Is it okay to use sex toys?

Sex toys: More and more people are using dildos and vibrators

Young women should explore their own bodies

Sex researcher Rustige advises young women to first explore their bodies without sex toys. "Touching yourself, touching the lips of Venus, the clitoris and the inside of the vagina helps to establish a positive relationship with your body," she says. Accepting your own body (if possible, appreciating it) is the basic requirement in order to explore one's sexual needs and preferences. Dildo and vibrator could then add variety to masturbation and broaden your horizons.

What is little talked about is the risk of disease transmission: "If toys are not cleaned properly, germs can multiply on them unhindered," explains gynecologist Doris Scharrel. Anyone who uses vibrators and co. Should therefore clean them thoroughly with soap and water before and after making love and disinfect them if necessary. "Since disinfectants can attack sensitive skin in the genital area, it is advisable to rinse with water," emphasizes Scharrel. The safest way to protect yourself from germs is the same as with conventional sexual intercourse: the good old condom.

However, users often don't seem to know that. In a study by a group led by psychologist Jessica Wood from the University of Guelph, a third of the 1,435 men and women surveyed stated that they only cleaned their sex toys infrequently. Of those who shared their toy with others, just twelve percent use a condom. The consequence: those who shared it had a yeast infection more often in the previous six months than those who used their toy alone.

Sex toys can transmit HPV

Human papillomavirus (HPV), which can lead to cervical cancer in women, can also be transmitted through sex toys, according to a study by the University of Indiana. Jessica Wood and her colleagues therefore advise that the correct use of sex toys be included in sexual education. The results of the Canadian study cannot simply be transferred to Germany; Scharrel nevertheless supports the recommendation to talk to teenagers about cleaning toys in sex education classes. However, one should not only talk about the risks, but also about the opportunities: "People with a sexually transmitted disease who do not want to infect their sexual partner can use sex toys as an alternative," says the gynecologist.

The 36-year-old Link is one of those who regularly clean her sex toy and put a condom on the vibrator at the one-night stand. "Better safe than sorry," she says. So when it comes to hygiene, she has no problems. What she noticed, however, is that over the years she has adjusted to the stimulation of her vibrator. She gets her orgasm almost at the push of a button. "It's great when I have little time," she says - but when she has sex with a partner she has noticed that it takes a lot longer to reach climax. Which led her to the question: Have I got too used to the vibrator?

"Women who use their vibrator regularly can get used to climaxing this way," confirms psychologist Mintz. However, this is not specific to vibrators, but relates to sex in general. That said, people who always use a certain finger movement, for example, may find it more difficult to climax in other ways.