I read in a previous ATSD that you did a study about bacteria counts on sex toys. What about the extremely flexible jelly products, the ones that are extra stretchy/malleable? Are those more likely to hold onto bacteria?
— Anonymous, from Tumblr
Sarah: If you’re really worried about contamination (Are you sharing? What’s going on here?), then buy a cheap box of condoms and just wrap that thing up. No, it’s not earth- or wallet-friendly, but it will ensure you don’t have to compulsively wash and scrub.
Debby: Sort of; our research team actually examined the human papillomavirus (HPV) — a virus, not bacteria — and whether HPV remained present on vibrators after use and after the sex toys were cleaned. We tested two materials — one silicone and more the flexible jelly kind you’re describing — and we found that the HPV was no longer detectable on the silicone vibrators post-cleaning but the other material still retained some HPV, even after cleaning. We haven’t yet tested bacteria on sex toys of various materials, but would (very seriously) love to! Hey, we all have to have our dreams. If you know anyone looking to throw a few thousand dollars toward sex toy safety research, hook a sex researcher up, will you? We’ll find out!