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Why society should talk about forced sex in intimate relationships, too

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In the wake of the deluge of news about sexual harassment and alleged assaults by several high-profile and powerful men, it is important to look at the causes and consequences of forced sex in the workplace – but also in intimate relationships.

Although forced sex by a boss and by an intimate partner considerably differ, they have these two things in common: They both disempower women and make women sick.

Sex is a double-edged sword. It enhances our well-being and boosts our relationships if it is consented. It becomes detrimental, however, if it is forced.

My research on sexuality focuses on causes and consequences of forced sex in intimate relationships. My studies have been on individual and environmental risk factors that increase risk of sexual abuse by male partners. I have studied the co-occurence between sexual and nonsexual violence in intimate relations. Finally, I have also studied the consequences of sexual abuse on mental health and relationship quality among women.

The recent news events provide an opportunity to address forced partner sex, a long-overlooked but insidious practice.

All too common

Let’s look at the numbers.

According to one report, one in four women experiences sexual violence by an intimate partner. According to another report, up to 50 percent of all sexual coercions are done by intimate partners. Around one-third of adolescent girls also report that their first sexual experience was forced.

About 15 percent of women also experience sexual harassment at their workplace.

Worldwide, 30 to 35 percent of women in a relationship experience some form of violence by their intimate partner. In the United States alone, more than 12 million adults, mostly women, experience intimate partner violence each year.

A sickening effect at home

In addition to the moral and human right violations of individual women, intimate partner violence imposes huge costs to society. According to a CDC report, the costs of intimate partner violence, including rape, physical assault and stalking, in the United States exceed US$5.8 billion each year.

Sexual abuse has a number of health effects, including higher risk of suicide. Individuals who experience sexual assault are also at higher risk of several chronic diseases such as asthma, irritable bowel syndrome, diabetes, chronic pain conditions and heart disease.

Individuals who are forced into sex by a partner show depression and high psychological distress. In fact, sexual abuse increases risk for almost all forms of psychopathologies.

Forced sex reduces women’s ability to enjoy sex in the future. Although some victims exhibit an increase in sexual activity, in most cases, forced sex is a risk factor for sexual avoidance.

Shame is a key aspect of the emotional suffering of those who experience sexual abuse. Shame is a core element of anxiety, depression and suicide, and is a barrier against help-seeking. As a result, victims typically continue to suffer in isolation. This is more so in societies where the rape victims are also blamed for their victimization.

My own research has shown a link between forced sex and relationship distress among married couples. By being forced to have sex, the women lose a sense of control of their bodies. Forced sex shakes women’s trust and attachment security.

Some believe that sexual violence is probably most depressing when it is committed by a spouse, partner or relative. When a woman is victimized by a stranger, she has to live with a frightening memory. When she is being forced into sex by a spouse or a partner, she lives with the “rapist” all the time.

A sickening effect at work

Sexual abuse can become chronic when it happens at the workplace. Given the imbalance in the power, fighting an assault in the workplace may be an uphill battle for women. Many powerful forces, such as human resources directors and lawyers, can serve to protect the company or to discredit and blame the victim.

Sexual harassment has a major effect on women’s careers. Some women leave their jobs to escape their harassing environment. Some people stay and fight. In both scenarios, sexual harassment causes career disruption for women.

Much of workplace harassment is a result of unbalanced power, and some scholars have called sexual harassment “gendered expression of power.”

This inappropriate expression of power imperils young, minority and poor women in the workplace in particular. Studies have shown that power differences can increase sexual abuse of young, minority and low socioeconomic individuals.

So who does force women into sex?

My research shows that sexual abuse does not occur in a vacuum. It tends to co-occur with relational dysfunctions as well as other types of violence. Women should consider psychological or verbal abuse by a partner, co-worker or boss to be a warning sign for future risk of sexual assault.

They should also know that men who show other types of violence, including verbal, psychological and physical violence, are more likely to commit sexual violence. Men who are very controlling verbally, economically and emotionally are also more likely to be sexual perpetrators.

And, it is important to know that alcohol and drug use contribute to sexual violence. Many men who force people into sex are intoxicated. Also, impulsive traits increase the risk. Men who express more anger and aggression are also at a higher risk of committing sexual violence.

Power plays a corrupting role

Social psychology research reminds us that power corrupts people, independent of their level of morality. So, when humans are given unconditional power, authority and dominance (over others), they are very likely to abuse it. Philip Zimbardo’s Stanford Prison Experiment showed that it is not evil people who do evil behaviors. Evil action is often about unconditional power and authority that people gain, rather than their immorality.

This may explain why the list of high-profile people who have been accused of sexually harassing women is mostly composed of powerful white men. This is not, I would argue, because white men are immoral, but because white men have the highest authority, dominance, social power and job control over their co-workers.

While the U.S. is undergoing a surge in awareness around workplace sexual harassment and abuse, people should also be mindful that the same dynamics are playing out among intimate relationships.

Complete Article HERE!

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The 5 steamiest sites to get your BDSM erotica fix

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Screw watching porn. Read it.

Back when the internet first came into existence, watching porn was not a proper thing you could do. That’s because most porn was written. But not to worry—there was still plenty of it to go around. Give people a way to be horny, and they’ll most certainly jump on the opportunity.

So much has changed since those early days before the World Wide Web and even though online videos have boomed in the past two decades, there is still plenty of story-based smut floating around on the internet. That’s good news for BDSM fans. Turns out the internet is filled with erotica detailing everything from light bondage to knife play. Here are some of the best story-based porn sites to check out for kink.

5 best places to read BDSM stories

1) Literotica

As far as online BDSM stories go, Literotica is legendary. Originally founded in 1998, Literotica is a free erotica hub where users from around the world can submit anything from erotic poems to novels. Over the past two decades, the site has made quite the name for itself in the online porn world, as it’s practically synonymous with the term “online erotica.”

Of course that means the site has a huge BDSM short story collection. There’s plenty to check out, from light power plays to hardcore bondage. Plus, because Literotica is centered around cultivating and supporting erotic stories, the site has an enormous catalog of short story series from years past. Expect multi-chapter goodness for those late nights alone.

If you’re a newbie to the site, there are a couple Literotica stories worth checking out: “Bruises on Bruises” is a one-shot story where a submissive woman details her dominant’s erotic brutality on her body. And then there’s “Seven Days of Service,” a seven-part BDSM series mixing business with pleasure between a dominant and his submissive. For more BDSM short stories, check out the site’s top-rated stories of all time in the BDSM tag.

2) Nifty

Gay and lesbian BDSM stories are plentiful on the internet, as long as you’re willing to look for them. And just like Literotica, Nifty remains essential in the LGBTQ community for queer erotica.

Originally launched in 1993, Nifty hosts free stories largely dealing with gay and lesbian sex. That means plenty of bondage, submission, and domination appears on the site. Right on Nifty’s front page, the site is split into four categories: gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender. From there, users can choose erotica based on varying categories, which include “authoritarian” and “bondage” BDSM stories.

Before hopping onto Nifty, though, it’s worth pointing out that some stories feature underage and teenage protagonists. It’s definitely an uncomfortable experience, to say the least. Kinks run the gamut from gay college hookups to bestiality as well, so make sure to check the tags before reading a story. Also, quality varies. Some stories are incredibly well-written, while others are severly lacking.

Still, Nifty is worth checking out if you need a queer erotica fix. Of particular note: One story deals with a trans girl’s slutty diaries, including her relationship with a submissive man who ultimately dominates her in his own way. And then there’s  “Dykes Seduce Pizza Girl,” where two lesbians pleasure a submissive delivery driver. There’s also a “best of” list detailing some of Nifty’s highlights over the years.

3) Tumblr

Love or hate it, Tumblr is well known for being a major porn hub in the BDSM world. And yes, that includes kinky sex stories. The site is filled with them. Blogs throughout the site are dedicated to BDSM erotica, with both one-shots and story series gracing its webpages. For instance, Tumblr user sweetlysubmissive writes BDSM stories featuring plenty of delicious dominant and submissive play. And then there’s Tasks BDSM Community Stories, which features a sizable number of BDSM series ranging from lesbian pet play in college Greek life to a rich, bratty bottom getting her fill.

The best part about Tumblr, though, is the site’s search system. This means that anyone can search for BDSM content without necessarily following another person’s blog. So for someone interested in a specific kink, such as bondage or spanking, simply typing in terms on the site’s search bar can lead to some pretty enticing results. This makes Tumblr not just an endless resource for BDSM literature, but one where there’s always new kinks to explore.

4) r/GoneWildStories

Fictional stories are great, but what about real-life encounters? That’s what r/GoneWildStories is all about.

Unlike r/EroticLiterature, which is dedicated to fictional erotic stories, r/GoneWildStories features real-life sexual exploits detailed for the reader’s entertainment. No unrealistic characters, no stilted dialogue; every single story in the subreddit is (probably) straight from real life. Granted, there’s no way to confirm whether a user’s sexual exploits really happened, but isn’t part of the fun—envisioning every story as true to life?

Like other adult subreddits, r/GoneWildStories uses a tag system to track BDSM posts, and many stories listed on the site aren’t necessarily kinky. Some are just random hook-ups. But the site gets plenty of exciting stories about doms, subs, and bondage for readers to look through, making it worth a bookmark.

For instance, one post details a pet’s first time wearing her collar for her master. Another explores a kinky trans woman’s experience with her first threesome, along with plenty of bondage. As far as real-life kink writing goes, r/GoneWildStories is worth the look.

Who said BDSM stories have to stay written? Reddit’s r/GoneWildAudio is an ocean of free audio stories, created by performers recording straight from their bedrooms.

With r/GoneWildAudio, performers pick from a series of scripts or create their own recordings based on a sexual fantasy. Content varies from vanilla concepts to hardcore BDSM scenes. There’s also plenty of alternative kinks to check out on the site too, like pet play, daddy doms, and forced feminization.

As with r/GoneWildStories, not every recording on the subreddit is BDSM-focused. But the site has an enormous selection to browse through using BDSM-adjacent tags, like “bondage,” “rope,” “domme,” and other terms and phrases. We recommend “Shut Up, I’m Sucking Your Cock,” which features some light domming alongside cock worship and oral sex. And then there’s “This is What Happens to Bad Girls,” where a domme teases another girl, promising to tie her up and spank her.

Complete Article HERE!

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The best sex toy you didn’t know you needed

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Hey sex fans!

It’s Product Review Friday comin’ at ya again.

In previous weeks we welcomed several new manufacturers to our effort. (If ya missed any of our recent reviews you can see them HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE.) All these new manufacturers are Europeans. Today, we welcome back an award-winning company, including the unprecedented two placements on the coveted Dr Dick’s Sex Toy Reviews Best Adult Products List, 2012 and 2013. It is proudly an American company. And these folks are good friends to all of us here at Dr Dick Sex Advice. Join me in welcoming back The Perfect Fit Brand!

To keep track of all our reviews of the amazing products coming from The Perfect Fit Brand, use the search function in the sidebar of DrDickSexToyReviews.com, type in The Perfect Fit Brand, and PRESTO!

I am equally pleased to welcome back the very popular Dr Dick Review Crew duo, Glenn & Hank who have returned to our review effort. They are here to tell us about their new find.

Bull Bag Buzz —— $49.95

Glenn & Hank
Hank: “HEY SEX FREAKS! We’re back…after a nearly four-year absence. Where does the time go?”
Glenn: “I was one of the people who pleaded with Dr Dick to keep the reviews coming, just before he closed it down in 2014. I considered myself one of the founding members of the Dr Dick Review Crew and I didn’t want it to end. I did my first review in October on 2007. I know that some of the other members got burnt out, and I confess, this reviewing gig can be a bitch sometimes, but I thought we were doing a great service to those who read this blog.”
Hank: “I joined the Dr Dick Review Crew in August 2008. Glenn and I had the pleasure of introducing you to many remarkable products, including The Best Product or Toy for Men back in 2012 — The Fat Boy Cock Sheath another great product from The Perfect Fit Brand.”
Glenn: “When Dr Dick announced that he was gonna revive this review effort I told him that Hank and I would gladly return. But I made one stipulation. ‘You had better give us first dibs on any new products from The Perfect Fit Brand.’”
Hank: “You can say that again! The Perfect Fit Brand consistently cranks out the world’s most innovative toys for men. Each year they outdo themselves and they have the awards, from over the globe, to prove it. If you’ve got a cock and balls and/or an asshole, and you don’t have at least a couple of their products, I can assure you that you are missing out on a ton of fun.”
Glenn: “So what is this Bull Bag Buzz thing, you might be asking yourself. Well guys, I’ll tell ya. It’s probably the best sex toy you didn’t know you needed. It’s a stretchy encasement that fits around your nut sack. It cradles your balls a bit. It stretches your sack a bit. And the fuckin’ thing vibrates! It is made of The Perfect Fit Brand’s proprietary material, called SilaSkin, which is a blend of silicone and TPR (thermoplastic rubber). It is unbelievably stretchy and irresistibly soft and it is phthalate-free. Bull Bag Buzz comes in two colors, black and clear.”


Hank: “Yep, the Bull Bag Buzz is stretchy, shape-enhancing, and body-hugging. If you ask me, nothing says macho like a big set of swingin’ balls between a guy’s legs. And yet, most of us guys pay our balls little mind. We stroke our dick and feed our ass, sure. But what about our nuts? I think it’s a fuckin’ shame that we often ignore this source of pleasure and even some pain. Check out what Dr Dick has to say about it HERE!”
Glenn: “Hank is lucky because he’s got obscenely huge nuts. When we go to play parties, he loves nothing more than to swagger around like some stallion. I, on the other hand, wasn’t nearly as blessed, but I never take my cajones for granted. I always try to incorporate them into my pleasuring – stretching and tugging.”
Hank: “That’s right! If ya haven’t tried a little CBT, you’re missing out. It hurts sooo good!
Glenn: “I think we just got off topic there for a bit. But actually, it’s all very pertinent. Bull Bag Buzz could be part of any guy’s attempt to include his balls into his sexual repertoire. You can use it alone or with a partner. You slip it over your nut sack, turn on the 3-Speed power bullet located on the bottom and get ready for intense vibration that travels throughout the whole product. It’s unlike anything you’ve ever felt before. Using it alone, like while you’re strokin’ your dick, keeps your nut sack engaged in your pleasuring. You’ll be amazed at the added pleasure. Using it with a partner is equally awesome. I’m a bottom, so when Hank mounts me with the Bull Bag Buzz on his nuts, I get the added sensation of his huge nuts slammin’ into me. The vibrations only heighten the pleasure.”


Hank: “So I was lookin’ on the internet for some information about Bull Bag Buzz before we started to play with it ourselves. I found a video of the founder and CEO of The Perfect Fit Brand, Steve Callow talking about his newest creation. I’m gonna include it here.”


Glenn: “I fuckin’ want to see Steve Callow model the Bull Bag Buzz, not just talk about it. He is one HOT daddy.”
Hank: “Now, now, behave yourself. You can be such a pervert. The Bull Bag Buzz is safe with all water-based lubes. Clean up is super easy because the SilaSkin material is nonporous and so stretchy you can actually turn the blasted thing inside out. And once thoroughly dry the Bull Bag Buzz isn’t the least bit sticky or tacky. We both give this product an A+ rating.”
Glenn: “The Bull Bag Buzz also works for giving your package that extra-large bulge under your favorite pair of jeans.

Full Review HERE!

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A Stylish Vibe For Beginners

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Hey sex fans!

It’s Product Review Friday once again. And, like the last three weeks, you can see them HERE and HERE and HERE, we welcome a new manufacturer to our review effort. This week it’s another German company, OVO Lifestyle Toys.

I’m delighted to welcome back to this review effort one of the founding members of the Dr Dick Review Crew, Joy and her oh so charming wife, Dixie.

F12 Vibrator Fuchsia —— $52.69

Joy & Dixie
Joy: “We’re BACK!”
Dixie: “And we’re back as married ladies. In the near three years that has passed since our last reviews, we got hitched. Joy got down on one knee, no easy task for her, and proposed. After I said, yes, I had to help her to her feet.”
Joy: “So, OK, I’m a romantic at heart, I’m just not built for all the more traditional romantic gestures.”
Dixie: “To tell the truth, not much really changed in our lives after the wedding, but we scored some kick-ass wedding gifts. Joy got some power tools, of course, and I got a load of stuff for the kitchen. We even got a couple of sex toys. All our dyke friends know how much we loves our sex toys.”
Joy: “And ya know what’s better than sex toys? Getting sex toys for free in exchange for doing reviews here on Dr Dick Sex Advice and Dr Dick Sex Toy Reviews.”
Dixie: “Which brings us to why we are here today. We’re here to tell you about the F12 Vibrator Fuchsia from OVO Lifestyle Toys. Here it is in all its handsomeness.”
Joy: “Or, here SHE is in all her beauty.”
Dixie: “You say tomato, I say tomahto.”
Joy: “I want to start our introduction with the packaging, if that’s alright with you. F12 Vibrator Fuchsia comes in a nice gift package. But my first thought was…are you kidding me with the name? Fuchsia if fine; it is, after all, the color of the thing. But F12?? You gotta be kidding me. Someone is falling down in the creative department, if you ask me.”
Dixie: “I second that. But, you’re right the box is nice.”
Joy: “The packaging consists of a white embossed slip-sleeve featuring a full-sized image of F12 Vibrator Fuchsia. The outer sleeve tells you just about everything you need to know about the vibe inside. It has four programs, three speeds, a contoured texture, it’s waterproof, it’s battery operated, and it comes with a 15-year warranty. Under the slip-sleeve is the pearl grey box that claps shut with magnets. Inside that there’s a black and clear plastic clamshell insert sorta deal that holds the vibe in place. It’s attractive without being ostentatious. There’s also a OVO product catalog and ‘quick start guide’ included.”
Dixie: The F12 Vibrator Fuchsia vibe is covered in a luscious, high-quality, latex-free, nonporous, phthalate-free, and hypoallergenic silicone. Silicone is our material of choice for insertables. But don’t forget you must always use a water-based lube with a silicone toy like the F12. A silicone-based lube would mar the finish. The F12 comes in just this one color, as far as I know, but it has some nice gold detailing.”

Joy: “Like I just said the F12 has four vibrating programs and three speeds. The vibrations are the buzzy kind not the rumbling kind. The two-button control panel is easy to handle and operate. There’s an on/off button under the silicone skin. The “+ and -” button accelerates the speed through its five settings. And it is remarkably quiet.”
Dixie: “The F12 is about nine inches long. The insertable portion is about six inches long. It’s a pretty traditional shape for an insertable, but the contours are nice.”
Joy: “I can’t help but thinking how retro the F12 is. I mean it’s battery operated for god’s sake. I can’t even remember the last toy we reviewed that was battery operated.”
Dixie: “But it’s waterproof, so there’s that. And come to think of it, there are probably lots of women, particularly older women, who may not have the capacity or the know-how to use a USB recharger.”
Joy: “I hear ya. That is actually a really good point. And the fact that F12 is waterproof makes it perfect for bath time. And who doesn’t like to get off in the bath?”
Dixie: “Because it is made of silicone and its fully waterproof it’s so easy to clean. Mild soap and warm water does just fine for everyday cleaning. But you can also wipe it down with a lint-free towel moistened with peroxide, rubbing alcohol or a 10% bleach solution to sanitize for sharing. And it should be shared!”
Joy: “The packaging states that the F12 is ‘curved for added g-spot pleasure’. I know that g-spot pleasuring is a real buzz word (you should pardon the pun) in vibes these days, but I’m gonna challenge OVO on this claim. I think there’s not nearly enough curve to the F12 to make it an effective g-spot vibe.”
Dixie: “I totally agree with Joy. At the same time, one size or one shape does not fit all! Each of our bodies is different; what will work for me, won’t work for Joy and visa versa. There are so many variables — insertable length, curve of the shaft, and on and on.”
Joy: “Exactly! I have another quarrel with the promotional materials of F12. The claim the F12 is ‘earth-shatteringly powerful’. I beg to differ! While the F12 has many nice features; take it from me, it is most assuredly not ‘earth-shatteringly powerful’. The F12 doesn’t really have enough oomph to get me off. But then again, I am not the intended audience for the F12. I’m thinking the F12 is geared toward a woman, or a couple new to sex toys.”
Dixie: “And I can’t recommend the F12 for butt play either. There isn’t a flared base on it to make it safe for anal play. So all you guys and gals out there experimenting with anal sex, you’ll have to look elsewhere for a pleasure product.”
Joy: “Let’s recap, shall we? F12 is body-safe, healthy, waterproof, moderately powerful, and super quiet.”
Dixie: “When we were working on this review we searched the net for info about the F12. One of the things we discovered is that there is a wide price range for this product. We saw it for as little as $35 and as expensive as $50. I don’t know what accounts for that disparity, but I encourage you to shop around if you plan to buy.”

Full Review HERE!

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It’s Surprisingly Hard to Ban Toxic Sex Toys

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But Here’s How to Protect Yourself

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These days, most of us will carefully check ingredients lists for gluten and trans fats, demand that our water bottles be made without BPA, and seek out paraben-free, body-safe cosmetics. But the average person can’t tell you what a toxic sex toy is—or even that they exist. Unfortunately, in the unregulated sex toy industry, plenty of sex toys are potentially rife with products that can hurt you (and not even in the fun, kinky way).

Perhaps the most well-known offender in terms of toy toxicity is a group of chemicals known as phthalates, a plasticizer that can be blended with other substances to make them softer and more flexible. A spotlight’s been shone on phthalates in recent years, as publications like Bustle and Bitch, and feminist-oriented sex shops like Good Vibes and Babeland have spoken out against them.

So why all the hullabaloo? It turns out that phthalates may have side effects when they come into contact with your body that could potentially be terrible for you—and aren’t disclosed by most sex toy manufacturers. According to Amanda Morgan, D.H.S., a faculty member at the School of Community Health Sciences at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, who wrote her master’s thesis on harmful sex toy materials, phthalates are known endocrine disruptors that can cause health problems. “[Phthalates] mess with your hormones; they can cause birth defects, or other things related to liver or kidney functioning,” Morgan told me, referencing studies that have linked phthalates to irregular fetal development, early-onset puberty, and lower sperm counts, among other issues. “They can really mess you up because they pretend to be your hormones, and so your body’s hormonal cycle gets knocked out of whack from exposure to these things.”

When you hear horror stories about sex toys, though, it’s not necessarily phthalates that are to blame. One of the most common anecdotal complaints about toxic toys is that they cause skin irritation: “I first thought [it] was a yeast infection or BV, because of extreme itching and burning on my inner labia,” reports one reader who wrote in to sex toy review blog Dangerous Lilly. “My ass suddenly felt like it was on fire. A burning sensation spread throughout my butt,” recalled sex educator Tristan Taormino about a questionable dildo she used. One Playboy story described a dildo that caused a woman “such severe pain that she could barely speak.”

I asked Emily S. Barrett, Ph.D., a professor at the Rutgers University School of Public Health who has done extensive research on the prenatal effects of endocrine disruptors like phthalates, whether these reported burning sensations fit with her understanding of the chemicals. She told me she hasn’t seen evidence that phthalates irritate the skin in this way, and that they tend to “act on a much more subtle level most of the time.”

So what is causing these health problems? According to Amanda Morgan, phthalates aren’t the only sketchy ingredient still getting into our sex toys. As part of her thesis research, Morgan tested 32 sex toys to determine their chemical makeup. What she found was pretty scary: The toys she tested typically contained 30 to 35 percent chlorine. She said PVC, a material commonly used to make inexpensive sex toys, always contains chlorine (hence the chemical name “polyvinyl chloride”). Even scarier, in 2006, BadVibes.org—an organization that, full disclosure, is linked to pro-toy-safety sex shop The Smitten Kitten—ran lab tests on four popular sex toys. They found that two of them were made of PVC and contained “very high levels of phthalate plasticizer.”

“We use chlorine to kill bacteria in things,” Morgan said. “If you are being exposed to this high level of chlorine, especially in a sensitive membrane area [like the vagina or rectum], we could definitely chalk that up to causing irritation, burning, or messing up the environment by exposing it to something that is, as we know, a sterilization product.” So with the short-term burning effects of chlorine and the long-term endocrine effects of phthalates, PVC is, Morgan said, “definitely one of the worst sex toy materials we’ve seen.”

Now, you might be thinking, “OK, great to know! I’ll just buy only safe toys from now on!” Well, it’s not so simple. Since the sex toy industry is unregulated, it doesn’t fall under the current purview of the Food and Drug Administration. According to FDA press officer Angela Stark, that’s because the agency “does not regulate devices meant purely for sexual pleasure. It does, however, regulate genital devices that have a medical purpose such as vibrators intended for therapeutic use to treat sexual dysfunction or to supplement Kegel exercises.” Of course, the vast majority of sex toys don’t fall under this “health aid” umbrella.

The responsibility of regulating sex toys could potentially fall to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, but Morgan told me the understaffed CPSC is already in charge of regulating over 15,000 types of products—not to mention the products themselves. The complex issue of sex toy regulation would be a big ask on top of all that.

Add to all of this the fact that the current Congress likely wouldn’t rush to make a bold, sex-positive statement by mandating sex toy safety, and there are plenty of reasons your sex toy might not meet body-safe standards. “Our government doesn’t generally like to talk about people pleasuring themselves,” Morgan pointed out.

Beyond that, though, Morgan adds that regulating the sex toy industry might not even be the best solution to getting rid of toxic toys anyway. “If something is federally regulated, that means that the federal government—depending on where they are in their political leanings at that time—could potentially make it illegal to have these products, by saying they are ‘dangerous’ and then regulating them out of existence,” she reasoned. “You get certain types of people in power, and they may not believe in sexual health, wellness, [or] self-pleasuring. It might go against their core values, and therefore they [might] use their political agenda and the federal regulation system to regulate these products out of people’s hands.”

It’s a conclusion that Zach Biesanz, a legal assistant in the office of New York’s Attorney General, came to in his 2007 paper in the journal Law & Inequality: “Special regulation of the sex toy industry would be unreasonably burdensome from a regulatory standpoint,” he wrote. “Only banning these toxins outright will suffice to protect consumers from phthalates’ harmful and even lethal effects.”

In the meantime, how do you tell if a toy is safe? Sex toy experts like Morgan, Smitten Kitten founder Jennifer Pritchett, and seasoned sex toy reviewer Epiphora all recommend buying toys made of phthalate-free, body-safe materials like pure silicone, stainless steel, glass, and hard plastic. Still, it’s difficult to know what’s what in an industry that mislabels its products so frequently. “Sniff your sex toy,” said Morgan. “That’s the easiest thing you can do. If you smell these products and they don’t smell like anything, then it most likely is a stable chemical compound like silicone.” Phthalates and PVC, however, smell “like chemicals,” according to Morgan, “like a new shower curtain,” according to Epiphora, and “like a headache,” according to Pritchett. The sex toy smell test might sound a little weird, but it’s a pretty good first line of defense.<

Morgan also recommends buying toys made by “companies that take a lot of pride in making good-quality, body-safe toys,” citing Tantus and Jimmyjane as examples. Other companies that proudly declare their products body-safe include We-Vibe, Fun Factory, Vixen Creations, and Funkit Toys.

And when in doubt, find a reviewer you can trust. Sex toy review blogs abound on the internet —Epiphora, Dangerous Lilly, and Formidable Femme, to name just a few—and while you’d be wise to take claims about sex toys with a grain of salt in this unregulated industry, sometimes the preponderance of good or bad reviews about a particular company or toy can suggest conclusions about its safety (or lack thereof).

Most important, though, demand body-safe sex toys by buying only from companies you can trust. “Consumers vote with their pocketbook,” said Tantus founder Metis Black. “Support the businesses that make safe toys a priority, that use their resources to educate, that take a stand and advocate for consumers.” She added that while pure silicone toys are expensive now—especially in comparison to PVC toys, which can often be under $30 a pop versus $100+ for silicone—more consumer demand for body-safe toys will create a larger supply at lower prices, as bigger companies with more resources start making nontoxic toys in larger quantities. That’s just sex toy economics.

Bloggers, consumers, and ethical toymakers alike all dream of a future in which no sex toys will burn your junk, give you infections, or cause long-term bodily harm. It seems reasonable enough. And if we keep fighting for it, maybe one day it’ll be reality.

Complete Article HERE!

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