Saturday, March 30, 2013

Silicone, Responsibility, and Sex Toy Journalism

So, if you've been paying any attention at all you'd know that I really give a shit about quality products and more specifically, adult toys that won't harbor dirt and bacteria or harm you. The sex toy industry is not known for its honesty: its unregulated, so companies can- and many do- claim whatever they want. There are some reputable companies, however, which are supposed to be bastions of truth and who have good quality products and don't lie about the materials.

A fellow reviewer, Dangerous Lilly, has been scrutinizing products that come from reputable and unreputable companies alike longer than I've been in the reviewing game. She does flame tests (which you'll hear in my upcoming post, Silicone Part 4) and really puts a toy through its paces before passing judgement.

This photo is from Dangerous Lilly's flame test of the Jimmy Jane Hello Tough 'silicone' finger pads. If you know how Silicone works, you know this is not silicone- or at least not pure silicone.  
Que the Jimmy Jane Hello Touch. Jimmy Jane is a reputable company with high quality goods and luxury services- or so it was thought. Some people have had the Hello Touch pass the flame test with flying colors, but Lilly and at least one other have not.

Lilly has had past experiences with supposedly reputable companies' toys not passing the flame test (I cite the OmiBod Bedroom Kandi Hold on to Me Kegel Balls) and the company denies the claim. It has come to light that many companies have their toys manufactured in China (its cheaper) and the manufacturer will mix in elastomer or other low grade porous materials to cut corners and make a little extra cash, the company itself none the wiser.

This is of course, not the companies fault- and there's no telling if this is always the case. For all we know, the companies may be aware that this happens. One would hope that isn't what goes on in some of these situations.

Either way, I believe that companies should pay more attention to what's going on in the factories where their products are being manufactured. Not only are they getting a lower quality product than what they agreed upon and paid for, but their customers are using porous toys while thinking they're 100% safe, pure premium silicone when that isn't the case- and that is not, under any circumstances, ok. Who knows what else is being mixed into the products, and how do you know who you can trust?

What a company definitely shouldnt do is say that their customers- reviewers or otherwise- are lying when something like this comes to their attention. If a toy goes up in flames and there is material loss, there's something wrong: pure silicone should withstand the flame of a lighter; otherwise, it wouldn't be used in cooking products that go in hot ovens. It's difficult to find an exact measurement of when exactly silicone melts, but I've tested a pure silicone Tantus product with no damage whatsoever from a lighter flame. I trust this because Tantus is one of the companies I know with 100% certainty I can trust: their whole purpose is to create high quality body safe toys- pure silicone with colorations that bond with the toys so theres no chance of them interacting with your body- and they make their own products in a small factory in Nevada. Tantus, as far as I am concerned, is a control in this situation because I know they've dealt with ridicule and really had to fight to be where they are today. Tantus is in the fight with us.

Lilly is currently looking into getting the hello touch tested for silicone content; getting the tests done by a reputable lab is very expensive and the lowest quote she has gotten was $200. If you can in any way assist her monetarily in her endeavor to prove that the Hello Touch she has is not pure silicone- for the sake of truth and safety- please do. It may not change much at Jimmy Jane- but getting the word out and insisting that companies take safety more seriously will help make a change in the industry overall. If they know we care and are willing to go to extreme lengths to make the change we want to see, they have to respond with change... even if only so they can stay in business.

Related or Mentioned Posts from Dangerous Lilly:

look here for more info on her most recent initiative: I just have to know... is this silicone, or not?
Sex Toy Journalism: Bringing Toxic Sex Toy Facts Out of the Attic
Sex Toy Journalism: Seeking the Truths of Silicone via Flame


  1. It is beyond frustrating when you find out that a company you trusted might not be so trust-worthy. I don't have any Jimmy Jane products personally, but I've heard such wonderful things about the company that I wouldn't have thought twice before buying something from them.
    Now however, such a purchase will clearly have to be thought out a bit more carefully. Thanks so much to you and Dangerous Lilly for bringing this situation into the light.

    1. I wouldn't say outright boycott Jimmy Jane products; it's more of an issue with the manufacturer. There isn't a way to tell before buying one that it's pure silicone, but if you buy any 'silicone' product, Jimmy Jane or otherwise, do a flame test- and if there's obvious material loss (if it's silicone, it may get ash or a slight discoloration, but will look pretty much like nothing happened when you wipe it off- complain loudly at the company. I plan on doing this with any and all products that are purported to be silicone that I buy or receive for review. This could be happening with companies other than Jimmy Jane; Lelo claims that they keep an eye on their manufacturers, and I trust Tantus 100%, but I'll still be flame testing, fact checking, and calling a company out (politely and privately unless they give me reason to be impolite and public) if I discover a product likely isn't 100% silicone. It's the only way to get them to realize that it means that much to us. It's not just one person.

  2. Every company you trusted might not be so trust-worthy ...