C’mon, admit it: You’ve wondered whether sex toys are safe to use during pregnancy. But discussing those fun little gadgets with your ob-gyn or midwife can be a little…uncomfortable. So we asked a sex therapist all of the sex toy Qs you’re too embarrassed to ask. Here, Sandra Caron, Ph.D., a therapist specializing in sexuality, author, and professor of human sexuality at the University of Maine, breaks it all down for us.
Are vibrators safe to use — especially those high-powered ones like the Hitachi Magic Wand?
You might think you need to take a break from using sex toys when you’re pregnant, but if you’ve had a healthy pregnancy you don’t have to, says Dr. Caron, “Sex toys are safe to use when pregnant,” she explains. “The vibration from the vibrator and the contractions of the uterus resulting from orgasm are not enough to disturb the developing fetus.” If you have a high-risk pregnancy, or any other pregnancy complications though, be sure to check with your doctor or midwife, she adds.
Are dildos safe to use during pregnancy?
Dildos, those sex toys that resemble a penis, are popular — and they, too, are safe to use during pregnancy, says Dr. Caron. “Use lubrication, if needed, and avoid inserting anything so deep that it causes pain!” she adds.
What about anal sex toys?
More good news if this is your thing: “Anal sex toys are completely safe to use during pregnancy,” says Dr. Caron. “There is no cause for concern in terms of inserting things into the anus and somehow harming the fetus.” Just be sure to use lots of lube, she adds, and follow good rules of hygiene. “Don’t insert anything that has been in the anus into the vagina afterward,” she instructs. “You need to avoid passing bacteria that could lead to a vaginal infection.”
What is the proper way to clean sex toys to prevent infections?
“Pregnant or not, sex toys should always be cleaned between use,” says Dr. Caron. Many toys come with cleaning instructions, which vary depending on the material they’re made of. For example, simple toys made of silicone or metal can be boiled for 10 minutes, while those toys with vibrating parts and motors should not be immersed in water; instead, they can be cleaned with antibacterial soap and a damp cloth. And, as we mentioned above, never insert a toy into the vagina that’s been used anally — unless it’s been thoroughly cleaned first.
Are lubes safe to use during pregnancy, too?
Yes, absolutely. “Lubricants are not only safe and fun to use, but highly recommended for those women who find their vagina is a bit dry during pregnancy,” says Dr. Caron. Use water- or silicone-based lubes, instead of oil-based ones (which you can’t be used with sex toys). “If you have never used a lubricant, buy a few samples and try a small amount first to be sure it will not irritate your skin,” she adds.