Q&A: Help I’m Allergic to Latex & Nickel – Some Safe Sex Toys Advice Please!

Q&A: Help I’m Allergic to Latex & Nickel – Some Safe Sex Toys Advice Please!

Hi,

I have a severe allergy to both latex and nickel, so I’m afraid to get sex toys that contain rubber or any type of metal.

I am looking to buy some toys but I’m a bit of a novice and I’m having problems finding some that I trust. I’ve looked at silicone but I usually use silicone lube and I’ve heard that sometimes they can contain other materials? 

What would you recommend as the safest option for a beginner? Is there anything else I need to consider?

Thanks,

Amy

 

Hey Amy,

This is a great question!

Lots of peeps have allergies to sex-toy materials such as latex and nickel, so you’re certainly not alone. And, of course you want to be sure that your toy is going to give you pleasure, not pain or even an itch, in order for you to fully enjoy it!

Silicone, a hypo-allergenic sex toy material, is a good choice for those with latex allergies or sensitivities.

We’ve also seen some toys which advertise themselves as silicone, but which we suspect to be mixed with other materials, so it’s always wise to be cautious.

Rest assured that these toys don’t get past our cherry-picking process.

We produce our own range of silicone dildos, so we know what a pure silicone sex toys looks, feels and smells like!

It’s true that stainless steel sex toys can contain nickel but the nickel should be bonded into the steel in such a way that it shouldn’t trigger a reaction.  However, you won’t get the best experience a toy has to offer if you are worrying rather than relaxing, so it’s probably best to stay away from metal, even if it is safely bonded.

Another good option for latex allergies would be a glass dildo.

A glass dildo offers the firm pressure female & male G-Spots prefer and can be warmed or cooled to offer pleasurably different sensations to all erotic zones. Just  a touch of lube turns glass incredibly sleek and slippery, to deliver sensually weighty pleasure, like no other sex toy…

Glass is simply pure glass, so it will be allergy-safe for you.

It’s 100% non-porous, which means it won’t absorb any body substances or lube residue, making it very easy to keep clean. You can even sterilize a glass dildo! Our glass toys are made from  toughed glass and are incredibly strong, but you do need to handle them with care ( be careful not to drop it on a hard floor or bash against taps when cleaning it!) and check for any damage before you use them.

When it comes to a vibrator,  the best, non-allergy choice  is one made from silicone and ABS plastic.

However a lot of these toys are made in factories in the Far East which also produce vibrators made with latex and whilst  cross-contamination is highly unlikely, it comes down to the same issue; having any worries or niggling doubts is not conducive to letting go and having fun, is it??!

One good option maybe a  Fun Factory vibrator, as they produce all their sex toys in their own factory in Germany.

Fun Factory ONLY produce do not use latex in any of their sex toys, so they will be safe for your latex allergy

Fun Factory vibrators are made with silicone & ABS plastic. Yay!

However, the charging contacts on their rechargeable vibrators, is coated in a nickel-copper bond – a fusion that is like almost every cooking pot, apparently –  so if you are ok touching pans, this should be allergy safe.

The  two tiny recharging pins are located on the control unit of the vibe, so wont enter or be close to your body.

Fun Factory’s battery-operated vibes, such as LayaSpot don’t  have these pins and the control buttons are silicone-coated plastic, but changing batteries ( alkaline batteries contain nickel)  might pose a problem – perhaps you could phone a friend!?

We generally don’t recommend using silicone lube with a silicone toy, whether a dildo or a vibrator, simply because the 2 silicones can react together over time, possibly causing slight damage to the surface of the toy.

There’s no health warnings about mixing silicone toys with silicone toys and the possibility of damage is slight and would occur over a long period of time, so if you prefer to stick with the lube you’ve found best for your body,  then do so!

Or you may want to try a water based lube instead; read our Q&A all about lube and sensitivity.

( Names Have Been Changed for the Purposes of Anonymity)

If you have any other questions please contact us at advice@sh-womenstore, include the subject line ‘Ask Sarah’ if you’d like your advice from our new sex and relationship expert.

Hope that helps,

Love

Team Sh! xxx

 

Different Types of Safe Sex Supplies

We are always being told to rubber up before jumping in the sack, but many people are still in the dark about the different types of protection there are available protect you and your partner(s) from STI’s ( sexual transmitted infections).

Safe-sex advice often focuses on keeping safe during intercourse and anal sex and certainly these are the more riskier types of sex,   but sexual health is also important for lesbians, which is why we stock a range of safe sex supplies; not just condoms, but also  dams and gloves – to keep you covered, whatever your sexuality or preferred sexual activity.

 

Condoms are the cornerstone of safer-sex play and are the most widely used form of protection.

Use a fresh, new condom and lots of water-based lube every time you have penetrative sex (whether vaginal or anal), anytime going from back to front ( ie going from anal to vaginal) and anytime you share a sex toy.

Using a condom will protect both you and your partner against the majority of sexually transmitted infections.

Condoms, such as Pasante Extra condoms are  designed especially for anal play as they are thicker than your average condom and more resistant to breaking or tearing.

Using lube enhances glide ( and sensitivity!) - protecting safe-sex supplies from splitting or tearing
Using lube enhances glide ( and sensitivity!) – protecting safe-sex supplies from splitting or tearing

Many condoms are already lubricated but using extra lube on the outside further protects the condom from splitting as well as enhancing glide.

Putting a little lube inside the teat of the condom also enhances sensation for him but you only need a tiny drop to do the trick ( going overboard can mean the condom can slide off him altogether!)

Make sure you use proper lube and never( ever!) any moisturizers you have to hand, such as massage, baby oils or body lotions. Not only are they likely to  contain perfumes and chemicals that are irritating to delicate genital tissue, they are likely to contain mineral oils, which can degrade latex quickly, causing the condom to split.

 

Condoms can spice-up sex, as well as keep it safe…

Condoms can spice up sex added textures or stimulating sensations
Condoms can spice up sex added textures or stimulating sensations

As well as regular condoms, which come in Trim / Narrow-Fit , Large & Extra thin for added sensitivity, there’s also some great condoms to not just protect but also to add extra thrills to rubbering-up;

  • For extra stimulation, there’s Ribs & Dots Condoms which are textured on the outside to deliver extra stimulation
  • Heat things up  with stimulating condoms such as Pasante’s Climax Condoms . These specially ribbed condoms are coated in warming or cooling lubricants to enhance sensation.
  • Durex Mutual Climax Condoms are lubricated with a delay-infused ingredient to slow him down whilst the textured surface delivers more stimulation for you…
  • Flavoured condoms are best used for blow-jobs and make a tasty treat of oral sex.

 

A Dam is a safer-sex shield used for oral sex

Using a dam, when going down on her, aka cunnilingus ( oral-vaginal play) or for rimming aka anilingus (oral-anal play)

Don’t go down on someone who has an obvious outbreak of Herpes, or if you have a cold sore.  And visa versa…

The Herpes virus can cross between mouth and genitals, so unprotected oral play with a person carrying the virus could potentially result in a cold sore, or genital herpes outbreak.

 

Dental Dam Lube up the side of the dam that will come into contact with your lover’s vulva  or anus to enhance sensation and glide..
Our dams come in latex-free or flavoured varieties.

 

Latex Gloves are great multi-purpose safer sex accessories.

Gloves are great safe-sex supplies, transforming hands into super-sleek playthings...
Gloves are great safe-sex supplies, transforming hands into super-sleek playthings…

Small cuts on the hands, hang nails, those who bite their nails – there’s lots of reasons why to cover-up hands and protect yourself and your lover against possible transmission routes for viruses or bacteria.

Gloves are perfect for all manual sex play, and especially for fisting and anal play, where they turn hands into sleek playthings.

And there’s another benefit to using gloves; unlike skin, they don’t absorb lubricant so maintaining a sensual glide is easier with glove-covered mitts. Adding lots of water-based lubricant, transforms your hands and fingers  into incredibly slippery tools of pleasure!

Gloves are also great if you have particularly long nails, which might hurt or cut your partner. TIP:  Pop little balls of cotton wool into the fingertips of the glove, to protect the glove from tearing and give a cushioned effect for the receiver.

I’m allergic to latex – can I still have safer-sex?

Yes you can! We carry latex-free dams, latex-free gloves and non-latex condoms  for those with latex allergies. Latex allergy can range from mild to severe and even life-threatening.

 

Having the ‘safe sex’ talk

Pasante Single CondomSavvy women don’t expect a partner to sort out the safe-sex stuff, but do it themselves, by carrying a dam or condom, along with a sachet of lube, in their bags, just in case!

But safe-sex isn’t just about having and using the right supplies.

Talking about safer sex will help you make choices together and open up the conversation about sex; your likes, dislikes and like-to-try’s, which is a great basis for a GREAT relationship.

It’s best to start the conversation before you hit the bedroom, as once you’ve got to the heat of the moment, it can be really difficult to put the brakes one and bring up the condom-convo.

You might feel a bit awkward at first, but you’ll feel much more at ease knowing you’ve got the right type of protection.

It would be so disappointing (and potentially very painful) to find out your new partner has a latex allergy, when all you have is latex condoms and dams.

We aren’t going to show you lots of pictures of infected genitalia – they are not pleasant, and many images are plastered over the internet anyway…a quick search will show you all you need to know!

What we do want to share is that all unprotected sex can be risky, albeit there are different risk levels for different types of play.

Although the risk of HIV infection is lower in lesbian sex than heterosexual or gay male partners, there is still the possibility of contracting a STI so always be sure to practice safer sex, whatever your sexuality.

We urge everyone to get tested regularly and rubber up with new partners, because taking control of your sexual heath and well-being is really sexy.