STDs and Sex Toys: Everything You Need to Know

You can get an STD from a sex toy that someone who was infected used before you and it wasn’t cleaned properly. You can also infect or re-infect yourself with an STD. We’ll tell you everything you need to know about the risks and prevention in this article. With the proper knowledge, you won’t have to worry about any risks and you can use your toys to your heart’s content.

How can STDs be contracted?

If someone has a fluid-borne STDs, their semen, blood, vaginal secretion, pre-cum, or another fluid ends up on the sex toy, and another person uses it, they will contract the disease. This is because their mucus membranes come into contact with the toy. You will probably get herpes if your partner has an outbreak, uses the toy, and then you use it shortly thereafter. If a long time passes, you’re less likely to contract herpes or any other disease, because these viruses can’t survive long outside the body.  

Which STDs can I get?

Any STD that can be transmitted through sexual intercourse can also be spread by sharing a toy. Basically, this extends to all possible STDs, including those that are spread through skin contact and bodily fluids.

You can also get a yeast infection, a urinary tract infection, or a bacterial vaginosis from a sex toy. Again, this can happen if someone who has one of these uses a toy and doesn’t clean it properly before giving it to you. It can also occur if their bacteria remain on the toy even in cases where they don’t have one of these infections. A woman’s vaginal pH will change because of the other person’s bacteria, resulting in an annoying infection.

You’re more likely to get an STD from a dildo than a vibrator. Obviously, there’s less of a chance of getting an STD if you merely have surface contact with a toy than if you insert it into your body.  

Self-infecting With a sex Toy  

You can infect or re-infect yourself with a toy. You might have had an infection like bacterial vaginosis or gonorrhea, which cleared up after treatment, but you used a vibrator or dildo before the treatment. When you use it again, you can become re-infected. The chances are slim though because some time will have passed. It’s far riskier to switch from the vagina to the anus and back. You can get anal gonorrhea if you have the vaginal kind, stimulate your vagina, and then move the toy to your anus.

Anally transmitted infections  

Fecal residue and matter in general is a universal risk of anal stimulation. Parasites such as Giardia lamblia, hepatitis A, B, and C, intestinal amoebas, and bacteria like E. coli, Salmonella, and Shigella can be transmitted through feces according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Safer and Riskier Materials

The risk of transmitting an STD through a sex toy depends on the extent, to which it can be cleaned when washed. There are two types of sex toys: porous and nonporous. The latter kind is preferable because toys made out of porous materials can hold on to all kinds of particles even after they’re cleaned. They are full of minute microscopic holes, to which dust, bacteria, soap, and other matter will cling. That means they can never be completely cleaned, even if you use lots of soap and water.

Common porous materials include thermoplastic elastomer (TPE), thermoplastic rubber (TPR), latex, jelly rubber, and polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Unlike them, nonporous toys can be completely cleaned as long as you do it the right way. Among the quality nonporous materials are pyrex, silicone, ABS plastic, stainless steel, and glass. We recommend that people who share toys get nonporous ones. 

Always use a Condom With Porous Sex Toys

The best way to stay safe is to put a condom on a toy even though you’ve cleaned it, and just discard it later. It’s very easy if it’s a dildo. Use a new condom on the toy before a new person uses it regardless of whether you’re using it alone or sharing it. The condom should be made of polyurethane, latex, or polyisoprene.  This is only one of the reasons why dildos are such a great toy, and you’ll find a lot of different products here.

If you also use lubricant, choose a water- or silicone-based one with latex condoms. Oil-based brands can compromise the condom’s integrity, resulting in tiny holes in the process.

How do you put a condom on a toy that’s not phallic-shaped? I used to wonder myself. There isn’t much to it, really. Basically, just tie it as best you can. It shouldn’t feel loose. It’s very difficult, if not impossible to put a condom on toys like penis strokers. If that’s what you have or want to get, each person should have their own.  

Cleaning and Drying sex Toys Properly

You must wash your toy before and after use regardless of the material, but the material determines the way you’ll clean it. In every event, use gentle, unscented soap to avoid irritation. Never use dishwasher detergent. It contains very strong fragrances and harsh chemicals, which can lead to infections or irritation for people who are more sensitive down there. Dry toys thoroughly after cleaning because there are few things bacteria love more than moisture. Leave them out to dry in the air or pat them dry with a clean towel.

Most sex toys are sold with special pouches for safe storage. Do not discard the pouch – use it to put the toy away.  

I Think I Have an STD

If you believe you may have contracted an STD through your sex toy, don’t put testing off. Your doctor might tell you to get tested again after a certain period of time. Not all STDs can be tested for right after you were exposed to them. Given that many of them have no symptoms, it’s a good idea to get tested once a year.

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Categories: Health

Nicolas Desjardins

Hello everyone, I am the main writer for SIND Canada. I've been writing articles for more than 10 years and I like sharing my knowledge. I'm currently writing for many websites and newspapers. All my ideas come from my very active lifestyle, every day I ask myself hundreds of questions to doctors, specialists, and physicians. I always keep myself very informed to give you the best information. In all my years as a computer scientist made me become an incredible researcher. I believe that any information should be free, we want to know more every day because we learn every day. Most of our medical sources come from and government research. You can contact me on our forum or by email at


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