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The Knox Student

Student Read, Student Written, Student Led Since 1878

The Knox Student

Student Read, Student Written, Student Led Since 1878

The Knox Student


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Pillowtalk – Your online sex toy shopping guide


Hi Pillowtalk,

I finally have my own mailing address and want to take advantage of my new online shopping opportunities without people snooping. I’ve never bought sex toys before and I don’t really know what to look for in general… where do I go for good quality safe toys? And what are some red flags to look out for?

Congratulations on your newfound freedom to shop! You’re asking the right questions, and I’m very excited for what the future might hold for your K-Box.

If you’re looking for things like vibrators, dildos, straps, anal toys, sleeves, cock rings, and accessories, your best bets are going to be reputable sex shops that are committed to body safety. “Body safe” toys and lubes don’t contain known carcinogens, are non-porous and easy to sanitize (100% silicone, glass, some metals), and don’t contain ingredients known to dry out, damage, or mess with the pH of your body parts. 

Unfortunately, sex toys and lube materials do not go through FDA approval, so it’s totally legal to sell toys that are entirely unsafe for use inside the body.

Reputable sex shops for toys and accessories for all bodies: smittenkittenonline.com early2bed.com unboundbabes.com spectrumboutique.com 

More info on body safety and safe lubes: badvibes.org

Some serious red flags to avoid: anything labeled “jelly” or containing PVC, any store that sells toys as “novelty items,” things with fragrance or flavor (unless you only use them on external body parts). Avoid most “toy washes” and opt for warm water and antibacterial soap–or boiling, if it’s 100% silicone. 

Another thing to keep in mind is the compatibility of your sex toys and lubes. Lube is always a good thing to have around, but it can be a huge disappointment when the lube you get makes you itch or burn. You also don’t want your lube to break a condom (oil-based lubes do this), dry you out and leach chemicals inside of you (some water-based lubes do this), or ruin your silicone toys (some silicone lubes do this). Make sure you “patch test” your lube on any toys to make sure they’re compatible before using them inside your body.

The lube breakdown (body-safe brands are in parentheses):

-Water-based should be avoided unless you know it’s safe for your body (badvibes.org) and tends to dry out fast. (Sliquid, Sutil, Alu, Ah! Yes)

-Silicone-based is long-lasting but can degrade silicone toys–do a patch test beforehand to make sure they’re compatible (if not, just use a condom). (Pjur, Sliquid, Uberlube, Swiss Navy, Gun Oil)

-Hybrid has all the caveats of a water-based but doesn’t dry out as fast. (Sliquid, Gun Oil)

-Oil-based is the best for staying lubricated longer but will break a condom. (Southern Butter, Sliquid, The Butters, Coconu, Ah! Yes)

You’ll notice that KY and Astroglide are nowhere in these lists. They are both well-known for their inclusion of carcinogenic ingredients. Again, no flavored lubes inside the anus or vagina. Avoid petrochemicals in your lube and microbicides (specific examples of these can be found on badvibes.org). Sidenote: Yes, microbicides are a good thing in theory (yay killing bacteria at the source!) but repeated use might do more harm than good. 

All of the stores I listed have discreet shipping too, so you won’t have to worry about nosey postal workers either.

I hope this helps, make sure to keep asking those questions—and remember to use lube!

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