Trusted for 23+ Years
Sex Toy Store Scams
Dr. Lisa Lawless, CEO of Holistic Wisdom
Clinical Psychotherapist: Relationship & Sexual Health Expert
The National Association for the Advancement of Science & Art in Sexuality (NAASAS) did several investigations into sex toy retailers, and we were shocked to find out that some mainstream sex toy shops are attempting to educate consumers on toxins in sex toys when in reality, they are providing false information.
This means that you may be purchasing items you think are safe but are not. You may also be missing out on some great products that are safe and have been rumored to be toxic using erroneous information.
It was determined that some of the sex toy shops show a 'toxicity scale' measuring the safety of their sex toys from one to ten, the latter being the safest level. These scales claim to gauge several factors, including how porous and sterile it is and what the primary material is in the sex toy.
The problem with the sex toy safety scales is that you should not measure whether a sex toy is a little safe or very safe. Instead, ask whether a sexual product will cause harm or won't it? This gimmicky scale method seems a relatively poor way to inform customers what is safe and what isn't because it is confusing to determine what is safe.
Say you want to buy a sex toy ranked a seven; what does that mean exactly? Does it mean it is safe or not? If you sell sex toys, they should ALL be safe; why would you sell possibly unsafe sex toys?
The other issue, which is of more significant concern, is that some sex toy shops and sex toy party consultants flat-out give consumers inaccurate information. There were all kinds of mistakes, from websites saying something was 100% silicone when it was actually an elastomer made with TPE or TPR to finding sex toys that were said to be safe because they were made with Pyrex Glass but were not actually Pyrex and furthermore were spray-painted glass with paint that contained toxic chemicals. Learn more about sex toy materials and also see our article: Silicone Sex Toys: Is Yours Real? for more information.
We also found sex toy parties companies and online sex toy retailers claiming their lubricants were paraben-free when a simple review of the lubricant ingredients would show that they indeed contained parabens.
As the list of errors found on other websites are rampant, you should be warned that not all educational websites on sex toys should be trusted, no matter how clever their gimmicks are at getting you to think they know what they are talking about.
What You Should Look For In A Sex Toy Shop
It is challenging for us to tell you just one sure thing to look for when evaluating the quality of information on a website as there are so many things that can vary, but here are some general guidelines:
A website should be clear about the information it provides. It should make it easy for you to find out the following about a product, such as:
- What materials were used to make the product?
- Who manufacturers the product.
- What lubricants are safe to use with the product.
- How to properly clean and care for the product.
- Real customer reviews.
- Product dimensions and how to measure them for a comfortable fit.
- Proper uses for the product.
Make sure you are doing business with a reputable company with a knowledgeable sales staff. You should have no problem asking tough questions and getting accurate answers.
Sex Toy Store Red Flags
- Beware of salespeople who are more interested in making a sale than providing something that works with your needs and budget.
- Look out for the sales representative that tries to tell you that the only way to get a discount is to purchase something right now. If they respect your business, they will offer it when you are ready to make your purchase. They will provide you with proper sex toy education on how to buy a sex toy.
- Avoid offers that sound too good to be true. Often there is a catch to that incredible offer they are making you. Remember, all businesses must make a profit to survive, and when they start luring you in with offers that seem exaggerated and everything seems too peachy keen, it probably is.
- Beware of extremely low-priced products as they may be cheap knock-offs, stolen or refurbished (used sex toys). We suggest you use extreme caution when purchasing products that are well below the manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP or MAP). This can mean that the manufacturer's warranty may not be honored.
- Some sex toy retailers will increase their prices as high as double their regular retail price and then tell people they are getting 20-50% off when in reality, those former prices are overly inflated to make it seem like you are getting a deal. Be wary that even if something appears to be on sale, you may not be saving money. For example, we sell the Hitachi Magic Wand at the MAP price (Minimum Advertised Price) as we have signed a legal MAP agreement with them to not sell below that price to remain an authorized dealer. We have seen retailers double the price and tell customers that it is 50% off and sell it at the same price we usually sell it.
- Beware of sites that claim the best customer reviews but don't allow YOU to submit a review. A good sex toy website will provide you with a way to submit your review and listen to your concerns.
- Look for sites that not only give you good customer reviews but negative sex toy reviews as well.
- Ensure you are working with a company that will not sell your personal information and uses safe credit card processing.
Sex toy shops should offer you a no-hassle replacement of a defective product.
- Beware of sex toys shops that allow you to return a used sex toy when it is not defective. Believe it or not, some sex toy companies will resell that product. Despite health risks and how unethical it is, it is a genuine possibility.
Getting A Quality Sex Toy
Be aware that sex toys made from nontoxic materials often cost more because the materials they use to construct them are more expensive to the manufacturer. For example, higher grade silicones in sex toys that are platinum cured are more costly than silicone mixed with additives. Just because something is cheaper does not ensure you are getting more for your money.
There Are Healthy Sex Toys That Are Budget Friendly
Cheaply made sex toys are made with lower quality parts, and mechanical difficulties often occur. Your sex toy could last for a very short period compared to the higher-end sex toys made with more substantial and durable parts. Even if you have a tight budget, there are still many great sex toys and romantic gifts from reputable companies from which to choose at reasonable prices.
Porous Sex Toy Concerns
Sex toys put in highly porous parts of your body should be made of nontoxic materials to prevent possible health risks but there are complications even if they are nontoxic. Many elastomer sex toys such as TPR and TPE (thermoplastic elastomers) are nontoxic. However, there are two critical concerns around using them: the inability to disinfect them and the synthetic oils they contain, which may negatively impact vaginal and rectal health.
Learn more about porous sex toys made out of elastomers and other materials through our Elastomers & Porous Sex Toys Guide. Also, learn how to properly care for your products through out How To Clean Sex Toys Guide and understand more about the best sex to options for you.
Investing in separator bags or sex toy storage bags that allow you to keep the products you have purchased separately from one another prevents the toys from having chemical reactions. Even some nontoxic products can cause harm to one another if they touch. Some people are often shocked when they put two sex toys in storage together, only to find they have melted together when they go to pull them out.
Be Empowered & Educated
No matter what you decide to purchase or from whom, we wish you the very best when it comes to your sexual health and hope that this information has allowed you to be an empowered consumer for your sexual wellness.