Is Your Sex Life Toxic?

A few years ago, there was a lot of buzz around the safety of Bisphenol A, or BPA, and phthalates after studies linked the "plasticizers" to increased risk of cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Despite these concerns, not much has changed in terms of regulation. New research indicates the health consequences may be more extensive than originally thought.

Recently, the peer-reviewed journal Endocrinology released a study detailing the multi-generational impact these chemicals have on hormone glands. Not only does BPA exposure increase personal risk, but this latest research shows the trickle-down effect it has on the wellbeing of our children, including behavior changes and genetic mutations.

Avoiding these chemicals is virtually impossible. Plasticizers are found in everything from water bottles, canned goods and tupperware to dental fillings, paint, ATM receipts and more. While some progress has been made-notably the U.S. Food & Drug Administration banned BPA from baby bottles and children's cups in July 2012-one increasingly popular consumer product group that is largely affected, yet completely unregulated is the adult novelty industry.

While sexual health rarely comes up during the BPA debate, it's a real and growing issue that is top of mind for me. In fact, I probably spend more time thinking about your sex life than you do, a notion that would be unsettling if it wasn't my job. As CEO of Standard Innovation, makers of the We-Vibe family of products-including the world's first couples' vibrator, I lead a team that believes sex should be fun and safe, without compromise. Every product we make is completely body-safe-made with medical-grade silicone, phthalate free and RhOS-compliant. Our product development team is lead by engineers and industrial designers and we invest heavily in product design, sexual health research, materials selection and independent testing to make our products among the safest in the world.

Thanks to the 50 Shades of Grey global phenomenon and movies like Hysteria, the adult novelty industry continues to grow as people become increasingly comfortable talking about sex-more importantly, acknowledging that sexual health is key to overall wellness. Beyond the immediate endorphin rush from an orgasm, active sex leads to improved immune systems and fertility, lower stress levels, better heart health, stronger bodies, and more. Ultimately, our goal is to provide a satisfying sexual experience, with or without a partner. Fortunately the news is spreading: A recent survey from our distribution partner Adam & Eve found that 60 percent of women own and use a sex toy.

Given the mounting evidence against BPA, where does this leave people who want to channel their inner Christian Grey or Anastasia Steele without introducing toxic chemicals to the body? Some lawmakers like Carolyn Bennett, a member of Canadian Parliament, have pushed for government regulation of sex toys, but until industry reform unfolds, here are some quick tips to keep in mind as you purchase:

  • Reputation matters: Always buy authentic products from established distributors-either online or in retail stores.
  • Know what's inside before you buy: Review the product specs prior to purchase (there are no returns of intimate-use products). If standards compliance labels aren't listed, don't be shy: Ask a sales associate, read more online or call the customer support center to ask.
  • Bargain hunters beware: All products have a published manufacturers' suggested retail price (MSRP). If a deal seems too good to be true, it could be a counterfeit and the product safety claims may be questionable.
  • Most importantly, have fun.