The Difference Between Dildo Materials
When choosing a dildo, it's crucial to consider size and shape, but you should also think about the material the dildo material made from.
The material affects the feel, weightiness and sensations your dildo will give. It will also affect how easy (or tricky) it is to clean, how long you dildo's life-span will be and whether or not your dildo can be considered 'body-safe'.
With a dildo in your hand, it is easy to feel the difference between different materials. It's harder when shopping online, so read our roundup of the most commonly-used materials below.
The best dildo material bar none is Silicone!
A silicone dildo feels warm, dry, smooth and very strokable. It feels soft and pliable (but firm enough to be fit for purpose;), has no scent and quickly warms to body temperature.
A silicone dildo is latex-free, hypo-allergenic, phthalate-free, non-porous, and really easy to clean. A Sh! dildo can be cleaned with a couple of spritzes of a sex toy cleaner, or it can be sterilized by boiling in a pan for a few minutes. You can even pop it in the top rack of a dishwasher!
Silicone dildos can be shared between pleasure zones or lovers; just remember to clean in-between orifices.
Silicone is an expensive raw material, with a time-consuming manufacturing process and sensitivity to environmental conditions.
Too hot? Not gonna work...
Too cold? Nope, not having it.
Much like us Brits, silicone is very sensitive to the weather.
At Sh!, we manufacture UK-Made Silicone Dildos by hand in the UK. This reduces your dildo-miles, making them a greener silicone dildo choice, than buying ones made in China.
Cheaper Dildo Materials & Why You Should Avoid Them
Thermoplastic Elastomer Rubber Dildos
What is TPR/TPE? A flexible, rubber-like material that processes like plastic, making it a fast and cost-effective material choice for high-volume sex toy manufacture.
How does it feel? Often looks like jelly or rubber, but feels dry and smooth to the touch. These materials are free from toxic phthalates, but there can be a bit of a smell when they first come out of the box. This wears off once the toy has been 'aired' for a while. Dildos made from TPE or TPR are squishy, albeit with different levels of firmness and flexibility.
What's wrong with Elastomer and TPR materials? They are porous ( teeny-tiny pores in the material) meaning lube and juices will sink into the dildo. You simply can't 100% clean it. We recommend covering it with a condom during play. This prevents body fluids and lube from being absorbed into your toy, harbouring bacteria.
SilaSkin (aka 'CyberSkin' 'SuperSkin')
What is SilaSkin? It's a blend of silicone and TPR, a soft & stretchy material without off-gases, oils or phthalates.
How does it feel? Stretchy! It is estimated that SilaSkin stretches six times more than silicone, making it a popular material for one-size-fits-all cock rings, for example.
What's wrong with SilaSkin? SilaSkin isn't as durable as silicone and is more susceptible to interactions with other materials. SilaSkin dildos must be stored away from other toys in your pleasure box.
This material is porous and incompatible with latex. SilaSkin material is tricky to keep clean and hygienic - especially if you want to share your SilaSkin dildo with a partner. Also, as it reacts with latex, covering it with a condom can negatively affect the material.
We don't stock products made from SilaSkin. Instead, we recommend choosing dildos made from silicone as they are non-porous and hypo-allergenic.
Rubber is a much cheaper material and easier to work with. This makes rubber dildos cheaper than better, body-safe materials like silicone.
Rubber dildos are firm, dense and heavy. A rubber dildo feels solid and a little sticky. Sex toys made from rubber tend to give off an unpleasant smell, which can be off-putting.
Rubber is porous, which means it will absorb lube and body fluids. It's impossible to sterilize. A rubber dildo flakes or nicks easily, especially if you scrape it with a fingernail or harness buckle.
We always advise covering porous sex toys with condoms, even if you are the only person who will use them. Not using a condom on a porous toy will likely end in an unpleasant bout of vaginal infection like B-Vag or thrush.
Jelly Rubber PVC Dildos
Jelly rubber is one of the cheapest materials around. If you have ever purchased a super-cheap dildo that smelled toxic, it was likely made from jelly.
Jelly contains phthalates, a group of chemicals that make the material softer and more pliable. This may sound good if you don't enjoy firmer materials, but it's the exact opposite. Phthalates are a likely carcinogen, and there is no space for jelly toys on our shelves.
If you have a jelly toy stored away in a drawer or cupboard, it's time to throw it away and treat yourself to a new plaything.