This is a preprint

Researchers’ interest in the use of sex toys has increased in the past 10 years as products become more accepted in mainstream media, and incorporated into individuals’ sexual scripts. Though researchers and health educators have emphasized the importance of sex toy use hygiene behaviours, few studies have addressed the extent to which individuals are sharing, cleaning and covering their sex toys. The current research examined 1) the prevalence, frequency, predictors, and types of sex toys use/used, 2) the presence/frequency of sex toy use hygiene behaviours (e.g., cleaning, sharing, covering) and 3) whether sex toy use hygiene behaviours were related to vulvovaginal health outcomes among a sample of Canadian participants. As part of a larger survey examining genital health and hygiene practices, 1435 participants across Canada completed an anonymous online survey. Prevalence of sex toy use was 52.3%. Sex toys users were more likely to report a bisexual, lesbian, queer or questioning identity and were more likely to report engaging in additional partnered sexual activities such as oral and anal sex. Participants used a wide variety of sex toys including vibrators, butt plugs, BDSM toys, and household items. Most participants indicated that they cleaned their sex toys regularly using soap and water and 21.7% reported sharing their sex toy(s) with a partner. Sex toy use is common among Canadian women and individuals report using a variety of sexual enhancement products. Implications for educators and medical practitioners working with sexually active clients are also discussed.

Key Words

Cleaning sex toys, covering sex toys, sex toy use, sharing sex toys, vulvovaginal health


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Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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