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Sex toys (and alternatives)

It’s always best to use items for their intended purpose—the best cock ring is one that is made to be a cock ring, and the most effective barrier methods are real condoms and dental dams. That said, there are alternatives that can be safe if used properly. The biggest takeaways for sex toy alternatives are: don’t insert anything sharp or electric inside of you; cover all objects with a condom and do not use items that could easily break off inside of you.

Hairbrush handles and vegetables are among the most popular and available household items used as dildos. Any dildo you insert anally should have a flared base to prevent it from getting stuck inside of you. For items you may be using as vibrators, like an electric toothbrush handle or your phone, it’s important to know if they are waterproof. Always use a condom with any of these items. 

Cock rings can also be crafted out of flexible materials you might already own. You can take out the plastic ring from an insertive condom to use as a cock ring. Cock rings should only be worn for short periods of time and should be made of a  that you can easily remove even if you become erect. If you start to feel discomfort or notice bruising, take off the ring immediately. If you are not able to remove it, seek medical attention immediately.

Items like pillows and socks can be used as masturbation sleeves, clothespins can be used as nipple clamps, and belts, spatulas or wooden spoons can be used for bondage and impact play. As with all of these sex toy alternatives, be aware of any possible risks and take any precautions to reduce them.

Spit and different everyday items can be used in place of lube. If you’re using condoms to help prevent STIs or pregnancy, your lube alternative should not contain any oil, as it can break down condoms and make them ineffective. Refinery29 has a good list of lube alternatives here.

Findings alternatives to barrier methods, like condoms or dental dams, is difficult. There are very few barrier methods you should try to make yourself when you don’t have a condom or dental dam. Things like plastic bags and plastic wrap should not be used as condoms for any penetrative sex.

You can adapt a roll-on condom, latex/latex-free gloves, or non-microwavable plastic wrap to make a dental dam used to cover an anus or vagina for oral sex. Be aware that using plastic wrap poses a potential choking hazard. As with all of our alternatives, these items are not intended to be used as condoms and should not be relied on to prevent the transmission of STIs or pregnancy.