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(x-posted all over)

after talking to several of my friends it became apparent to me just how little most people now about sex toys, being trans makes us less likely to ask questions and therefore at a higher risk of health risks from our toys.... or even worse, lead some of us to never buy one!!

My BF and I consider ourselves to be coinsures of fine sex products (hay, some people drink rotten grape juice), between the two of us we own nearly $2500 in toys of various types. We are blessed to have a VERY good, trans positive sex store in Ottawa, but for those who aren’t so lucky, getting your first few toys can be quite the experience.

I will primarily be covering insertable toys in this post, I will cover things like crops, floggers, nipple clamps and whatnot as I learn more about them.

The first thing you need to know when buying a toy is what it is made of, before shape, size, and what does or does not buzz. There are 4 general categories of materials:

Jelly / Jelly Vinyl / Vinyl: know what… just avoid this stuff, it is the cheapest material on the shelf for a reason. Jelly toys break down VERY fast, will “melt together” if they are left in contact with another jelly toy, and worst of all… they are porous. What that means is that the surface has lots of tiny passages through it that trap body fluids, bacteria and viruses and you can NEVER GET IT CLEAN AGAIN!!!. This means that whoever uses the toy first should be the only one to EVER use it. Jelly toys can and WILL transfer STDs from one person to another… and for those of you with vaginas, a jelly toy that has come in contact with fecal mater (poop) will greatly increase your chance of getting a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI). Your safest bet with a jelly toy, cover it with a latex condom to prevent any fluids from transferring to and from the toy. Jelly toys are safe with any water based lube (more on lube later)

Latex: miles better then jelly. Non-porous, soft, flexible. It will degrade faster then silicone, especially if it is being stretched a lot (see penis masturbation sleeves later). Latex is safe with any non-oil based lube, anything with oil WILL degrade the latex and likely destroy your toy in one session.

Silicone: this is the good stuff :). Silicone is non-porous, soft and flexible, warms easily and doesn’t cost a mint (though it is quite a bit more expensive then jelly). Silicone dildos can be boiled to kill EVERYTHING on them, or simply washed in soapy water. Don’t boil your silicone vibrators though; even waterproof ones will be destroyed this way. Silicone toys can NOT be used with silicone based lube as they will melt (more on lube later). Silicone makes for great anal toys due to their softness and ease of cleaning. It is also considered hypoallergenic, so those with sensitivity to latex are safe.

The hard stuff: The other three categories were for soft toys, the hard stuff includes: hard plastic, glass, metal, and non-porous stone (yes, there are stone toys). All of these materials are non-porous, and hard as a rock. They transfer vibration VERY well; they are also extremely good for g-spot/prostate play. Hard Plastic is quite cheap in price and sometimes in quality… you generally get what you pay for. Glass can range from cheap to crazy expensive depending on the style and decorations, as much a work of art as a toy. Contrary to what you may have heard, glass toys will NOT break inside you. The breaking point of most glass toys is around 3000lbs. Glass will also hold its temperature well too… so unless you like cold, warm it up under some water first. Metal and stone are fairly similar to glass.

Now that you know what your toy is made of… time to know what kinds of toy “styles” there are.

Vibrator: These things go buzz, take batteries and generally make you feel really good. They range in price and material from exceedingly cheap and crappy jelly toys, to high end silicone waterproof toys. They come is as many shapes and sizes as you can imagine (see “is this a sex toy?”)

Bullets: small, round, generally cheap, can be single speed or variable, waterproof or not. THE starting sex toy for most people. Good on all bitties.

Dildo: usually roughly penis shaped, though sometimes that shape can be more “roughly” then others. Some can be used with a strap on harness. Can be hard or soft, designed to hit different parts of the body.

G-spot: short, usually with a slightly hooked end toys designed to hit the g-spot or post-op prostate by being inserted vaginaly (though some work just as well analy). Usually they are made out of “the Hard Stuff” or a stiffer mix of the flexible materials, this allows one to get good pressure on the g-spot/prostate (it tends to respond better to more direct pressure then anything else, of course your mileage may vary).

Prostate toys: many g-spot toys will work just as well on a pre-op prostate (or a post-op who wants to access the prostate analy). There are some prostate massagers out there that use the sphincter muscle to move the toy inside the body. They take quite a bit of practice to get working right, however once you do you can essentially have it work itself simply through the normal rhythmic contractions of the sphincter muscle while aroused. (NOTE: I do not know how well these toys work on female bodied people, if they work at all…. If anyone knows, please let me know and I will update the post)

NOTE: for any toy to be used analy, it should have a flared base to it to prevent it from going all the way in in the throws of passion. That would make for a very uncomfortable trip to the hospital.

“cock ring”: These toys are made of a stretchable rubber (usually latex) that is stretched and placed over the base of the penis while hard to keep the erection longer. Some can be fitted with a vibrator for extra fun for all.

The Rabbit: made famous on the North American TV show Sex in the City. They are made up of a shaft and a “rabbit”. The shaft can either vibrate, twist and wiggle, have rotating pearls (the pearls rest just at the entrance to the vagina and stimulate it where it is most sensitive) or any combo there of. The vibrating “rabbit” points upwards from the shaft and is designed to have its ears rest right on the clitoris. While expensive, they are VERY much worth the money, but get a good one (and keep spare batteries handy).

Penis Masturbation Sleeves (sometimes called “male” masturbators): A soft, stretchy sleeve designed to fit snugly over the penis to provide a different sensation while masturbating by hand. Generally found only in jelly and latex materials, they can range from a simple round tube, to an anatomically modeled vagina or anus. Be sure to only get one that is open at both ends, otherwise cleaning out semen can be extremely difficult.

“is THAT a sex toy?”: there are some strangely shaped sex toys out there, from The Cone (it is a vibrating cone that you can sit on, no joke!) to a waterproof, vibrating rubber ducky, to ones shaped like lipstick or a cuddly animal that would look more at home on a kids TV show then in/on/near someone’s genitals. They may look wacky, but remember, if they sell, they must work for someone… maybe that someone is you?

Lube, the stuff that makes it go :)

Everyone should have lube on hand, regardless of what genitals you have. Eventually you may be in the mood but the body is not co-operating and you will need a little something to get things moving along. There are four basic types of lube.

Water based: 99% of the time, this is what you want to use. Condom safe, vaginal safe, anal safe, washes up easy with just a little water, and it wont stain clothes. The only question you need to worry about with water based lube is: glycerin free or not? Glycerin is a sugar that is often used in water based lubes to make them stay “wet” longer, however it has been shown to spark up yeast infections… so if you have trouble with those you may want to go for a lube without it.

Silicone based: NEVER USE WITH A SILICONE TOY!!! Other then that, go nuts. It stays slippery FAR longer then water based lubes will, can be cleaned with water though it will take far longer and more effort to get it really clean off your skin and it “can” damage some fabrics so be careful.

Oil based: NEVER USE WITH A LATEX TOY OR CONDOM!!! Other then that, go nuts. It stays slippery forever, is really hard to clean off your skin (ie: will stay slippery for hours) and will likely stain most fabrics. Can cause yeast infections in some.

“is THAT lube?”: chances are, no, that is not lube… it may be slippery, but it likely will NOT suffice for lube. Hand lotion, soap, butter, etc, while slippery, can cause major trouble if they get inside you. Massage bars / oils *shudder* will likely burn like the fires of hell if they get inside your anus or vagina. Please, use a real lube and leave the other stuff for what it is meant for.

One thing to note about lube, some places will sell “warming” lubes, ALWAYS check with them if it is condom safe (for those of you who are practicing safer sex, and I hope that is all of you). While most warming lubes are water based, the warming ingredient may NOT be latex safe and will damage the condom or your nice latex toy. Also, while some may be ok for vaginas, they may NOT be ok for anal…

The same goes for “nerve stimulating” lubes. Some are ok, some are NOT. Much like warming lubes, some are only ok for external use. My BF picked up some clit stimulating gel, and while it did a DAMN good job on the clit, there is a huge warning on the package not to get it in the vagina or anus and a huge list of things to do if it happens. Conversely, we picked up some damn good stimulating lube in Vancouver that is vaginal, anal and condom safe :)… know your products.

also watch out for lubes that "prolong" things, or dull sensations... basically they are low grade topical anesthetic. While they can be a LOT of fun for those who are into frustration play, they should NEVER be used as an anal lube. The last thing you want to do is to dull the feeling from there, it is far to easy to damage yourself back there and the only way to know is if it starts to hurt, you STOP!!!

Well, that is about all I have to say for now class, If you have any questions I will try and field them as best I can and I may add more to this topic later :)

Now go, have some fun ;)
I'd advise caution using oil-based lubes vaginally. The vagina can't flush it out easily, and while it's inside the vagina, it can provide an environment for disease-causing organisms to grow. It's fine for anal or external use, though, though if you have a vagina and use it anally, you have to watch out that you keep it clear of the vaginal area.
I added "can cause yeast infections" to the oil lube section.
I've read that post-op trans women should be wary of using twister type rabbit vibrators for at least six months if not longer(ever?), presumably so that any longitudinal suturing is not compromised.
I just saw my surgeon (Brassard) on the 28th of Aug (op was the 11th of June) and he said I was "ready for anything you want to throw at it". While I specifically didn't mention rabbit vibes, I assume that is covered.

course you may want to ask your surgeon anyway as they all use different techniques.