How to make sure your sex toy is safe to use

At long last, sex toy safety standards have been put in place. Here's what you need to know about them

Different sex toys set on a yellow background, sex toy safety standards
(Image credit: Getty Images)

You'd think sex toy safety standards would be a no-brainer, given their function and very close proximity to our most sensitive areas. But until recently, the best app-controlled vibrators, dildos and other frisky gadgets have gone without official guidelines. 

Dr. Martin Dahlberg, a surgeon at Stockholm South General Hospital, noticed the need for a change. He uncovered that sex toys were the culprits of 40% of retained foreign object cases at his hospital, thus he reached out to the consumer protection agency in 2018. Though he inquired about regulations, he learned none actually existed. 

Sex toy safety standards: ISO 3533

For the first time, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has put standards in place for sex toys, with a focus on the material and design. The ISO 3533 guideline has gone into effect as of September 2021, and shoppers can find it on toys' packaging. 

According to the ISO 3533 guideline's introduction, this "aims to ensure that the design of sex toys minimizes the risk of injuries to the user for reasonable and foreseeable use, that the materials are safe to use in contact with genitalia, the anus or both and also that there is sufficient and correct information provided to the user."

It, however, does not cover lubes, oils, food, gels and sprays. Shoppers should also note that manufacturers do not have to comply with ISO 3533 guideline, so there is still some work to be done. According to We-Vibe, each country’s regulators are responsible for using the international standard as the basis for a law. 

What are the new sex toy guidelines? 

What are some of the requirements under ISO 3533? They are as follows: 

  • Heated toys are not able to exceed 118 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Toys intended to be inserted in genitalia should be "smooth and be free from burrs and sharp edges"
  • Gadgets do not need power tools to be removed in the event of an emergency

Now that you know what to look for on a product's label, that doesn't mean you shouldn't be proactive after adding to your sexy toy collection. Make sure to go over our expert tips on how to clean sex toys for a pleasurable and safe experience!

Danielle Valente
Digital News Writer

Need a TV show recommendation? Maybe a few decor tips? Danielle, a digital news writer at Future, has you covered. Her work appears throughout the company’s lifestyle brands, including My Imperfect Life, Real Homes, and woman&home. Mainly, her time is spent at My Imperfect Life, where she’s attuned to the latest entertainment trends and dating advice for Gen Z.

Before her time at Future, Danielle was the editor of Time Out New York Kids, where she got to experience the best of the city from the point of view of its littlest residents. Before that, she was a news editor at Elite Daily. Her work has also appeared in Domino, Chowhound, and amNewYork, to name a few. 

When Danielle’s not writing, you can find her testing out a new recipe, reading a book (suggestions always welcome), or rearranging the furniture in her apartment…again.