Is a PVC Dildo Safe? Why You Should Avoid PVC Sex Toys and 6 Body-Safe Alternatives

By Edwina / December 15, 2021

Is a PVC dildo safe?

You would think so considering you can find a PVC dildo or other PVC sex toys on Amazon and other websites.

However, buyer beware!

Buying a PVC dildo or other sex toy can hurt more than your wallet.

As a matter of fact, PVC sex toys are extremely dangerous and can pose a serious threat to your health.

So, to help you out, I’ve listed the dangers of a PVC dildo and other PVC sex toys and why they are dangerous along with 6 body-safe alternatives that will keep your genitals safe and your body healthy.

The PVC Dildo and Other PVC Sex Toys

A PVC dildo and other PVC sex toys should be avoided like the plague. However, the problem is, many people don’t know what a PVC dildo or sex toy looks like. In addition, PVC dildos and sex toys are readily available in sex toy shops and online. Sadly, to add insult to injury, those websites oftentimes do not list the materials from which the sex toys are made or they lie about it.

So, what can you do to avoid PVC dildo dangers and PVC sex toy disasters? You need to know the facts! Plus, it’s good to be armed with information about safe sex toys and where you can buy them.

What is PVC?

PVC stands for polyvinyl chloride, a hard plastic used to make many things. The most recognizable PVC products are pipes. So, does that mean that your PVC water pipes are dangerous?

Absolutely not, polyvinyl chloride, in its pure state, is harmless.

However, it’s when manufacturers use this extremely cheap material, along with additional chemicals to soften the PVC to make pliable. flexible products – like a PVC dildo – that things start to get sketchy and downright dangerous.

Why is a PVC Sex Toy Dangerous?

When a sex toy manufacturer begins the process of making a PVC dildo or other PVC sex toy, they need to add chemicals to make the product soft and more comfortable for insertion. Thus, they add something called phthalates. Here’s what Vice had to say in their article about unsafe sex toy materials:

“Studies have found some jelly and PVC toys contain added toxic chemicals called phthalates, which are added to rubber to make it flexible. Phthalates suck: They can leak out of toys, affecting the hormone balance of your body and your reproductive functions. They’ve been linked to breast cancer by breast cancer charities, and to asthma by a Norwegian research team. And the fact some variants are banned in the US for use in children’s toys should make you wonder what the hell they’re doing in sex toys at all, given that the US Environmental Protection Agency has designated them a toxic chemical.”

Sterility, Birth Defects and Cancer, Oh My!

And if that doesn’t scare you, some countries have banned the use of PVC in various products as it’s a known carcinogen that can cause sterility, birth defects and cancer, oh my! Just check out this quote from popular Medium Writer, Buzz and Blossom:

“Vinyl chloride is on the Government of Canada’s Toxic Substances List. It is used in the production of PVC (polyvinyl chloride) and is a known carcinogen (causes cancer) with no safe exposure levels (Government of Canada, 2016). PVC use has been restricted in the production of children’s toys in Canada, as the plastic contains phthalates and certain phthalates “may cause reproductive and developmental abnormalities in young children when soft vinyl products containing phthalates are sucked or chewed for extended periods” (Government of Canada, 2014)”

Doesn’t that make you want to run right out and buy a PVC dildo? Makes my V hurt just thinking about it!

How to Clean a PVC Dildo

How to clean a PVC dildo, showing cleaning supplies

There are always rebels in our midst, those who take risks and whom feel invincible. Therefore, if you are one of those types and you’re thinking, “Been using my PVC dildo for years and nothing has fallen off!”, I’d at least like to give you the proper method of how to clean a PVC dildo. Sure, the toxins can make you sick, but why push the envelope and risk a sexually transmitted disease or infection on top of that?

You see, PVC dildos are porous, much like other types of sex toy materials that are least safe when it comes to choosing materials. So, it’s best to use warm water and soap or a sex toy cleanser to clean your PVC sex toy. Be sure and thoroughly soap up the surface, work the cleanser in well – covering the entire insertable surface then rinse well and pat until completely dry.

PVC Sex Toys are Porous Too!

As mentioned above, PVC dildos and sex toys are porous. So, what does that mean?

It means that sex toys made from PVC, including newer ones claiming to be phthalate free, contain microscopic holes where dirt, bacteria, mold and various viruses can hide including things like HPV, HIV, Herpes and all of those wonderfully nasty STI’s you just don’t want to contract. Therefore, it’s extremely crucial that you:

  • Never share a sex toy with another person – unless you are in a long-term monogamous relationship.
  • Never double-dip! Don’t go from anus to vagina or his to hers.
  • Clean your PVC sex toy thoroughly every single time you use it. Yes, every, single time.
  • Be cautious when buying any PVC dildo or sex toy, even if it does claim to be phthalate free.

How Do I Know it’s a PVC Dildo or Sex Toy?

There are several ways to determine whether or not a dildo or other sex toy is made with PVC – some are easy, some, not-so-much. So, I have put together a list of tips to help you figure out if you are buying a safe sex toy or a PVC dildo or other toy.

  1. Be careful where you shop: Some websites, particularly Chinese outlet sites, sell dangerous PVC dildos and other adult products. Some may even claim to be safe. On the other hand, shopping at trusted online retails as well as in brick-and-mortar stores will help you avoid buying an unsafe sex toy.
  2. Read product descriptions carefully: When shopping for sex toys online, be sure and scroll down below the photos and read the in-depth product description, specs and other pieces of information. If you can’t find words telling you what that toy is made of, it’s a hard pass! Go to another reputable site.
  3. Sometimes, they simply lie: In some cases, a site will blatantly lie about a product. Therefore, if you ordered a sex toy, thinking it’s safe, and it arrives at your door, read on for things to look for that are a dead giveaway that you might have bought a PVC dildo or sex toy.
  4. Smell it: If you open up and sex toy and are worried that it may contain harmful chemicals, particularly PVC, the best test is to smell it. PVC gives off a strong, potent, chemical odor that cannot be missed. On the opposite end of the scale, a silicone dildo will have no chemical smell whatsoever.
  5. Burn it: The one sure way to tell if your sex toy contains PVC is to burn it. For instance, Lily O’Riley, a popular sex toy reviewer, ordered a dildo that claimed – on the website – it was PVC but, on the box it claimed to be silicone. So, she lit it on fire. What happens is this; silicone will not catch fire. It will heat up and sometimes char (which can be wiped off) and afterward, shows no damage. PVC will flame up like a Roman candle, melt and become misshapen.
  6. Steer clear of anything jelly: Although crystal and jelly-type sex toys look nice, those are the ones to stay away from, as they are obviously PVC. Certainly, some may claim they are phthalate-free, which is good. However, you can only be 100% sure by smelling the product and trying the fire test.

Beware of Cyberskin and Fantaflesh!

Cyberskin and Fantaflesh are two very popular materials used to make sex toys appear and feel like real flesh. Some products made of those materials include the Fleshlight line as well as most sex dolls. And although many claim to be free of dangerous chemicals, again, you are putting your trust into the website from which you made your purchase.

The Sexual Alpha had this to say in his blog about safe sex toy materials:

“TPRs and TPEs come from copolymers or rubbery plastics that go through an extensive chemical process to keep them soft. They hold up a decent time and don’t break down during use.”

Additionally, these skin-like products are some of the most porous materials on the market, they oftentimes leech oils and they absorb oil and dirt from your body each and every time you come in contact with the toy. Plus, cheaply made toys can also contain levels of PVC along with phthalates to make then soft, flexible and flesh-like. So, although Fleshlight products are body safe, some of those knock-offs out there may not be.

PVC VS. Silicone Dildo

PVC dildo vs Silicone showing a double-ended PVC dildo

Now that you know the dangers of a PVC dildo and other PVC sex toys, let’s compare them to the top material used to make safe, durable sex toys today; silicone. Silicone can be hard or soft, it’s not porous at all and silicone sex toys are extremely silky and soft to the touch. Plus, you’ll never encounter a strong, chemical odor if a sex toy is truly silicone.

In comparison, a PVC dildo will be soft or hard, may look clear, like colored-jelly or like flesh and will have an intrusive, chemical odor. PVC dildos won’t be nearly as silky to the touch and most times will feel sticky, right out of the package. And again, the material is extremely porous, something you cannot see with the naked eye.

Is there really any comparison?

A PVC dildo could give you cancer, mess up your reproductive health and cause burns and abrasions in addition to being porous, thus hiding bacteria and viruses if not cleaned properly.

A silicone dildo is made from the same material manufacturers create medical devices, baby products and cooking utensils. It won’t give you cancer, a rash or stop you from making little mini-me’s someday. Plus, silicone won’t harbor bacteria and viruses as it’s not a porous material.

Alternatives to a PVC Dildo; Safer Sex Toy Materials

Certainly, we know that PVC dildos and other sex toys are extremely affordable; some may say downright cheap! But do you drive around in a car simply because it’s cheap? Or do you buy shoes, simply because of the price tag and not the comfort level?

Spending a bit more on a sex toy is totally worth it. Safe materials are better for your skin and body as well as lasting much longer than their cheaper counterparts. So, what are some great alternatives to a PVC dildo or sex toy? I am glad you asked because there is an incredible array of body-safe sex toys out there just begging you to put them on and in your naughty bits!

Silicone

Is PVC dildo safe? Showing an alternative pink, silicone dildo

This lovely, silicone dildo comes in a fun color, can be used in conjunction with a harness and it’s 100% body safe and non-porous. Plus, it comes from a company that millions of people trust every single day, Lovehoney. A great silicone dildo.

Glass

Is a PVC dildo safe? Showing alternative materials, glass duo of dildos by Tracey Cox

Glass is a sex toy material that is perfect for temperature play and is completely safe, non-toxic and has zero pores. Plus, some glass sex toys are so beautiful, you almost want to put them on display! This Tracey Cox Supersex Glass Dildo set also comes from Lovehoney.

Stainless Steel

Is a PVC dildo safe? Showing a LeWand, stainless steel dildo as an alternative to PVC

Stainless steel is another sex toy material that’s not only safe and non-porous but it has a lovely weight to it and can be used for temperature play as well. Check out the LeWand by Lovehoney! And if you’re not quite sure it’s your cup of tea, read Isabelle’s review on a similar product, the NJoy Wand, which is a metal dildo.

Additionally, the best feature of glass dildos and steel sex toys is that the materials can be sanitized with boiling water.

Wood

Is a PVC dildo safe? Showing a wood dildo as a safe alternative.

Some of the oldest sex toys in history were made of wood and they have brought this material back to make beautiful sex toy pieces that are safe to use. The Dee Lee Boa Sculpted Wenge Hardwood G-Spot Dildo by She Vibe is the perfect, body-safe sex toy to hit all those special spots.

Stone

Is a PVC dildo safe? Showing a safe alternative to PVC, an amethyst Yoni Egg

And speaking of old sex toy materials, they also used to be fashioned out of stone! And in bringing back safer materials, some sex toys are now sculpted from various types of crystals and stone. This Yoni Egg may not be the crystal dildo of your dreams but it’s the perfect Kegel exerciser to tone that twat and keep your V in shape. Plus, it’s made from crystal amethyst so it is absolutely gorgeous!

ABS Plastic

PVC dildo safe? ABS plastic dildos are a body-safe alternative

Good ole ABS plastic has been around since Carol Wright started putting out catalogs listing plastic vibrators as massagers. Many sex toy manufacturers still use ABS plastic in their designs and full-on ABS dildos and vibrators are inexpensive, body-safe and great for internal and external stimulation. This classic vibrator boasts a candy cane design that looks good enough to lick and comes from a trusted sex toy retailer, Adam & Eve!

In addition, these ABS vibrators actually ARE great for a massage!

Is a PVC Dildo Safe?

In closing, I think you no longer need to ask if a PVC dildo is safe, as I hope I was able to answer all of your questions about PVC, PVC dildos and other sex toys. Therefore, you can now make a smart choice when it comes to choosing you next sex toy as well as checking on those sex toys you may already have in your nightstand!