the United States began with sexual health pioneers such as Lisa S. Lawless, Ph.D. who founded one of the first retail sex toy stores (Holistic Wisdom) to carry only nontoxic sex toys.} Her articles, radio and magazine interviews have been a major influence in the public eye, allowing consumers to become more aware of health concerns regarding sex toy safety. Lawless also began a movement toward safer sex toys through the National Association for the Advancement of Science & Art in Sexuality (NAASAS). This trade organization works with professionals in the field of sexuality and the adult industry to self regulate the safety of sex toys.
||The examples and perspective in this article deal primarily with the United States and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (September 2010)|
Sex toys and lubricants have become increasingly available in major commercial outlets in the United States. On-shelf displays tend to be more discreet than the offerings on web sites. These items tend to be displayed in the "sexual health" sections of stores.
Until recently, many Southern and some Great Plains states banned the sale of sex toys completely, either directly or through laws regulating "obscene devices." In 1999, William H. Pryor, Jr., an assistant attorney general in Alabama commenting on a case involving sex toys and discussing to what end the devices are used, was quoted as saying there is no "fundamental right for a person to buy a device to produce orgasm". A federal appeals court upheld Alabama's law prohibiting the sale of sex toys on Valentine's Day, 2007.
In February 2008, a federal appeals court overturned a Texas statute banning the sales of sex toys, deeming such a statute as violating the Constitution's 14th Amendment on the right to privacy. The appeals court cited Lawrence v. Texas, where the U.S. Supreme Court in 2003 struck down bans on consensual sex between gay couples, as unconstitutionally aiming at "enforcing a public moral code by restricting private intimate conduct." Similar statutes have been struck down in Kansas and Colorado.
Dr. Marty Klein, author of America's War on Sex and an advocate for the moral value of sex toys, has written of sex toy bans that this "extraordinary erosion of personal liberty, coupled with the massive disrespect of and fear of sexuality is no joke" and that the "Supreme Court [of the United States] has declared our orgasms a battlefield, and sex toys another casualty."
Section 18A of the Sexual Offences Act, 1957, inserted by the Immorality Amendment Act, 1969, prohibited the manufacture or sale of any item "intended to be used to perform an unnatural sexual act". The term "unnatural sexual act" referred to any sex other than vaginal heterosexual sex, and this prohibition was ostensibly aimed at preventing the use of dildos by lesbians. No longer enforced, the section was repealed by the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act, 2007.
Globally, the sex toy industry is valued at USD 15 billion, with a growth rate of 30%. A total of 70% of sex toys are manufactured in China. Sex toys are sold in various types of local and online sex shops.
- Anti-Obscenity Enforcement Act
- Genital jewellery
- Sex doll
- Sex shop
- Sex toy party
- Venus 2000
- Tenga (masturbation toy)
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- Holthouse, David. Alabama vs. Dildos Attorney General Troy King stands hard against stimulators, Dame Magazine
- Singh, Jyotsna (20 June 2007). India rattled by vibrating condom. BBC News
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- Botha, Kevan; Cameron, Edwin (1997). "South Africa". In West, Donald J.; Green, Richard. Sociolegal Control of Homosexuality: A Multi-Nation Comparison. New York: Plenum Press. pp. 22–23. ISBN 0-306-45532-3.
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