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Bed, Bath, and Beyond

ducksoap.jpgI saw a new sex toy today - a vibrator imbedded in a bar of soap. It got me thinking - first about our own soap masturbation toy, then about things people do in the bathroom.

Besides the bedroom, the bathroom is probably the next most popular room of the house for having sex and/or masturbating. It makes sense - some people can't get privacy anywhere else, you're usually at least partly undressed in there, and the running water makes for easy clean-up or disposal of evidence. And if you have a shower massager, sometimes the water is the best way to get off.

The other benefit of the bathroom is a ready supply of slippery substances to use as lubricants. But just because that lotion is safe to rub on your hands, it doesn't mean it won't irritate your johnson if you use it to jerk off.  Here are a few guideline for using toiletries as improvised lubricants.

For male masturbation:
  • Lotion is popular, but the fragrances may irritate your genitals, so use unscented if possible. If you do use scented lotion, wash it off afterwards.
  • Don't use your Axe body wash. Your junk will smell great, but your dick may get irritated and dry. Same goes for deodorant soaps, scented soaps, and shampoos.
  • Use at your own risk: toothpaste, Vicks, Gold Bond powder. It might seem exciting, but jerking off with Ben-Gay or Icy Hot will put you in a world of hurt.

For insertion (girls and guys):
  •  Again, stay away from scented products. Some unscented lotions or creams may be OK to use as lube, but they aren't meant for internal use, so use caution.
  • Soap or shampoo of any kind is not a good lube. It will irritate your vaginal or anal membranes.
  • Water-based lubricants will wash away in the shower, but you can use silicone-based lubes.
  • If someone gets you one of those penis-shaped soap-on-a-rope things, don't use it as a dildo. It will smart.

Sealed for Your Protection

sexdollseal.jpgI recently unwrapped a blow-up doll for a photo shoot and was surprised to find that both its vaginal and anal orifices were sealed "for hygienic and safety reasons" - sort of like the tamper-evident seal on a jar of mayo or a bottle of aspirin. Over said orifices, a plastic hymen awaited deflowering by the new owner. The enclosed directions warned against using sharp objects, such as scissors, knives, or needles to remove your sex doll's maidenhead. Instead you just tear it away like a pull tab.

We've often wondered if people actually use these inflatable dolls for anything other than bachelor parties and movie props. Apparently people do. And since there's been at least one incident of a burglar breaking into a sex toy store and using the love dolls, perhaps it's not such a bad idea.

Many of the sex toys we see come in some sort of sealed packaging - those impossible to open plastic packs, or a sealed plastic bag inside a box. But many of them are in packaging that's not sealed.

Since most sex toy retailers don't accept returns, it's highly unlikely that you'd receive a toy that has been used (how gross would that be?). But what if you get one that appears to have been opened? Check the retailer's policy. Some stores test vibrators before they ship them to assure they actually work. If that's something they do, it should be stated clearly on the company website. However, if the toy has been opened and it is not something that has an on/off switch, that's a red flag.

Another possibility is that the packaging was insecure and came open during shipping, or during handling in the retailer's warehouse. Considering the intimate nature of sex toys and where you put them, you would think that manufacturers would make sealed packaging the norm. Even if a toy's not "used" if it's been dropped on the floor or tossed around by warehouse workers, that's not very hygienic.

Of course, you should always wash your toys well before using them, to get rid of any chemical residue. If you really suspect there's a problem and you don't want to use the toy, talk to the retailer and see if you can exchange the product.

Q&A: My Boyfriend Wants It in the Butt - Is He Gay?

strapon.jpgQ: My boyfriend told me that he wants me to do him with a strap on dildo. Does that mean he's gay, or will it turn him gay? If not, why would he want me to do that?

Just because your boyfriend is interested in being anally penetrated, that doesn't mean he's gay, or even bisexual necessarily. Many people associate anal sex with gay men, but a lot of straight men also enjoy anal stimulation and taking it in the booty.

Men actually have more of a reason to enjoy receiving anal sex than women, because of the position and sensitivity of the prostate gland (sometimes called the male G-spot). Stimulation of the prostate can produce more intense orgasms and ejaculations, which is why so many men like putting things up their butts, especially while masturbating.

You didn't know that? Well, it's true. Guys just don't talk about it and, well, it's not really something most men would readily admit to. For the more liberated fellows, there are a number of insertable toys that are designed especially for prostate stimulation, such as the Aneros line of products.

But back to your boyfriend. Don't worry - boinking him in the butt won't turn him gay. Actually it will probably make your relationship closer. Anal sex is a very intimate act; the person being penetrated is in a very vulnerable position. The fact that he asked for this shows he trusts you, not just in opening his backdoor for you, but just by being open about his desires.

If you decide to go ahead and give your boyfriend what he's asking for, my advice is to start out small and go easy on him at first. Get a harness and a dildo that's no more than an inch in diameter. These are often sold with a butt plug and other toys in "beginners' sets". You might want to get a book on anal sex - like Anal Pleasure and Health by Jack Morin - and maybe check out the "Bend Over Boyfriend" series of videos.

Also, don't forget to get some lube. You'll need it!

Sex Toy Etiquette: Your Toys or Mine?

Q: I recently started dating someone but we haven't had sex yet. She invited me over to her place for dinner, and I'm hoping the evening is going to end up in the bedroom. My question is, should I bring my own toys with me? Is that presumptuous? Or should I leave them at home and just use whatever she has on hand?
A: If she's invited you over for dinner, that's a good signal that she's at least open to the possibility of moving things into the bedroom. If you're pretty sure that sex is on the evening's menu, I would feel free to pack a kit with a few of your favorite items. That way you'll have them on hand just in case, and you can use them or not as necessary.

Throw in anything else you consider essential, like lube (those little sample-size packs are perfect), condoms, gloves, dental dams, etc. Your hostess may have some of these in her nightstand, but maybe not. In any case, she should be impressed by your thoroughness and thoughtfulness.

If you're female and you know you're going to want to fuck your partner, definitely bring your own strap on and harness. Your playmate might have their own gear, but it might not fit you, and wearing somebody else's harness can be weird, especially if it hasn't been thoroughly cleaned. If they have a favorite dildo that they like to be fucked with, it's reasonable to use it with your harness if it's compatible.

When you whip out your toy bag, give your friend an opportunity to dig into their drawer too so they can bring out their favorite butt plug or special brand of organic lube.

Packing your own toys on a first date might seem presumptuous, but if you already have supercharged sexual chemistry between you, go for it. Of course, if you get caught empty handed, sex can still be wonderful without accessories. But toys can make it more fun for everybody. Better to be prepared than not.

Celebrate Hallow-Weenie With Glowing Sex Toys

Halloween's just around the corner, and while most folks are carving pumpkins and digging up their spooky decorations, we're bringing out our glow-in-the-dark sex toys to help set the mood. 

Most times of year, luminous dildos and such are just a curiosity. Yeah, it's easier to find them under the covers, but why would you want to get off with a green glowing vibrator?  But their eerie light is oddly appropriate for the season of ghosts and goblins.


Glow-in-the-dark toys are a natural if you're going to a kinky Halloween-themed party, or if you have a sexy costume you want to accessorize. Zombie stripper? Alien sex fiend? Overly excited vampire?

Check out our feature on these erotic night lights. We've got some tips on how to use
them, comparisons of different glow-in-the-dark materials, time lapse photos showing how long the glow lasts, plus some other fun stuff.

Q&A: Can I Use Rubber Sex Toys If I'm Allergic to Latex?

glove.jpg Q: I have a latex allergy, so I can't use latex condoms, etc. But does that mean I can't use sex toys that are made out of any kind of rubber? What about cyberskin?

A: That is really inconvenient. Latex allergies are becoming increasingly common. Nobody knows what causes a latex allergy, but it's thought that prolonged or repeated exposure to latex may contribute. So if you're a healthcare worker, work in a condom factory, or have lots and lots of safe sex, you may be vulnerable.

Latex is the natural, plant-based form of rubber, and it is a specific protein in it that causes the allergic response. Most sex toys are made of synthetic rubbers and other elastomers that don't contain that allergen. Because of consumer health concerns about phthalates and other chemicals, many manufacturers and online sex toy stores are making a point of listing the materials that a toy is made out of. However, if it just says "rubber" and doesn't specify "latex free", you should probably play it safe and avoid it. Cyberskin and similar fleshy materials are latex free, as are silicone, vinyl, PVC, and polyurethane.

Another thing you could do, if you have a rubber toy and are concerned about a reaction, is to cover it with a condom (or, if you're a guy and it's a masturbation toy, cover yourself with a condom). You've probably already discovered polyurethane condoms as an alternative to latex condoms. But they're a little pricey to use for putting on toys. Polyisoprene condoms (Lifestyle Skyns) are cheaper, and you can use them in the rare event that you're allergic to polyurethane as well.

As far as materials you use to make your own sex toys, you'll have to do your own research to determine if something might contain latex, and find a suitable substitute if necessary. Some of the projects on our site use latex gloves, which can be replaced with nitrile gloves, or latex condoms, which can be replace with the above alternatives. For projects that use latex balloons, you might try those inflated plastic air pillows that are used for packing. It's all about creativity and ingenuity, and where there's a will, there's a way.

A Few Words About Safety

We take safety seriously here at Homemade Sex Toys. We've rejected a lot of proposed sex toy projects as being too dangerous. We even did a feature on dangerous homemade sex toys you should avoid.

So when a reader alerted us to some safety issue with some of the dollar store sex toys we suggested, we listened up:

"Lots of those items may have 'seams' of plastic left over from the molding process, and if these are inserted into the body, may cause damage... Also, some plastics may be one-time use as they are not able to be sanitized after use."

These are good points. In our giddy delight over dollar store pervertibles, we did neglect to add some cautionary comments about these potential problems. Because they are cheaply made, some dollar store items, especially plastics, may have sharp edges or seams. They may break easily. They may also have paint or decals that can flake off. Items made of sticky rubber or flocked plastic can be hard to clean, and shouldn't be inserted uncovered anyway.

Carefully examine any object before inserting it into an orifice. Feel for sharp edges or seams and if possible, smooth them off with a nail file or sandpaper. It's always a good idea to put a condom over anything you insert. That will smooth things off and make clean-up easier, and protect you from any weird chemicals. Wash all your dollar store purchases before use. (Hey, they're from the dollar store. You never know who's been handling them.)

Finally, use common sense, and don't just go and do something because it's on a website, including ours.

Wrap Up Your Sex Toy

The condom manufacturer "Huge Brand" just announced the launch of their "Toy Covers" - condoms for your sex toys. So, um...why not just use regular condoms (which is what we've been recommending for years)? At first blush this looks like a case of rebranding and repackaging an existing product as something new: same condoms, different box.

But the maker says these "sanitary barriers" are specially designed to be used with toys. They don't have a reservoir tip, and they're supposedly stronger than regular condoms to resist breakage.

Breakage isn't as big an issue with a dildo as it is with the real deal, but on the other hand, if the size of your toy stretches the limits of a standard condom and busts them on a regular basis, you might want to invest in something tougher. The price of the toy covers is comparable to that of regular condoms.

Bottom line: It's a good idea to cover your toys with a condom, for safety reasons and to make clean up quick and easy. But if you're using regular rubbers for that purpose and they're working for you, there's probably no reason to use a special product.

A Handgun Is Not a (Sex) Toy

toygun.jpgThis entry could be a "Weird Sex Toy of the Week", if it wasn't so tragic.

At Homemade Sex Toys, we always try to emphasize safety and common sense. Which is why we were disturbed by a recent news story. While using a gun during foreplay, a woman fatally shot her partner.

"She describes it as playing 'dirty cowboy,'‚ÄČ" McCorvey said. "She did admit to being in possession of the handgun and using it as a toy during foreplay with the victim's acquiescence and request for it to be used in that manner."

Both McCorvey and Newman declined to elaborate on the type of foreplay the couple was engaged in or what "dirty cowboy" meant. Newman declined to say if the couple had played the game before."

We have to admit that "dirty cowboy" is a new one on us, and we we thought we'd heard of just about everything.

Now, we know some folks are into "edge play" - sexual play with an element of danger in the form of knives, guns, breath restriction, etc. But as this incident points out, accidents can happen - very bad accidents.

And we're not taking a position on gun control here, but we think most everyone can agree that using a firearm (especially a loaded one!) as a sex toy or a prop in sexual roleplaying, is not a good idea. Neither is using power tools in the bedroom.

Just because someone consents to or requests a dangerous or potentially deadly act, that doesn't make it OK, and it won't get you off the hook legally if the scene goes terribly wrong. So don't feel bad about saying no if someone asks you to do something to them that could kill or maim them. And if you do have a handgun in the bedroom, let's hope it's in a gun safe.

Household Hints With Sex Toys

hh_01.jpgYou'd be surprised at how many things you can do with a butt plug - besides stick it in the obvious place.

Here at Homemade Sex Toys, our main business is to take everyday materials and common household items and turn them into sexual gadgets. But just for kicks, we decided to go the other direction - take some off-the-rack sex toys, and see how we could put them to work around the house. Think of it as the opposite of pervertibles.

Maybe you want to get some extra mileage out of some tired toys, or perhaps you bought something that just didn't work out for you. Our household hints will show you how to creatively repurpose them. Discover butt plug door stops, cock ring cable keepers, double dildo wrist rests, and more.

We hope our tips will inspire you to find the hidden potential in your sex toy collection.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of recent entries in the Tips category.

Sex Toy Questions is the previous category.

Wacked Toys is the next category.

This is the blog for Homemade Sex Toys, delivering homemade sex toy projects to you for almost 10 years.