Sex Toy Recycling Etiquette and Help
I can barely open any of my email boxes without getting someone sending me a link to Savage Love's newest column on sex toy recycling and etiquette. Why people thought I would be especially interested was because the question writer asked this, in part:
1) What is good sex-toy etiquette? Can you use sex toys in one relationship and then in the next one? Also, when I've been with women, it was NOT okay to reuse sex toys. They died with the relationship. Is it different with heteros?
2) Can you recycle sex toys with your recycling like you would other plastic products?
A little known fact about me is that not only do I love sex toys, but I also adore questions of etiquette. I read Ann Landers and Miss Manners like they're going out of style (and if you tell me that they have, in fact, gone out of style, I'll spit in your eye for your troubles) and I am tickled pink at the notion of either of them answering such a question.
Dan himself punted the question a bit by passing it over to Claire Cavanah, the co-founder of Babeland. She advised erring on the side of getting all new toys (hush with the knowing looks):
"Lesbian sex-toy etiquette is pretty clear. Dildos and harnesses don't survive the breakup."
"In the straight world," Claire continues, "there's a whole lot less attachment to specific toys, so reusing a dildo and harness is probably more common and acceptable."
For myself, I would say there is no hard and fast rule. I tend to think smaller, more intimate items like cock rings should probably be replaced, but there are some bigger, more costly items that I would be loathe to give up - especially toys that are more solo-oriented. Asking a woman to give up the Rabbit she loves just because she used it with another man seems a bit rough - but if you need her to replace her anal beads, that seems fair.
I would also suggest replacing any toys that you specifically bought together. If you went in on a piece of sex furniture together, for example, you might want to replace it just because it is so much imbued with your former relationship. but so long as you keep your focus on your new partner and all cleanliness practices are top-notch, I think you can pretty safely keep some of your old favourites around.
But if you do want to get rid of some of your old toys, remember that latex and small electronics have to be specially recycled. Don't be embarrassed with it - we all own vibrators. Just take them down to the recycling centre with a smile on your face knowing that you're doing the world some good and freeing up some space to get a fancy new toy.
And remember - if you're wanting to get rid of your old Rabbit, Lovehoney will recycle it for you and give you half off on a new one. You can't beat that with a stick, now can you?