I just ran across a great article about sex toys from our colleagues at Brown Univeristy. Now I know this is an embarassing topic for a lot of people to talk about, but I wanted to share it with you for a couple of reasons:
1. The whole point of this blog is to talk about embarassing stuff that you want to know, and
2. It brings up an important point about not making assumptions about “safe” sex.
Just like sex that doesn’t include men isn’t automatically safe, the use of sex toys doesn’t guarantee a risk free experience either.
If you’re using a sex toy with a partner, you can catch a sexually-transmitted infection from it. While bacteria and viruses prefer living at body temperature, they can survive in blood and bodily fluids for a time outside of the body and therefore can be on the surface of sex toys passed from one partner to another.
Now, if you’re flying solo you obviously don’t need to worry about getting a sexually-transmitted infection from a sex toy, but they can result in bacteria passing from the anus to the vagina or mouth, which can cause a vaginal or intestinal infection. So if you plan to use them in multiple areas, cover them with a condom or wash them before moving from the anus to the vagina or mouth.
The article by the folks at Brown covers a lot of this stuff in more detail and provides some really good tips for cleaning and maintaining sex toys. If you are worried that you may have or have been exposed to a sexually transmitted infection, come in and see us – we’re always glad to help.
John A. Vaughn, MD
Student Health Services
The Ohio State University