Read The Label First- Sex Toy Allergies and Sensitivities

So, you and your partner have just gotten back from a weekend excursion to your awesome local, women run sex shop and are all excited to test out the new vegan, organic, comes-in-a-bottle-made-of-recycled-hemp-or-something lube you just bought. You run to the bedroom, lube in hand, open up the bottle, and you’re good to go…right? WRONG!

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A recent run-in with a supposedly organic and natural lubricant that caused some serious hives opened my eyes to how important it is to test out your sex toys before you use them. Though sex toys, and lubricants especially, are meant to be safe for your body, every body is different and has different sensitivities. There are the obvious allergies, like to the latex in most condoms, that we all know to look out for if we’re allergic, but it’s possible to be allergic to something and not even know it!

To start off, you should always read the label. Which I did. The list of ingredients boasted some pretty natural sounding things: organic aloe, rose-hip oil, primrose, peppermint, and peony root. However, I missed the second step, which was to test out the lube on my hand before going full-force. Had I done this, I might have saved myself from some nasty-looking red splotches all over my body. Thankfully, the reaction wasn’t serious, as they didn’t hurt and went away within a half hour, but I consider myself lucky.

So, remember this:

  • Stick to silicone toys. It’s pretty rare to have a silicone allergy, and you’ll most likely be aware of it if you are allergic.
  • If you have a latex allergy or even a sensitivity, make sure to always read the label on the condoms. It may say latex free but be made of another substance that you are sensitive to!
  • Reading the label on lubes isn’t always enough…just like when you dye your hair, you should do an allergy test on your hand. Just dab a little bit (a dime-sized amount should do) on your hand and rub it in. Give it a good half hour of hive-free sitting time before giving yourself the green light.
  • If you’re home-free, go ahead and enjoy your toy (or lube)!
  • If you ever have a sensitivity or allergic reaction, check in with your healthcare provider. And of course if you’re having a severe reaction – like if your tongue or throat feels like it’s starting to swell or if you’re having trouble breathing or anything else that concerns you, call 911 and/or get to the emergency room ASAP. People can even experience allergic reactions to men’s semen (not just sex toys or lube) so take care of yourselves out there!

About Michaela


Michaela is a recent Seven Sisters graduate with a self-designed degree in Sexuality Studies. When she's not blogging, you'll find her teaching Health and Wellness and A Cappella to high school students, helping women find properly fitting bras, and working as an editor on a documentary. She hopes to continue her education one day with a PhD in Feminist Anthropology.

  • Garnet Joyce

    Yup! I’m allergic to like everything: metal, semen, parabens, latex … I’m always reading labels

  • Mens Sex Toys

    Excellent advice. I always test lube. A small dab on the inside arm or behind the knee will tell me if I’m allergic or not. Never found one I am allergic to yet.