By Amy ChozickBy Amy ChochozickA new survey finds the majority of Americans have trouble understanding how to use sex toys responsibly, but few know what to do if they find one.
As a result, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people use them only when they’re not using them to engage in other activities, such as when they’ve gone through the motions, or when they aren’t actually masturbating.
And, it says, people should avoid using sex toys unless they have clear medical reasons for doing so.
A new study by the University of Illinois and the University at Buffalo suggests Americans aren’t yet fully understanding the potential benefits and risks of using sex toy products.
The survey, published online in the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, found that about three-quarters of respondents thought the products are “good for the vagina,” and a majority of respondents (78%) felt the toys had “no adverse effects.”
But only one in five (21%) believed that the toys were “good” for the anus.
And most respondents (61%) didn’t know how to handle the “hot spot” of the toy, which can become hot or cold depending on the type and strength of the stimulation.
And when asked what they would do in a situation where the toy accidentally hurts someone, nearly half of respondents would try to put the toy away, while only 14% said they would “do nothing” or “try to use a condom.”
The survey also found that most people are not aware of how to avoid or remove them, and many of the products have a very short shelf life.
About four out of 10 people (44%) thought the only way to remove them was to clean them up, and nearly half (47%) would “try it again,” while about half (48%) would discard them.
When asked what people would do if someone used the products without asking, almost half (45%) said they’d call the company and report the problem.
But when asked about whether they would report a problem, just 18% said “no,” while 24% said, “I don’t know.”
When asked how people would feel if they did call the sex toy company, only 28% said it would be “bad,” while 53% said that it would “probably be OK.”
The researchers also asked how respondents would feel about using a condom, which is the most common form of contraception used by Americans, and found that nearly two-thirds (64%) of Americans say they would not.
But the survey also looked at the safety of sex toys, including the number of accidents and deaths related to the devices.
About a quarter of respondents said that a sex toy should only be used for “very good” or excellent results, while about a quarter (25%) said it should only “for very good” and about a third (34%) said that “only very good.”
And a majority (53%) of people said that having sex with someone with a condom would be a “great” or a “good,” while only about one-third (33%) said the opposite.
“While most people think sex toys are good for the genitals, a majority don’t understand the potential risks, the pros and cons of using them and what to expect from them, or how to safely use them,” the researchers write.
“While people do not know how safe they should be using these products, they are generally aware of the potential for injury.”