Christmas sex toy warning: Experts urge you to steer clear of chastity ‘cages’ and other utterly bizarre objects
- Thousands of sex toys are available online, but can you spot a dangerous one?
- Experts urge caution over pregnancy simulators, metal toys, and sounding kits
- Warnings come after awkward insertions cost the NHS £3million over a decade
Many people may be looking forward to a sexy surprise in their stockings this festive season. But experts have urged the public to beware of some of the most dangerous sex toys available online.
Avoid metal penis cages and restrain from inserting 35cm vibrating wires inside your urethra are just some of the tips on offer.
And steer clear of an utterly creepy device, a life-size silicone baby, which claims to allow men to experience the ‘miracle of childbirth’.
Experts warn the risks of using some of the items range from an embarrassing trip to A&E to retrieve a ‘lost’ object, to life-long complications from damaging internal tissues.
Experts warned the lack of a flared base on some anal sex toys, like ‘male pregnancy’ simulator, the ‘Bundle of Joy’, made them at greater risk of getting stuck inside
People in their 20s were the most likely to get an object stuck in their rectum followed by people in their early 50s
The study found the incidence of objects having to be removed from rectums is on the rise with cases particularly growing in men
There are a dizzying array of sex toys available online from ones that cost just over £1 to high-tech devices that can cost over £2,000.
But Ms Evans warned that there were plenty out there to avoid.
‘There’s a lot of products out there that do more harm than good,’ she said.
She said one of the first things to consider was material, with latex, rubber and ‘jelly’ toys not recommended as they could be unhygienic and contain nasty chemicals.
‘They are highly porous materials so they will actually absorb bacteria,’ she said.
‘They also leech out chemicals and also degrade over time and will do so with some sexual lubricants.’
Ms Evans said another general rule to follow was price, with it sometimes being a case of getting what you pay for in terms of quality and safety.
Buyers should also look at how responsive a seller was to questions or advice, with more reputable sellers being happy to give prompt and detailed advice to people curious about the toys they have in offer, she said.
Ms Evans added that one neglected aspect of sex toy usage once you actually get one, is what lubricants to use.
She recommended using a high quality one as there’s no point getting a expensive sex toy and damaging it with a cheap or inappropriate lubricant.
And she urged Britons to avoid using food based oils from the kitchen cupboard.
‘Put in on your salad and not inside your vagina,’ she said.
She also advised against using a DIY sex toy with a household item, listing mobile phones, hairbrushes, fruit and vegetables, and elastic bands as constriction devices, as some of the objects people have tired.
‘People just assume you can use anything,’ she said.
‘You might end up with a trip to A&E and they’re a bit busy at the moment’.
Ms Johnson added that said people buying sexual toys online should avoid sellers that don’t say what the material the toy is made of, don’t buy second hand, and start small.
‘Sometimes people jump to the most expensive and or complicated toy that may be available,’ she said.
‘It’s good to work with a consultant on selecting a toy that starts where you are in your exploration so that way you have time and space to grow and don’t introduce something that may be complex or intimidating.’
Ms Johnson said there was some space for DIY sex toys, provided they were safe to use for the intended purpose.
‘An example that comes to mind is using a spatula for a spanking tool,’ she said.
‘This can be as fun and effective as any purchased impact tool. The key remains that safety and durability of the item is always assessed before use.’
Dildos and butt plugs are some of the most familiar sex toys.
But poorly-designed ones, lacking safety features designed to prevent them getting lost or stuck inside, can result in agony instead of ecstasy.
Hundreds of Britons need to be rushed to A&E each year for an emergency extraction every year.
The reason they pursue such an insertion in the first place is partly to do with the number of nerves in the anus that make it highly sensitive.
The act can also stimulate the prostate in men, an erogenous part of the male reproductive system.
And for women, it can also indirectly stimulate parts of the vagina.
But the practise can cause damage if done incorrectly, resulting in tearing and bleeding of anus, incontinence, and potentially perforating the bowel.
The latter, while rare, can be deadly as material from the digestive tract spills into other parts of the body, causing an infection.
Some medical case reports have detailed such injuries being caused by 77cm sex toys used in combination with alcohol.
NHS sexual health experts recommend people interested in anal stimulation use small toys at first, deploy plenty of lubrication, and ensure they only use a toy with a flared base.
The latter is key to avoiding an embarrassing trip to hospital, with the wider base of the sex toy stopping the item from getting ‘lost’ or stuck inside.
One object experts definitely don’t recommend inserting into yourself is the ‘Bundle of Joy’, a silicone sex toy shaped like a newborn baby, that is roughly two-and-a-half soft drink cans in size.
The ‘male pregnancy’ simulator, that sells for about £60 online, is designed to be shoved inside a man’s rectum, who then proceeds to ‘birth’ the toy.
It is described online as ‘a therapeutic means for anyone to simulate this most natural, wholesome, life-affirming event’.
The creators, who list it as a sex toy, said the inspiration behind it was ‘to allow any person, regardless of gender, an opportunity to experience to some degree the miracle of childbirth’.
Samantha Evans, a former nurse who founded sex toy business Jo Divine and who also advises the NHS on sex toys, said something like the ‘Bundle of Joy’ was unsafe as there was nothing to stop it getting stuck.
‘If you’re going to use an anal toy it really needs to have a flared base,’ she said.
‘We wouldn’t really recommend anything other than using a toy with a flared base.’
She said there are many risks with using the wrong toy for anal play, ranging from tearing tissues to causing bleeding.
‘There’s a huge potential for damage,’ she said.
In addition to only using sex toys with a flared base for anal pleasure, Ms Evans also recommended people use plenty of an appropriate lubrication.
Jasmine Johnson, lead psychotherapist at Blue Pearl Therapy and adult film creator, also advised people to use toys with flanges, a protective rim stopping them from getting lost inside, similar to a flared base.
‘Simply put, toys will work their way up the rectum as a natural reaction to stimulation; so the flanges help avoid a stressful situation of a toy getting stuck in an unwanted position or unwanted period of time,’ she said.
Another sex toy that experts have urged Britons to avoid is the use of metal constriction devices on their penises.
The devices include metal penis rings, which sold for as little as £3 online, and constrict the flesh around the penis.
This traps blood in the genitals to make the organ slightly larger by the associated swelling or to last longer during sex.
Experts warned that metal chastity cages carried some of the same risks as metallic penis rings, being difficult to remove in an emergency
Other risks of the devices, available for about £40 on online retailer Etsy, include can cause direct trauma to the penis due to their intentionally tight confines
Another similar device is chastity cages, which sell for about £40 online, and which encase a flaccid penis in a moulded metal prison fastened with a lock.
In contrast to penis rings, chastity cages are designed to prevent erections due to their tight confines, and additionally are intended to be worn for long periods.
Fans find this pain pleasurable as an aspect of BDSM (bondage, domination, sadism and masochism).
But both devices don’t come without risk. They can get stuck — effectively strangling the penis.
Apart from an embarrassing trip to A&E, this can also cause parts penis tissue to die from a lack of oxygen. In rare cases, men may need their member amputated.
Poorly made versions can also lead to scratches on the penis and testicles, which can become infected.
Medics have previously been forced to use drills directly on men’s genitals in an attempt to cut off metal sex toys and release their vice-like grip.
In one horrifying clip which emerged online earlier this year, medics had to resort to using an angle grinder and then bolt cutters to sever a metal penis ring from a man’s genitals.
Professor Giulio Garaffa a uro-andrologist at International Andrology, a private men’s sexual health clinic in London, warned using metal penis cages carried a number of serious health risks.
‘In my 20 years experience in this field I have encountered a number of patients attending A&E with a penis strangulated by a metal ring where a metal cutting tool was required to free their penis.
‘It was not uncommon for these patients to experience a degree of permanent damage to the penis and in some cases to loose the penis completely or need extensive reconstructive surgery.’
He added that the same was true for metal chastity cages.
‘The use of a chastity belt or cage and of metal penile rings certainly pose very similar risks, as, if too tight, they both can cause strangulation of the penis and of the testicles. If the strangulation is prolonged in time, it can cause permanent damage to the genital structures,’ he said.
But Professor Garaffa also said the devices carried risks of their own.
‘The use of a chastity belt can also prevent the expansion of the erection mechanism or forcibly bend the shaft of the penis inside the cage producing direct trauma to the structures of the penis.
‘The longer a cage is worn, the more likely the consequent reduced blood circulation will cause damage to the genital tissues.
‘Furthermore, the prolonged friction of the cage with the genitalia, can cause direct damage to the skin and potentially lead to a skin infection.’
Dr Richard Viney, a consultant urological surgeon at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, also urged men to avoid using devices made of inelastic materials.
Online retailers have dozens of metal penis rings online with some like this one from Amazon selling for just £6.82
Some experts say there is case for banning the sale of metal penis rings like this two inch example on Ebay due to the dangers they pose
WHAT IS PENILE RING ENTRAPMENT?
Penile ring entrapment is a rare but often dangerous urological emergency that could cause mechanical and vascular complications.
According to medics, a prolonged entrapment of more than 30 minutes could lead to irreversible damage.
They have devised a grading system to indicate the severity of penile ring entrapment:
Grade 1: Edema of distal penis or partial division of corpus spongiosum and urethrocutaneous fistula
Grade 2: Complete division of corpus spongiosum and constriction of corpus cavernosum
Grade 3: Gangrene, amputation, fistula or separation of corpora
Grade 4: Complete separation of corpus cavernosa
Grade 5: Gangrene or amputation
‘Non-elastic materials such as metal or hard plastics should be avoided,’ he said.
‘The danger with these is that they will interfere with the natural drainage of blood from the erect penis in such a way that it swells excessively beyond the ring.’
This, he explained, could then make it impossible to remove by hand, with the parts of the penis past the ring then starting to die off due a lack of fresh blood.
Dr Viney added that even the removal of such rings could also be dangerous, due to the heavy duty equipment needed to cut through them.
‘The emergency removal of such rings are very challenging and not without risk of significant penile injury,’ he said.
Both rings and cages can be made of other materials like silicon, which are less dangerous due to their flexibility and being easier to remove if they become too tight.
Ms Johnson also advised caution when using metal restraining toys and instead recommended devices made of medical grade silicon.
‘Although we may have things like keys handy it is still important to consider that toy locks can be faulty and very dangerous,’ she said.
‘Things can happen if we’re unable to get our partners out of these devices in a quick and safe manner. Therefore, I tend to lean towards toys that are made of medical grade silicone, and or have more than one feature to disengage it.’
Another sex toy men should be cautious about is devices built for sounding, a practise where males insert items into the opening of the penis for sexual pleasure.
Multiple sounding kits are available online for as little as £5 on websites like Amazon, sometimes being classified as ‘massagers’
Some sounding kits are so long, like this 35cm example, that medics warn they could cause potential damage if used incorrectly
What is sounding? And why can it be dangerous?
Sounding is when men insert items into the opening of the penis to enhance their sexual pleasure.
It usually involves specially designed tools made from glass or metal.
Doctors at clinic International Andrology London said there has been a ‘dramatic increase’ in the number of men having urethral problems due to sounding as men ‘look to expand their sexual activities and enhance their sexual experiences’
Men interested in the practice should understand the risks and purchase equipment from reputable businesses and ensure they do it hygienically.
But they warned the practice can damage the sensitive tissue in the urethral pathway, which releases urine and sperm.
It can also lead to a lack of bladder control and infection.
And the penis and urethra may even require surgery or implants to rebuild sensitive tissue.
Source: International Andrology London
A plethora of devices of sounding devices are available online, from metal rods for £5 to vibrating flexible wires for £9 that are up to 35cm in length.
Experts have warned about the dangers of sounding for years, as well as noting that more men are beginning to experiment with sounding after being inspired by others online.
Dangers include the object getting stuck, requiring an embarrassing trip to hospital to get it pulled out,
In severe cases surgery can be needed if an object has become tangled and can be pulled back out the way it came.
Other risks include infections, perforation of the bladder and scarring of the internal tube of the penis that carries urine and semen out of the body.
This scarring can even lead to incontinence, a loss of bladder control.
Professor Garaffa said sounding was dangerous and lead to ‘serious long term injury’, especially when it came to longer objects.
‘The longer the object that is inserted into the urethra, it comes in contact with more internal structures and therefore it is likely to produce more damage than relatively shorter objects,’ he said.
He added that an object 35cm long had the potential to cause such damage.
‘In the majority of men, the urethra is less than 35 cm long. Therefore, the tip of a 35cm long object is likely to reach the bladder cavity and can potentially cause damage to its wall,’ he said.
NHS data for England recorded 253 cases of someone getting an object stuck in their urethra between April 1, 2021 and March 31 this year.
While experts do not recommend sounding, they say anyone interested in the practise should only use items from a reputable seller and most definitely avoid using a DIY sex toy.
The X-Ray of the knotted USB cable after it became stuck inside the boy’s body. The teenager inserted it into his penis in a sexual experiment gone wrong. After repeated attempts to remove the item by both himself and medical professionals were unsuccessful, an X-Ray was ordered to determine the exact size and location of the object ahead of surgery.
The USB cable after it was removed from inside the boy’s penis. Surgeons cut through the muscles surrounding the penis and scrotum and then severed and removed the knot. The two ends of the cable were then pulled out through the penis opening.
Last year medics reported one case where a British teen had inserted a knotted USB cable into his penis, which had then stuck inside.
The unidentified 15-year-old told doctors he inserted the cable to ‘measure the length of his penis’.
But several failed attempts to remove it himself resulted in him urinating a large amount of blood, prompting his family to take him to A&E.
Medics had to resort to surgery, cutting deep into the tissue between his genitals and anus to reach the knot and sever it, allowing the cable to be extracted.
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