• Sex toys - are they safe? Are they safe?

    No, I'm not imagining Dustin Hoffman strapped to Cupid's Couch while John Gielgud bears down on him with a rotating strap-on (though that would make for a good Marathon Man Director's Cut scene), I'm talking about phthalates in sex toys.

    A journalist from the US Clamor Magazine (it's like Glamour but more sticky) got in touch to ask, in a totally unbiased way:

    "Some manufacturers keep their consumers in the dark in regards to the potentially harmful chemicals, such as phthalates, found in sex toys. Have you or any representative of your company attempted to research how and where the products from Love Honey Limited are manufactured? If so, what were the results of your findings?"

    And, she might have added, "Have you now or ever been a member of the Communist Party?" It had me wanting to take the fifth straight away.

    We know that phthalates in sex toys - in any product - is a hot topic. Customers are right to be concerned about what they are doing with and to their bodies, so Lovehoney is on a mission to inform and explain.

    That's why at the end of every product description on the Lovehoney site, you'll see an exhaustive (and, dare I say it, anal) list of product dimensions, features, controller type, battery requirements and what the item is made of.

    There have been a lot of headline-grabbing media stories about phthalates in sex toys, but when you delve beneath the surface, it's not nearly so scary or so simple.

    This report - despite its very small words - is essential reading for anyone who wants to delve behind the headlines. Here's a key passage:

    "According to an NIH review done in 2000, the biggest source of exposure to phthalates is food. Food constitutes approximately 85-90 percent of phthalate exposure in adults, mostly through meat and fish. For infants, depending on whether a baby is breast or formula fed, the rate is 44-60 percent from food, with the remaining amount in both groups almost entirely attributed to dust."

    Dust, anybody? Dust? DUST?

    There is no hard scientific data available at present to show that phthalates in sex toys pose a risk to human health.

    But even so, Lovehoney aims to provide balanced information so customers can make an informed buying decision.

    If you're concerned, it's sensible to make sure that each time you use a sex toy that you put a condom over the top of it. That way, you can give yourself peace of mind, protect yourself from STIs and still enjoy your favourite sex toy.

    And if you're still concerned, buy a sex toy made from silicone, elastomer, glass or metal for ultimate peace of mind.

    The media is interested in selling newspapers and magazines with scary stories about evil sex toy companies. "Sex toys perfectly OK to use" is not a headline that you'll see running any time soon.

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