Reducing the sexual health risks from using sex toys

If you don't share sex toys, they carry no risk for HIV or STIs. They can be fun for you and your partner but there are a few risks to easily avoid.

Some ways to reduce the risks from sex toys include:

  • Don't share sex toys, as bacteria, viruses and parasites that cause sexually transmitted infections can easily be passed between partners.
  • Always wash sex toys before and after use.
  • Always cover the toy with a fresh condom before use
  • Change condoms before swapping toys with a partner
  • Use plenty of condom-friendly lubrication
  • Only use well-made toys displaying the European safety CE mark
  • Avoid squishy, gel type toys, as there is some evidence that they contain chemicals that may cause cancers
  • For anal use, always use toys with a cord or plug on the end that can't pass inside

When using sex toys, you also need to be careful not to hurt yourself or your partner with them.

If you use something that's too big, you could rip or tear the skin inside the anus. Sex toys can also break during use and damage the genitals or become stuck deep inside the body.

Prolonged use can also damage the skin of the penis (if using a 'fleshlight' for example) or around or inside the anus if using a plug or dildo.

Have fun but take your time and play safe!

Condoms & lube

Find out how to stay healthy and still enjoy your sex life: