Out of all the sex toy materials out there, GLASS sex toys are at the top of the list that makes people nervous.
And, it’s understandable.
The risk of having something break off in your nether regions is bad enough, but when it could break off into SHARP pieces, it’s wise to educate yourself before you use one.
So, are glass sex toys safe? Let’s take a look…
FIRST, THE POSITIVES
Like medical grade stainless steel, glass is non-porous and therefore very easy to clean and sterilize – making it a great material option. They’re also beautiful additions to any sex toy collection. They CAN be quite strong and, therefore, quite safe…
… If they’re made correctly.
That’s the catch. Poorly made glass sex toys are dangerous nightmares. Well-crafted ones are nothing to shy away from.
The stuff in your car window isn’t the same as what’s in your flower vase. They’re entirely different beasts with entirely different processes. The same goes for sex toys.
And the best first step you can take to understanding these differences is understanding the terminology because you’re going to see this language is thrown around everywhere (some of it used correctly but mostly used only for sales with no accuracy behind it).
SODA LIME GLASS – It’s the most common type of glass and can be found in anything from window panes to bottles or jars. It accounts for around 90% of all manufactured glass.
BOROSILICATE GLASS – This glass is engineered to withstand harsher thermal and chemical conditions. It’s used in many applications including laboratory equipment and cook-wear (things you put in the freezer or oven).
ANNEALED – This is the process of slowly cooling a glass object to “relieve residual internal stresses” that can occur during manufacturing/creation. Small objects can be annealed naturally due to their size; however, large objects need a controlled environment to cool properly.
TEMPERING – Often confused with annealing, but it’s not the same. Tempering creates a stronger form of glass.
STRESS – This is a complex idea. Some stress points in glass can make those parts weaker and more susceptible to breakage. HOWEVER, there are some instances where glass stress can make things stronger.
Some makers say it’s impossible to have a piece of glass that’s 100% free of stress, while others say it is. There is also a certain amount you can have while being safe to use.
INTERESTING FACT: Adding different colors of glass into your creation also adds stress.
PYREX – Pyrex is NOT a kind of glass. It’s a BRAND. Like “Kleenex” is a brand but it’s been mistakenly integrated into our language to mean the same as tissues.
It’s also important to note that, in the past, Pyrex WAS a well-trusted American company that used borosilicate. Now, however, they’re not American-owned and most of the products are made in China with different and cheaper compositions … and 99% of the time not made with borosilicate anymore.
So, if a seller claims their toys are made of Pyrex glass, this is false advertising. They either don’t understand what they are selling OR they’re using a catchword to make you safe into buying their product. Beware of sellers who use this term (or email them for clarification if you’re interested in making a purchase).
IMPORTANT NOTE: Keep in mind that these descriptions are the watered-down versions that are easier to digest – rather than the complicated explanations that require professional training to grasp.
WHICH GLASS IS BETTER?
First, understand that a borosilicate glass toy is NOT automatically better than a soda-lime toy.
The quality comes down to craftsmanship. If it’s poorly made, it doesn’t matter what it’s made from. So, in general…
- A well-made, annealed, borosilicate toy is the best
- A well-made, annealed soda lime toy is also great
- An annealed toy can still be bad if it’s crafted poorly
Cheap glass sex toys probably haven’t been manufactured with caution and care. They’ve been churned out on an assembly line with the company’s bottom line being the most important factor. This is why 99% of the stuff you find on Amazon or other major distributors will probably be garbage.
BEWARE OF LUSTERS AND PAINTS
While “colored” glass is fine (if done correctly), anything that’s painted or coated in a shiny “luster” should be avoided at all costs. Even after cooking in a kiln, these decorative coatings could leech a pretty scary list of toxins (including arsenic and mercury) into the skin/body.
NOTE: Many people are scared of lead in their glass toys. While adding lead to some glass items is common, it’s not a cheap thing to add, and since sellers want to have a higher profit margin, there very little chance of this material showing up.
WILL IT BREAK INSIDE YOU?
Not really … and maybe yes.
On one hand, even a cheap toy is sometimes strong enough to endure most sexual activities.
There are things that will increase the risk factor.
1. DROPPING IT – Even a well-crafted toy should be retired if you’ve dropped it. There could be cracks or newly introduced stresses that you can’t see. The same goes for if you’ve chipped it. Yes, you’ll hear of makers dropping their toys to test their strength, but still, better safe than sorry.
2. WEAK POINTS – This is where the real danger comes in. Toys with very thin parts/sections should be avoided because they have a high risk of breaking.
3. TEMPERATURE PLAY – Soda-lime glass (even annealed) is not a good bed-mate for temperature play. Yes, you can warm it or cool it slightly, but avoid anything else, lest you end up with cracking. Stainless steel is a better option if you want to get into this kink.
4. EXTRA BITS – If there are any textures or bumps added, they’re usually okay if they’re stuck on, BUT give them a good nudge to make sure – better to cut a finger than your insides.
CHECKING FOR STRESS
I have DangerousLily.com and one of my co-workers to thank for the next section…
There’s one way you can see the stress of your glass sex toy – keep in mind that it’s not the be-all-end-all method but it will at least give you a good idea in what direction the quality is headed.
- Your toy needs to be clear glass – colored glass won’t work for this test
- You need your computer monitor – a blank white screen
- You need a polarizing camera lens – however, my design co-worker also said that a pair of 3D glasses will also yield similar results
- Make sure the room is dark
- Hold the toy between the lens and the monitor … and any stress points will show up as rainbows.
- Indigo or brown colors mean there’s stress, but it’s not something to worry about
- A little bit of rainbow action isn’t the end of the world
- Any significant rainbow action means the toy has lots of stress points and will eventually break
HOW DO YOU FIND A GOOD GLASS TOY?
Search the web for companies that specialize in glass sex toys (rather than having a small selection in a wide variety of material options). These companies should know what they’re doing – know about the glass-making process.
Some reliable places to start would be:
Crystal Delights – Great craftsmanship and prompt customer service
Standard Glass – Handmade toys with solid know-how
GoodVibes – They have some decent glass toys in their sex toy collection
Fucking Sculptures – They’ve unfortunately closed, but if you can find one of their products ( a legit one) it’s totally worth the money.
We need to understand that a well-made, safe glass sex toy is NOT a cheap thing to buy – no exceptions. You’re paying for a professional to make a one-of-a-kind piece, after all.
When you dip into the bargain bin section, you’re going to find a deal, but the risk of getting a dud gets exponentially higher.
Of course, not everyone has a hundred bucks (or more) to spend on their toys. If that’s the case, I would suggest buying a more affordable silicone toy, maybe even a stainless steel one (although they’re not always cheap either) and wait until you can afford a nice glass one. This will also leave you time to do that research and make sure you’ve found a seller you’re confident in.
SO, IN SHORT…
Well-made glass sex toys (annealed borosilicate or soda lime) are completely safe as long as you don’t drop them or put them through extreme temperature changes.
Anything else I would steer away from.
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Also, if you’re looking for more interesting articles, you might like these:
- How to Use a Dildo: Go From Average Moans to Atomic Groans
- 21 Female Sex Toys – Essential Buyer’s Guide and Product Reviews
- Buzzy and Clean! Over 30 Essential Tips on How to Clean Sex Toys
Any glass sex toy duds you want to warn people about? Maybe you have more advice you want to add? Share in the comments!