Sex therapist Sarah Berry sheds some sunlight on good toy hygiene
Spring is here and most of us are putting our finances, our health routines, our CVs and our sex lives under the spring clean spotlight. Most of us understand that we need to clean our houses (and sex toys) throughout the year, but I love a good seasonal hook. So while you are cleaning throughout the year, your toy collection may have been neglected.
First step: cleaning out the carnal cobwebs: how many of you have a bedside drawer full of old toys that don’t work, don’t get you off or are worse for wear? That giant, pink beauty may have looked so promising in the packet but when you got home, you realised that the vibrations were too weak, the dimensions were wrong or it felt funny. It now sits in your toy chest reminding you of your misspent money. Time to get rid and replace with something new and exciting, how about upgrading to a Titanium Shaftsbury.
The same goes for worn out toys. You may have had hours of fun with it, but a toy that grunts and grinds its way through a session is more likely to frustrate than delight. If you don’t think it warrants battery replacement or to get a new charger then its time to part ways. Luckily, unlike partners, its much less drama to switch for a newer, better looking and satisfying model. Rather than chucking them in the bin, you may be able to recycle them.
Next step: sterilisation. Of course if you left cleaning your toys to the months of May to June they are likely to be germ-ridden, dust-coated and not fit for use – especially if they are made of a non-porous material like jelly (the see-through, soft material used for most rabbits). Non-porous materials include Pyrex glass, acrylic, hard plastic and medical grade silicon and metal. Do note many toys are classed as novelties so while they improve your sexual health and happiness, they do not need to get FDA or NICE approval. This means the package may, for example, state that a toy is silicone even if it only comprises 10% silicone. The Crowned Jewels toys are medical grade titanium so non porous, long lasting and disintegration-proof. If you are sharing your toy, you may find cleaning your toy in the midst of a session can be a bit of a mood killer. Instead pop a condom over it – a new one each time the toy is placed against or in a different orifice.
But all toys still need cleaning after use – porous or not. Bacteria can breed even if the toy looks clean. The general rule is to not clean a toy with anything you wouldn’t put inside yourself, so avoid bleach. Many toys can be sterilised by being soaked in boiled water (please allow to cool before retrieving your toy). This is great for the non-motorised Crowned Jewels toys. If your toy is glass or if it vibrates, then wipe down the surface with antibacterial soap and warm water. Check with the manufacturer if you are unsure.
A word of warning: do make sure all traces of soap are fully rinsed away or your sterilised toy has cooled enough before you use it – we want you springing around in pleasure!
Sarah Berry is a sex & relationship therapist with a private practice. She is available for sessions over Skype or in her London office. For more info visit www.sarahberrytherapy.co.uk