Is it safe to share your sex toyS ?

If you ask everyone, you´ll get answers all the way from a yes depending to a no depending – everyone has an opinion, or an agenda! And still, you’re none the wiser, really! In the great echo chamber that is ‘the internet’, some detail gets lost, and a general opinion can hang around with no real purpose. So you’re left guessing – are the risks actually real any more, or just perceived?

Ask the right questions – listen to the experts.

If we’re all grown-up enough to play with sex toys, we need to get practical about this really important subject. We already take risks with germs every day, and more when we go to public places, to hospitals, or have any invasive procedures… so the medical community has this covered.

Let’s see what the medical specialists, the official government or health organisations say about this.

Myth vs. Fact

¨A perceived (or theoretical) risk is one that is based on belief rather than fact and persists despite the unlikeliness of the event ever occurring. By contrast, a documented (or actual) risk is based on statistical evidence of something actually occurring. Where a perceived risk is about theory, a documented risk is about the fact.¨


What are STIs or STDs?

The two terms tend to be used interchangeably but one stands for ´sexually transmitted infection´ and the other stands for ´sexually transmitted disease´.

We should all know the possible STIs. Face it, even if the risk is tiny. Head over to our blog to learn how long they last outside the human body… and discover what kills them ( if time has not already done the job for you ).

Let’s name them!

“STDs can include bacterial, viral and parasitic infections.

Bacterial STDs include chlamydia, gonorrhoea, and syphilis.

Viral STDs include HIV, genital herpes, genital warts (HPV), and hepatitis B.

Trichomoniasis is caused by a parasite.

The germs that cause STDs hide in semen, blood, vaginal secretions, and sometimes saliva. Most of the organisms are spread by vaginal, anal, or oral sex, but some, such as those that cause genital herpes and genital warts, may be spread through skin contact. One can get hepatitis B by sharing personal items, such as toothbrushes or razors, with someone who has it.”


How long can they last?

Question: how-long-can-stds-gonorrhoea-chlamydia-syphilis-hiv-survive-outside-human-host ?

Answer: ¨In general, bacteria and viruses do not survive long outside the body (the organisms die in minutes to hours), hence they do not spread via toilet seats, swimming pools etc. However, they may be transmitted via bodily fluids such as semen and vaginal fluids, especially so if there is a break in the skin or mucosal membranes.¨

Source: Dr Jipson Quah GP, MBBS (Singapore), DipRCPath (UK) With Special Interest in Pathology

The conditions have to be right

¨Just because living pathogens can be found on surfaces does not necessarily mean that fomite transmission to humans can take place. The risk of fomite transmission varies depending on a number of factors. These include:
• the bacteria or virus involved
• how much bacteria/virus someone needs to be exposed to in order to become infectious
• the temperature and humidity of the room
• whether the surface is porous or non-porous
Other factors may also be involved. ¨


buying vs. borrowing vs. sharing

It’s important to differentiate here because the risk varies hugely.

Buying a sex toy secondhand sex toy is quite a new thing, so most of the current answers you read online are all about the risks of sharing a toy in the heat of the moment during a sex session, or even borrowing one from a friend. They generally aren’t about buying a second-hand one that (if it has been used at all!) has been cleaned first, disinfected or sterilized, and then packaged up, and sent by post to you.

The risks when sharing a sex toy during a sex session.

If you´re taking a sex toy straight out of one body and putting it into another within minutes then YES, there´s a risk. If one of you has an infection, it can be passed on.

If you´re going to share toys or have more than one partner, you know there are going to be associated risks. So the safest thing to do is cover it in a fresh condom every time you use it.

Use the right condoms, the right way

“Most condoms are made of latex. Unfortunately, oil-based lubes like Vaseline, cooking oils, coconut oil, baby oil, and body lotions break down latex. This means using oil-based lube can make your condoms break. This puts you and your partner at risk for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and/or pregnancy. In addition, oil-based lubes can trap bacteria and cause infections, which is no fun for anyone.”

The good news is that there are plenty of other kinds of lube that you can use with condoms.
Water- or silicone-based lubes are safe to use with condoms.”


¨If sex toys are used with new, clean condoms for each partner, or are properly cleaned (i.e., disinfected) before use by the uninfected partner, they pose a negligible risk of transmission.

Note that using the same condom with both partners is effectively the same as not using one at all.¨


The risks when borrowing a sex toy from a friend

Remember, time can be on your side here too. And, they´re also probably handing it to you in-person, so don´t be embarrassed to ask when it was last used, and if it´s been cleaned or sterilized. Again, if you´re too shy to discuss this with your friend, then the safest thing to do here is to cover it in a fresh condom before you use it. 

How about just cleaning it yourself when you get it anyway, and suggest to your friend that you would like to disinfect it properly, or sterilize it before you give it back, as a thank-you, or out of common courtesy. It´s their toy and they will have the manufacturer’s instructions so ask them how would they prefer you to do it. 

We all need to get in the way of thinking like this. One of the better aspects of Covid-19 pandemic has been that cleansing and sterilizing has become second nature to us!

The risks when buying a used sex toy from a stranger

In this case there is usually no “heat of the moment” issue between buyer and seller. Great, because this medical answer tells us that TIME is on your side.

¨…most pathogens that cause STDs cannot live outside of the human body for very long without deteriorating. Once bacteria and viruses start to break down, they are no longer able to infect human beings…¨


Apart from that, the other issue here is not knowing who it is you’re buying this from. So there are other risks you need to reduce too. No-one wants to be scammed, and  you need to be sure about how body-safe the toy is, the condition it’s in, and if it has been cleaned and sterilized if it has been used – even once! You can buy or sell toys in many ways and many places, but it really is best done as a serious, transactional, non-sexual business. If you buy a second-hand toy from the Squeaky Clean Toys marketplace, everything is professional, clean, and heavily monitored. We ask the embarrassing questions for you, and we use an escrow style payment system to protect both buyer and seller 😉 



Be grown up, know your partners, clean and disinfect a toy before you use it, or use a condom to avoid spreading germs (or getting pregnant even), in the heat of the moment.

Take the risk away – make it clean and as sterile as possible

Why ? Because the right cleaning, disinfecting or sterilizing can get rid of any possible germs too. You should always wash and sanitize your toys before and after you use them. At Squeaky Clean Toys, we’ve also looked at sexually transmitted infections / diseases in more detail, and how the experts say you can kill them off surfaces. Remember always clean first, then sanitize, then disinfect, then sterilize. Also, remember that toys made of non-porous materials ( e.g. silicone, glass, metal ) will be easier to clean thoroughly. You can jump to our HOW TO CLEAN A USED SEX TOY post for more details.