Debunking Fear-based Marketing in Sex Toy Industry

As a company grounded in holistic principles, our approach to sexual health incorporates the physical, mental, emotional, and environmental facets of your life. We strive to provide the healthiest sexual products and furnish consumers with science-backed education. Given our commitment to truth and integrity, we feel the need to address certain holistic marketing tactics that are fueled by uncorroborated or superficially examined evidence.

The Missteps of Many Health-oriented Companies

Consumers often seek top-quality, health-boosting products for their well-being. Unfortunately, some companies leverage terms such as "holistic", "all-natural", "organic", "non-toxic", and more to captivate customers with their trendy products, which may inadvertently or intentionally be misleading. While many natural and holistic products may be healthier, sometimes they merely represent marketing hyperbole. In certain cases, these products may even be detrimental to your health.

Exploiting Consumer Values

Though our company cherishes nature, nutrition, and holistic philosophies, we also value integrity. Regrettably, some promoters of natural and health-conscious products fail to uphold the standard of providing scientifically accurate and factual information. Consequently, they resort to fear-based marketing to convince consumers that they share their values, despite being uninformed about their products or simply being dishonest.

Understanding that plausible sounding information isn't necessarily accurate is crucial. The internet is rife with misinformation regarding lubricants and sex toy safety. To debunk these myths, we've assembled a robust library of sex toy educational guides. Information is dynamic, ever-changing due to advancements and new research findings. We prioritize providing the latest, most accurate information.

Our guides may lean towards the scientific, but we firmly believe in accurate education over sensational, superficial content. We value your trust and prioritize your sexual health over mere sales. Our mission is to be your reliable sexual health resource.

Health Washing in Sex Toys and Lubricants Industry

"Health washing" refers to the practice of companies highlighting the seemingly beneficial characteristics of their products, despite the products not being as healthy as they purport. This term is frequently associated with the food industry, where products are advertised as low fat, low calorie, sugar-free, natural, and so forth.

Take, for instance, the widespread belief that nuts are always a healthy choice. This claim doesn't hold true for roasted nuts. The heat from roasting can diminish the antioxidant and vitamin content of the nuts. It can also cause healthy fats to oxidize, generating harmful free radicals that can damage your cells. Factors such as the intensity and duration of heat applied can degrade the health benefits of nuts, and some manufacturers transform a healthy nut into a product less beneficial than perceived by consumers.

Another pervasive holistic misconception is that local honey and bee pollen can bolster your immune system's resilience against seasonal allergies. However, this claim is unsubstantiated as wind-pollinated plants, not animal-pollinated ones, are the typical allergen triggers.

Similar misconceptions prevail in the context of lubricants and sex toys. A sex toy being phthalate-free doesn't guarantee it's devoid of other toxins, just as a paraben-free lubricant isn't automatically the healthiest choice. Various manufacturing factors, materials, and ingredients contribute to the overall healthiness of a sex toy or lubricant.

For instance, a peroxide-cured silicone sex toy can be body-safe, provided it has undergone appropriate post-baking. Without proper post-baking, it can contain harmful chemicals. Likewise, a paraben-free lubricant might exhibit unhealthy pH or osmolality levels. A product's claim of being free from a specific harmful substance doesn't necessarily mean it's free from all harmful substances.

Misconceptions Surrounding Sex Toys

One common misinformation circulating online is the assertion by some "sex toy experts" that sex toys are toxic unless made from medical-grade silicone, stainless steel, or glass. This is unequivocally false. Here's why:

Silicone

Several high-quality, non-toxic silicone grades exist, including medical-grade and food-grade, both of which are safe for sex toys. The quality of silicone sex toys is further determined by the platinum curing process. For more nuanced understanding of this intricate topic, our comprehensive Silicone Sex Toys Guide is available for reference.

Glass

Unannealed glass products pose significant safety risks, and alarmingly, many reputable brands sell them. For an in-depth exploration of this subject, refer to our Glass Sex Toys Guide.

Stainless Steel

Lower-grade stainless steel sex toys are susceptible to rusting. Hence, we exclusively sell 316-grade stainless steel products, recognized for their superior corrosion resistance, strength, and durability. Besides, gold, silver, and aluminum also classify as safe metals for sex toys.

Additional Safe Sex Toy Materials

Several other non-toxic sex toys materials are available, each carrying its unique intricacies and safety considerations. These materials include ABS Plastic, TPE, TPR, and wood.

Misconceptions Regarding Elastomer Sex Toys like TPE

Many sex toy activists have raised alarms about TPE (Thermo Plastic Elastomer) sex toys, asserting their inherent toxicity. However, this generalization is not necessarily accurate. The TPE category includes a spectrum of materials, some of which contain harmful plasticizers and chemicals, while others are entirely safe. FDA-approved medical and food-grade TPE products find applications in baby spoons, medical procedures, dental guards, bottle cap liners, and sippy cup spouts for infants. Therefore, before discarding all TPE sex toys, it is essential to identify the specific type of TPE used, which might be perfectly safe.

Furthermore, some retailers propagate the fallacy that elastomer sex toys are recyclable. The truth, unfortunately, is that they are not. Educating consumers about this fact is crucial to avoid inadvertent environmental harm through improper recycling efforts. Through awareness and transparency, we can empower consumers to make informed purchases and collectively strive for a sustainable future.

Concerns Regarding PVC

PVC has long been stigmatized in the sex toy domain due to its previous association with harmful plasticizers like phthalates, even though it is nonporous. Nevertheless, recent advancements and legislations, such as the Prop. 65 Act and various lawsuits regarding phthalates, have led to the introduction of body-safe softeners in many PVC sex toys.

"Made in the USA" Doesn't Guarantee Safety

As conscientious Americans, we value our country and take pride in products manufactured here. We aim to support American enterprises as much as feasible. Nevertheless, amidst xenophobia and distrust towards foreign-made products, it's crucial to remember that not all overseas-manufactured items are substandard or hazardous. Furthermore, numerous American-made products incorporate parts and materials sourced from abroad.

Consider this scenario: purchasing a handcrafted sex toy from an American artisan may seem enticing. When a sex toy claims to feature hand-poured silicone and states it's "Made in the USA," most individuals assume it to be non-toxic and of superior quality. However, businesses dealing with hand-poured silicone might utilize toxic additives, pigments, and low-grade silicone. Being based in the United States doesn't necessarily guarantee their competence in creating safe sexual products. Given the unregulated nature of the sex toy industry, verifying product safety becomes challenging. This is why it's essential to be informed about the sex toys you purchase, ask pertinent questions, or simply rely on reputable sex toy retailers who conduct this research on your behalf.

Understanding Non-US Manufactured Sex Toys

Finding sex toys with mechanical components made entirely in the US is an arduous task. If you desire a vibrator, your options are likely to be from manufacturers based outside the US. Even if the brand originates in the United States, the products are usually manufactured in other countries, with China accounting for 70% of global sex toy production.

Regulation of Safety Standards in Non-US Manufacturing

Quality control and safety protocols are not necessarily compromised when reputable sex toy companies outsource their production to China. These companies can stipulate material quality and mechanical components, even subjecting them to independent laboratory testing for safety. Therefore, when it comes to health concerns, brand quality tends to be a more crucial determinant than the product's manufacturing location.

Renowned brands ensure their products adhere to quality controls and safety protocols, rendering their sex toys safe for use. After all, their reputation and liability are at stake. However, purchasing from platforms like Amazon and eBay, known to harbor counterfeit products, or from sex toy retailers that private-label inexpensive sex toys, might lead to acquisitions of not just poor-quality, but potentially unsafe items.

Testing for Safe Sex Toys

Many digital commentators remain unaware of the formal testing procedures for sex toys or the processing these products undergo during customs clearance. Moreover, the risk of fake, counterfeit certification labels often goes unnoticed, even by active sex toy advocates. Recognition of red flags, such as inappropriate logos and erroneous sequencing of numbers, can help identify counterfeit certification labels.

Reputable sex toy manufacturers utilize third-party laboratories to test their products for chemical safety, an affordable option even for smaller enterprises. These tests are crucial for guaranteeing consumer safety. Essential certifications include:

  • Chemical & Heavy Metals Test Reports
  • Electrical Safety Test Reports
  • Flammability Test Reports

Moreover, companies can opt for more comprehensive, albeit expensive, safety checks via testing certifications.

Examples of Testing Certifications

  • REACH, the European Community Regulation on chemicals.
  • RoHS for electronics standards aimed at reducing hazardous materials.
  • CE, denoting compliance with relevant European product directives.
  • UL Certified labels (Enhanced Mark Labels), enabling consumers to verify safety standards via a label scan.
  • ISO certification, providing a third-party endorsement of safety.
  • FDA Certifications for medical-grade materials and devices.

Considerations for Small Sex Toy Business Owners

Even for artisans crafting custom silicone dildos, the use of pre-tested, body-safe materials should be a mandatory protocol. They must possess a basic understanding of the involved chemistry to ensure the final product remains non-toxic and body-safe post-interaction of the materials.

Potential Dangers in Inexpensive and Unsafe Sex Toys

There exist four principal categories of potentially harmful sex toys concerning quality and health:

Indifferent Brands

Some sex toy manufacturers prioritize profit over quality and safety, mistakenly believing that these aspects are mutually exclusive. Such manufacturers display a lack of concern for consumer health and well-being. Thus, selecting a trusted brand from a reputable retailer becomes vital.

Private Label Brands

Private label sex toys, typically pre-manufactured overseas and sold under customized packaging, are an option for business owners who wish to avoid manufacturing responsibilities. Often, these products lack quality control or safety protocols as they are not custom-made to order. Such sex toys are commonly marketed as proprietary brands on retail sites, and home-based sex toy parties frequently utilize them.

Counterfeit Sex Toys

Counterfeiting presents a significant issue for reputable brands, often leading to profit loss and reputation damage. It's surprisingly common for dishonest companies, typically overseas manufacturers, to unlawfully market sex toys under reputable brand names. Hence, choosing a trustworthy retailer is crucial, as they procure authentic brands through appropriate channels, ensuring adherence to brand policies such as Minimum Advertised Price (MAP). Should you encounter prices that seem exceedingly low, beware — you may not be getting what you expect.

Knock-off Sex Toys

Knock-off sex toys imitate respected brands but frequently utilize inferior materials and components, often resulting in potentially toxic products. They're commonly sold on internet platforms like Amazon and eBay, which lack quality controls in sexual health.

Nature Doesn't Always Equate to Health

While nature is worthy of celebration, it's not invariably harmless. For instance, botulinum and tetanospasmin are among the most toxic chemicals for humans, despite being natural. Furthermore, many natural products contain high concentrations of botanical extracts that may cause dermatitis and photosensitization. Therefore, it's inaccurate to deem manufactured products as inherently harmful and natural ones as always beneficial.

A prevalent misconception is that synthetic versions of natural chemicals are inferior. However, the effectiveness of synthetics may match or exceed that of their natural counterparts. Examples include ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) and synthetic Vitamin E, which is 1.4 times more effective than its naturally derived counterpart. Synthetic melatonin also shares molecular similarities with its natural version, yet offers improved safety due to the risk of viruses in the natural form.

Moreover, advancements in chemistry can make natural products safer. For instance, the Middle Ages saw the use of butterbur for plague, fever, and migraines due to its anti-inflammatory compound, petasin. However, butterbur also contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs) that can cause severe liver damage, necessitating its purification to remove PAs.

Lastly, it's important to note that not all synthetic versions are alike, and the presence of additives, by-products, fillers, and other extracted chemicals should be factored into health evaluations.

Chemistry's Role in Quality Control

Chemistry facilitates control over the beneficial and harmful properties of substances, whether synthetic or natural. While harmful synthetic chemicals exist, many prove beneficial, protecting us from harmful bacteria, mold, and fungi. The key is discerning what to avoid and what to adopt.

Without    a comprehensive understanding of chemistry, it can be hard to differentiate between health and hype. That's why it's imperative to rely on knowledgeable chemists who prioritize health when choosing quality products. You have the right to accurate information rather than fear-induced hype or misleading marketing.

Defining a Sex Toy Expert

Given the volume of misinformation, one may question what establishes an individual as a sex toy expert. Regrettably, no accredited degrees exist in this field, and formal education in sexuality is rare among those claiming expertise. We collaborate with many professional sex toy business owners via our organization, The National Association for the Advancement of Science & Art in Sexuality: NAASAS.org. Unfortunately, a gap exists between selling sex toys and understanding their chemistry and safety— a common scenario for many business owners. Hence, we work with proficient chemists and laboratories to ensure the information we disseminate to professionals and consumers is accurate.

Enticing marketing buzzwords are often employed by sex toy retailers, with terms like 'body-safe' and 'nontoxic' bearing no significance when purchased from a company unable to identify the materials their products contain, not to mention their compatibility with lubricants and other essential factors.

Absence of Accurate Chemistry Knowledge

Alarmingly, many self-proclaimed sex toy experts with no chemistry training often disseminate misinformation on their websites. For the uninformed about chemistry or sex toy manufacturing, such experts may seem quite convincing.

Due to the lack of regulation for sex toys in the U.S., misleading fear-based marketing hype can continue unchallenged. Promoters of this dangerous misinformation are typically uneducated or deceptive. Their enthusiastic fear-mongering can lead to purchases that are not just wasteful but potentially harmful, under the illusion of doing something beneficial.

Most sex toy experts, despite their good intentions, tend to overemphasize logic. When their logic lacks a fundamental understanding of sex toy chemistry complexities, their assertions can be entirely inaccurate. Sadly, it can be an uphill task for consumers to find a sexual website devoid of sex toy misinformation.

Higher Price Does Not Guarantee Higher Quality

Quality sex toys and products can be obtained at reasonable prices. A higher price tag does not inherently denote superior quality. Numerous companies produce affordable sex toys that are both body-safe and non-toxic— we carry many such items in our collection.

Anecdotal Evidence Requires Scrutiny

Misinformation is often propagated through anecdotes— personal stories aiming to persuade that one person's experience will be universally applicable. Anecdotes are commonly used in marketing, politics, media, and by influential individuals to make content more relatable.

Anecdotes, for instance, Jane's multiple orgasms and female ejaculation from using a particular sex toy, can be manipulated to convince others of identical results. However, the critical role of discernment cannot be overstated when it comes to anecdotes, as they can be a means of manipulation to validate unsubstantiated claims.

This manipulation technique leverages the story as "proof" to amplify the importance of their claims. But these cases of manipulation are often exceptions rather than the norm.

While a sex toy may have been excellent for one person, it does not guarantee a similar experience for all. It might be the exception rather than the rule that someone finds it enjoyable.

Critical thinking, coupled with an understanding of your specific needs, is the optimal starting point when determining what will be ideal for you. Seek education and empowerment. Look for companies that assist in exploring your unique needs and desires, rather than those making extravagant promises. It is far better to understand the reality of a product than to be swayed by superficial hype that doesn't serve your interests.

Greenwashing: A Misrepresentation of Environmental Practices

We aspire to operate as a green company, exercising concern for the environment and enforcing policies that position us as a conscientious, eco-friendly business in the realm of sex toys.

The Challenge of Sex Toy Recycling

Though it would be desirable to state that sex toys are easily recyclable, this is not often the case. Yet, this inconvenient truth does not deter companies from implying otherwise, a practice known as greenwashing. Such misinformation can portray items as more environmentally sound than they truly are, a problem rampant in the sex toy industry.

Claims of recyclable packaging can frequently prove false. An even more shocking reality is the volume of items rejected by recycling facilities, consequently ending up in landfills. This is particularly problematic for sex toys, often considered unclean or even biohazardous.

Companies may promise the recycling of sex toys as a strategy to entice eco-conscious consumers, despite the scarce options for sex toy recycling, particularly of mechanical varieties. Certain businesses even offer a recycling service for a fee, or a trade-in scheme, although we have yet to identify any U.S. recycling centers that confirm this practice.

Subtle greenwashing can often be observed in the marketing of bioplastic sex toys, touted as biodegradable and compostable. However, the crucial detail frequently omitted is that these products require industrial composting facilities. With many Americans lacking access to such services, this proves to be a considerable challenge. For further information, refer to our Environmentally Friendly Sex Toys Guide.

Uncovering Deceptive Manipulation

False information proliferates because the purveyors employ cunning tactics to present themselves as a legitimate information source. By utilizing counterfeit images, testimonials, and data, they provoke emotional responses, leading consumers astray.

The audacity of these manipulative strategies becomes apparent when companies cite unrelated studies to vouch for the efficacy of their product ingredients. In relying on consumer complacency and the authoritative allure of links to entities such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH), they hope these studies remain unread.

Assessing the Credibility of a Source

When perusing an article, it is imperative to distinguish between passion-driven opinions and fact-based information. The internet allows for all manner of content, and convincing presentation does not guarantee credibility.

Promoting Information Literacy

Recognizing reliable news and data sources is essential. As many now obtain their news from social media, it becomes increasingly important to cultivate critical thinking skills, equipping individuals with the necessary tools to navigate this rich media landscape and avoid misinformation. Consequently, it is crucial to refrain from sharing unverified information.

Key indicators of a reputable website include:

  • Citations of academic studies and scholars to substantiate claims.
  • Collaboration with experts such as physicians and chemists.
  • Encouragement for independent exploration of the topic using reliable resources.
  • Openness to questions.
  • Recommendations to consult with healthcare providers.
  • Transparency regarding their qualifications to discuss the topic.
  • In cases of websites selling products, an absence of sales pressure, along with candid product descriptions devoid of emotional manipulation.
URL Verification

It is important to consider the reputation of the website hosting the content you are reading, particularly if the site is known for misinformation or lacks official status.

Scrutinizing Images

Visual content such as images or videos can be tampered with to create a misleading impression of reality. Be alert for inconsistencies in angles or lighting that do not align with the scene's context.

Pause Prior to Sharing

Before disseminating any information online, ensure the source's validity and perform a diligent check to confirm its accuracy.

Avoid Overly Biased Information

Bear in mind the potential for bias in studies conducted by companies who stand to benefit financially from their results. Consequently, research produced by a manufacturer may exhibit a bias favoring their own products.

Additionally, the pervasive issue of confirmation bias, particularly prominent with the internet's diversity of voices, is noteworthy. This phenomenon occurs when an individual seeks out information that aligns with their pre-existing beliefs.

For instance, a person convinced that only medical-grade silicone sex toys are safe might conduct a search using the terms "are medical-grade silicone sex toys safe", thus encountering articles supporting this notion. Conversely, a broader investigation might reveal a wealth of data demonstrating the safety and non-toxicity of various sex toy materials.

When "Do Your Research" Merely Denotes a Basic Internet Search

It is important to distinguish between simple internet searches via Google, Bing, Yahoo, or similar, and rigorous research involving unbiased, peer-reviewed studies. Owing to inherent biases and preference-based algorithms, general internet searches primarily yield information that mirrors your current beliefs. Recognize the pervasive bias in online content. If you wish to access more neutral, scientifically-based resources, consider the following:

  • Google Scholar: A platform offering peer-reviewed studies and a broad array of scholarly literature.
  • ResearchGate: A hub to discover scientific knowledge and maintain connections within the scientific community.
  • Pubmed: A free search engine offering references and abstracts on life sciences and biomedical topics, maintained by the United States National Library of Medicine at the National Institutes of Health.

The Importance of Critical Thinking

  • Empowerment as a sex toy consumer and beyond requires critical thinking. Cultivate this skillset with the following strategies:
  • Engage curiosity, embracing the complexity of the world. Avoid oversimplification and dichotomous thinking.
  • Challenge established norms and do not unquestioningly accept traditional beliefs.
  • Maintain awareness of your personal biases and predispositions.
  • Expand your perspective by exploring opposing viewpoints.
  • Embrace individual thought, steering clear of herd mentality.
  • Recognize that complete impartiality is unattainable. Developing critical thinking necessitates sustained effort and discipline.

In Closing

We trust you have found this information beneficial in navigating sexual health and wellness products, as our aim is to provide you with accurate and valuable insights.