Sex toys (ST's) are becoming more a part of people's sex lives, both in terms of their masturbatory play and their partner-based activities. That's good, as many people find that the use of ST's opens up new sexual horizons. And when used properly, ST's do not present a significant penis health issue. But sometimes a man can misuse a sex toy, and that can create a problem – and one of the most common ways in which a sex toy may be misused concerns improper cleaning of the item.
As with many things sexual, hard statistics are difficult to come by when it comes to ST's and their usage. However, there are some surveys and studies which, despite limitations, give a fairly good idea about sex toy use.
For example, in 2016, a study reported that 24% of all men (both heterosexual and homosexual) had at least once inserted an object into their rectum while masturbating. More than 32% reported using a vibrator at some time while masturbating. From this data, it was believed that at least 14-18% of straight men had engaged in anal play while masturbating.
Another study looked specifically at vibrator use among gay and bisexual men. This Journal of Sexual Medicine paper collected data from more than 25,000 men who identified as homo- or bisexual. Almost half reported having used a vibrator before, with most of them using it during masturbation and very frequently inserting it into the anus.
But a survey by sex toy manufacturer Adam and Eve found a very disturbing figure. When asking (both men and women) about how often they cleaned their ST's, only 63% reported doing so after every use. Nine percent reported cleaning them after a few uses, but a whooping 28% said they never cleaned them at all!
Importance of cleanliness
The survey does not break down the cleaning statistics by sex, but given the fact that men are often a bit more lax in their cleanliness habits than women, it's tempting to assume that men are more likely than women to be careless about cleaning their cock rings, penis sleeves, vibrators, dildos and plastic vaginas. And that's definitely not a good thing.
Depending on the object and how it has been used, the toy in question may contain treated semen, fecal matter, urine, blood, sweat, bacteria, pubic hairs, yeast, fungi, or elements which could potentially cause an allergic reaction. And in some cases, using a sex toy can spread sexually-transmitted infections. So keeping ST's clean is serious to a person's health.
This is true whether the toy is used for personal masturbatory purposes or for partner-based pleasure. (And a rule of thumb: it's better to have separate toys for each partner rather than sharing one toy.
To be safe, ST's should be cleaned after each use. Consult with the instructions that come with each toy, but in general, using mild soap and water or a sex toy antibacterial cleaner is best. Some toys – such as those with a porous material (such as a penis sleeve or a plastic vagina) or those which are inserted anally – may need more though washing. It's also important to be sure that the toys are dry before they are put away.
Cleaning ST's thoroughly is excellent for penis health; that health can also be better maintained by using a superior penis health creme (health professionals recommend Man1 Man Oil, which is clinically proven mild and safe for skin) regularly. Search for a crème that includes both l-arginine and L-carnitine. The former amino acid helps produce nitric oxide, which in turn helps penile blood vessels expand when an increased blood flow is required. The latter is good at helping to protect delicate penis sensitivity from diminishing when the penis is used over-aggressively.