opinion

Changing Thoughts About Toy and Lubricant Compatibility

Kim Airs

Silicone toys are dominating the adult toy market, with more and more demanding customers empowering themselves with the desire for high quality gizmos for pleasure and fun. For years, the traditional thinking that silicone lubricants collide with silicone toys has been the norm for sales training and disseminating information to retail consumers.

But not anymore.

There are several grades of silicone used in the manufacturing of silicone toys with “medical grade” silicone being the purest, highest grade of silicone rubber.

Like everything else in the adult toy industry, changes are happening by sharing knowledge between silicone toy and silicone lubricant manufacturers. There are many factors that affect these changes, so for some background information, let’s take a look at the history of silicone toys and silicone lubricants.

Like the generic terms “rubber” and “plastic,” there are several types of silicone that toys are made of. There are the stretchy, clear silicone cock rings, firmer rings made of opaque silicone rubber, domestically made and imported silicone toys and the vast variety of silicone dildos and vibrators often having a silicone “skin” covering the mechanical innards.

There are several grades of silicone used in the manufacturing of silicone toys with “medical grade” silicone being the purest, highest grade of silicone rubber.

The same idea goes for silicone lubricants. There are several types of silicone ingredients such as cyclopentasiloxane, dimethicone, dimethiconol and the cost of a particular silicone lubricant depends on the formula of the ingredients with cyclopentasiloxane being the most expensive ingredient. Several manufacturers are finding that the higher grade silicone, the less of a chance it has to interact with a silicone dildo or toy of the same grade.

It is generally believed that when a lesser grade of silicone is used with a silicone toy, it may create a chemical reaction which degrades the toy, causing a sticky sensation on the surface of the toy that does not wash off. This is often discovered while in the throes of passion and can be avoided by doing a simple “patch test” prior to getting down and dirty. By applying a small amount of the lubricant in question to a small, unused area on the surface of the toy, such as on the base, the patch test can determine if the silicone lubricant and toy are compatible. If they’re not, the rapidly resulting tacky area will let you know not to use that lubricant with that particular toy (as a default, any water-based lubricant works with all silicone toys). A consumer can save a lot of their invested toy money (and frustration) by doing this simple test prior to using their silicone toy with their silicone lube.

But several silicone toy manufacturers are finding that there are many commercially available silicone lubricants that work well with their toys and don’t contribute to filling landfills with unusable, sticky silicone toys.

Longtime silicone toy manufacturer, Tantus, has a list of silicone lubes on their website (www.tantusinc.com) that are compatible with their toys. During their testing process, silicone lubricant was smeared on the toy and allowed to interact with it for 24 hours. When there was no apparent stickiness or degradation of the toy, the lubricant was then deemed compatible with the Tantus toy. However, they discovered that the “softer” the silicone toy, such as their “Super Soft” line of toys or their O2 line of dual density toys with a firm interior and pliable, skin-like exterior, do not mix well with even the same silicone lubricants despite the fact that they are made with the same formulas of silicone rubber, just created with different firmnesses.

Jenna Clark, Marketing Coordinator for Tantus also remarked, “We generally recommend a patch test no matter what toy and silicone lube is used. Silicone lubricant manufacturers are required to list their ingredients and silicone toy manufacturers are not, so even if you’ve tested your toy with the lube, it’s always a good idea to patch test.” She also cited the fact that oftentimes, silicone lubricant manufacturers will tweak their formulas so the same lube might be compatible with one bottle but not the next one.

Another point to be considered is whether or not the silicone toy is domestically manufactured. “We are able to oversee every step of the manufacturing process and guarantee no other ingredients are added to our silicone,” Jenna stated. “If the product is from overseas, there’s no way to guarantee the percentage of silicone in a product that’s labeled silicone” so many other manufacturers/importers cannot make the claim of silicone lubricant compatibility.

Canadian adult toy manufacturer, Standard Innovation, the folks who bring us the medical grade silicone line of We-Vibe toys, has found their toys are compatible with several silicone lubricants as well. We-Vibe’s casings are made of the same grade of silicone used in making baby bottle nipples and breast implants. We-Vibe has recently added a select number of silicone lubricants to their compatibility list, also available on its website at www.we-vibe.com/lubes“

We test our products rigorously when we check for We-Vibe compatibility with silicone lubricants,” said Lorraine Byerley, vice president of marketing of Standard Innovation Corporation. “The contents of the lubricant and a We-Vibe vibrator are placed in a container. The vibrator remains in the formulation for three months without interruption. The vibrator is then removed, cleaned and thoroughly inspected. To pass, there must be no changes whatsoever to the material, the shape or the functionality of the We-Vibe vibrator.”

So as times change in the adult toy world, so do the ingredients of what you put into your body as well as what you put on it. When discussing options with a customer, it’s always recommended to do a patch test to test a silicone lubricant with a silicone toy or check out the manufacturers’ website to get the latest update on the compatibility of the two silicone products.

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