Naturally, no two people are going to be exactly the same when it comes to what they like and need in a sex toy. What feels amazing for one person may just not do it at all for someone else. Plus, many people have practical concerns to consider. They might need their toys to be hypoallergenic because of allergies or easy to care for, the better to fit into their busy lifestyles.

For those reasons and many more, material is one of the most important considerations to keep in mind when shopping for a new sex toy. But what makes one material a better fit than another? Are some materials better than others when it comes to actual stimulation? Here we’ll go over everything you need to know to make a choice you’re sure to be happy with, including the pros and cons of each possibility.

Jelly Rubber

Jelly rubber has been among the most popular sex toys materials for many years and with good reason. It’s flexible and pleasant to use. It’s also easy for manufacturers to mold and work with, so it’s perfect for creating toys in just about any shape or color you can imagine. However, some jelly rubbers contain added phthalates – chemical compounds that help make them more flexible, but can irritate sensitive skin or cause health problems. Pay careful attention to the specifications of a given jelly toy, as they’ll tell you whether it contains phthalates or not. 

Jelly rubber toys can be porous and hard to keep clean, so using them with a condom is probably your best bet for keeping them hygienic, especially if you like to share your toys with your partners. Also, jelly rubber toys can sometimes react chemically with one another, so be sure to store yours separately so that they retain their integrity.

Plastic

If you’re looking for a user-friendly material that’s durable, hypoallergenic, easy to care for, and as hygienic as can be, plastic is well worth considering. Its hard, non-porous surface makes it a snap to clean and take care of. It also does an incredible job of transferring vibrations, so it’s perfect for toy users that like firm, strong, targeted stimulation. It’s compatible with every type of lube as well, so you don’t have to agonize over picking one that’s compatible.

If you love the firmness and user-friendliness of plastic but wish it felt a little silkier against your sensitive skin, look for options made of smooth-coated plastic. Smooth-coated toys contain cores made of the same tough ABS plastic you love, but are coated with ultra-smooth rubber or polyurethane for a pleasant, velvety surface feel.

Silicone 

Looking for something that’s as durable and easy to take care of as plastic, but not as hard and unyielding? You’ll definitely want to consider silicone sex toys. The silicone used in sex toys is medical-grade, so you don’t have to worry about it irritating your sensitive skin. It’s also non-porous, so hygiene and cleanliness aren’t a problem either. It lasts a long time as well, so you can trust that your new silicone toy will likely be curling your toes for many years to come.

Best of all, silicone is beautifully smooth, velvety to the touch, and firm without actually being hard. Just make sure you choose your lubricants with care when it’s time for some quality time with your favorite silicone playthings. Silicone-based or oil-based lubricants can chemically interact with your toy and ruin its integrity, so always use water-based or silicone-safe options.

Liquid Silicone

Much like silicone, liquid silicone is durable and easy to take care. It provides the most realistic feel out of sex toy materials. Both silicone, and liquid silicone offer similar yet uniquely different sensations. If you’re looking for the real deal, look no further… For the most authentic intimate experience, get familiar with the variety of “real feel” dildos available, and choose the best one (or more than one) for you!

Glass

If you like your toys to be as beautiful as they are pleasurable, you might want to take a second look at glass as a material. Glass sex toys are becoming more and more popular because of their elegant, beautiful good looks. They come in a wide variety of different shapes, sizes, and colors. Some are representational while others are not. Those that love glass toys often enjoy collecting different options on the same level they might enjoy collecting anything else made of glass.

And if you’re worried that glass is a fragile, impractical, or  potentially unsafe material for a sex toy, don’t be. Toys are made from special tempered glass that’s astonishing durable. It won’t shatter, chip, or crack even if dropped. It can be heated or cooled, the better to help you experiment with different sensations. Glass can easily be cleaned with plain soap and water as well.

Metal

Like glass, metal is a super user-friendly material that’s perfect for sex toys. It’s hypoallergenic, easy to clean, completely waterproof, and aesthetically pleasing. You naturally don’t have to worry about the lubricant you use with a metal toy either, so definitely feel free to reach for your favorite. Metal is odorless and tasteless, as well as perfect for experimenting with temperature play.

However, metal is very rigid – a quality you probably either really like in a sex toy material or really don’t. Many people find it too unyielding for their personal tastes, but others absolutely adore the satisfying feel of a heavy, metal toy in their hands. They love how easy metal makes it to apply firm, pointed pressure to their favorite pleasure points as well. 

Latex

Latex isn’t just for condoms! This versatile, highly flexible type of rubber is a great fit for a wide range of creatively designed sex toys including numerous inflatable options. Many latex toys are also coated or polished to feature a beautiful high surface shine, so they can be incredible pleasing when it comes to aesthetics. Its sheer flexibility makes it a great fit for a wide range of rubber clothing, bedsheets, wearable sex gear such as masks, and much more.

Latex toys do require some special care though, so they may not be right for people that prefer “wash and go” materials like glass or plastic. Make sure you use a compatible lubricant to ensure your toy’s long life. Clean your latex toys and gear options by spraying them down with antibacterial toy cleaner and wiping them gently after each use. Then sprinkle them with a cornstarch-based renewal powder to keep them flexible and soft.

Hard Rubber

If you like the general idea of owning a rubber sex toy, but have allergies or preferences that put latex or jelly out of the running, you might want to try a toy made of hard, skin-safe rubber. Unlike other rubbers used in adult toys, this type of rubber hasn’t been softened for flexibility, so there’s zero chance of it containing phthalates. (Look for toys and gear made of TPE or TPR.)

Hard, skin-safe rubber is commonly used in rabbit vibes or other specialty vibrators because of its firmness. It’s ideal for targeting sensitive, but hard to reach hot spots like the female G-spot or male P-spot, so it’s especially well worth considering if that’s your goal. 

Ultimately, the best toy material for you is the one that’s best at delivering the type of stimulation you like most. However, there’s no need to stick to just one unless you want to. Many toy lovers experiment with different types of toys and keep a variety around to suit all of their possible moods, preferences, and desires. Start exploring today!