Cheap Sex Toys Are A Scam And A Health Risk – Here’s Why

lelo sex toy with flowers and fruit

Cheap Sex Toys Are A Scam And A Health Risk – Here’s Why

Why are sex toys so expensive?

When it comes to sex toys, you get what you pay for. It’s tempting to go on a third-party marketplace such as Amazon or SHEIN and click “buy” on random cheap sex toys that look cute but cost less than your morning latte. 

But sometimes, getting a deal can expose your body to unsafe materials and leave you susceptible to infections and more. It has repercussions that echo for consumers and the entire sexual wellness industry. Knockoff toys made from materials like unsafe plastic, PVC, rubber, or jelly can contain dangerous chemicals such as cadmium, phthalates, toluene and phenol. On the milder end of the spectrum, they can cause skin irritation, itching, and burning. On the more serious end, they can cause severe rashes and tissue damage.  Some of them even leave traces of microplastics in your body. 

Instead, it’s better to invest in non-porous, body-safe materials. Check out our handy guide below to figure out why ultra-low prices can be damaging to your body and the adult toy industry and how to shop for a sex toy while maximizing your budget.

The adult toy industry works hard to keep customers safe

The industry has worked hard over the years to ensure that the pleasure products they’re bringing to market are manufactured under high standards with customer safety in mind.

A combination of manufacturing, design, and logistics, such as the cost to ship, can make these little machines quite pricey. With extremely low price points, untrustworthy companies are cutting corners in these areas. This is harmful to both the legit sex toy industry and to customers who could have a potentially dangerous experience – especially if this is their first time buying a sex toy. 

sex toys on purple background

Why design makes a difference

Beyond the safety of our bodies and our planet, the bottom line is that the quality and performance of more expensive sex toys are unparalleled. 

Most counterfeit sex toys, even if they are safe, can’t give you the same orgasm that a carefully researched and well-designed product from a reputable company can. This is due to factors like motor design/strength, water resistance, rechargeable batteries, surface texture, and features like Bluetooth capabilities and more varied speeds/patterns.

Motor design, specifically, is something worth considering. Cheaper toys often have a buzzy, surface-level feel that isn’t as satisfying as well-designed toys with stronger vibrations and more of a rumbly sensation. Toys with dual motors, like G-spot stimulators or thrusters, often have a higher price tag due to their more complex design.

How to ensure you’re buying safe sex toys

  • Certifications: Toys made from body-safe materials are often certified as free from chemicals or phthalates.
  • Materials: Ensure your toys are made from body-safe, medical-grade silicone, metal, glass, or ABS plastic.
  • Instructions: Legit brands will often include clear instructions for usage and guidelines
  • Reputable sellers: Reviews, ratings, and research are your friends. Buy directly from vetted brands or manufacturers themselves instead of third parties.
  • Avoid extremely low prices. If you see a price that’s too good to be too high, it is most likely a counterfeit product. 
woman with sex ed sign and table of sex toys

If a toy doesn’t check all these boxes, it’ll most likely be dumped in the trash and end up in a landfill, which isn’t great for customers or the environment. In the worst case, you’ll end up with painful skin irritation, tissue damage, or an infection that requires a doctor’s visit.

Budget-friendly alternatives, because pleasure should be accessible

As much as luxury sex toys are well worth the splurge, we understand that not everyone can set aside over $100 for the vibrator of their dreams. However, many reputable retailers like Babeland and Good Vibrations have affordable options with fewer bells and whistles.

That said, it’s essential to keep in mind that more high-end vibrators often have warranties that last a year or even longer, while cheap sex toys, even if they’re safe, may not have a warranty at all.

woman lying down with sex toys

While options with a motor will often be more expensive, there are plenty of bullet vibrators, cock rings, and g-spot vibrators that you can find for lower prices. Options without a motor will cost significantly less, as will toys made from ABS plastic. Unlike other forms of plastic, ABS is non-porous and hence less likely to harbor bacteria. 

Additionally, innovative designs like the ones employed by Love Not War allow consumers to buy a single battery base with interchangeable silicone heads, which ends up being much more affordable (and sustainable) than buying multiple battery-powered toys. Keep an eye out for sales, which often occur on holidays, especially for the month of Masturbation May.

Where do we go from here?

Sex toy material and safety transparency are essential, but even in 2024, these efforts are being undermined by knockoff designs on Amazon and beyond.

Instead of focusing solely on getting the best bang for your buck with cheap sex toys, you can do your best to buy directly from trusted, ethical companies like our beloved clients Fun Factory and Love Not War. By supporting brands like this, you’re making a statement and advocating for positive change within our industry, which we need more than ever. 

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lelo sex toy with flowers and fruit

Cheap Sex Toys Are A Scam And A Health Risk – Here’s Why

When it comes to sex toys, you get what you pay for. It’s tempting to go on a third-party marketplace such as Amazon or SHEIN and click “buy” on a random sex toy that looks cute but costs less than your morning latte. In reality, that deal has repercussions for consumers and the sexual wellness industry.