A marketplace for used sextech products has sparked discussion about why many people are reluctant to buy second-hand sex toys, when sustainability is such a huge global topic.
The owners of the site, Squeaky Clean Toys, spoke to Motherboard about filling the second-hand sex toy niche online. The site launched in 2021 and allows you to trade sextech devices, as long as they are thoroughly cleaned and sterilized.
Speaking to Motherboard using the pseudonym Lisa, one of the site owners suggested that reusing sextech products should become normalized, like recycling more ‘traditional’ electronic devices.
“Over half of the population owns sex toys, can you imagine the mountain of these that aren’t being used? We’re only doing a tiny thing here,” ” she said. “But when you feel you could do something, why not?”
It’s a strong point, especially considering the rise of environmental and sustainability awareness among the public recently, plus the rise of the sextech industry resulting in more and more new sex toys being sold. While some squeamishness about using pre-loved sextech devices is understandable, the hygiene facts around the issue suggest it’s usually misplaced.
A study affiliated to various US institutions in 2014, and highlighted in the Motherboard article, showed that the risk of catching a sexually transmitted infection (STI) from a used sex toy that had been properly sanitized was minimal, if the device was made from non-porous material. For those made from porous materials, the risk increased slightly.
Devices traded on the Squeaky Clean Toys site go through a three-step cleaning process involving being washed with soap and water, sanitized with alcohol then sterilized via boiling. The process has to be documented with pictures for the product, to be allowed to be sold.
Rigorous standards like this should help increase confidence about trading used sextech products, as well as an acknowledgement that not all sex toys are inserted in bodies. The Squeaky Clean Toys owners, for example, mentioned that many ‘sex machine’ devices are traded on their site, featuring penetrating attachments that can be obtained separately.
There could be benefits for customers delving into the second-hand market, beyond feeling wholesome about sustainability. With some sextech devices costing upwards of $1,000, it could be a way for people to get hold of premium products they couldn’t normally afford.
Squeaky Clean Toys is reportedly yet to break even, but it has 83,000 page views a month, so seems to be getting some interest, even if it isn’t making money yet.
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