The sex toy industry is largely void of any sort of regulation, so unless you shop with a trusted retailer like us, you don’t know what kinds of chemicals might be lurking in your toys.
We know that unsafe materials like jelly can degrade, melt, off-gas, and harbor bacteria. And we’ve definitely heard horror stories about reactions people have had to toxic toys: burning, rashes, bacterial infections, and more. But even we were surprised by the severity of the health problems that sex blogger Pantophile Panic experienced due to use of unsafe sex toys.
Here’s what happened: PP didn’t know about phthalates or the dangers of toxic toys. She had amassed a sex toy collection of over 100 toys and accessories, but she hadn’t spent more than $20 on any single toy. All the money she saved, though, “made up for itself in hospital bills”:
That year, through early 2013, I developed extreme headaches, nausea, lower back pain, and severe discomfort when urinating. This was unbearable when experienced on top of my pre-existing PGAD and chronic pelvic pain. I spent most of my time (and money) at urgent care, where they dismissed me as just imagining the symptoms, and told me to check with my PCP if the pain persisted. My regular doctor was unavailable at the time, and the pain just kept getting worse. Eventually, it got to the point that I couldn’t walk or hold down food because of the pain.
I had to go to the hospital.
As it turns out, I had a urinary tract infection that had spread to my kidneys. I was also suffering from what seemed to be an extreme allergic reaction in my vaginal walls that the doctors mistakenly suspected to be from using latex condoms. I like to think of myself as an extremely hygienic person, I am not prone to UTIs either, and I am certainly not allergic to latex or any spermicides. It wasn’t until I started using jelly toys that I started getting infections on a regular basis. After doing some research, I also learned that my “allergic reaction” was actually chemical burn.
The toxic sex toys were to blame for PP’s urinary tract infection. They were almost all porous jelly toys that could not be properly sanitized. Bacteria, which had become trapped on the surfaces of the toys, had caused the infection.
As a temporary solution, PP used condoms over her toys… but the mere smell of the toys gave her migraines. So finally, she decided to rid herself of most of her collection, save for a We-Vibe 2 and a handful of hard plastic vibes. She also discovered a wealth of information online, such as sex toy reviewers and sex educators. Now, thank goodness, her collection is comprised solely of safe toys.
This is quite the cautionary tale, and we appreciate Pantophile Panic so much for taking the time to tell it. This story is exactly why part of our mission is to educate consumers about unsafe sex toys. Fill your toybox, as Pantophile Panic now has, with body-safe toys that will last a lifetime. It may cost more up-front, but your health is worth it.
Have you had a reaction to a sex toy before?