Dangers of Jelly Butt Plugs and Phthalates
If you’ve ever shopped around for butt plugs, you might have been tempted by some of the cheaper options you’ve seen out there. These tend to be made of cheaper materials, and throughout all of our articles you’ll have noticed us recommending mostly materials like silicone, glass and metal plugs. There is a reason for this, which you’ll hopefully understand by the end of this article.
Jelly plugs and jelly rubber
Jelly plugs and jelly rubber plugs tend to form the bulk of the bargain range of butt plugs you’ll find online. You’ll often see a lot of these kinds of plugs in the lower end sex shops too. They will often have statements like “body safe” and “phthalate free”. These claims would be ideal to help you shop for the right kind of plugs, if they could be trusted. Unfortunately, there are no regulations (other than outright bans in some places) to control the manufacturing or distribution of sex toys. This means that most of the claims you’ll find written on boxes or webpages about butt plugs you have to take with a grain of salt, as they could be outright lies.
As you’ll be putting these products inside your body, you need to be sure that there’s nothing inside them that can cause you any serious harm. This is where jelly and jelly rubber based plugs will often fall short. To start with, plugs made of these materials are often porous, and as discussed in our cleaning articles, porous materials are able to absorb bacteria into the surface of the plug. No amount of cleaning will ever get these bacteria back out as the pores are so small. These toys can leak out gas from the chemicals that make up the jelly, or even leak liquids as the chemicals break down in your body. Sometimes they can stink, as you’ll have noticed if you’ve ever opened a brand new one. To cover this up, manufacturers might add perfumes or smells to the mixtures, potentially making the jelly even more unstable or poisonous. While not many studies have been done on exactly what might be found in jelly, jelly rubber, or even PVC toys, the few that I have seen have had quite horrifying results, with not just phthalates, but all kinds of nasty chemicals that can cause damage to your insides.
I keep mentioning phthalates, but you might be wondering what these actually are, and why they’re so important. Phthalates are essentially chemicals added the plugs to help make the plastic more flexible, making that soft floppy feeling you get when handling your toy. They are found in all kinds of things you’ll interact with every day, from plastic bags to shower curtains. Unfortunately, they can have some pretty nasty side effects, and the jury is out on how much interaction you can have with them before they become dangerous. What we do know is that a lot of studies have been done into the effects of phthalates on rats, and the results are not good. Higher doses can outright kill them, whereas lower doses can cause cancer, and have some severe effects on the reproductive organs, including causing stillborn babies amongst the rat’s offspring. While there aren’t such extensive studies amongst humans, we do know that we can suffer from some of the same effects, although the doses needed aren’t actually known. The safest course of action is to avoid these chemicals altogether, and due to the lack of regulation it is hard to know if what you are getting is actually phthalate free unless you buy the kinds of materials we recommend.
Luckily the use of phthalates in sex toys is on the decline. Due to some hard work by dedicated sex toy enthusiasts and stores in the last few years, the awareness of the industry has grown massively on the dangers of these chemicals. Originally manufacturers really didn’t care what they were putting into their toys, but as awareness has grown, they have been forced to try and use less and less of these harmful chemicals.
Jelly Doesn’t Last as Long
Another huge negative point when it comes to jelly and jelly rubber butt plugs is that they just don’t last as long. I’ve read stories of deliveries reaching stores and when they open the box, half of the products have literally decomposed into a kind of liquid jelly. And this is before you’ve even bought them from the store. If you manage to get one that hasn’t turned into a pile of goop, and actually get it home with you, it doesn’t mean you’re out of the woods yet. These kinds of plugs tend to be the most unstable, and no matter where you decide to store them, they are still likely to start to decompose and leak the oils and gases over whatever they are near. If you do own any of these kinds of plugs (aside from recommending you throw them out), make sure you aren’t storing them near any of your other sex toys or you could contaminate your entire collection.
Can condoms protect you from these chemicals?
This is something I see suggested quite often. Again, unfortunately, not enough research has been done to know the full effects of this. But there is a good possibility that the oils found inside condoms are going to react with the chemicals inside the jelly plugs, again breaking them down. Having a condom over it may protect your body from some of the chemicals leaking out, but it’s hard to say for sure. It’s probably going to be safer than using a jelly plug bareback, it’s always going to be safer to just avoid the possibility altogether.
Play it safe, buy quality butt plugs
If any of this worries you, great! You’re well on your way to responsible and safe butt plug usage. As we said earlier there are literally ZERO regulations governing the manufacturing and distribution of sex toys across most of the world. Avoid these problems altogether, and buy a butt plug made of some of the better-quality materials. These are glass, stainless steel, and silicone. It might cost you a little more, but these are non-porous, so much easier to keep clean, and will last you a lot longer than that nasty jelly.