Something I’ve known since the dawn of time—at least since the dawn of American Pie—is that people can get really creative when it comes to masturbation. Even though the diversity of vibrators that are available for purchase is great, many of us have turned to DIY sex toys either in a pinch or to simply explore a sexual curiosity. But alas, while the pursuit of pleasure is one we can all get behind, health is remains the number-one priority, and because of this, some of us could use some help learning the differences between what is and what is not a sex toy.
And okay, while some household items can make for totally healthy impromptu sex toys in the heat of the moment (like, ice, for one), there are other things that don’t belong anywhere near your sexual organs. To help clear up the confusion, find out which items gynecologist Alyssa Dweck, MD, OB/GYN, says are not a sex toy at all.
3 things that are definitely not a sex toy, according to a gynecologist
As Well+Good previously reported in a piece about household objects that can double as sex toys, while phallic-shaped foods can safely be used erotically, they carry a list of safety precautions that should give you pause.
“Despite their phallic shapes, fresh fruits and veggies, such as bananas, zucchinis, and carrots, should be avoided in the vagina,” says Dr. Dweck. “First, they can disintegrate inside and be difficult to remove. Second, they can cause infection, especially since some have pesticides or a wax coating. Third, vaginal pH can be disrupted and lead to infection including yeast and/or BV (bacterial vaginosis). For a simple yeast infection with characteristic itching and white thick discharge, Monistat is an easy, safe, and effective OTC option.” Otherwise, even if not using for vaginal penetration, make sure to clean produce before using it sexually, and use protective barriers, like condoms and dental dams.
2. Electric toothbrush
If your sexual awakening didn’t involve an electric toothbrush and a DVD of Cruel Intentions, did you even have one? Maybe don’t answer that. Regardless, what that 1999 film didn’t appropriately educate you about is that self-penetrating with something you use to clean your teeth is a practice you’d be wise to retire if you’re still buzzing along with it. Put simply, there are so many reasons to not use an electric toothbrush in any internal way beyond your mouth.
“Electric toothbrushes are never ideal to insert due to potential trauma, battery-acid leakage, contamination with bacteria from the oral cavity and breakage.” —Alyssa Dweck, MD, OB/GYN
“Electric toothbrushes are never ideal to insert due to potential trauma, battery-acid leakage, contamination with bacteria from the oral cavity and breakage, although external use on clitoris is acceptable in a pinch,” says Dr. Dweck. “In contrast to battery-operated toys specifically meant for sexual play, toothbrushes aren’t sealed, watertight, or made of appropriate materials for insertion.”
Like my recent discovery that using coconut oil as lubricant is a serious no-no, news that Vaseline is not a sex toy in any iteration landed in my brain with a deflating thud. Vaseline seems harmless. It’s one of the drugstore classics, and still one of the best skin moisturizers you can buy deep into its 100-year-long run. And yet, you still don’t want to put it deep into…um, yourself.
“Vaseline and mineral oil are not ideal for vaginal lubricants,” says Dr. Dweck. “Any petrolatum-based product can increase the chance of [bacterial vaginosis].”
So if you want to keep your face, lips, and hands hydrated, petroleum jelly is the way to go. But if you’re trying to get wet below the belt? Might be time to just invest in some Sliquid Sassy and call it a day.
Okay, but here’s something you can play with that’s free and right from the fridge: ice cubes will add an extra oomph in bed. And this toy has the pinpointing power of an electric toothbrush, but without the battery-acid leakage.