5 Safe Sex Devices You Didn't Even Know You Needed

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5 Safe Sex Devices You Didn't Even Know You Needed

We live in an era in which your phone can access pornography that would have driven your ancestors to the brink of madness, yet everyone is still way too shy about sex. At least, it's still hard to bring it up as a subject of serious conversation without everyone just giggling. This is a problem, particularly if you want to experiment a bit with toys or bondage, but don't know where to go for advice on how to do it right, or at least how to avoid doing it wrong.

This results in a whole lot of hospital bills and mortified patients, so allow me to at least scratch the surface of some things you should know.

You Can Take Classes On Risky Sex Play

Normally it's a bad sign when a college spells its name with a "K" but we'll give a pass to Kinky Kollege on this one. It exists to teach you about all the stuff you got kicked out of sex-ed for asking about, and all the positions that you think might maim you if you dare to try them. Let's peruse some of their course list, shall we?

"Artistic Cutting" is a class that will get into the "art of cutting and cutting as art." If you're not familiar with the term, it's not a metaphor -- it's about drawing blood from other people for sexual thrill. The course disclaimer mentions that you need to bring your own partner (no slashing classmates). There's another class on the "intimacy of vaginal fisting," and one for cock and ball torture. There's even a class to go over the dynamics of pegging if you have a bigger body size. And of course, there's "Walk the Edge: How to Enjoy the Fear and Control That is Breath Play and Probably Not Kill Anyone."

You might know breath play already by way of its more popular cousin autoerotic asphyxiation, i.e. "the kind of jacking off that kills people" (see the lists of celebrities who died from it). It seems like there's no question that if this is your thing, it's safer with a partner, and safer still if you've learned from an expert how to do it. See what I mean? This is a subject you'd be nervous to bring up around the responsible adults in your life, and that fear of getting kink-shamed could get you killed. They're doing the Lord's work here.

Not that Kinky Kollege is the only place that will teach you about safely choking yourself off. Sex-focused workshops and classes aren't entirely uncommon if you go looking for them. Signing up for something like that may be awkward, but not as awkward as an emergency room visit or accidental death. Speaking of which ...

Related: The 5 Most Important Things They Never Taught You In Sex Ed

You Can Buy Butt Toys That Won't Get Stuck

Butt stuff is more popular than ever these days, and I base that assertion on literally no research. You trust me on this one, as I trust myself. But ask anyone who's ever worked in an ER, and they can tell you there are plenty of people who show up needing things removed from their asses -- an object that goes in too far will literally take special tools to remove.

Sweden is making an effort to fix this, with plans to make backdoor toys meet some safety standards after years of ugly incidents (a single Stockholm hospital was getting about ten visits a year over stuck dildos or makeshift dildos, with the victims ranging from age 15 to 92). The Swedish Standards Industry is coming up with a set of rules they hope will be adopted worldwide, which would include emergency retrieval strings or a wider, unstuffable base to prevent catastrophic butt-swallowing.

I'm making jokes here because that's my job, but it's fear of mockery that keeps people from getting help or asking the right questions in advance, so here's some dead serious advice that could save you some actual physical damage later. If you're going to insert something into your butt, the butt of someone you love, or someone you just want to do butt stuff with, there are specific features to look for, and not all sex toys have them. Make sure the object either A) has a loop you can pull, B) has a handle, or C) has a flared base that won't let it go all the way in.

And while it may be fun to improvise, it's probably best to avoid using random household objects. Lots of those ER visits are from people needing candles, cucumbers, etc. removed, complete with implausible stories about how they were changing a light bulb while naked, then slipped and landed right on top of their anime girl figurine.

Related: Sex Myths You've Probably Believed Your Entire Life

There Are Time-Release Bondage Devices (For Worst-Case Scenarios)

Considering all of our aunts have read or watched 50 Shades by now, we're in an era in which just about everybody has dabbled in some BDSM. (Marie Claire, my go-to source for all things BDSM, says up to 85 percent of people have tried it in some form.) Whether that's a full-on rack with medieval shackles or just a blindfold, people do it, and that means people also fuck it up.

No one wants to get George Costanza'd and find themselves chained to a bed with their partner dead on the floor (that was Seinfeld, right?), yet evidence suggests that people do indeed end up dying because they were tied up and couldn't escape. So what's the solution? Bondage masterminds have you covered -- or at least, they try to.

Time-release restraint systems like this one will set you back less than $200. They're meant to be a fail-safe to let you out after a certain amount of time, whether anyone is there to unlock you or not. Of course, reviews mention that it doesn't necessarily work. Neither does this one. But there are still a number of different kinds you can buy to try out. That last one is a low-tech solution called an ice lock, which basically keeps you restrained until the frozen center melts and you can get free. I know that sounds less like a real thing and more like the plot of a particularly sensual '60s Batman episode, but hey, if it works, it works.

Related: 5 Ways Society Trains Men To Expect Sex From Women

Antibacterial Sex Toys Are Probably A Good Idea

Sure, you probably clean and disinfect your sex toys thoroughly after each and every use, but there's a good chance your best friend / boss / doula doesn't. The internet is rife with stories of unclean sex toys gone awry (they can absolutely pass on STIs), and what to do about it (wash for 30 seconds with antibacterial soap, and let them dry completely before returning them to the Dildo Vault).

Of course, it makes sense that sex toys are just a Gong Show of viscous nightmare coatings and that you should clean them, but I've also read about how no one changes their sheets or washes their hands or dishes properly, so I'm betting that we're not doing this right either. Did you know that more than half of public swimming pools are full of poo? Honest-to-god poo. From butts. Yeah, people don't clean anything as well as they should. Which is why the good people at Tenga are using silver in an effort to protect your genitals from microbes.

Silver has antibacterial properties, so when a company makes a dildo out of something labeled as "Ag antibacterial elastomer," it means they've mixed in silver ions and nanoparticles. These just enjoy the ride while you spelunk your nether-gulches, and then promptly murder the bacteria you left behind. So you probably still need to clean your wang-jangler off when you're done, but silver is the extra layer of protection for the people who just toss their used toys back into the Shadow Bog under the bed without even using a baby wipe on them.

Related: What We're Still Not Teaching Kids About Consent

... As Are Sex Toys That Are Free Of A Possibly Dangerous Chemical You Probably Didn't Even Know Existed

Even if you rolled your eyes at the above entry because you have a whole team assigned to disinfect your gear, there's another issue you're probably not even aware of. As it turns out, a lot of sex toys are made with something called "phthalates," which you can tell are bullshit because how the fuck do you say "phth"? Oh, it's pronounced "thalates." Couldn't they have just spelled it that way?

Anyway, phthalates are added to hard plastic to make it soft, squishy, and like a dong. Problem is, they don't chemically bond to plastic well, and in fact, they will leech right out of it on contact. It's for that reason that lots of us have traces of these chemicals in our system, and they were banned in some children's toys because studies have now linked phthalates to all manner of conditions, like cancer, asthma, birth defects, and even small dicks.

Now, these studies are all recent, so if these chemicals are indeed harmful, the regulations haven't caught up (the U.S. government still classifies them as safe at the moment). Still, it seems reasonable that if they do cause problems, then it's probably best to keep them out of your orifices as much as possible. Fortunately, there are a few enterprising sex toy makers and dealers which will help you stuff a hole the phthalate-free way.

But just in general, it's a good idea to read the label on your butt plugs and strap-ons. For example, many people have broken out in a nasty rash after finding out they're allergic to the latex in the toy they just spent all night with, or they were allergic to the lube they used, some of which can be just a buffet for bacteria. You have to be just as careful about your kinky sex stuff as you are with your diet and overall health.

What's that? You're not careful at all with your diet and overall health? OK, well, this is probably as good a place as any to start.

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