the fertility advocate

Talking, writing, educating, and change making in the field of fertility for more than twenty years

Can Your Sex Toys Cause Infertility?

Do you have a vibrator, dildo or any other rubber sex toy in the house? Are you trying to conceive? Then you need to read this post – actually even if you are not trying to conceive you need to read this post! This information is new to me – and it is simply making me livid – and I am blogging about all over the place including my Shameless Woman blog over at Psychology Today!

There is a family of chemicals called Phthalates and which are chemical rubber softeners and they can be found in everything from children’s toys to your car dash board – they are even found in sex toys and they are trouble makers to your health, and your fertility.  In fact,  Germany’s green party demanded that their government launch an investigation into high levels of dangerous chemicals found in sex toys.

As I said, Phthalates can be found in all kinds of things such as plastic shower curtains or even your car dashboard – and that might be alright because you are not that intimate with your car dash board. But putting Pthalates in your sex toy is entirely another matter because  of how intimately we engage with sex toys.
“Consumers must be protected when it comes to sexual health. Feigned embarrassment or false taboos should not prevent information getting out and checks being done,” MP Volker Beck said in his call to the German government.
Now,  the FDA has already sited  Phthalates as a probable human carcinogen. So – why isn’t anything being done about them? Currently there is no legislation pending to keep them out of our sex toys. In studies, they were found in high doses to cause cancer in rats, and even in lower doses – the rats had some serious problem such as genital development and fetal development, which produces stillborn rats.  Hey people trying to conceive! Shouldn’t we know this? And there is more…

When Phthalates were looked at in humans, there some evidence that phthalates interfere with sperm production and possibly infant genital development. Right now, we are working with limited studies, as there has been much more research done on animals than on humans. But the FDA and Greenpeace have released statement that these chemical present a possible health risk to the human population.
Ex-Governor Schwarzenegger passed a toxic toy ban to keep Phthalates out of children’s toys – but what about grown up toys? I think that this is a shame issue  – after all, it makes better politics to stand up for children’s rights (always a good thing)  then to stand up as a healthy sex toy advocate!

If kids toys are starting to be protected, wouldn’t it follow that we would protect our reproductive systems too? After all – if our reproductive system is exposed to these chemicals so are our potential children!

This is about Phthalates coming in intimate contact with our bodies. It made sense to ban them from children’s toys as children’s toys are often put in their mouths  but adult sex toys are also interacted with in intimate ways and put into mouths and other body parts!

Here come the politics! Apparently the sex toy industry is not highly regulated,  and sexual aids, or sex toys are often labeled as “novelty toys” (huge loop hole),  which translates into “you are not really suppose to use them – they are meant as gag gifts”.   We all know that sex toys are made to be used – and are not novelty items.

Therefore they do no rate any government-sponsored research into whether the sex toys are actually safe for us to use. My jaw dropped on this one! Why isn’t this being covered in the news? I don’t think that I know a single adult who does not own some kind of sex toy. This effects a startlingly large number of people.  Are we back in the shame game again – pretending that people don’t use sex toys?
Are we truly not talking about such an important issue because people are still filled with embarrassment  around buying and using sex toys that some members of  the sex toy industry is  getting  away with using materials that are dangerous and cause infertility?

So – as a consequence, very little is being done to keep us safe,  including this information getting out into the free press. Therefore, American consumers (many of whom have sex toys in their night stand table) are unsuspectingly using a wide array of sexy toys that can be toxic not only to themselves but to their eventually offspring.

Until we get a Healthy Sex Toy Advocate in Congress, you can take steps to protect yourself and I am not suggesting that you stop buying sex toys!  Brands like JimmyJane are phthalate free and state so on their packaging and website.  You just need to get educated, and read those labels.
Another hint is to avoid rubber jelly sex toys that do not list their ingredients! Or to be on the safe side when choosing phthalate-free sex toys is to pick hard plastic products, silicone, glass, metal and wood toys. These are usually phthalate-free.

The good news is that many sex toy stores have developed phthalate-free sections – even on line. And there are plenty of soft rubber options available.
Buying sex toys can be fun, and can really help heat up the bedroom especially if you are trying to conceive! But please do me and your body a favor – if you don’t know what your current sex toy is made of – throw it out.  It’s a great time to go shopping and find a new sex toy to bring into your bedroom – just make sure that it is Phthalate-Free!



About Pam Madsen
Talking, writing, educating and change making in the field of fertility for more than twenty years
1 comment on this postSubmit yours
  1. Same ingredient is found in most nail polishes and was listed on teratolgy sites even 8 yrs ago when I was ttc. It was hard to find one that didn’t have it. Today you might see a few brands that have tuolene-free and phthalate-free noted on the bottle.
    Another reason I’m trying to raise my kids not-so-girlie-girl. Its hard to explain to little princesse that nail polish can be bad if everyone is doing it.

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