Essentially, when it comes to using a sex toy, everyone wants a toy to be as functionally, chemically and hygienically safe as possible.
There are different ways to be body-safe and you will hear the words toxic, porous, and body-safe all thrown around. Please see our blog article to understand in more depth what we have found them all to mean.
We will not list items if we feel that they are low quality (e.g. low quality glass) or the material is a known toxic danger to us all. We will not list used items if we feel there have been too many fakes about, if we feel it is too difficult to sterilize properly ( e.g the Rose toy), or if we feel the design is not fit for use (e.g. anal plugs without a wide base to stop it inadvertently being sucked into the body).
Users of our marketplace are required to agree to this body-safe policy when they sign up and buy or sell an item. Every seller has to fill in detailed listing fields fully and correctly. In addition, all items have to be shipped with online tracking, and the underlying payment systems do a great job protecting the buy & sell transaction. So everyone can have peace of mind.
We require the highest level of home sterilization by both the seller and the buyer for all other items that are insertable*. This means that we will only accept listings of most (but not all) non-porous toys.
Since porous toys cannot be as fully sterilized as non-porous, but we do not list any realskin, elastomer type items (TPE, TPR). We take the extra pre-caution of not listing even new porous toys. We are leaving out a large and very popular market ( e.g. strokers like Fleshlight) but it is a position we are happy to take so that there is no confusion about whether an item is open or unused etc.
This is a living document, so as we learn more we will be updating it.
For example, from this month, where applicable, all listings must have photos of the item being sterilized.
Our listing approvals are not all automatic – each application is read sensitively, carefully vetted, and the detail examined closely.
When submitting a listing for approval, sellers need to answer the listing questions as fully and correctly as possible in order to provide us with enough evidence to verify these details. If we don’t have this, the manual approval takes longer, and we may need to ask for even more detail as a result.
The team chat with the seller on the listing comments whilst it is hidden from the public, and does not go to the public board until the item can be fully verified. Any unnecessary chat will be deleted but anything we think the buyer needs to know will stay public.
So bear with us as we go through every single listing submitted to check compliance. Thank-you.
[ * By insertable items, we mean items you can insert into yourself or items you insert yourself into. Penetrables, insertables, vulva toys, clitoral stimulators. Anything that touches these areas. So that means dildos, butt plugs, dolls, and masturbators to name a few. You know what we mean! Also includes items you insert in any hole in your body – e.g. ball gags.]
Firstly, all items must be phthalate-free. Also, if the toy is an insertable item ( e.g. dildos, vibrators, dolls, plugs ) made of jelly (includes gel or sil-a-gel) or a softened PVC ( i.e. regular PVC not hard uPVC) where it comes into contact with the body, then it is not allowed to be listed.
Insertable items that are painted ( e.g. glass dildos) , or so thinly coated with metal that it could chip off, are also not acceptable. Older, tarnished items like this will not be accepted.
Porous does not necessarily mean not body-safe as a new item, but there is a lot of miscommunication on the terms used here and we have taken a stance in the interests of body-safety.
Whilst we realize that will disappoint a large number of buyers and sellers, we have taken the position to only list non-porous materials for the kinds of items in order to keep the body-safety standards as high as possible.
So, to be clear – all insertable items (such as dildos, vibrators, plugs, dolls, etc.), new or used, which are also made of one piece of porous material such as rubber or elastomer – will not be approved for listing. If your item says it is non-porous TPE or medical grade TPE, we still will not be able to list it. Sorry about that.
Lovehoney have also recently introduced a general category called ‘soft plastics’ – so we feel that this must be porous and cannot list this material.
We are not satisfied enough that they can be fully sterilized, so if you really want to buy porous, please buy it new, from the best brands, and from the best stores that understand the materials used. It’s important to know that even if you buy these new, directly from the manufacturer, these toys made of porous materials are harder to maintain, so only choose the most reputable.
Silicone – Glass – Metal – Wood
Our accepted materials are on a pull-down list for the sellers to choose from. This doesn’t mean we will accept all glass or metal items, only the best materials and styles. It depends on a lot of factors, from brand reputation, to design and information available about the material. We also learn a lot from toy reviewers and body-safe bloggers but that we will not detail here. If you submit an item we will discuss it with you individually.
The best glass toys are toughened – high quality tempered glass (like borosilicate glass) – again, the brand reputation can tell you a lot. The design and shape also plays a big part in the safety of a dildo or anal plug so that it doesn’t break easily or inadvertently or get sucked up inside the body.
The best metals are stainless steel, aluminium, titanium. It is more difficult to assess metals online, so the approvals team makes a judgment on when to allow a listing to go on to the public board or not. For insertable metal items, we will not be able to approve them for listing if we cannot verify if the metal it is made of is either stainless steel, aluminium or titanium.
For silicone toys, we keep a list of information about how different manufacturers and toy reviewers and retail sites refer to their silicone materials.
What we really like to see is products that say they are 100% pure silicone, then after that the grade of silicone is useful to know e.g. food grade, medical grade, platinum cured. We’re currently even looking at splitting the silicone into premium silicones from top brands including medical grade or platinum-cured silicone, and standard 100% body-safe silicones which can include food safe silicone. For the pure silicone items, we will accept both new and used items.
We don’t accept silicone blends that include a porous material ( sometimes these are referred to as medical grade TPE) We don’t accept silagel, silicon etc.
If we find that a material is made of a proprietary blend or has it’s own trademarked version of silicone then we may not know enough about these to be sure that they are 100% pure non-porous silicone. Again, the reason we want it to be 100% is so that it is completely non-porous and can be fully sterilized if it has been used at all. So, if we do list these items, we will probably only accept them in a new and unused condition.
If an insertable item has been used even once, the seller must sterilize the item (i.e. the correct level of boil, bleach or UV-C that is possible for each type of item – see our guide ). The buyer must also sterilize these items on receipt.
We do not accept broken toys. We also do not accept opened or partially used liquids, lubricants, gels, creams, or pastes. Glass toys that are chipped or cracked can’t be accepted.
Sex dolls seems to be an extremely complex area and we do not accept complete sex dolls that we feel could be perceived as under 18yrs old. We only accept silicone dolls. We have a lengthy list of requirements for cautiously accepting any sex dolls on the listing board – which is why you will rarely see one.
Brand & Reputation
We cannot list mass produced white label, or unbranded, ‘insertable/penetrable´toys. we have a pull down list of brands we will look at for our sellers when they list an item. We are learning about more reputable body-safe brands every day so please get in touch with us by email if your item brand is not listed and we will look into it.
Every listing is approved manually.
Just because your item’s brand is listed is not a guarantee that it will be approved to go on the public sales board. Similarly, if your item brand is not listed, the team may still decide it should be listed.
Buyers should also ask questions of the seller, and also be aware of the brand reputation when it comes to these items (e.g. the weight of stainless steel can help a buyer know if the metal is a this cheap metal or not.)
Please also bear in mind that if there is also some negative information or customer experience detailed online about brand or material then, whether rightly or wrongly, we also have to be more cautious about accepting that item on the marketplace. In these cases, please bear with us if we ask our sellers for additional information, photos or item packaging detail – we need to do what we can to help our buyers be more comfortable buying.
A body-safe future
As we all get more confident and knowledgeable about the safety of the material used in sex toys, a great new wave of people is rising up to ensure the material that goes inside our most intimate body parts is as safe as possible. We applaud and support this. So far, some suppliers have also improved their materials, others have not, and, there is a big grey area in between. As the industry gets bigger and more confusing, our policy will get tighter and more focused.
Our own position
Our position is unique because we allows sellers to list second-hand items. You will find many items are still brand new and unopened, they were just unwanted, and other items are used, to varying degrees.
What we want as responsible operators
The marketplace is simply a platform for buyers and sellers to trade with each other. However, we try to think as a buyer or seller would, so we research this topic online in order to provide a marketplace to suit everyone.
We want to make sure that the sellers do not perpetuate the use of any items that we feel are no longer safe enough. So we have very strict rules about what even gets onto the marketplace and in what condition, so we also have to be particular about which non-porous items we will list.
We try to make it easier for everyone to navigate, by having a strict policy on the subject.
What we are all looking for, is a confidence that both the seller and the buyer is being open and transparent, that the brand is reputable, the material is not toxic, and the condition of the toy is sterile where necessary.
This is not a marketplace for commercial sellers, it is for real individuals selling their own toys. We do our best to identify if anyone is a reseller ( and we have said no to many many that try ) but we cannot guarantee it! If you identify anyone as a business, please let us know.
We want to help our sellers to sell, so we have provided a detailed set of fields for a seller to complete. We want to help our buyers to buy, by having listings with as much information as possible, and comparable detail for all listings.
New listings will not be approved until we are as sure, as a buyer would be, that the item complies with both the body-safe policy and general listing requirements. Every day, old listings that do not comply are being deleted by the system.
As a user of the marketplace you are either a buyer or a seller, and nomatter which one you are, you are each responsibile for cleaning, sanitizing and fully sterilizing your toys to make sure they are body-safe – before shipping as a seller, and, upon receipt of a toy (before using) as a buyer.
Thank you for taking the time to read this.
If you have any further questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org