Ask Piph #5

Bad reactions to toxic sex toys, subscription boxes, kegel ball logistics, and comfy butt plugs.

Ask Piph logo, with a sex toy forming the question mark.

I was wondering if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to any of your toys, or what you might suggest someone do if they did? (Other than buying 100% silicone/using a condom/etc. What if it’s too late, and they realize they’re having a reaction, what should they do?)

Box of allergy pills.

I’ve never experienced any sort of reaction to a toy, so I had to phone friends on this one. Thanks to Metis Black, InsatiablyTakenBeck, Lorax of SexDangerous Lillysepticidal, and many others on Facebook for their enormous help. Also, please remember that I am nowhere near a doctor.

If you have washed the toy before use, what you will most likely be experiencing is an allergic reaction and inflammation from the chemicals in the toy coming into contact with the skin. If this appears to be the case, here are some steps you can take immediately upon experiencing the reaction:

  • Take a shower ASAP and rinse the inflamed area as much as you can with water only. If you don’t have access to a shower, try to find a baby wipe.
  • Pee, to further flush stuff out of your urethra.
  • Take Benadryl. The pill, not the cream.
  • Call a nurse helpline and ask which additional steps you should take. Be honest and tell them that you believe an icky sex toy is the cause, since most will assume you have an STI or infection without additional info. Many do not know that sex toys are unregulated and can contain chemicals.
  • Go without underwear for a while, or at least wear loose boxers to allow your skin to breathe. Don’t scratch the area.
  • If you have trouble breathing or suspect your symptoms are worsening, go to the ER.

Other tips for temporarily relieving your symptoms:

If you have not washed a porous toy before use, it is possible (though not likely) that you have a yeast infection, UTI, or STI rather than an allergic reaction, in which case there would be different steps you’d need to take.

And just to reiterate, THROW OUT THE OFFENDING SEX TOY IMMEDIATELY. Replace it with something non-porous: silicone, glass, metal, or sealed wood. You having a reaction to the toy means that you absolutely cannot use porous (usually jelly) sex toys in the future, so please, spend a bit more money for something that’s not crap. Visit The Coalition Against Toxic Toys for more info.

Have you ever thought about reviewing one of the “adult” subscription boxes? Some of them are pricey, but it could be hilarious.

Spicy Subscriptions box.

I’ve received an AVALANCHE of emails about these. For a while there, I felt like I was getting a new offer every week.

So far I know of Unbound Box ($45-65/box), Spicy Subscriptions ($25-35/month), and SecretSexBox ($20/month).

Each service, more or less, follows the same (often hetero-focused) pattern: cheap body products, dubious lube samples, some shitty “romance” item like a heart-shaped hand warmer, and maybe, if you’re lucky, a sex toy you could buy for under $15, but wouldn’t want to (seriously, two different boxes I read about contained cock rings that retail for under $5).

Sugarcunt reviewed LuvMyBox, pointing out, “you pretty much have to use [everything in the box] if you don’t want to have burned $35.” Tracy Clark-Flory tried several of the services and found many of the included products grotesque. Same with this reviewer. I suggest using your brain and buying sex products you actually want that are actually body-safe.

I said no to every offer I received because, while I’ve been known to review things solely to massacre them, lickable body butter and dust and glycerin-filled lube and gross sex toys are where I draw the line.

How far up are vaginal balls supposed to be inserted? I have the Je Joue Ami set, and I tend to insert them like an o.b. tampon, but I’m wondering if that’s too far up for their purpose. I haven’t found anything that says “this is how they should be inserted; if you feel this, you’ve gone too far.”

Je Joue Ami kegel balls.

I don’t think there’s a hard and fast rule about this. It’s basically what feels comfortable to you. I always push them past my pubic bone, then stop when I feel them pressing into my cervix. They feel weird to me if I don’t push them all the way up like that; plus, if they’re inserted too shallowly, they can worm their way out.

looked it up, and apparently the PC muscle stretches from the pubic bone to the tail bone. So it sounds like nestling them past the pubic bone is the perfect spot anyway.

I’m looking for a comfy butt plug. A butt plug that I can wear for hours without everyone knowing I am wearing something in my ass. I should be able to walk around a lot, sit down, wear clothes that don’t reveal the toy, and not be worried that I could drop it. Do you know any kind of butt plug on the market like that?

Tantus Juice plugs.

Yes! I have high standards for my butt plugs that play into your needs. I don’t appreciate uncomfortable bases, and I get really annoyed when plugs either slide out or feel like they’re about to. Basically what you want is a plug with a comfortable and low-profile base, plus a narrow neck that will keep it securely in your ass.

Here are my recommendations:

It just depends on which size/shape you want.

*The Pure Plug I’m not 100% sure about recommending for your situation, since it could be uncomfortable if you sit down on a hard chair. But stainless steel will probably be the least chafing of all the materials you could use anally and for extended wear.

I was reading about the Mr. Man dildo from Jollies on your site, and was incredibly disappointed to discover that it’s been discontinued. After doing a bit of searching, I came across a site that appears to sell them… but it looks a little sketchy. I was just wondering if you knew anything about it before I blindly throw my money at them. I REALLY want this product, but I don’t want to be out $65.

Mr. Man dildos.

I’m glad you asked, because I do know. That site is run by the original creator of Mr. Man, Stacey. But Jollies is no longer involved, and the toy is being produced in PVC, NOT silicone (despite the fact that the website uses old photos of the silicone Mr. Man).

A friend of mine had the displeasure of smelling the new Mr. Man, and she said it smells horrible, which is a problem for a toy that is specifically meant to be sucked on. Stacey told me that she plans to make it in silicone once it “takes off,” but to be honest, I get a strong sense that she is nowhere near organized/smart enough to make that happen. I mean, look at that website. It’s a travesty.

I hate to say it, but I really think you should pass on this one.