Growing up, you probably had a few toys. When playtime came to an end, you were probably asked to put them away. Now, you are a grown up, and you probably have some toys of a different variety. But where do you put them when the fun comes to an end? Sex toys are becoming increasingly popular, but according to a number of industry insiders, they don’t always get the care they deserve. Aftercare, they say, is just as important as play.
“We believe that everyone deserves to have fun with toys. We just want to be sure they are always having the world’s cleanest orgasm,” says Carrie Martz, the founder of Clean Light Laboratories. Working alongside her daughter, Martz developed the UVee, a storage device that uses UV-C light to actually kill the bacteria sex toys collect during and after use. It’s the same method hospitals use to sanitize medical instruments. The idea came to them when daughter Brooke started researching the use of toys during pregnancy, and the potential cause for infection.
We believe that everyone deserves to have fun with toys. We just want to be sure they are always having the world’s cleanest orgasm. -Carrie Martz, Clean Light Laboratories
Ivan Ho has also introduced a germicidal light system that doubles as a sex toy storage device. His wife, who works as a nurse in a hospital, originally introduced the idea. The product, the Dorr Wavecare UV, uses a lithium ion-battery, so you can recharge it any time. It also comes equipped with an opening for cords to get through, should your sex toy need some charge. According to Ho, the growing demand for sex toy storage products is part of the wellness push that has recent hit the adult industry. “People are moving towards body-friendly materials,” he says. “If they’re looking into that, they’re probably looking into hygiene as well.”
According to Martz, a number of gynecologists have even started selling body-safe toys as part of their practice.
But a general interest in health and wellness isn’t the only motivation behind the trend. These days, relationships are changing, and monogamy is no longer the assumed norm. The more partners we acquire, the more likely it is we will encounter an infection, or sexually transmitted disease. And it’s not just penetrative sex that puts us at risk. A study published in the journal Sexual Transmitted Diseases found that sharing vaginal sex toys increased the risk of infection. Sharing toys is also a known way to spread STDs like chlamydia, syphilis, herpes, HIV and hepatitis B/C.
Of course, it’s not just protecting bodies from potential contagions. Sometimes, we have to protect our bodies from ourselves. As relationships continue to develop, so do the things that take place within them; like sex, specifically. When Deborah Semer developed the JoyBoxx, it was out of personal necessity. “Pegging and kink activities require planning and preparation, not only for myself and my partner, but for my toys, carpet, bed and furniture,” she says. The storage system both provides users tools to clean, dry, sanitize charge and store sex toys and uses silver-ion derived anti-microbial technology to kill all germs, bacteria, virus, mold, fungus that are killed upon contact. The product is also dishwasher safe, phthalate-free and non-porous.
But while sexual wellness and hygiene appears to be the motivating force behind these developers, there’s something else topping the list for a certain segment of consumers, and it revolves around discretion.
“The first concern is having the wrong person bump into your personal things — your in-laws, your houseguests, your kids, your cleaning service — whoever. It’s your personal business,” says Janine Weisberg, founder of Warm. As the name suggest, the company’s primary objective was to craft a warming system for intimacy products. The discrete toy storage is somewhat of an added benefit — but a welcome one, nonetheless.
As Weisberg notes, sex toys are getting fancy. And that kind of luxury tends to come with a price tag. Investing in proper sex toy storage, says Weisberg, is simply another way to invest in your relationship.
Nina Helms sees things similarly. She started dealing with storage back in 2003, when she started her company Devine Toys. The online retail site boasted an entire category designated to storage devices. “Some people just stuff their toys in a sock and put it in the back of the closet,” she says. That’s not sexy. And it’s not spontaneous either.” These days, she’s throwing her focus behind a new health-inspired endeavor, SHE Intimate Fitness. Their anchor product is the AfterGlow, pH cleansing tissues for intimate products.
Developers tend to keep their designs discreet, and for a very specific reason. “America is still very puritanical when it comes to sex,” says Helms. “If I’m marketing within the industry, then it doesn’t really matter what the verbiage is. You can come right out and say what the products are and what they’re for. But I’m marketing to the consumer, then I find I’ve got to dance around it.”
“Warm is very innocuous, sweet and tender,” says Weisberg. “What you put in Warm can be anything you want.” Weisberg’s goal was to create something that didn’t look out of place on the shelf, but didn’t attract too much attention, either. “You don’t want your mother-in-law coming over and asking questions,” she said.
JoyBoxx, similarly, has no branding on the outside. To ensure discretion, Semer even included sliding lock system that makes opening and closing the product completely silent.
To better market her product, Martz has developed an outreach program that targets sex therapists, bloggers doctors and national media. “Think about this,” she says. “You clean your toys, or think they are clean, and you put them in the typical storage places people use for easy access — their nightstand, under the bed in a shoe box or even worse, in a sock. And just think of all of the germs in all of these places, dust mites and other bacteria. There are thousands of germs and bacteria in your bathroom as well,” she says. “Properly taking care of the storage of your toys is important for your overall health.”
We often tell kids to put their toys back where they belong. Perhaps it’s time we start doing the same.