The Great Silicone Debate
So, what’s the deal with silicone? Can you use a silicone lubricant with a silicone toy or not? Can you store two toys together? Let’s settle the debate and separate the fact from fiction!
Fact or fiction: Silicone lubricant doesn’t play well with silicone toys.
Fiction. Our own Vice President of Product Development, Erin Harris, broke it down like this:
“There’s no statistics, no hard facts out there to substantiate the claim that silicone toys and silicone lubricants can’t be used together any longer. When we started really thinking about it and getting questions, that’s when we decided that yes, we need to take a closer look at this and quiet all the chatter.”
So where did the big silicone lubricant scare come from? Harris said:
“I think this came from a surge in demand for sex toys back in the day and dishonest manufacturing and marketing practices. Tons of companies started making toys with cheap, unsafe plastics and called them ‘silicone’ when they weren’t.”
“Inevitably someone had an issue with a silicone lubricant melting a toy made of some type of unstable plastic. Companies start blaming silicone lubricants, claiming it was a material incompatibility issue. Actual 100% silicone toys don’t just melt all of a sudden.”
And so, other companies got, let’s say, overzealous and started touting the same incompatibility info in blanket warnings. Mystery solved.
It’s great to want to protect customers, but not so great to do so by parroting everyone else. Many many toy companies still do it to this day. We once gave warnings too, but education is a core tenant of the Pure Romance philosophy, and we ultimately weren’t satisfied. That’s why we put our own products to the test.
In 2019, Pure Romance collaborated with a third-party lab to test our Pure Pleasure silicone-based lubricant for compatibility with silicone products. The results? Over an extended period of time, Pure Pleasure didn’t alter the silicone or impact material durability any more than water!
Fact or fiction: Toys have to be stored separately.
Fact and fiction. This is likely an extension of the melting scare. Now that we know silicone doesn’t melt randomly (unless you’re partying in Mt. Doom or something), rest assured your toys can tango inside your toybox all they like provided they’re made with quality, 100% silicone.
Read that again. Quality silicone is key.
When I asked about toy materials and storage, Harris clarified:
“Silicone is fine together but toys made of other materials like TPR or TPE for instance must be stored separately. Non-silicone materials can react to each other.”
What exactly does it mean when toys are made with TPR and TPE materials? They’re made with a blend of plastics and rubber. Unfortunately, toys made with these substances are porous and can harbor bacteria (especially when not properly cleaned after use!) and are not hypoallergenic. But if you’ve got your heart set on a TPR, TPE, or even PVC toy, go for it. Just do your research on proper toy care for the material in question.
Returning to our main fact leads us to some obvious thoughts…
How do you get quality silicone toys and lubricants? Do your research and shop smart. Toy bloggers generally have lists of brands and sites they recommend if you need help. Many companies like Pure Romance stand behind the silicone used in their products.
Fact or fiction: All silicones are made equal.
FICTION. Don’t get even me started.
Some quick and dirty tips to get/using quality silicone toys and lubricants:
- Don’t buy products marked as “silicone rubber,” “silicone blend,” “SEBS silicone,” “silicon,” “silica gel,” “jelly.”*
- Buy directly from reputable, well-established brands via their own sites vs third party sites.**
- Look for words like “food grade” (or “medical grade”), “body safe,” and “platinum cured” in connection to silicone. Also a good idea to steer clear of parabens, phthalates, added flavors, and fragrances!
- Patch test. If the lubricant dramatically changes consistency and/or starts feeling gummy, it and your toy might not play well together.***
In conclusion, don’t believe the hype! Now that we’ve covered the major points in the great silicone debate, you’ve got everything you need to shop and play without worries.
If you need a rec on the right silicone toy for you, don’t be afraid to give us a shout or hookup with one of our Consultants via the “Find a Consultant” link at the top of our site. Or, if you’ve already got a silicone toy or lubricant that’s kept you on the fence, use your new knowledge and go for it!
* Do not settle for anything that sounds like a silicone-derivative. If it’s not 100% silicone, who knows what else is in it? If it’s going inside your body or a partner’s, know what’s in it!
** Third parties are okay if you can vouch for them. Again, do your research.
*** When you’re on your period, your body’s hormone fluctuations can affect the way a lubricant feels. If you wanna play anyway, consider sticking with tried-and-true combos and leave experimenting for later.