Depending on how sex toys are used, they can come in contact with vaginal fluids, blood, or feces. And because each of these things can carry diseases, it's a bad idea to share sex toysthat is, to use the same toy on two different peoplewithout taking proper precautions. In addition, some toys can crack or develop holes over time where dangerous bacteria can easily hide out.
How to reduce risk
Jeanne Marrazzo, MD, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Washington in Seattle, says the best way to be safe with sex toys is to use condoms and change the condom each time the toy changes partners or moves from one area of the body to another (especially after being used on the anus). "And make sure you clean it very well," she says.
STDs are not the only safety issue surrounding sex toys; some users make a point of avoiding products made with compounds called phthalates for fear they may be toxic. The science is not conclusive, but shoppers may want to look for toys made with other materials instead, such as silicone.