Over the last decade, the types of sex toys being manufactured have changed drastically. One of the most noticeable changes has been the shift from using cheaper, lower-quality materials to higher-end materials like silicone. Because of its amazing versatility, silicone can be used as a liquid for lubricant or molded into a variety of solid forms and textures ideal for sexual pleasure.
Silicone can be found as a primary material in dildos, vibrators and lubricants, as well as BDSM gear like floggers, whips, rope and chastity devices. In addition to being an exceptionally diverse material, it is also considered universally body-safe, hypoallergenic and vegan, and silicone’s safety and health benefits are what make it such a valuable and profitable material today. Silicone is hypoallergenic and sterilizable, making it ideal for anyone with sensitive skin, and because it’s inert, it’s considered one of the safest sex toy materials available.
Offering a variety of sex toys and lubricants made with silicone is an important way to increase revenue while providing quality and reliable options for your shoppers.
Understanding the benefits of silicone beyond the usual “luxury material” conversations can help sales staff have more educated and influential discussions with shoppers as they decide what sex toy materials are right for them.
What about silicone lube?
Silicone lubricant is an interesting substance. Unlike its water-based counterpart, it stays smooth for a long time and does not need to be reapplied as often. It’s also great for play in water, like in the tub or pool, because it’s not water-soluble. Consumers are least likely to experience adverse reactions when using this kind of lube; the fewer ingredients silicone lube has, the less chance it contains artificial fillers. Less fillers means the lube is purer, which not only makes it more body-friendly, it also decreases the chance of chemical interaction with other silicone products.
There’s a common misconception that using silicone lube with a silicone product will render the product unusable or ruined, and though this can happen, it’s not as common as you might think. You might be surprised to learn that many silicone toys are perfectly compatible with silicone lubricants — the trickier part is figuring out which ones will work. A general rule of thumb to follow is: the higher the quality, the lower the chances of damage. A quality silicone lube likely won’t react with a quality silicone toy, and many lubricant manufacturers put their silicone lubes to the test by submerging silicone dildos in it for weeks to see what happens. (We recommend speaking with the manufacturer directly to find out what kinds of compatibility testing they may have already done on their own.)
So where did this idea stem from? When silicone toys first hit the market, many had softeners added that ultimately interacted with the fillers in cheaper silicone lube. This caused chemical reactions like melting and minor discoloration, and soon the industry considered the two simply incompatible. As the quality of manufacturing improved, the frequency of these interactions reduced considerably — and we can thank public customer complaints and sex blogger reviews in part for this improvement. The industry standard now includes use of medical-grade or platinum-cured silicones (some of the highest-quality available), and manufacturers have eased up on the softeners while relying less on fillers.
Why is silicone considered the “ultimate” material for sex toys?
Silicone construction has become a major selling point in the industry for a variety of reasons, and it’s important to understand why exactly this material can be a godsend for so many consumers.
Silicone is especially friendly to vulvas, anuses and uncircumcised penises — parts of the body lined with mucous membranes. Mucous membranes are especially sensitive to chemicals and additives, as they are made of cells designed to absorb moisture. Because silicone is an inert material and doesn’t react to chemicals, it’s considered safe to come in contact with mucous membranes in the body.
Silicone also is moldable and keeps its shape, which is especially important in more flexible silicone products. The softer the material, the more pliable and comfortable it will feel against a range of body sizes and shapes, and silicone’s durability will help the product keep its shape without tearing or breaking under pressure.
Silicone is easy to disinfect. High-quality silicones can be boiled in water or put in the dishwasher to sterilize, though some manufacturers provide specific cleaning instructions. Always remind shoppers to check the packaging to find out the recommended method for cleaning their new silicone toy — especially with products that contain electronic mechanisms and motors.
Silicone is inert and will not interact with other materials in a negative way. Some have heard that silicone cannot be used with latex, and that’s simply not true. This misconception has been floating around for years but there’s absolutely no merit to it. In fact, most lubricated condoms are lubricated with silicone lube!
Silicone is hugely durable and dependable, which makes it a key factor for many shoppers looking for a product that’ll last in the long term. The material is made to endure a lot of use, which means it won’t deteriorate over time (assuming it’s being taken care of, of course!) and users can rely on their silicone vibes, dildos or accessories to be ready for action when they are.
Silicone also transfers powerful vibration nicely, which is why it’s widely used with vibrators. Products that incorporate multiple sensations into one — such as the Flushed 12X Self-Heating Rabbit Vibe by Heat — rely on the silicone material to evenly distribute vibration while also warm up consistently and safely. Its capacity for enhancing both vibration and oscillation (the latter of which results in rumblier stimulation) prevents sensation from being muffled and makes for a great material choice in products.
On the retail end, silicone tends to be a higher-priced material, which is optimal for stores’ bottom lines — always a bonus.
Offering a variety of sex toys and lubricants made with silicone is an important way to increase revenue while providing quality and reliable options for your shoppers. But being able to talk about the multitude of benefits of silicone will boost rapport and encourage repeat sales, especially once shoppers learn they can rely on your staff to help make an informed purchasing decision.
Silicone is a premium, trusted material that’s here to stay. It’s not just a trend; it’s a superior choice for pleasure products for a number of legitimate reasons. It’s easy to clean, hypoallergenic, durable and it can take on many textures and forms. Additionally, more consumers are becoming silicone purists and demanding better, body-safe materials. Retailers that keep up with this demand will come out on top.