The Dodil

Dildo Materials

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MATERIALS

This article about choosing the right dildo material walks you through everything from feel and sensations to what is safe to use.

Dildo material - What to look for.

This article about choosing the right dildo material is part of our guide for making a conscious decision when buying a dildo or any sex toy. Since most of the discourse regarding size, materials and use you can apply to pretty much any sex toy. 

What is so special about dildos and materials then?

Well, a masturbator (penis sleeve made for penetration) is made to be soft and most likely consists of extremely soft rubber plastics like TPE or TPR (soft thermoplastics) or other compositions. And a vibrator housing a motor is most likely to be made of hard plastics with an additional silicone cover. 

However, a dildo can be built from all of these materials, and many more. As such, it is the sex toy that varies the most in the use of different materials. And what material you choose in your dong will ultimately impact on the overall experience.

But what matters most is your safety. You don't want to develop nasty infections from germs and bacteria just because your dildo can't be properly cleaned. And you especially don't want to put something inside you which could impact on your health.

All of the above is solid reasons why the material in the dildo you choose is one of the top three critical characteristics in a dildo (the other ones being the size and what type of dildo you prefer).

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Dildo material - Table of content

The "novel" dildo.

Why is the knowledge of materials in sex toys so important?

It is not solely because of the actual experience from the different materials available.

One extremely important aspect lies in the fact that sex toys are unregulated.

Whenever shipped across borders or going from manufacturers to shops and into the hands of the customer, they are categorized as “novelty” by the governments of the world. Along with all that other stuff people use for pleasure, you know, like garden gnomes and Halloween costumes.

This label of “novelty goods” has been, and still is exploited, as manufacturers don’t need to reveal what a sex toy can and cannot contain.

A "phthalate-free PVC dildo" might not be phthalate free at all. And that cheap "silicone dildo" might be just that, a cheap silicone blend - loaded with fillers and additives which doesn't live up to the body-safe label of a high-quality silicone dildo.

So by that, it is entirely up to you to arm yourself with the right information.

Luckily, you have found guidance here. Continue to read about the different dildo materials and you will be prepared to make the best decisions before buying your best dildo.

Firmness - Soft or hard dildo?

Before diving into what different materials a dildo can be composed of there is value in knowing how the actual firmness of a dildo will impact on your self-pleasure. Different firmness in a dildo will give different sensations, as they can range from extremely soft to super hard.

If you are uncertain of how the firmness of a dildo will interact with your body, here's some valuable information.

Soft dildos:

  • Easier to insert larger dildos as there is more 'give' to a soft material

  • Hard to thrust with as they can be too floppy

  • Are usually composed of less body-safe materials

  • A dildo with texture might not give any sensation of the texture if it's too soft

Hard dildos:

  • Are easier to use for thrusting

  • Are easier to use when pin-pointing certain areas or spots inside you

  • Rigid dildos are usually made from more body-safe materials

  • Can give a sensation of fulfillment

  • Not the best choice for riding on top of or bouncing on

Rubber Dildos - Tricky Dicks

Rubber and rubber plastics are one of the trickier dildo materials to both explain and research. Because there are so many different kinds. 

Most rubber dildos are labeled as body-safe. But, that is often just when straight out of the package.

The thing is, considering most rubber plastics is porous, this makes cleaning or sanitizing them properly near impossible. And in a longer perspective, they are not very safe to use if they are infested with germs and bacteria, something which later can end up inside you upon use.

By that, always use a condom over a porous rubber dildo.

Jelly dildo, smelly dildo

Some dildos come labeled simply as "jelly dildos", which can mean a lot of things. However, what they mostly have in common is instability, which means that they can deteriorate.

This can happen for a lot of reasons, it can happen in contact with oils or other rubbers, or the composition from the manufacturer was not properly done, to begin with.

A jelly dildo can also contain phthalates as they are mostly manufactured to be soft and pliable. Phthalates are deemed unhealthy and have already been removed from children's toys.

And finally, jelly dildos often have a distinct plastic smell which doesn't go away. This can be due to a myriad of reasons, all from phthalates to volatile organic compounds (VOC'S), which can compound a long-term toxic effect. 

By such, always use a condom for that smelly jelly dildo, store it in a closed compartment.

PVC Dildos

More than 8 out of 10 of the larger dildos, 10 inches long and up, are made from PVC. Mainly because it's such a cheap material with a cost per pound less than 1 USD.

Which is a bit troublesome.

Since besides being a porous rubber, PVC is also a material which has historically been known to contain phthalates. Phthalates are an unstable softener (makes the dildo go soft) which could be harmful to your body. Earlier research suspects phthalates to be carcinogenic and also disruptive to the hormonal system. 

Again, use a condom.

TPE or TPR

TPE/TPR are soft thermoplastics (elastomers or rubbers) which are mostly stable by themselves and will not deteriorate unless in contact with oils or, in some cases, other rubbers.

On the plus-side, soft thermoplastics are not known to contain any phthalates.

They are however porous and by such unable to be sanitized or deep cleaned and can harvest bacteria. You are best off using a condom whenever using soft thermoplastic dildos.

So, rubber dildos in conclusion:

  • Are often cheap

  • Are hard or impossible to sanitize or deep clean

  • Can consist of harmful ingredients

  • Can have distinct plastic or chemical smell which does not go away

  • Can deteriorate in contact with other plastics or oils

Silicone Dildos

In the search for the perfect dildo, you are most likely to come across silicone dildos, as it is one of the most popular materials for dildo makers to use.

However, it has not always been that way throughout history. In the 60's silicone was introduced as a material for dildos and since then the road has been long to now being the premium silicone most manufacturers use. 

In fact, silicone also sorts as a rubber. It just holds the ability to be properly sanitized and is also stable and will not deteriorate.

A silicone dildo, unlike the soft plastics, can be boiled, frozen and even bleached as a way to kill germs.

Silicone is also considered to be non-porous (which is not entirely true since it's actually micro-porous) and although what others say - it works perfectly with silicone lubricant, taken the dildo is made from actual silicone.

In conclusion, silicone dildos:

  • Can be sanitized or deep cleaned

  • Works with any lubricant

  • Watch out for silicone blends, a silicone dildo with the same price tag as rubber dildos might not be of the same great quality as silicone should (due to filler materials and additives)

Hard Plastics

Hard plastics are not that common to be used to build a whole dildo. It is more likely that details and part of a dildo are made of plastics like ABS (the same type LEGO is made of). 

Other hard plastics used in a dildo are in the group of hard thermoplastics or polyesters.

Remember that there is a huge difference between hard and soft thermoplastics. The soft ones are filed under dildos made of rubber and considered to be porous, while the hard plastics are non-porous and thus able to be cleaned and sanitized properly.

  • Non-porous and by such easy to clean

  • ABS and most hard thermoplastics are non-toxic

  • Some polyesters can contain phthalates, although they are rarely used in the making of a dildo

Natural Materials

The last category is the "natural" materials which are dildos made from metal, wood, glass and even porcelain. 

Dildos made from high-quality natural materials often comes with a hefty price tag since they are mostly found being real pieces of art made by craftsmen.

There is, however, the cheaper kind, which not in any way guarantees durability and body-safety. 

  • High quality but expensive

  • Avoid cheap glass (and some metal) dildos, they are usually not made of quality materials or glass at all

Where do you want to go next?

This article about what dildo material to choose is one section which we cover in our dildo guide. 

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DIMENSIONS & BUILD

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