Posts Tagged ‘sex toys’


Week 54-What are the complications of anal sex?

September 4, 2009

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A few months back, one of our readers wanted to know how common anal sex was. Turns out 40% of men and 35% of women between the ages of 15 and 44 engage in heterosexual anal sex.   But to answer this week’s question, we will focus on the more risky aspects of engaging in anal sex.

What exactly are the complications associated with this sexual act?

It is easy to tear the tissue in the anal canal and rectum.  The lining of the anal canal is thin and has no natural lubrication.  Adding friction to the mix makes tearing possible. If there is enough force, the sphincter muscle can also tear. Go slowly and pay attention to how it feels. Stop when you feel it’s too uncomfortable.

 Spread of STIs and HIV.  Because the lining of the anus tears easily, it offers an easy path for bacteria and viruses to enter blood stream.  To avoid the spread of STIs and HIV, always use a condom.

The deeper you go, the more likely the tear.  The inner third of the rectum is less sensitive, meaning you could tear tissue and not even know it right away.  If you have prolonged pain after having anal sex, definitely go see your doctor.

Sex toys can be hard to retrieve.  Certain toys can be hard to reach after anal sex, and in some instances, need to be surgically removed. “Sorry, I can’t come into work today because I have to get a sex toy removed,” is NOT something you ever want to utter to your boss.  Make sure you’re using equipment specifically designed for anal sex.  You’ll want toys with flared ends which will prevent the toy from moving up into the rectum.

Beware of bacteria.  Bacteria from your anus can often negatively affect the healthy environment of your vagina.   If you choose to have both vaginal and anal sex, use a new condom when moving from one locale to the other.

The Bottom Line.  Anal sex always involves fecal matter, no matter what you do to prevent it.  Always wash well before and after anal sex .  Use a condom, use gloves.  Don’t let a little fecal matter affect your health.


  • Take it slow
  •  Pay attention to how it’s feeling
  • Stop when and if you feel uncomfortable.
  • Have fun

Planned Parenthood of northern New England’s Education Department carefully selects all weekly questions. All questions are actual inquiries made to PPNNE by college-aged students.

Should you have a question you would like to see included, please send an email to


Midweek Green Crank Toy Update

July 27, 2009

earth-angel-vibratorAn interesting alternative to traditional sex toys:  a vibrator that cranks, then vibrates.  No batteries needed!  Made from non-toxic, recycled materials, no less.

I have to admit, initially I was skeptical because my partner owns a flashlight with the same crank mechanism.  My personal cranking experience has not been great: picture a woman with a full bladder huddled in a rainy tent with this flashlight, cranking away until I thought my arm would fall off from the exertion, to then enjoy 3 minutes of mood lighting while I try to find a bush where there are no wild animals who are waiting to pounce on me.

That said, apparently this vibrator has more advanced crank technology.  The site claims just 4 minutes of cranking will get you…well…cranking for 30 minutes.

All this for around $90.

If you own one, or are rushing to get your credit card ready and will own one, please email and let us know how it goes!

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Midweek-Sex Toy Green-up Info

June 29, 2009

How well do you know your sex toy?

It turns out, sex toys are considered “novelty items” and are unregulated because “novelty” means they are not intended for use.  (Interesting, that a $ 1.5 billion industry exists for things that are not “in use”!)  Unregulated means that makers (mostly China) can make them out of just about anything, and there are no import regulations.

Cheap adult sex toys are often made with phthalates to give them that soft flexible feeling. In 2008, Congress banned phthalates from toys and cosmetics. Phthalates are group of chemicals linked to breast cancer, low sperm counts and other health problems. Pretty much the last thing you want near your fun parts, judging by some of the research on sex toys.

What are the risks associated with the amount of exposure we get from sex toys?  This question straddles (yes, pun intended)  two issues we have trouble discussing openly–sex and the health risks posed by low dose exposure to chemicals in every day products. It is no surprise we don’t know our sex toys as well as we should. New Hampshire Public Radio did a terrific piece on this.

If you want to green up your toy chest, seek a sex-positive retailer, like Portland’s Nomia, who will answer all your questions and take orders over the phone. Babeland is also very good at educating their customers. Both of these retailers offer less toxic alternatives including glass toys and paraben & phthalate free lube. If you’re worried about phthalates, but don’t want to kick your rabbit habit just yet, you can always use a condom.

Find more easy-to-implement tips and information on lessening your day-to-day exposure to harmful contaminants at our Good Chemistry site.


Week 5-What is the most popular sex toy in the country?

September 26, 2008

The vibrator!

It is the most widely available sex toy, but a 2006 Elle/MSNC survey stated that 40 % of all respondents had used one, making it the most popular as well.  In a separate study, 15-17% of people under the age of 20 had used a vibrator, which jumped to 50% for people in their twenties.  Not surprisingly, women are more likely to use vibrators:  33% women, 20% of men use them.

The “rabbit habit vibrator” is widely recognized due to being showcased in “Sex and the City”.

According to the Durex Global Sex Survey, Australia has the highest vibrator use with 46% moving and grooving to the gentle hum.  The United States is the close second at 45%.  Regardless of location, common sense dictates to use warm water and gentle soap on toys after use.